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iZotope aim to take the heavy lifting out of vocal processing with Nectar 3

New processor lets you unmask your vocals, while EQ follows melodies

Boston-based plug-in pros iZotope have made some truly impressive leaps forward with their processors in recent year. Their RX suite of audio repair tools are an industry standard and with their plug-ins, both on the the creative production side and on those for mixing and mastering, they seem constantly to be breaking new ground. 

Their latest advancement, Nectar 3 is a very serious update to their vocal processing plug-in. Top billing should probably go to Vocal Assistant and its partner plug-in Relay. Vocal Assistant listens to your vocal recording then suggests a starting point for your settings. This sets parameters such as input level, gate hold time, corrective EQ curves, character EQ, compression settings, de-essing threshold and more. Relay, meanwhile, can be applied to non-vocal tracks in order to ‘unmask’ your vocal. Working on the assumption that the vocal is the most important part of the mix, iZotope’s Relay listens to your vocal and makes sure that the track that its placed on does not interfere with it.

Other handy features in Nectar 3 include dynamic EQ nodes and a style of EQ node that will follow a specific harmonic of your vocal. As demonstrated in the video above, this can be used to set up a low-cut filter below the fundamental note of a sung vocal, removing any unwanted low-end noise below that point. This implementation looks pretty similar to Sound Radix Surfer EQ and can, one assumes, also be used to change the balance of harmonics to fundamental frequencies for to create a tonal control that dynamically adjusts to the source melody. 

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