Soundtoys Little AlterBoy


Vocal Formant and Pitch Shifting with Robot/Vocoder Mode and Tube Drive – Mac/PC VST, AU, AAX

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Little AlterBoy is Soundtoys’ exciting new tool for dramatic voice alteration. Get a huge range of vocal transformations from one simple plug-in. Change the pitch of a voice, or change the singer’s gender with formant shifting. Lock onto a single pitch for robotic sounds. You can even control the vocal’s melody using MIDI for creative vocoder-like effects.

The primary feature of this plug-in is as a pitch-shifter. This is controlled mainly by the “Pitch” knob, which, as you may have guessed, raises or lowers the pitch. Its increments are semitones, so when you’re in “Transpose” mode, you can transpose a signal at any interval up to an octave higher or lower. Having the additional dry/wet mix control means that these types of settings add harmonies to your mix. This can result in some cool applications. It is a consistent interval, and doesn’t really adapt to the key of the song. Considering this, it’s even better when you get MIDI in the mix; you can control the pitch knob with a keyboard in real time to change the interval at the appropriate time, which basically means you can harmonize in real time with whichever intervals you want. Duplicating vocal tracks and stacking instances of the plug-in with individual MIDI tracks means you can get complicated harmonies from a single vocal track, all of which are specific to what you play on your MIDI controller. Considering that MIDI controls intervals instead of actual notes means you don’t have to be a great keyboardist to pull it off.

Control Your Creation
What really makes this plug-in unique, and what we here at were the most impressed with, is the “formant” control. Formants are essentially the characteristics that make individual voices unique, of which there are several. Keeping the formant control on 0 preserves the quality of your voice. That means when you’re transposing your voice up an octave, it still sounds like you, and not some Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoon version. We put it on a male vocal, with pitch up an octave and formant at zero, and it actually sounded more like the actual vocalist was singing in falsetto! This allowed for a much more natural and interesting performance that is far less cheesy than your average pitch shifting. It gets even more interesting when you keep pitch at 0 and start moving formant controls around. It starts to sound like a different singer is singing the same notes in the same range! The same vocal we used earlier sounded like a female singer when the formant control went up. Conversely, it went from sounding like a male tenor to a male baritone, and eventually male bass, the farther we moved the formant control down. There’s no overstating it: this is revolutionary. But if you did want the chipmunk sound or the deep-voice effect, you could always just turn both the format and pitch controls in unison. There’s even a ‘link” button which makes them move in unison for that very purpose.

Get Altered
The plug-in has a few other features that make it unique. We’ve already discussed what happens in Transpose mode, but there are two other modes that are completely different. Quantize mode will actually pitch-correct the signal to make it in tune. It’s definitely an intense effect and is anything but subtle, but don’t let that scare you! It sounds a lot like the auto-tune effect that is ubiquitous in modern R&B and pop, a robotic but pleasing processor. The transposed intervals will likewise also be pitch-corrected. The robotics get taken to the extreme in Robot mode, which actually make the single monotone by pitch-shifting everything to a single note. This is a cool effect, not only for singing but also voice-over and other types of vocal tracks. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the “drive” knob, which applies Soundtoys’ fantastic saturation to the signal to warm up the digital processing.

And while this plug-in is very much a vocal effect, it can be applied in interesting ways to other signals, as long as they are monophonic melodic parts and not rhythm or harmonic instruments. Guitar solos and melodic synth parts got some other-worldly, bizarre overtone effects going, which can be really interesting in the right context. Overall, this is one of the most unique and useful pitch shifting plug-ins around, and it’s definitely worth your time to check it out.

Main Features/Controls:

  • Vocal pitch manipulation plug-in – add pitch effects to your vocals
  • Go from simple vocal transposition, to pitch quantization, or monotone robot effects
  • Shift both pitch and formants of a vocal performance with independent controls for each – revolutionary design in pitch-shifting effects
    • Changing formant control makes vocal sound like a singer in a different range, or even a vocalist of a different gender, without having to change pitch
    • Changing pitch control independently of formant sounds like the same singer singing a different pitch – great for simulating falsetto or lower octave singing without the chipmunk effect
    • Add Soundtoys’ famous analog saturation with Drive Knob
    • Global Wet/Dry Mix control allows for blend of original vocal with harmonies/pitch transpositions
  • 11 factory presets, plus the ability to create new ones
  • Take the plug-in to the next level, and create vocoder type effects by using MIDI controller to control pitch and formant parameters; or use the Mix knob and create harmonies by reintroducing the unprocessed signal
  • Works best with vocals, but can also provide cool pitch effects to other melodic signals such as lead guitar, synth leads, horns, etc.

Current Version: 5.2.0
Plug-in Formats (both 32 and 64-bit):
• AAX Native, AAX AudioSuite, VST, and Audio Units (AU)
Supported Sample Rates:
• Minimum: 44.1 kHz, Maximum: 192 kHz

System Requirements:
• Operating systems: Mac OS X 10.8 or later; Windows 7 or later
• An internet connection is required at the time of activation.
Supported Hosts:
• Pro Tools (10.3.5 or later), Live, Cubase, Nuendo, Sonar, Logic, Digital Performer
• Click here to view our full list of compatible host applications.
Other Requirements:
• Free account

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