What is your Variaudio workflow?

Hi -

I’m just getting into using VA lately, and I’m trying to figure out a way to be most efficient with using it. Can I ask you VA Powerusers :smiley: to please give a few pointers on ideas you’ve picked up along the way?

For example:

  1. With background vocals, would you do all the timing/lining up outside of VA 1st (warp, etc)? … Or, instead maybe bring the lead vox into VA for timing (and pitch of course), then bring it back out to the main project window to line the background vocals up with? Or do all your timing of all the tracks in VA (one at a time, of course) using the grid as a timing reference?

  2. On a more granular level, what sequence works best for you when working on a vocal track? At the end of my session today, I sort of was wondering if (after working on segments of course) if it’s better to do the smaller, “subsegmental” pitch corrections like straightening and tilting before the full segment pitch dragging? I suppose this might be singer-specific … ?

  3. Do you include breath sounds in your segments?

  4. Does that not having formant correction present a big challenge? Does anyone actually go ahead and use the “transpose” function just so they can apply formant correction (I think that’s what page 292 is saying needs to be done…)?

  5. Any other cool hints?


Hi - I thought I’d give this a bump in case someone didn’t get a chance to see it before it fell off the 1st page - thanks!

Hi Alexis, I use VA minimally, but when I do, its usually only for pitch… not so much timing. If there are timing errors, I would coach re-takes… depending on whom I am working with, I would also prefer human pitch correction through re-takes also. However, we all know that some folks need correction if the output is to be palatable. Or do you just tell them they cant sing! (there goes the pay cheque!) :laughing:

Depending on the singer/performance, hopefully the amount of correction is kept to the least possible level… If the singer is really poor, then a trade off between nature and nurture must be found… so I would only do an “overall” correction in such a case. I generally look only at the really sore spots first, make those minor corrections, and if the client is happy enough, there it stays.

Bouncing the corrected material as soon as I am done is something I’ve gotten used to… if you suddenly decide you need to reprocess something that’s been VA’d, this is a problem. Working on the copy is safer.

Hi, Alexis. I’m not sure how this corresponds to your precise questions but this is how I tackle things:

BV timing: I haven’t got any hard-and-fast rules about this. It depends whether I’m harmonising the main line, in which case I time to the main line, or building a BV track that enhances the backing track, in which case I time it to that and let the main vocal do it’s own thing.

It is in the nature of vocals tracks to be bitty, which means that simple editing and cross-fading can be a better way of timing things up, leaving VA to stretch vowels and the like. With this in mind, when I record a line I resist the tendency (sometimes successfully) to run words and lines into each other. Apart from making the editing easier, it makes for a clearer vocal.

Breath noises: I usually leave these well alone, they can can end up sounding really wierd and robotic (and a dead giveaway!). But it depends on how much you’ve shifted everything else by.

For BVs I often end up trimming them out altogether when unsynched with the main vocal as it sounds distracting.

Editing: I always bounce the bit I’m working on to a new file, VA that, then bounce once more to plain audio. Running VA live can bring editing to a snail’s pace.

Formants: I’ve never put any thought into these so can’t help.

That’s it, hope it helps, except to say: don’t overdo it!


Hi NorthWood MediaWork and Crotchety -

Wonderful tips and techniques, thank you!

Takeaway messages loud and clear: Don’t overdo it! …bounce early/often/frequently!

And also, you both have avoided using VA for timing, Crotchety explicitly saying it’s better to save that for usual Cubase techniques … with a very helpful hint to plan the recording with that in mind!

Thanks again!