Master the Modules: iZotope’s VocalSynth 2

Illustration: DaRaun Crawford

iZotope’s VocalSynth 2 is a voice-modeled effects engine that breathes new life into your vocals.

The plugin utilizes five synthesis modules (Biovox, Vocoder, Compuvox, Talkbox, and Polyvox) to create a wide array of timbres, spanning understated textures to otherworldly effects. Trying to learn the inner workings of all five synthesis modules at once might be a bit overwhelming – to help break things down, iZotope has created a “Master the Modules” video series where they do a deep dive of each module so that you can learn how to use VocalSynth 2 at its fullest potential. Let’s take a look at these videos and identify some key learnings from each.

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Mastering Biovox

Biovox is brand-new to VocalSynth 2 (whereas the other modules are improved versions of their predecessors in the original VocalSynth), and it contains some absolutely powerful features that are worth taking note of. The ability to alter physiological aspects of the voice is a feature that isn’t available in many other plugins, and having control over parameters such as breathiness, nasality, and vowel shape allows you to command your sound with more granularity and versatility than ever before.

Mastering Vocoder

Vocoder is likely to be the most familiar module to the majority of users – its sound has been popularized by the likes of Daft Punk, and the effect is pre-installed in most major DAWs. However, from handcrafted modes and presets to frequency-based equalization and panning, VocalSynth 2’s Vocoder offers dynamic functionalities that you simply won’t find in built-in synths.

Mastering Compuvox

If you want to add a digital crunch to your vocals, Compuvox will do just the trick. The module injects a robotic color to your vocal track that can be clean and intelligible or instantly dirtied using the chaos-inducing Bits knob. Quirky features such as Bytes can be used to artificially prolong vowel sounds, while the growl-esque Bats parameter has value in both dance and heavy rock productions.

Mastering Talkbox

Similar to the vocoder, the talkbox effect has been popularized by many prominent artists ranging Bon Jovi to Stevie Wonder. VocalSynth 2’s Talkbox module is an unbeatable alternative to the traditional talkbox pedal, including Drive and Speaker parameters that can dial in some distortion and compression for additional thickness. Formant control and a host of synth presets offer additional timbral possibilities.

Mastering Polyvox

Polyvox is last but certainly not least – this module can be used to create lush harmonies and vocal textures with ease. The voice generator creates additional vocal layers based on your track and sounds gorgeous isolated or tucked behind a mix. Find unique sounds by adjusting the Character and Formant parameters, or consider using the Humanize feature to vary time and pitch values for enhanced realism.

The next step

Now that you’ve mastered the modules, the next step is using them together. Adjust the Lvl meters located at the right of each module’s UI, or simply resize them in the Anemone animation for a more visually intuitive experience. Take this a step further and try automating the modules’ levels so that the overall color shifts and evolves over time. The five modules can create a myriad of sounds on their own, but the sonic possibilities expand exponentially when they interact with one another.

If you don’t have VocalSynth 2 yet, try it out with a free trial, then pay $9.99/mo until you own it outright.

June 15, 2018

Harrison Shimazu Harrison Shimazu is a video game and film composer passionate about communicating narrative through music and sound design.