Soundtoys Crystallizer- using Granular Synthesis on Vocals

An advanced tutorial for creating pitch shifted chorus effects using granular processing. Let me show you how to create epic vocal effects using this simple effect!

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Granular synthesis is a powerful time based process that allows sound designers to create incredible textures using an existing sound. This form of synthesis is now available in effects processors and it is this area we are going to explore in detail.

However, let us get our heads around how granular synthesis works before we jump in and get creative.

Granular synthesis

Granular synthesis is a method by which sounds are broken into tiny segments (grains/slices) which are then redistributed and reorganised to form other sounds. The process is quite simple: incoming audio is spliced into grains (slices) which can then be processed independently of each other. All the major parameters can be manipulated: speed, pitch, direction (forward and reverse) and slice density. However, some granular processes will house even more detailed control and can come supplied with time-stretching tools, gating and ducking.

There are many plugins out there in the marketplace that provide some form of granular re-synthesis but, for me, the ability to have it as bespoke effects processor is what attracted me to Soundtoys Crystallizer and it is this plugin that I am using for this specific tutorial.

Soundtoys Crystallizer

Billed as a ‘granular echo synthesizer’ Crystallizer uses the famous Eventide H3000 ‘Crystal Echoes’ and ‘Reverse Shift’ algorithms to create a wide variety of sonic textures based on granular re-synthesis principles. The modulation matrix on this processor is both detailed and fun to use. The sheer range of distinct textures that can be created with this plugin is nothing short of astounding. Creating reverse echoes, floaty shimmering effects, pitch shifted chorus effects or any number of time based effects is a doddle thanks to the power of the supplied modulation matrix. Maybe you want to create glitch effects or maul and degrade a sound – it can all be done with this powerful plugin.

In the video I explain all the features of a granular processor and in particular how to use Soundtoys Crystallizer as a creative tool. I explain how to use granular re-synthesis to create incredible time based effects and use it on a vocal take as vocals need to be timed to the song’s tempo and this form of synthesis allows for that. I show you what settings to use to create certain effects with pitch shifted chorus taking center stage.

Plugin used in this video:

Soundtoys Crystallizer

Topics covered in this video are:

  • What is a Grain
  • What is Granular
  • Pitch shifting Chorus
  • Using Crystallizer
  • Threshold, Pitch and Recycle
  • Gating and Ducking in Chorus
  • Splices and Splicing
  • Delaying the Delay
  • Grain and Splice Offsets and how they affect colour