Looking for some ways to spice up your studio vocals that won’t cost you a penny?
This list of free computer plug-ins for your home studio just might provide that missing ingredient you need to tweak your vocal sound.
This delay effect has more flexibility and features than found on the in-built delay effects that come with most sequencers. It allows you to set delays based on tempo (which can help them sit in a mix better) and incorporates EQ and tremolo sections with separate pan and level controls for each of its two separately configurable channels.
Vocoder effects are used to reproduce a human voice through the sound of a synthesiser. The TAL-Vocoder plug-in is a vintage vocoder emulation with 11 bands that attempts to recreates the sound of vocoders from the early 80’s. It is optimized for voice processing and includes some algorithms for consonants to make the outputted voice sounds more intelligible than with some vocoders.
FerricTDS is a free tape simulator plug-in that can add an element of tape saturation to your digital recordings. It is also designed to simulate some of the dynamic effects that can be obtained with some high quality tape gear that are commonly used in studios to help add character to vocal and instrumental recordings.
This is a reverb plug-in works using impulse-responses. Impulse-responses are generated by making recordings of a room’s reflections that can be used by the software to create a reverb effect based on the sound of the room that can then be added to any source. This free plug-in comes with a library of impulses you can use to add different reverbs to your voices or any other instrument in the studio. There are also other reverb impulses available elsewhere on the internet that you can use with it – or you could even record your own.
The quality of EQ processing can make a noticeable difference to the sound quality your vocal recordings. SPL produce some top quality commercial software plug-ins and give away their Free Ranger plug-in to demonstrate the sonic qualities of their “Analog Code” plug-ins. It has limited features when compared to their commercial products, however can be useful for adding some high end sparkle or midrange boost to recordings.
Spitfish is a easy to use de-esser that works on both mono or stereo vocal tracks. It is designed to sound like an analog de-essers, and will dynamically filter out harsh ‘s’ sounds in yoru vocal recordings that would otherwise be too loud in the mix.
MAutoPitch is a free automatic pitch correction plug-in designed for vocals and monophonic instruments. As well as being used help to make your vocals sound more in-tune, it also provides a few creative features such as formant shift and stereo-expansion.
If you want to add some electric guitar to your track without upsetting your neighbours then a guitar amp similar plug-in is a great solution (they can also be used on vocals as a distortion effect). The AmpliTube Custom Shop is a free basic version of IK Multimedia’s popular commercial software, and contains 24 pieces of gear including a digital chromatic tuner, 9 stomps, 4 amps, 5 cabs, 3 mics, 2 rack effects.
About The Author:
Chris Kennedy is the principle product reviewer for VoiceCouncil Magazine. He is also a singer-songwriter and composer, performing and writing in a range of styles from rock to jazz. Chris has released several albums as a solo artist and with his group The New Inventions. When he isn’t performing live, Chris also works as a live sound engineer and writes and records film music in his studio. You can find more about him on his website: http://www.chriskennedymusic.co.uk