Soundtoys Little AlterBoy Review

Little AlterBoy was designed to alter vocals using pitch, formant, and distortion. The controls are fairly straight forward, making it pretty simple to use.

First there is the Pitch knob. This allows you to adjust the vocals up or down in semi-tone increments, up to 1 octave difference. The formant knob can be used to make the vocals higher or lower with varying effect. A slight amount can be used to try and convert a male vocal to female, and vice versa. An extreme amount will give you that chipmunk effect or a deep male vocal.

Here’s is an example with a dry clip, and then run through the pitch and formant. Next, I’ll use the mix knob to blend the original source with the affected material, to give a thickening to the vocals.

original clip
With Pitch and Formant
Pitch and Formant with Mix turned down
Pitch and Formant with Mix turned down
Mix turned down to layer track

If I send the vocals to 4 different tracks, and put Little AlterBoy on each, I can adjust the pitch and formant of each, to really thicken up the vocals. You could mute the other tracks, and only turn them on to accentuate certain words, or enable them for the Chorus.

Multiple Tracks with Little AlterBoy
Varying when each comes in

You can also put it on a snare track and automate the pitch to create a detuned snare. Also, play with it on hi-hats.

Detuned Snare
Automated hi-hats

The Link button will force the Formant knob to match the Pitch knob, so when you turn the pitch up, the Formant goes up as well.

There are 3 Mode options. The default setting is “Transpose” which pitches the vocal as you’d expect. The “Quantize” option will force the vocal to the closest semi-tone. This has a bit of an Auto-Tune sound to it. The “Robot” option forces the vocal to a single note, which is selected using the pitch knob. It can also produce Vocoder effects by tying the Pitch knob to a midi keyboard.

Here’s an example of what the robot effect sounds like, and then with the mix adjusted so that the effect is underneath the vocal, to add some complexity.

Robot Effect
Soundtoys Little AlterBoy Robot Effect
Soundtoys Little AlterBoy Robot Effect
Blended Robot

This is the Robot setting with some Formant and Pitch automation.

Vocoder Effect
Vocoder2

The Robot mode on Piano can have some nice effects too. You can use the Pitch and Mix to create detuned piano, but in Robot mode, it gives it a broken sound.

Broken Piano

Drive adds tube saturation to the effect. The effect is subtle warming to extreme distortion. For an Auto-Tune effect, set it to Quantize with Drive turned up.

While you don’t get the control that you would in Auto-Tune, dialing in that effect is dead simple.

Little AlterBoy with Drive
Little AlterBoy with Drive
Auto-Tune effect

Here is a Serum EDM Lead patch, and Little AlterBoy is added in to really change the sound.

Serum EDM Lead
Serum with Little AlterBoy

Final Thoughts

Soundtoys Little AlterBoy is pretty darn easy to use. If you are working with vocals, then this is a really useful tool. The real value is in adjusting the pitch and formant to alter the vocals for effect. It can rather easily thicken tracks.

If you need to do vocal correction, there are better tools for doing that. This can do some of the same things, but the goal here isn’t so much correction, but affection of the source material to sound “sick”.

If you don’t have anything that can do a Robot effect, then this is an added bonus. Also, if you want an “auto-tune effect” for the effect, and not concerned with correction, then this can do that simply.

You can also put it on a snare or hi-hats track and automate the pitch to do detuned snares. Really, you can put it on any lead track, and use the mix to layer the sound and make it not only thicker, but more interesting. Strongly recommend getting Soundtoys Little AlterBoy.

Make sure you check out our other Soundtoys Reviews and our latest review of Soundtoys Crystallizer.

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Soundtoys Little AlterBoy
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