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Review: Vocal Rider Mix Tool by Waves

Can this plug-in keep your vocals clear and upfront in your mixes?

Item: Waves Vocal Rider Plug-In

Price: US $225, UK £130 (iLok device is also required for authorisation)

Mic Rating:

At A Glance: Wave’s Vocal Rider is a computer plug-in that is primarily designed for use in a recording studio when mixing vocals. It is capable of automatically adjusting the level of your vocals relative to the backing in real time so that they stay at a constant level and don’t get lost in the mix. Simply set the target range of the vocal level in relation to the rest of the mix and then Vocal Rider will intelligently raise or lower the vocal volume to compensate for any deviations from the target level. It is compatible with PC or Mac and with most hosts that support VST, TDM, RTAS, Audio Suite, or AU formats.

High Notes: Unlike using a compressor to even out volume changes, Vocal Rider works intelligently to adjust your vocal level without creating any additional coloring to the sound. This enables you to keep your vocals at the forefront of the mix and still sound natural. As such, it is a great alternative to using high levels of compression to achieve similar results and possibly ruining your vocal sound. It features a side-chain function for inputting the level of backing track signal into the plug-in; meaning it will know the exact level of your backing and make your vocals will sit well in both quiet and loud sections of your track automatically. VocalRider is not just great for singers, but also works well with voice-over work where you want speech to remain clear and articulate.

Off Pitch: Although some people will appreciate Vocal Rider’s ability to adjust the vocal level without affecting the sound quality, others will prefer the sound of using a compressor that adds character to a vocal track. Also by using automation within your DAW you can essentially get the same effect as Vocal Rider without the need to spend money on a dedicated plug-in for the task.

A VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: Wave’s Vocal Rider is a well thought out plug-in that works well and achieves results quickly. It adapts very quickly so that any words or ends of phrases that are too quiet and would previously be lost in the mix, automatically get brought up to a more audible level without any obvious artifacts. In a professional studio setting it is easy to see how Vocal Rider could be used to great effect; however for a budget conscious musician working at home it is probably too expensive to justify – especially considering that similar results can be achieved by taking a bit more time and programming in volume automation changes within your recording software.

Manufacturer’s Website: http://www.waves.com

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