FREE Vocal Mixing Chains: Vocal Bender + StudioRack Presets

Want a FREE chain preset kit for mixing vocals? We’ve teamed Vocal Bender with StudioRack to give you the custom colors you need to mix modern pop vocals with energy, vibe, and attitude.

Preset Chains by Or Weisinger, Vocal Bender Product Designer, Waves Audio

FREE Vocal Mixing Chains: Vocal Bender + StudioRack Presets

 

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If you haven’t yet tried Vocal Bender, now would be a great time to get stuck into the unique voice manipulation sounds it offers in real-time. Now we know that with Vocal Bender’s two knobs for pitch and formant, you can get “that vocal sound” very much associated with modern pop, hip hop and electronic music, of the likes of Billie Eilish, Travis Scott, James Blake and many others.

Vocal Bender

Vocal Bender

But what if you’re the mix engineer, and you receive a track to work on where all the production decisions have already been made? Maybe they don’t want you to create a vocal chop sequence but just add some beautifying vocal makeup? Or, perhaps you’re working with more organic instrumentation and just want some subtle magic?

There is good news. Vocal Bender can still work wonders for you. We’ve created the perfect preset kit for vocal mixing with Vocal Bender and StudioRack, providing just the right balance of mixing essentials for radio-ready sounds and creative color when you need it.

This free preset kit includes 5 StudioRack chains; we’ll go through each of them and give you some examples.

1. Pop Vox First Aid

This chain is, unsurprisingly, pop-music oriented and is designed to get you chart-sounding vocals with a few knobs. It starts with some basic compression and limiting from R-Vox, and then Waves Tune Real-Time, where you can set the key and scale of your song on the macros. Then, use the “correction” macro to set the intensity of the tuning. The higher the correction amount, the more extreme, hard-tuned pop sound you’ll achieve. At the very least, it can take raw, untreated vocals and bring them into pop territory.

Pop Vox First Aid – StudioRack Chain

Pop Vox First Aid – StudioRack Chain

The “Double” macro controls a parallel split with a Vocal Bender placed before a SuperTap delay. Together they create a unique double-tracked vocal sound for that extra width and support that pop vocals need. “Press” adds some extra up-front compression from CLA-76 as a parallel so that the vocal stays close and present while still retaining its dynamics. It also squeezes the input into R-Vox and lowers the output at the end of the chain, beefing up the final result.

The “Clean” macro controls multiband compression from C6, which keeps the low-mids and high-mids in check, countering mud and harshness, respectively. This is a classic pop vocal technique where you don’t necessarily want the “fullness” of the vocal but rather the silkiness.

It also has a “Focus” macro which adds controlled high-mid presence in C6. This is an upward compression technique where C6 boosts the high-mid signal only when the source is too soft, making sure that the frequencies which add vocal intelligibility are always present.

Finally, “Shine” controls some harmonic excitement in Vitamin and adds compression/boost in the high band of C6, which adds the final sheen and high-end sizzle that pop vocals need to own the song.

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2. Hyper Pop Vox

This chain is similar to Pop Vox First Aid but even more extreme! This is the perfect chain for K-Pop, J-Pop and any other Hyper Pop-style music, which integrates pop processing on steroids. Hyper Pop Vox integrates the compression, pitch correction, doubling, cleaning and shine from Pop Vox First Aid, but each element is tuned for a more in-your-face sound, true to the genre. The color of the “Doubling” effect is a more extreme, higher formant shift sound to really get you that squeaky, hyper sound the style of music is known for.

Hyper Pop Vox – StudioRack Chain

Hyper Pop Vox – StudioRack Chain

What’s new in this chain is the “Harmos” control, which creates a parallel sequence of harmonies from Vocal Bender that may or may not suit the material you’re working on, but used effectively, can create some incredibly exciting and hard-hitting vocal production.

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3. Vox ReColor

This chain is the most creative of the bunch, allowing you to create a completely different personality and character for your vocal sound in the mix.

The “Glide” control has a unique sound where it stretches the pitch of the voice and acts as a portamento on a synthesizer. Vocal Bender flattens the pitch of the vocal to C3, the pitch detector is then inserted as a modulator to bring back the original pitch, and the “Smooth” control lengthens the time it takes for each annunciation to return to its original pitch. Glide controls that Smooth function.

Vox ReColor – StudioRack Chain

Vox ReColor – StudioRack Chain

“Multiply” creates a gang-vocal sound, using a parallel split of four different Vocal Benders, each tweaked slightly differently. It’s kind of like a unison control on a synth, where each voice has a slightly different pitch setting, and they’re all combined for a rich, deep chorusy sound.

“Mistify” blurs the original vocal sound with an extremely dense early reflection sound. Using R-Verb’s early reflections without any reverb, it superimposes the frequency response of the early sounds of the plate onto the vocal and changes its tonal character. This could be useful if you have a very “digital” sounding vocal recording from a cheap condenser and want to dirty it up a little bit without too much crunch.

Finally, “Repeat” is a synced quarter-note delay where the timbre of each repeat is continually modulated as it drifts off, giving you a spacey, intergalactic feeling. This is achieved using H-Delay with Vocal Bender’s formant shifter preceding it.

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4. Vox Colored Repetitions

This chain is all about delay and reverb, manipulated by Vocal Bender for original sounds. First up, you choose the “Timbre” of the wet effect; this modulates the formant sound in Vocal Bender before hitting the reverb and delay. Once you’ve set your wet/dry balance for the overall effect, you choose the amount and time of reverb and the same for the delay. The delay itself also has some of its own reverb, so the two sound like they’re in the same family. Finally, you have the width adjustment; make it super-wide to sound “big,” but for something more subtle, you can bring it in narrower.

Vox Colored Repetitions – StudioRack Chain

Vox Colored Repetitions – StudioRack Chain

The reverb is also sidechained from the input as part of the chain so that as the vocalist sings, the FX don’t overpower the vocal. In between phrases, the FX sustain for longer, and there’ll be more repetitions.

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5. Pro Doubles

Pro Doubles asserts a new take on double-tracking. The chain includes two different doubling techniques: Double 1 is an ADT-style effect, where a single modulated voice is mixed in with the original signal, and Double 2 is with Vocal Bender actually changing the pitch and timbre of the original voice, twice.

On each Doubling engine, you can continue vertically down the macro controls to adjust the stereo spread and spectral placement with “Tilt.” The genre, vocal style and other elements in the production will influence how wide and present you want your doubles to sound or if they’re better off being subtle and understated.

Pro Doubles – StudioRack Chain

Pro Doubles – StudioRack Chain

These two different vocal doubling chains provide you with plenty of options when it comes to beefing up the vocal and adding excitement to an otherwise static part. Use the “Original” macro to blend them back in to taste with the dry vocal, and you’ll arrive at an incredibly rich vocal sound.

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Want more on Vocal Bender? Check out these 10 Hip Hop FX performed in REAL TIME and get the free Vocal Bender presets!

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