How to create vocal harmonies with Serato Sample

Serato is well known in the music production and DJing circles for their world-class “Pitch ‘n Time” technology that has been used in countless records over the last few decades.

Now, the same technology is available in Serato Sample, an intuitive sampler plugin that allows you to quickly find, chop, key shift, and time stretch samples.

In this blog post, we’ll focus on the latter two features: key shift and time stretching. We’ll show you how you can easily use Serato Sample to create simple vocal harmonies from this 91Vocals sample without needing to physically record the vocal part. Let’s dive in.

Here’s the original vocal phrase, unedited:

1. Set up Serato Sample

In this session, I have the original lead vocal on an audio track by itself. From there, I created an instrument track with Serato Sample on it and named it ‘Vocal Harmony.’ This track will output a mix of harmonies, which we’ll get to soon.

To open a sample in the plugin, all you have to do is drag any sample from the Splice app into the Serato Sample window, and the plugin will immediately detect the key and pitch for you.

Next, we’ll need to change the play mode from hold mode to trigger mode. Trigger mode essentially plays the sample from the beginning to the end on a single trigger (a MIDI note, in our case). Hold mode would require you to continuously hold the key for the sample to keep playing.


The hold mode (left) and trigger mode (right) icons in Serato Sample

2. Create the harmonies

Now that the basic setup is done, we’re going to create three vocal harmonies: one octave down, one octave up, and a major third down.

There are very few steps to this process, so this should be quick!

  1. Draw a note in Logic Pro (or any DAW) to trigger Serato Sample to play the audio file.
  2. In the UI, select the trigger pad and set the key shift all the way down to -12 semitones to lower the sample by a full octave.
  3. Adjust the level of the sample output to create an effective blend with the main vocals.

Now repeat steps 1 – 3 again, but change the key shift to +12 semitones for the higher octave and -5 semitones for the major third harmony, and you’re good to go!

As you can see, setting up simple, clean-sounding vocal harmonies with Serato Sample is a pretty straightforward process. If you’re interested in experimenting with this technique yourself, give Serato Sample a try on Rent-to-Own.

Try Serato Sample for free, and then Rent-to-Own the plugin for $4.99/mo until you own it outright:

October 14, 2020

Reuben Raman Product Marketing Manager at Splice