Legends in the Auto-Tune world Antares has just released the Auto-Tune Vocal Compressor. We find out why this company is getting into compression, and how it relates to Auto-Tune!
So why is a company so revered for their Auto-Tune plugins dabbling in compression? Curious to find out, we grabbed a vocal from one of our recent Live from Happy sessions — Thandi Phoenix – Guarantees (Live from Happy) — and tested out this brand-new plugin.
Antares Tech’s Auto-Tune was once an industry secret. So secret, in fact, that back in 1998, music producer Mark Taylor used it on Cher’s hit song ‘Believe’ and told an untruth about the use of the plugin on her vocal. He originally went on record saying it was a vocoder, then later retracted that statement. Since then, Auto-Tune has become an industry standard with musicians like T-Pain, Bon Iver plus many more using it as intended and as a creative tool.
Moving with the times, Antares Tech — or affectionally known as Antares — has just released the Auto-Tune Vocal Compressor. So how does it relate to Auto-Tune? Well, for starters it’s got AI/machine learning where you select the Input Type, Compression mode and the Style of vocal you want and it assists you with a starting point.
As well as these ‘Auto-functions’, it’s got an Auto-Tune Pitch Filter function where it tracks and follows the fundamental pitch of the vocals. Pretty neat! I often (very, very often) will put two compressors in series, so I was very excited about this dual-stage compressor.
To really work out the Auto-Tune Vocal Compressor I wanted a strong vocal with a brilliant performance — Thandi Phoenix’s vocal was an easy choice. To start, I loaded up a FET in Comp I (Universal Audio 1176 style) and an Opto A in Comp II (Teletronix LA2A style). This worked well for me, especially since I would use these two in series on most vocals anyway. These are just 2 of the 4 compressors you can choose from.
All the controls should be very familiar for someone who’s used both of these units before, and the addition of the Warm button added warmth, which sounded great. Having the multiple options of using the slider or the controls below is really handy too. I honestly found it easier to grab the slider rather than the control.
Moving onto the machine learning/AI side of the vocal compressor, I entered in the details in each section I hoped it would help me achieve: For Input Type I chose Soprano, for Compression I chose Controlled, and Style I chose Warm & Full.
You have these choices:
Input Type — Soprano, Alto-Tenor, Low Male, Instrument, Bass Instrument.
Compression — Minimal, Controlled, Aggressive.
Style — Clean Vocals, Warm & Full, Gritty Energy.
While I felt the AI/’robot in the machine’ was a bit heavy-handed, I reached for the Mix control on the bottom right. This was cool. It let the original vocal breathe while having the added weight with parallel compression.
The Auto-Tune Vocal Compressor has 4 different compressors to choose from, to allocate to either slot and if you want to keep it simple you can fold it down to one compressor using the top left Setup button.
I’m a huge fan of this compressor, they all sound great and the interface is hugely flexible — not to mention you can change the appearance and also easily drag out the size. Sometimes you have to try out a product and not pigeonhole a company — for example, Fender — known for their iconic electric guitars — makes great acoustics and has done for decades!
As well as this plugin, Antares has recently dropped the Auto-Tune Pro X. It’s an update to their flagship product that is everything you need to finesse a vocal from a good performance into a great one.
The Antares Auto-Tune Vocal Compressor comes in at $307 AUD or you could subscribe to Auto-Tune Unlimited for $299 p/year which includes this plugin and every other Antares Tech plugin!
To buy or trial the plugin for free and for more info head over to antarestech.com