To put it simply, Graillon 2 is the most similar plugin to Auto-Tune that you can get. And to make it even more interesting, it’s free! Auburn Sound, Graillon 2’s programmers, offer a full version for only u$s 29 -(currently on sale). But for most applications, the free version is already a blast, especially when you are on a low budget. If you have u$s 29 to spare, these guys really deserve it because they did an outstanding job.
If you are unaware of what Auto-Tune, according to its programmers, Graillon is a Vocal Live Changer. It’s a powerful tool made for tuning vocals and changing their pitch. There are many things that you can do with a powerful plugin like this, from polishing a singer’s voice to making it hit perfect notes to transposing voices up and down, enhancing them, or changing the tone of the song completely. With Graillon, you can make a masculine voice sound feminine and vice-versa. The tool preserves the source’s sound original tempo; it’s not as if you were playing it faster. Graillon 2 uses advanced algorithms and sound processing to create new and amazing sounds.
What Do You Get With The Free Version?
Auburn Sound has been very generous with Graillon’s Free Edition; you have full access to the Pitch Shifting and Pitch Correction functions. The rest of the functions are enabled when you buy the Full Edition, but the two most important functions are free.
Despite being a free tool, Graillon works and sounds like a professional plugin, turning it into an essential tool for any studio.
Graillon 2 Operating Instructions
This plugin may seem a little tricky at first sight, but once you are familiar with it, it’s pretty straightforward. Before starting, let’s have an insight of the two functions enabled in the free version and see what they are for.
This function is meant to transpose a voice up and down, but can be used for transposing other sounds as well.
This tool is what makes Graillon 2 similar to the Antares Auto-Tune. You can use it for tuning and reinforcing vocals, making them sound clearer or rough, reinforcing their low-end, achieving the typical robotic sound used by bands like Daft Punk in “One More Time”, for example, or getting the characteristic sound of Cher’s “Believe” which made Auto-Tune so popular back in the late 90’s, marking it out as an industry standard. Other musical genres adopted similar effects and this tool is perfect to do the job, but if you take some time to get familiar with it, you will find endless combinations to make your song sound unique.
In ideal conditions, Graillon 2 has a latency of 23ms, and even though it’s not instantaneous, it’s fast enough to listen to changes as you are working on your track.
The panels marked in red are locked in the free version.
The Pitch-Tracking Modulation is great to create choruses, add effects to emulate throat sounds, or make it sound as if had been recorded with a different type of microphone, for example.
Selecting The Sound Source
Once you have recorded or loaded the vocals and applied the plugin to the track, Graillon will be enabled.
On the top-left you will find a small knob called “Detect”.
The plugin detects the pitch from a mono-signal; it’s set by default to pick it from the left channel. Turning the knob fully to the right will make Graillon pick up the signal from the right channel. If you leave it in the middle or in between, it will calculate an average of both channels to use it as reference. It’s important to note that the output signal is stereo.
This function allows you to change the pitch of the input signal. You can apply it to a pre-recorded audio track (it’s designed for voice, but it works with any signal), or can be used on the fly. Turning the big wheel to the left will make the input signal sound lower, and to the right it will sound higher. It’s a very simple, intuitive, but practical function, and can be combined with other functions. The algorythm is so well programmed that the pitch change doesn’t change the tempo and no sound quality loss is perceived.
On the lower-right you will find a smaller knob labeled “Preserve Formants”. According to Graillon’s programmer, this knob “applies original spectral envelope to pitched signal”.
It’s pretty intuitive, when you apply pitch shift to a voice and you set the “Preserve Formants” knob to 100%, you will hear some of the original vocals essence. Why is that?
Formants are a series of harmonics which, combined with other factors, make people’s voices unique. They are one of the main reasons why singers’ voices sound different. These harmonics change depending on the physiology of the singer’s throat, nasal and chest cavities, and other factors that vary from person to person.
As you change the pitch with a plugin, the vocal formants are affected, altering the voice’s personality.
So it’s up to you how much of the singer’s essence you want to keep. It’s not as easy as turning the knob to 100%; you will need to listen to the track and try different settings to find the perfect sound for you. Sometimes you will want the voice to sound more natural, and others making the voice sound different will work best for your track.
This is the starring function of Graillon 2. It works automatically, you only have to enter the key in which you want the tool to correct the notes, and the plugin will do the rest.
There are five knobs, four at the top of the mini keyboard shown in this section and one on the right. They allow you to set the tuner to achieve the result you are looking for.
- The “Enable” knob sets the desired amount of pitch correction. Besides setting how much tuning you will get, it also sets how fast the notes will be tuned.
It goes from “Off” to Full, as is clearly labeled.
- The “Smooth” knob allows you to set the speed of the pitch correction. It goes from 1 to 50 milliseconds. The slower the correction is, the more natural the voice will sound. If you are looking to get the typical robotic voice that can be achieved with these kind of tools, just leave it in “Fast” et voila.
- The “Snap Range” knob determines the sensitivity of the tuner. It goes from 0.1 semitones to 8 semitones. If you set it to the full right (8 semitones) you will get a jumpy result, great if you are looking for an artificial sound. If you are looking for a more natural correction, the best position is the middle or the full left.
- The “Reference” knob sets the frequency Graillon uses as a reference. It is set at 440Hz by default. 440Hz is the western standard frequency used to tune musical instruments, so it’s recommended to leave that value as it is.
- The “Inertia” knob is great when the pitch correction is so high that the notes jump. It’s similar to the “Speed” knob but works over the overall sound. Depending on the song and how you use it, it can change the resulting melody, so it’s an important function. You don’t usually find in these features in these type of plugins, which makes Graillon 2 even more interesting.
In this panel you will find settings that affect the sound output coming from the plugin to your daw’s mixer.
- “Dry Mix” knob adds a copy of the original (dry) mono signal received by the plugin to the final mix.
- “Gain” slider sets the processed signal output’s volume.
- “Amount” works like a “dry-wet” knob. Dry is the original sound before being processed and wet is the full processed sound. You can set it to zero (off), fully on, or something in between.
Input Signal Preferences
Last but not least, you have two last modifiers:
- “Lead Voice”: This slider affects the way in which the level of the non-modulated “dry” signal is mixed with the processed signal. It’s effect is not noticeable when the “amount” level is set on zero, or
- “Low Cut” knob works on the mono-reference signal. It’s great if you need to reduce bass to help the pitch tracker to have a better.
The filter is a high-pass 12 dB/oct.
If you want more control and precision over the pitch correction, you can create a midi channel to record the melody and assign it to Graillon’s track. When you do this, the vocals will be tuned note by note according to what you’ve recorded. It’s also great if you want to make the vocals sound more artificial, playing something completely different from the voice’s melody, which will produce a lot of pitch jumps and unexpected and sudden changes.
Graillon 2 comes with many presets; they are great to have a glimpse of what this amazing plugin can do. You can also save your own presets to re use them whenever you want.
In this article you have all you need to start using Graillon 2. Now it’s time to start using it and see how it works best for you; It offers endless possibilities when it comes to processing vocals. This useful tool definitely deserves a place in your plugin collection.
Source : auburnsounds.com