iZotope VocalSynth 2 Review

Some describe VocalSynth 2 as vocal synthesizer software, and that may be true to an extent, but it’s a bit more than that. There are 5 modules along with “rack” style effects.

Logic Fiends recommends renting to own Vocalsynth 2 for $9.99 a month (if you click that link, we’ll get a few bucks to keep the site running.)

The first module is called BioVox and is modeled after the “human vocal tract” in an effort to affect how your vocals sound in a more natural sounding way. (I seem to remember Antares, makers of Auto-Tune, having a similar product years ago.)

The second module is a Vocoder, which obviously has been overused, but can still be useful. (I can’t help but hear Whodini’s “The Freaks Come Out At Night” whenever I heard the term “Vocoder”.) Aside from retro effect, used in a subtle fashion it can add a thickening to the vocals by putting it on a second track and “tucking it under” the main vocal.

The third module is called CompuVox, and personally I’ve had the hardest time finding this useful on vocals, but I could just be missing something. It’s designed for glitch effects and computized sounds.

The fourth module is a talkbox, and this can be very useful for a Classic Rock vocalist. Aerosmith, Peter Frampton, Bozz Scaggs, Bon Jovi, etc. Not sure how useful it is for a current sound, but perhaps it’s time to introduce the younger generation to this awesome effect. (This and the Vocoder were the Baby Boomber/Gen X version of the AutoTune effect.) Kidding aside, this can be useful as a doubler on a second track.

The final module is the Polyvox, and possibly the most useful module. It can offer pitch correction, if you don’t already have a way to do that. But, rather than fix the vocalists’ tuning, this can be useful as a doubler. Keep the original vocals, and put this on a second track with tuned vocals. The slight variance will be closer to a vocalist doing 2 takes. Especially useful if your vocalist isn’t available and you only have the 1 take.

Additionally, the Polyvox can add a choir type effect. Great for adding background singers to a chorus, or a distant choir for an ambient effect.

There’s also a bunch of effects, “Stomp box effects” as iZotope describes them. These are Distort, Filter, Transform, Shred, Delay, Ring Mod and Chorus. The Anemone is the coolest visual aspect of VocalSynth 2. Each letter represents one of the five modules. Only the modules selected will show up in the graphic. It animates in response to the audio signal.

Check out our article on iZotope’s Ozone if you don’t already have it.

iZotope VocalSynth 2 Example

This is the vocal sample that I’ll be using to run through VocalSynth 2. You don’t realize how much you should be thanking me for not using my own voice 😉 Also, the vocal put to some basic drums and synth to give you a sense of how the vocal sits in a song.

I’ll attempt to just use the iZotope VocalSynth presets so that you get a sense of using it out of the box. If your ear or mixing skills aren’t up to snuff, you’ll find a decent selection of presets that might give you new ideas.

Karra Sample Dry
Sample Song Clip Dry

While the default vocoder preset is a fine preset when used as an inline “wet” insert.

VocalSynth 2 SixtyFour Preset

It really adds depth to the vocal when used on a send in combination with the dry track. It sits better in the song and has some grit.

VocalSynth 2 SixtyFour Preset Vocal combined on a Send
And combined with the whole song.

Now we’ll apply the Sweet Nothings preset to the lead vocal, and the Deep Grater preset to the 2nd vocal.

iZotope VocalSynth 2
iZotope VocalSynth 2
iZotope VocalSynth 2
iZotope VocalSynth 2
The “background” vocals applied on a separate track using the Deep Grater preset.

To get a bit more creative, you’d probably want something in the post chorus or breakdown part where the vocals are different. So I mute the dry track and just apply the New Industries Preset.

New Industries Preset

But wait there’s more… You can put VocalSynth 2 into midi mode. Here I created a 2nd instrument track, and selected the Vocal as a side chain. I then muted the main vocal. You can play midi notes to play the affected sound as new notes.

Vocal Synth Midi Mode
Here they are all put together into a mini song.

You can start to see now that if you aren’t a great vocalist, you can add vocals using VocalSynth 2. You can use samples from real vocalists, and intertwine them with the presets and effects in VocalSynth 2. However, you can always record your own vocals, use the built in pitch correction, and affect it enough so that it’s hard to tell you can’t sing!

Since this is a review and not a tutorial, I guess we’ll end it there.

Final Thoughts

This plugin is an absolute must for anyone doing vocals. While it can do cool modern effects for EDM and Hip Hop styles, it’s also essential for Pop with its harmonies and pitch correction capabilities. Even if you are in a Classic Rock band, the Vocoder and Talkbox would prove useful. The ability to add “background singers” is an affordable way to give your song a more polished or “expensive” sound. Since getting vocals to sit correctly in the mix is so important, even without VocalSynth 2 ‘s obvious effects, all styles can benefit with some vocal thickening. A must have plugin! You can rent the plugin from this link if you only need it for a short time or just can’t afford it outright. Or use this link from Plugin Boutique and we’ll get a few bucks to keep the site running.

Technically it can be applied to instrument tracks as well, but I’d view that as an added bonus and not a reason to buy it (meaning if you are an instrumentalist that doesn’t record vocals, then you can probably skip this plugin.)

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
iZotope VocalSynth 2
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