VariAudio Tips - post 'em here!

It’d be nice to collect some tips from how others are using VariAudio.

I’ll get it started:

This was a response in another forum to a user who had a zillion tuned and timed VariAudio segments active, and was posting because his 12-core computer kept bogging down …

When you have that vocal track all comped into a million short bits try this:

  1. Duplicate it and rename the dup
  2. Apply “Make real copy” to the dup
  3. Lock the original track
  4. Disable the original track
  5. Bounce the duped/renamed track
  6. Apply VariAudio to the bounced track.

Steps 1-4 are so you always have the original track available if things go south later.

Step 5 is the main potato. You’ll be surprised how well VariAudio will be able to do its thing without slowing down then, I think. You might be able to even apply it to a whole verse at a time, or more!

Also don’t be afraid to bounce again as you move along - maybe after all the tuning is done, before you get to timing edits. Just don’t forget to do steps 1-4 before each bounce!

Here’s some time-saving VariAudio tip for bad singers (I have lots of experience with that).

  1. Select all segments

  2. push the tuning slider (left of the page) almost all the way to the right. Don’t worry - that Cher “Believe” effect will be gone when you’re done with these instructions!

  3. Listen to the whole VA’d section. (Don’t worry about the Cher effect you hear for now - that will be addressed later). But do pay attention for this: if your singer is bad enough, some of the segments will have been corrected to the wrong note. CTRL-drag them to the right note (or maybe it’s ALT-drag).

  4. Listen through again, but this time do pay attention to the Cher overtuning effect. You’ll note that it only occurs at the beginning and at the end of notes, where one note transitions to another. Visually, these are where the tuning slider caused too vertical/abrupt a transition leading into a note, or leading out of a note.

  5. From the segment mode, cut at the boundary between the too vertical-appearing transitions and the good-sounding/more horizontal-appearing part of the notes. So, for example, if the Cher effect is at the beginning of the note, you’d cut right at the boundary where the really vertical entry into the note joins the horizontal “normal looking portion” of the note that follows. Similarly, if the T-Pain effect is at the end of the note, use that scissor tool to separate the normal part of the note from the too-vertical part that follows.

Here’s how you get rid of that Cher effect:
6) Select one of those small “too vertical” portions you created in the last step by cutting. Notice that the tuning slider is almost all the way to the right (where you set it in step 2).

  1. Drag the slider to the left far enough so the too-vertical transition smoothens out enough that the Cher effect disappears when you play the whole note through.

  2. Do that for all the tiny little “too-vertical” segments you created by cutting in step 5.

Now you have a vocal track that is in tune without the Cher overtuning effect!

Some notes:

  • A time saving shortcut is to SHIFT-select all those tiny “too-vertical” segments in step 6 at once, so the Step 7 correction is applied to all of them at once.

  • Every once in a while the note transitions can’t be successfully addressed like this. In those cases just select the entire offending and stubborn note, reset the tuning to the original (from the control on the left of the page) and do a more detailed “manual” adjustment of the note in the usual way … if it even needs it. (Unless you’re doing commercial pop, there’s no need for every note to be perfect.)

  • Along the same lines, experiment with how far you want to push the tuning slider to the right in step 2. It depends on how far out of tune the average note is sung (function of the singer), and how far in tune you feel the final result needs to be (function of the song style). Although the amount of tuning artifact with VariAudio is surprisingly low, there is of course no free lunch. And also - the less far right you push the tuning slider in step 2, the less of this kind of “note on/note off” type of editing you will have to do.

  • The act of vocal editing with VariAudio like this can be a really great tool for singing practice. One of the singers in a band I used to be in would always say, “it’s not how you sing the note itself, it’s how you start and end it”. The above technique really makes you focus on those vocal note “on/off” transitions, and if you focus on them while practicing your song vocals it can really make a big difference in what winds up on tape in the first place.

  • Although it may be weird to think of someone else singing a song you wrote, consider getting a “real” singer to do it - saving yourself maybe tens of hours or more of mind-numbing editing. Studio Pros and other similar services can be pretty good if you don’t know a singer who you want to record your song.