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Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby alexis » Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:03 pm

Hi - I read the review here:
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul14/a ... oshift.htm .

Does anyone know - are all the delays greater than zero msec, i.e., can the widened doubled voice ever be earlier than the central lead vox (as a real life doubled voice can be)?

Also, is there any modulation of the delay, or control of the amount of detuning offered?

The reason I ask is that I have a hardware box that offers that level of control (including slipping the lead/original voice late in time so that the detuned voices can sometimes come early), the TC Helicon VoiceOne; and I was playing with my new RevoicePro software last night and saw controls for modulating the delay, controlling formants of the delayed voices, and controlling the pitch control of those voices, even with a dial for "% randomization" (though with no "negative delay in the RVP as far as I could see).

So I just wanted to compare features. If the Microshift didn't have that level of control (which though it sounds complicated is actually quite easy to dial in, especially w/ presets), would it's main selling point therefore be how nice the voices sound?

(Hmm, I think the process of writing this may have convinced me I don't need to spend the $ as I already own most of what the Microshift offers!).

Thanks much to anyone who might have used this and knows the answers (Mr. Inglis, do you read these posts? ).
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Re: Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby TobyC » Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:19 pm

Just load the free fully functional 30 day trial and see for yourself. For widening I tend to use Voxengo Stereo Touch and the Channel tools on Sonar but this one definitely is a powerful addition to the kit. I'll be paying up when the trial comes to an end!

I guess you could always time adjust the track (or a copy of the track) with an offset to get part of the signal to arrive earlier?

Hope this helps.
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Re: Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby alexis » Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:37 pm

TobyC wrote:Just load the free fully functional 30 day trial and see for yourself. For widening I tend to use Voxengo Stereo Touch and the Channel tools on Sonar but this one definitely is a powerful addition to the kit. I'll be paying up when the trial comes to an end!

I guess you could always time adjust the track (or a copy of the track) with an offset to get part of the signal to arrive earlier?

Hope this helps.
Regards,

Hey Thanks, TobyC. I was just looking to get some 1st hand opinions (like yours ) before deciding whether to download something to my computer/iLok ... unjustifiable paranoia for something bad happening that will take me forever to undo ... (I'm taking DAW meds for this!).

Thanks again!
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Re: Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby Sam Inglis » Sat Jun 21, 2014 8:42 am

alexis wrote:Hi - I read the review here:
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul14/a ... oshift.htm .

Does anyone know - are all the delays greater than zero msec, i.e., can the widened doubled voice ever be earlier than the central lead vox (as a real life doubled voice can be)?

They're always later as far as I can tell.

Alexis wrote:
Also, is there any modulation of the delay, or control of the amount of detuning offered?

There's a big knob labelled Detune...

Alexis wrote:
The reason I ask is that I have a hardware box that offers that level of control (including slipping the lead/original voice late in time so that the detuned voices can sometimes come early), the TC Helicon VoiceOne; and I was playing with my new RevoicePro software last night and saw controls for modulating the delay, controlling formants of the delayed voices, and controlling the pitch control of those voices, even with a dial for "% randomization" (though with no "negative delay in the RVP as far as I could see).

So I just wanted to compare features. If the Microshift didn't have that level of control (which though it sounds complicated is actually quite easy to dial in, especially w/ presets), would it's main selling point therefore be how nice the voices sound?

I think the key point here is that MicroShift is actually an emulation of some fairly elderly hardware effects units. As such, it's not really intended to offer the latest and greatest in ultra-realistic double tracking emulation, but to capture the character of a particular 'vintage' effect that has been widely used over the years. Don't think of it as an alternative to ReVoice Pro but as something that does a particular kind of thickening/widening effect. It'll never make it sound like two takes, but that's not really the point.
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Re: Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby alexis » Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:27 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:
alexis wrote:Hi - I read the review here:
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul14/a ... oshift.htm .

Does anyone know - are all the delays greater than zero msec, i.e., can the widened doubled voice ever be earlier than the central lead vox (as a real life doubled voice can be)?

They're always later as far as I can tell.

Alexis wrote:
Also, is there any modulation of the delay, or control of the amount of detuning offered?

There's a big knob labelled Detune...

Alexis wrote:
The reason I ask is that I have a hardware box that offers that level of control (including slipping the lead/original voice late in time so that the detuned voices can sometimes come early), the TC Helicon VoiceOne; and I was playing with my new RevoicePro software last night and saw controls for modulating the delay, controlling formants of the delayed voices, and controlling the pitch control of those voices, even with a dial for "% randomization" (though with no "negative delay in the RVP as far as I could see).

So I just wanted to compare features. If the Microshift didn't have that level of control (which though it sounds complicated is actually quite easy to dial in, especially w/ presets), would it's main selling point therefore be how nice the voices sound?

I think the key point here is that MicroShift is actually an emulation of some fairly elderly hardware effects units. As such, it's not really intended to offer the latest and greatest in ultra-realistic double tracking emulation, but to capture the character of a particular 'vintage' effect that has been widely used over the years. Don't think of it as an alternative to ReVoice Pro but as something that does a particular kind of thickening/widening effect. It'll never make it sound like two takes, but that's not really the point.

Understood, Mr. Inglis, and thank you for the explanation!
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Re: Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby alexis » Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:51 am

Back w/ another question, for Mr. Inglis or anyone else w/ knowledge of the Microshift (or the hardware it emulates) ...

As background, I dug up my old hardware doubling box, and also used RevoicePro, to generate some doubles on a vocal line, to be used to widen out the vocals at key parts of the song. After many hours tweaking delays, and a trillion other things, I felt that I had come a long way, and could do better still w/ more time, but despite all the time I put in the doubles just were not giving me warm and fuzzies.

A big part of the problem is that the main vocal line was very exposed ... vocal and piano only. The doubles sounded ... off somehow, either phasy 'cause too tight, or too loosey/goosey , or other stuff I had a problem specifically describing.

So, sorry such a long path to this point, but: for a solo vocal/piano accomp. - would it be easy to dial a pleasing effect w/ Microshift; or is it really only good in a busy mix?

Thanks much for any help!
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Re: Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby The Elf » Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:29 am

Widening is not always necessary, so if you ears tell you it's not working, then turn it off.

That said, if you can *hear* the effect it's too much. Think of the widening more as making the vocal more 3-dimensional - the moment you hear the vocal go from paper-thin to 'head shaped' between the speakers I'd say you've got enough.
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Re: Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby Sam Inglis » Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:42 am

I think it must be quite a personal thing. I recorded a small jazz group a few weeks ago and, when mixing, I tried using a tiny amount of MicroShift on the clarinet, just to make it a bit softer and fuller. To my ears it was barely audible, but the clarinet player noticed it immediately and thought it sounded weird.

In other contexts, though, I've used it on exposed vocals with decent results. You can certainly get a very subtle effect by using low Detune and Delay values and pushing the Focus control up a bit.
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Re: Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby alexis » Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:09 pm

Thank you, Mr. Inglis and The Elf. Will download the trial and give it a go!
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Re: Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby alexis » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:01 pm

Hello gentlepeople and experts -

I have been using the Soundtoys Microshift trial. I have to say, it sounds very, ... "smooth" I guess is the laymen's term. Maybe "headshaped" as per The Elf's description, but not exploding all over the sound stage.

A question if I may please for Mr. Inglis or anyone else who might know ... when "mix" is set to anything but "Wet", does that mean it also places some dry signal in the middle of the sound stage? Is this plug best used as a "Send" and set to 100% Wet (i.e., like an Aux out/return on a hardware mixer), or as an insert?

That question is kind of a newbie one, which I think I can deal with, just looking for what the "usual starting point" might be, understanding every project is different. I've tried it as a pre-fade send with the source fader set to zero and "Mix" to less than 100% Wet; as a post fade send 100% Wet as above; and as an insert all wet (assuming the dry is coming up the middle from the original track ... but is that a correct assumption ), and everything inbetween, just to get a feel for it.

But the next question is one I think is one that needs a lot of experience to answer ... are you able to have a feel for how much detuning/delay there is as the knobs are turned? For example, the preset "Double" ("max" Detune and Delay, 11:00 Dry/Wet mix) sounds fairly distinct from "Default" (50% Detune and Delay, 100% Wet) - for those two, are you experienced guys able to guestimate how much detuning (cents) and delay (msec) there is?

(I'm kind of interested in the quantitative bits because I went through the trouble of building my own detuning/delay template for "widening" in my XP Cubase 6.5 computer a few years ago, so I thought it'd be cool to compare ... not that it didn't sound as good as this! ).

Thanks!
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Re: Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby Sam Inglis » Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:23 am

alexis wrote: when "mix" is set to anything but "Wet", does that mean it also places some dry signal in the middle of the sound stage?

Yes (although I guess that if you used it on a stereo track the stereo information in the dry signal would be preserved).

alexis wrote:
Is this plug best used as a "Send" and set to 100% Wet (i.e., like an Aux out/return on a hardware mixer), or as an insert?

I nearly always use it as an insert, as it's more of a special effect than something you'd want plastered over all your tracks. But there's no reason why you couldn't use it as a send effect.


alexis wrote: are you able to have a feel for how much detuning/delay there is as the knobs are turned? For example, the preset "Double" ("max" Detune and Delay, 11:00 Dry/Wet mix) sounds fairly distinct from "Default" (50% Detune and Delay, 100% Wet) - for those two, are you experienced guys able to guestimate how much detuning (cents) and delay (msec) there is?

It would be more of a guess than an estimate! At 100% delay you can hear something that begins to sound like slapback, so I'd hazard that the upper limit is maybe 80ms or so. And maybe ±50 cents at full detune, perhaps less. You have to remember that it's deliberately recreating an imperfect pitch-shifting algorithm, so I suspect that both values vary a bit, and also that some of the effect is down to glitching and so forth rather than just the delay and pitch-shifting.

You'd probably get more accurate information if you ask SoundToys themselves.
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Re: Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby alexis » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:54 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:
alexis wrote: when "mix" is set to anything but "Wet", does that mean it also places some dry signal in the middle of the sound stage?

Yes (although I guess that if you used it on a stereo track the stereo information in the dry signal would be preserved).

alexis wrote:
Is this plug best used as a "Send" and set to 100% Wet (i.e., like an Aux out/return on a hardware mixer), or as an insert?

I nearly always use it as an insert, as it's more of a special effect than something you'd want plastered over all your tracks. But there's no reason why you couldn't use it as a send effect.


alexis wrote: are you able to have a feel for how much detuning/delay there is as the knobs are turned? For example, the preset "Double" ("max" Detune and Delay, 11:00 Dry/Wet mix) sounds fairly distinct from "Default" (50% Detune and Delay, 100% Wet) - for those two, are you experienced guys able to guestimate how much detuning (cents) and delay (msec) there is?

It would be more of a guess than an estimate! At 100% delay you can hear something that begins to sound like slapback, so I'd hazard that the upper limit is maybe 80ms or so. And maybe ±50 cents at full detune, perhaps less. You have to remember that it's deliberately recreating an imperfect pitch-shifting algorithm, so I suspect that both values vary a bit, and also that some of the effect is down to glitching and so forth rather than just the delay and pitch-shifting.

You'd probably get more accurate information if you ask SoundToys themselves.

Thanks for that, Mr. Inglis.

I have to say, using the plug-in is very humbling to me, using good headphones I have a hard time hearing the differences between some of the presets ... .
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Re: Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby Sam Inglis » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:15 pm

Probably because there isn't much difference! With only three controls to play with, there's not a huge range of settings that's possible...
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Re: Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby alexis » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:59 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:Probably because there isn't much difference! With only three controls to play with, there's not a huge range of settings that's possible...

Well, not that it means I actually _do_ have golden ears (LOL), but it's nice to read that, thank you, Sam!

However, based on the review, I was looking for settings that covered the range of "...Phil Collins vocal sounds and hair-metal guitar solos" to "subtle widening effects"!

PS - in the picture accompanying the article, in the top left of the GUI (above the "Fat Wide Pads" and "Compare buttons") there are a few buttons that don't appear on my screen. I'm guessing they are DAW-specific, not that I'm missing some layer of control somehow ...).

Thanks again for your help!
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Re: Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:06 am

alexis wrote:PS - in the picture accompanying the article, in the top left of the GUI (above the "Fat Wide Pads" and "Compare buttons") there are a few buttons that don't appear on my screen. I'm guessing they are DAW-specific, not that I'm missing some layer of control somehow ...).

Thanks again for your help!

Yes, the extra controls across the top are indeed DAW specific, so don't worry if they look different in your DAW


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Re: Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby alexis » Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:02 pm

Martin Walker wrote:
alexis wrote:PS - in the picture accompanying the article, in the top left of the GUI (above the "Fat Wide Pads" and "Compare buttons") there are a few buttons that don't appear on my screen. I'm guessing they are DAW-specific, not that I'm missing some layer of control somehow ...).

Thanks again for your help!

Yes, the extra controls across the top are indeed DAW specific, so don't worry if they look different in your DAW


Martin

Thanks, Martin!

I like what I'm hearing from Soundtoys' Microshift, but in my hands I can't get effects anywhere near the range of "...Phil Collins vocal sounds and hair-metal guitar solos" to "subtle widening effects" as described in the review.

I'll give it one more try to see if anyone here is using the tool and might have some tips/suggestions.

Thanks again!
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Re: Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby alexis » Mon May 25, 2015 9:26 pm

Just wanted to say this product is working really well for me, and thanks again to Sam Inglis for bringing attention to it! One of the things I really wanted was to have the vocals sound like someone had resung them really well, like at 1:16 here ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZNbFaqDkO8 , (compared to 1:08 where it sounds like it is completely single tracked? ... mistake or effect? .. .who knows!). Be that as it may, there is absolutely no one who sings in front of my mic who can re-sing a vocal so closely to the original, not even near that level of control.


This cool plug-in does that for me, and also in stereo it is really all I need for subtleness when I want to make the lead vocal in the middle go from paper-thin to "head-shaped" (after hours of working with it, I think I finally understand what The Elf was talking about!). I like to add it to the lead vocal which is still routed up straight the middle.

For big dramatic choruses, I am also adding some hard panned/re-tuned/re-timed low volume double tracks generated by some other stuff I have (TC Helicon VoiceOne and RevoicePro 3). I was very bummed a while back that I couldn't get rid of the phasiness when using those two to rout doubles anywhere even close to up the middle, but I feel really good now about the Microshift taking care of that. These parts can stand a little less precision on the re-sing, and it's kind of fun to do that, so when possible, we'll generate some "real" double tracks for those low-volume/hard-panned parts.

Oh, and it has become much easier now for me to hear the Microshift effect and have it help me, compared to last year when I had to check so often to see if it was bypassed or not! And finally, subtlety is all I'm wanting from it, so it is a real winner IMO.

Yeah!
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Re: Sound Toys Microshift questions

Postby The Elf » Tue May 26, 2015 6:13 am

alexis wrote:This cool plug-in does that for me, and also in stereo it is really all I need for subtleness when I want to make the lead vocal in the middle go from paper-thin to "head-shaped" (after hours of working with it, I think I finally understand what The Elf was talking about!).
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