Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive page

Free auto tune vocal effect

In audio effect, vocals on July 21, 2012 at 17:15

For some time, auto tune is used as a starting point for creating special audio effects for example known by Skrillex or T-Pain. I never found such software  for free for Mac Os X, but today I read that even old versions of Garage Band can do this job. I think many Apple user do have an old version of this software.

So I tried the auto tune ability of garage band (version 4.1.1). And that is what I have done. By the way I do not know this software very well.

First of all create a new project and audio track. For that you have to press the plus button at the left botton and choose Real Instrument Track. The next step is importing your audio file. One way is dragging the file into the new audio track. After that you have to open the Track Editor. Just click on the scissors button at the left botton.

We are almost complete. At the right of the transport control is a drop down. Please choose Project. Than set Enhance Tuning to 100 % and check Limit to Key. Finally select the appropriate scale and listen to the result. 

The audio export is such simple. Go to the menu Share/Export song to disk and uncheck compress. Maybe you should change the preferences in order to get a 24 bit export. So go to GrageBand/Preferences/Advanced menu and set the Audio Resolution to Best. And here is my result.

The vocals without and with auto tune effect:

I think, the result is not bad. Unfortunately, there is just the major and minor scale implemented, but I think in most cases it will be enough. Of course this is not a plugin solution, on the other hand it’s free. Keep in mind that this is only a starting point for audio processing.

To be continued & best regards.


Analog miniatures

In hand-crafted, visual on July 14, 2012 at 14:25

The alround talent Dan McPharlin created a huge set of hand-made cardboard models of old analog synths. The photographies are published on flickr. Some of the photos are used as cover art. Great, aren’t they? But let the pictures speak for themselves.


The first app I really need

In chord, iPad, scale on July 13, 2012 at 23:54

Yes, I have an iPad, too. But I’m not so happy with the most music apps. I have no use for virtual instruments on the iPad, because my mobile device is a Macbook Pro. Some weeks ago I tried the Pro Chords app, in order to find inspiring chord progression. But this app not really works for me. Maybe because of the user interface.

Today I tried again an app for iPad or iPhone. Its name is Octavian made by Bitnotic. It is musical reference tool for any musician of any style. Octavian provides access to over 500 scales and 100 chords, with any root note and in any mode or inversion. Of course the app plays notes and chords with an acceptable piano sound. It is cheap and available at the app store.

You have different views. The scale view offers access to many scales. The interface is intuitive and useful.

I especially like the progression view. It’s very useful and the option to store your favorite chords and play them automatically after each other is great.

The drop down on the left botton takes you for example to the chord dictionary. Where you can explore a vast amount of chords.

There is a settings dialog, where you can adjust the software – in a particular context – to your personal needs.

And there are a lot more impressing and inspiring features. Go to the dictionary page and just enter some notes. The app will guess the fitting scale or chord. Great!

That’s all for today.


Understanding Ableton’s Multiband Dynamics

In ableton, mastering, mixing on July 7, 2012 at 17:48

Let’s talk about Ableton’s Multiband Dynamics device. It is not my intention to explain compression, I just want to understand this complex device. I think, it’s much more easier to handle this, if you keep the Compressor device in mind and its limitations.
Just open both devices. As you may know, in opposite to the compressor the multiband devices works on up to three frequency ranges. The two sliders on the left hand side are for that purpose. But let’s take a closer look at the edit modes of the Multiband Dynamics. You can change the mode by pressing one of the buttons T, B or A.

The time parameters

You can edit the attack and release time for each band. In addition there is a global parameter, time, which affects all values relatively. Well, no surprises here.

Above and below

In the beginning I was a bit confused what above and below in the context meant. It’s simple. If you take a brief look at the input-output-diagram of the compressor device, you see in general a knee. The right values of the knee are called above (the threshold) and the left values below.

Above thresholds and ratios

By pressing the A button, you enter the Above edit mode. Here is the place for editing the thresholds and ratios. Remember you can work with up to three bands. Here is something different from the Compressor device, you can enter ratios greater than one. That means the signals above the thresholds will be louder. Yes, this device is an expander, too.

It is always a good practice to keep the perceived loudness constant, so you can compare the processed audio signal with the original. For this purpose you should change the Output of the band. Now you can compare the signals by switching the value of the Amount from 100 percent to zero. By the way, it’s helpful to solo the band you are working on.

The diagram in the middle is helpful. The length of the (right) bars mean the threshold and the density of the vertical lines corresponds with the compression ratio.

Below thresholds and ratios

After pressing the B button, you will see Below edit mode. The thresholds and ratios are place as usual. If the initial threshold is minimal (-80 db), nothing happens, because this section manipulates audio signals below this threshold. Increasing the threshold will show a new bar in the middle of the device and enables a (second) compressor/ expander for this band.


As said before, comparing the original audio signal and processed is a good way to control your work. For that the global Output parameter and Amount are the values you have to change.


I hope the helps. Best regars.