Need to add some fresh flavor to your hip hop tracks? We’ve got some free OVox presets and the tips and tricks you need to get started on creative rap vocals, check it out!
By Or Weisinger, OVox Product Designer, Waves Audio
Don’t you feel like recent hip-hop productions all use the same vocal processing, to the point that it no longer sounds unique? While maintaining a sense of genre and style is important, you can use your creativity to design a distinctive vocal sound signature and still appeal to a wide audience. In this piece we’ll show you five different vocal flavors you can use as creative springboards in your next production.
We’ve even included a special free preset pack to get you going.
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This preset pack includes:
- 5 Doubler presets
- 5 Synth presets
- 9 Vocal Comping presets
- 4 Vocoder presets
- 2 Voice FX presets
For optimal results, feed OVox with a dry, monophonic signal. Just a singer, no choir, no backing vocals group and please, no delay or reverb processing!
Here is the dry signal we used to create the examples.
1. Energized Unison
This preset uses a single OVox engine mixed with the original, pitch-corrected vocal. The oscillator of OVox is set to play 3 unison voices with a slight detune between them. This means that for every played note, the oscillator generates 3 voices. One voice plays the original pitch (centered) and two detuned voices play hard left and right in the stereo image, beefing up the original vocal.
We also used the Note Mapper to set a scale (G Natural Minor in this example). This scale applies both to the notes that are sent to the synth and the pitch correction algorithm of the dry vocal signal (that is set on “Hard”).
Hip Hop vocals – Energized Unison
2. Double Deep
This sound works in a similar manner to the first one. However, this time we used different techniques to harmonize and double the vocal. The Note Mapper is set to “+Fifth” from the Harmonies category: for every incoming note, it generates the original note adding a perfect fifth. Regardless of the root note, all notes are treated in the same manner.
We then created an additional offset to the pitch of the oscillators on the OVox units. OVox1 Tune is set an octave down (-12 Semitones) and OVox2 is a fifth up (+7 Semitones). We also mixed in the noise generators to add a misty quality to the sound.
To provide that “deep voice” feeling, we shifted the formant of both OVox filters down a little.
The last thing we want to do is to get the pitch of the synth to stick with the pitch of the voice just like a Doubler would. To do that, we need to open the Synth Settings (with the cogwheel icon) and set the Follow Pitch mode to “On”. This mode forces the synth to lock onto the detected pitch envelope regardless of the playing notes. This mode sounds really cool when playing a single voice or for doubler kinds of sounds, but is likely to cause dissonance when playing chords. By default, Follow Pitch is set to “Auto,” which turns it on when playing a single voice and off when receiving MIDI or when the Note Mapper is used.
Hip Hop vocals – Double Deep
One of the more impressive features of OVox is its ability to generate chords and harmonies from monophonic vocal signals. Just by turning on the Note Mapper and selecting a factory preset from the “Chords” category, you can experiment with new harmonies and progressions right off the bat.
We used the “Electrified” character to unify the sound of the synth, and to add some movement we’ve used the “M1” modulator as a slow LFO to modulate the OSC Shape Pad on both the X and Y axes’ controls.
Using the Sibilance level control, we’ve added the original sibilance sounds of the singer to add more clarity to the vocoded sounds.
Hip Hop vocals – Harmonish
4. Sequenced Rap
To create these sounds, there are two main steps:
- We need to get the sequencer to only play the notes we set on it, and not to follow the voice’s pitch. To do this we will use the Note Mapper’s “Monotonic” scale. In that scale, all incoming notes are assigned to generate one single note, which is the Root of the scale. So, in this example, every single note that enters the plugin, whether generated from a Voice or from external MIDI, results in the note “G”.
- Use M1-M4 modulators as sequencers to create the melody you want. When these modulators are assigned to OVox’s “Tune” controls at 100% depth, the modulation will span across four octaves, two above the Tune value and two below it, so that the value of each step represents the pitch offset in semitones. You can browse through and experiment with the factory sequencers or create your own melodies.
In this example we also use the M3 modulator to toggle between the two OVox engines once every 2 bars, and at the same time trigger the Delay feedback and the AutoPan’s mix control adding some diversity to our sound.
Hip Hop vocals – Sequenced Rap
5. Arper’s Delight
In this example we use the built-in arpeggiator to control the pitch of the synth, but also the original pitch of the voice. In order to do that, turn on the Note Mapper to produce chords that you like, and then turn on the Arpeggiator. Experiment with the different modes and speeds.
Straight ahead, you get the arpeggiator playing the OVox oscillators. Mix in the dry vocal signal from the Voice level control and set Correction mode to “Notes”. This mode will force the pitch correction algorithm to play one of the MIDI notes that is feeding the synth, post the Note Mapper, and of course, the arpeggiator.
Hip Hop vocals – Arper’s Delight
Login to download the presets for OVox used in this piece:
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How to add these presets to OVox:
Place the unzipped folder named Hip Hop OVox Preset Pack in the following location:
- Mac: Mac HD > Applications > Waves > Data > Presets > OVox Vocal ReSynthesis
- Windows: C:\Program Files (x86)\Waves\Data\Presets\ OVox Vocal ReSynthesis
Since this new folder includes sub-folders with the same names as the default preset folders that come included in OVox (“Doubler,” “Vocal Comping,” etc.), do not copy each of these sub-folders individually. Rather, copy the entire Hip Hop OVox Preset Pack
folder into the above locations.
Want more on OVox? Get tips and presets on producing a funky R&B track with OVox here.
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