iZotope VocalSynth 2 | Reverb Software Pick With Penelope Antena

Today, New England music software giant iZotope announced the launch of the second edition of their benchmark synthesis tool with VocalSynth 2. Building upon the features of the first VocalSynth, VocalSynth 2 offers even more creative effects processing and synthesis tools for the adventurous creator.

iZotope VocalSynth 2
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VocalSynth 2 is an immersive vocal experience that evolves with your music productions. A one-stop program for past, present, and future vocal sounds, VocalSynth 2 features five blendable, eccentric must-haves: Vocoder, Compuvox, Polyvox, Talkbox, and Biovox, a brand-new effect based on the dynamic sonic qualities of the human vocal tract.

To truly demonstrate this powerful and unique musical instrument, we reached out to contemporary Belgian electronic artist Penelope Antena. Daughter of the French electro-samba pop pioneer Isabella Antena, Penelope has crafted her own world of harmonic vocal stylings, colors, and textures throughout her catalogue of work, mainly by using iZotope's Nectar and VocalSynth processors to achieve these stunning sonic layers.

For this feature, Penelope composed an acapella version of Bon Iver's "Heavenly Father," titled "Heavenly VocalSynth." Created entirely with her live vocals combined with iZotope's VocalSynth 2, she recreates this song with layered polyphonic vocal textures to dramatic effect.

Below, Penelope walks us through her process of making this track, "Heavenly VocalSynth."


To begin, I started by singing the lead vocal part, recording it on an audio track, and adding pitch correction to it.

Next, I created a new instrument track (in Logic X) and opened VocalSynth 2 as a MIDI instrument. Then, I side-chained that to my lead vocal audio track and selected the MIDI Mode inside VocalSynth 2.

VocalSynth 2 comes stock with a great list of presets made especially for MIDI use. I chose "Willwebe" in the Classic Category and made a few adjustments to it to create one of my personal presets, and then saved it. This preset, Penelope Lead Vocal, is the main preset I used for most of the tracks in the song.

After that, I played the chords of the vocal harmonies with my MIDI keyboard and recorded it on to the instrument track.

The possibility to choose from Low to Mid to High in the pitch section of the plugin allows you the freedom to play very high or low notes without damaging your vocal recording or sounding too robotic. I like the overall natural feeling of the result.

I repeated this process for my backing tracks—singing, then creating an instrument track with VocalSynth 2 and side-chaining it—using slight variations on that Penelope Lead Vocal preset. This gave my vocals an "all in the same room" feel, but I didn't hesitate to experiment with the Width and Pan options of the plugin for a varied stereo mix.

Mind you, all of the plugins you add to the audio track (that are side-chained with VocalSynth 2), has an impact on it, including compression, reverb, EQ, etc.

Furthermore, I use VocalSynth 2 as a plugin on audio tracks too, which I did for my bass vocal parts.

Because it offers very little latency, I selected the preset I wanted to create a bass with, Penelope Bass Vocal Preset. (The Extra Substance - Deep Category - Auto Mode will get you close to this as well.) I turned the level of the effect all the way up, so only the processed vocals would come through, then recorded my vocals on top of that on another audio track for harmonic layering."


VocalSynth 2 comes in standard version, Student version, or as a part of the newly released iZotope Creative Suite, which is also available in a Student version. The iZotope Creative Suite features seven innovative and inspiring software tools to invigorate your music productions and help them stand out: VocalSynth 2, Iris 2, Trash 2 Expanded, BreakTweaker Expanded, Stutter Edit, DDLY, and Mobius Filter.


iZotope VocalSynth 2 | Penelope Antena
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Penelope Antena - Heavenly VocalSynth
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For more info on Penelope Antena, check her Soundcloud page here.


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