RePitch - Bonedo - October 2022
Synchro Arts RePitch Test
Software manufacturer Synchro Arts has been an established name for vocal editing tools for many years , with products such as VocAlign , VocAlign Ultra and Revoice Pro. So far they have coexisted largely peacefully alongside the German manufacturer Celemony, since both companies have each served a niche in vocal production - which is now changing with Synchro Arts' RePitch!
The new plugin called RePitch is in direct competition with the presumed industry leader Melodyne. We tested RePitch for you to find out where the strengths, differences and maybe weaknesses lie. Is the new plugin an interesting alternative to the strong competition?
Details & practice
Concept and GUI
The basic concept of RePitch corresponds to the principle established by Melodyne, which has now also been adopted by other software manufacturers. Logic Pro gives you the choice of opening RePitch as either a traditional plugin or as an ARA2 plugin. After the import (real-time or "ARA automatic"), the software displays the audio material in the familiar way in blocks of notes, including the appropriate pitch, position and length. The processing is carried out using various tools or also automatically ("pre-processing"), if that is the case via macro setting, consisting of tone scale and processing intensity.
Of course, you can edit the material with the tools even more finely if you wish, or undo the steps. In any case, I rate it positively that RePitch intelligently and automatically splits tonal and atonal components such as breathers or consonants. However, just as with newer versions of Melodyne, these remain unedited when pitch corrections are made. After just a short training period, you will find your way around with the tools and editing options in the clearly structured GUI.
Features of RePitch
Why does the world need another Melodyne-like tool? Maybe because of SynchroLink - that's what the very practical feature for coupling with the really ingenious Synchro Arts product VocAlign Ultra is called. As a reminder, VocAlign Ultra enables unprecedented efficient editing of duplication tracks, which used to be an inconveniently time-consuming step in music production. If both plugins are coupled, the duplication track(s) adapts immediately to the changes in the RePitch plugin without having to render the guide track separately. This is actually a great workflow benefit for VocAlign users! This is probably the reason why both plugins are also available as a bundle and as a crossgrade.
Pros and Cons of RePitch
Other small special features of RePitch are hidden in details, such as the tools and their handling. For example, I really like the Draw tool, which can be used to draw away tonal glitches in no time at all – without any unnatural artefacts! However, from my point of view, the clock grid, which is very important for timing correction, is only available in the ARA versions of the plugin.
The formant editing can only be applied globally and not to individual notes, which is also a shortcoming from my point of view. This somewhat limits the possibility, for example, of creating specific partial vocal effects, as is possible with Melodyne. Both points of criticism may of course be remedied in future updates of the still fairly young plugin.
Sound by RePitch
Synchro Arts advertises RePitch as "super-natural vocal editing". The following audio samples prove this claim, since the naturalness is surprisingly little affected, even when transposing several semitones. When transposed down, it starts to sound a bit nasal at a certain level. However, I am not aware of any competing product that delivers better results. RePitch is one of the top products for correction as well as for creating virtual harmony voices. In the case of the latter, any unnatural coloring that may occur usually disappears completely in the musical context.
You can hear in the last audio example that RePitch is not a style-defining (hard) auto-tune replacement. While Melodyne is able to largely imitate the popular, bold effect, RePitch only succeeds to a limited extent. In the audio example mentioned, all notes have been corrected to exactly zero percent deviation, while all vibratos have been eliminated manually. This may give the vocal take a slight touch of unnaturalness and make it sound "modern" in the sense of contemporary pop productions. It's possible that more extreme effects can be achieved with the Draw tool, even if that's not really a practical workflow. Conclusion: Synchro Arts focuses on natural-sounding processing results - and absolutely convincing!
During the overall problem-free test run on my iMac Pro (Big Sur), I noticed a "mini-bug" that will probably be fixed shortly: During select-all edits, it sometimes happened that one or more notes from the plugin were "overlooked". Such teething problems are not really uncommon with new software releases and, in my view, are more of a point for the record than a point of criticism.
RePitch is more than just any Melodyne copy! In terms of sound, it delivers the outstanding professional quality that you are used to from Synchro Arts, and the operation can also be described as excellent. In addition to clever details such as the draw tool, the efficient workflow in connection with VocAlign Ultra stands out. Synchro Arts RePitch is a serious alternative to vocal editing!