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RePitch - Happy Mag - October 2022

Synchro Arts RePitch: Vocal Tuning You Won’t Hear

Tuning you can’t hear. I want that. That’s what software company Synchro Arts — known for their plugins that make performances better — claims with their brand new plugin, RePitch.

Has the music industry gone mad with the world of heavy autotune and the quest for a pitch-perfect vocal using Grammy-winning software? Should we all just go get some lessons in our craft, and/or spend more time actually practising rather than ‘fix-it-in-the-mix’?

Or should we realise that an emotionally spirited vocal performance — recorded into anything — will be better received with some technical help? With tuning plugins like Melodyne, Logic Pro’s Flex and Antares Autotune and this brand new plug RePitch we can do just that: Enhance a great performance.

synchro arts repitch

Synchro Arts are well known in the pro audio community with its highly intelligent plugins such as the quick help of VocAlign and the professional grade Revoice Pro 4, both focusing on the idea that every great performance might need that nudge in the right direction whether that be a big brush stroke or a laboured finesse.

With their latest offering — RePitch — you will find yourself tweaking your great performance without noticing the effects of it. Beyond that, you can dive in and have some creative fun. We tested this plugin out in the studio on one of our Live from Happy sessions of band Salarymen. Watch that here: Salarymen – Young Guns (Live From Happy).

It works just like Melodyne, you have to ‘Capture’ the audio before getting to ‘work’. You can select initial processing prior to capturing, depending on how you wish to edit your material. Inside the GUI you’ll find everything you need is right in front of you with the top toolbar icons of Pitch Display, Level Display, Selector, Center Notes, Draw, Split, and Warp tools being as clear as day.

RePitch picked up that the vocal melody of Salarymen’s song Young Guns was mostly in a D Major Pentatonic scale, and thus it removed any non-diatonic options. While you don’t have a piano scroll like other plugins, each click on a vocal note brings up a dialogue box that shows the note and its cents — For example, A4 (-8 cents).

vocal plugins

You can chose to maintain authenticity and drag these around freely or you can select the Snap to Scale Notes magnet icon in the top tool bar. A double click on a note sets this to zero cents. Just for fun, I got trigger-happy and double-clicked on a bunch of notes to see how Renee sounded, hard-tuned. To my surprise, I found it hard to hear that any work had been done. THIS is a good thing. You really can’t hear the tuning. Well done Synchro Arts.

Wanting to push this thing further, I was able to quickly turn Renee into a robot using the draw tool. Not only was it fun to draw in a part, but I also found that it could be very useful as a tool for creativity. So much so that I added a big slide up at the end of the phrase and the result was this epic build into the chorus.

With about 3 clicks of the ‘Undo’ function on the top right toolbar I was able to remove my whacky edit — which I’m sure Salarymen might have not enjoyed — and I was back to the original, less robot vocal.

Trying out the aforementioned pre-capture processing on Thom’s vocal I chose ‘Vocal — Low Pitch — Snap All to Note Centres (100%)’. Thinking that nothing happened, I had to listen to the plugin bypassed a few times. It had actually done some subtle, pitching of Thom in the right way. This was another example of not being able to hear the tuning.

When tuning vocals — in a way you can’t ‘hear’ — It’s always a dance of too much or not enough, sometimes even creating a few duplicate tracks to have different settings on different moments of a song.

repitch plugin

While working in RePitch, I couldn’t help but notice the dialog boxes that hover over the tools and show you what keyboard shortcut they are. For example, the Split Tool is ‘S’. After just 1 hour on the plugin I was using the shortcuts and editing super fast. I found this was really intuitive, and my workflow within a plugin I had never used before was quicker than most.

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