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Digitech Vocal Harmony Processors (part 3)

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Studio Vocalist

Now, this is a completely different kettle of ball games, to coin a phrase.
Whereas the Studio 5000 is one of a number of multi-effects units on the market,
albeit a rather good one, the Studio Vocalist is as far as I know unique. The
Studio 5000 is aimed at instruments but the Studio Vocalist is, of course, dedicated
to vocals. As you know, good singers are a very rare and valuable commodity.
Good backing singers, perhaps even more so since how many good singers want
to remain in the background? Perhaps you sing yourself, and record vocal harmonies
yourself too. If so, then the Studio Vocalist is the machine for you since whatever
raw ability you have it will multiply tenfold. Whether you want harmonies that
follow the melody line exactly, and exactly in tune with respect to the key
it is in, or whether you want an ensemble of male and female voices to accompany
you. You can do it all by yourself with the Studio Vocalist. Really! To explain
all of this I need to go through some important features of the unit step by
step:

The Studio Vocalist understands five basic types of harmony:

  • Chordal harmonies stick to a particular root note and a particular chord
    type. For instance you could select an A major 7th chord and the Studio Vocalist
    would provide appropriate notes from that chord to accompany whatever melody
    you were singing. It will of course sound best if you are singing in the correct
    key and reasonably consistently in tune.

  • Scalic harmonies follow a key and a scale. 'Scale' refers to whether you
    are using major or minor modes. Studio Vocalist will harmonise your melody
    with what it considers to be appropriate chords. Of course, there is always
    more than one possible set of chords to suit any particular tune so don't
    expect miracles all the time.

  • Chromatic harmony is where Studio Vocalist is used as a 'dumb' pitch shifter
    where harmony notes are always fixed intervals from the input note. Chromatic
    harmony is most useful at octave or fifth doublings. With other intervals
    it can sound as though the harmony is wrong.

  • Vocoder mode is quite different from the other modes of Studio Vocalist.
    Like Chromatic mode it doesn't use any of the machine's 'intelligent' harmony
    finding functions, but now you can play notes on a MIDI keyboard and Studio
    Vocalist's harmonies will follow what you play. Potentially there is a lot
    of flexibility here, at the expense of only a little time and trouble.

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  • Pitch Correct isn't a harmony mode. Until a MIDI note or front panel key
    is played then the input is directed straight to the output. When a note is
    played, then the pitch is corrected to that note.

David Mellor

10 Common Vocal Recording Mistakes

10 Common Vocal Recording Mistakes

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David Mellor