Used on Lamar's vocals for "All the Stars" as stated by producer Matt Schaeffer in this May 2018 *Sound on Sound* interview. > Kendrick Lamar’s vocal audio tracks, named after his teenage stage name K.Dot, consist of his first verse rap track, ‘VS 1 LD’, and 10 tracks for three moments in the track where he sings the pre-hook in a robotic voice. The verse rap track only has the AIR Flanger on it, and is sent to the ‘Dot VS LD’ aux track, which has eight inserts and five sends. Nine of the 10 pre-hook tracks have Auto?Tune, while the top four have a number of plug-ins on the inserts, including the EQ3 seven-band, Waves RVox, UAD Galaxy Tape Echo, SoundToys Little AlterBoy, SoundToys MicroShift and Valhalla Vintage Verb. These four are sent to a ‘Hook Ref’ aux track higher up in the session with another four plug-ins on the inserts and five sends. The other six are backing vocals to the four other pre-hook tracks and have no other plug-ins, other than a Trim, and are sent to a ‘Hook Background’ aux, just below them, which itself also is sent to the ‘Hoof Ref’ track. It’s a pretty complicated vocal signal chain, as Schaeffer admits. > “The ‘Dot VS LD’ aux indeed has a lot of stuff on it! I did most of the processing on that bus. On the inserts there are the SSL E-Channel, Waves RComp, Waves Q10 EQ, Waves DeEsser, UAD LA2A, UAD Pultec EQP1A, SoundToys Decapitator and Pro?Q2. The SSL channel strip, Q10 and RCompressor remain from the tracking, and maybe the DeEsser as well, but I most likely messed with the settings more during mixing. The Q10 has a high-pass at 50Hz and I notched out a frequency that was bothering me around 8.5kHz with the Q2. I added the other plug-ins during mixing, and they all add something a bit different. I’m boosting 100Hz and 16kHz with the EQP1A. As I said, I like using several EQs on one thing. > “The sends go to a ‘FlangeVerb’ track, on which I put the RVerb and the UAD MXR Flanger, then the ‘Huge Verb’ with the [Audio Ease] Altiverb and EQ3, ‘Hook Valhalla’ with the Vintage Verb, and the SoundToys EchoBoy, the ‘EMT250’ aux with the UAD EMT250, Valhalla Plate and MicroShift, and then finally a send to the ‘Dot VS Delay’ track, with the EchoBoy, set to quarter note, the Reel Tape Flanger and the RCompressor. The EchoBoy is the main delay you can hear in the verse. The EMT250 is not set to a reverb, but to a phaser effect, which gives a cool stereo effect. The Valhalla adds a bit of reverb here, though it’s set to -12, so it only gives a tiny bit of ambience, and the MicroShift makes the whole thing a little wider. It probably still sounded a bit dry, which is why I sent the track to the ‘Huge Verb’ aux with the Altiverb, again taking out low end with the EQ3. > “In the pre-hook, Kendrick wanted that robotic sound with tons of effects. The main robotic effect comes from the iZotope VocalSynth, which gives it a vocoder-like sound. There also are some instances of the Little AlterBoy on the lead vocals in the pre-hook, with some formant adjusting and pitch-shifting. I think one of them is set to +12, so that’s an octave up, and another has a lower formant so it sounds pitched down, even though it remains in the same key. All that adds up to make the vocals sound robotic.” > Adding all inserts on audio and aux tracks together, Lamar’s verse rap is treated with a whopping 22 plug-ins! The ‘Hook Background’ aux, meanwhile, has the EQ3 seven-band, RCompressor, SoundToys Panman, a chorus, the MicroShift, the UAD MXR Flanger and the Valhalla Plate on the inserts and has sends to an aux track with the Waves Kramer Tape plug-in as well as the aforementioned ‘Hook Valhalla’ aux with the Vintage Verb, and Echoboy, and it then is routed to the ‘Hook Ref’ track, which has another four inserts and five sends. Phew.more
Used for Albarn's vocals on Gorillaz's "Charger", as mentioned by recording engineer and frequent collaborator Stephen Sedgwick in this July 2017 *Sound on Sound* interview about the production of *Humanz*. > “The vocals start at track 42, with Damon’s lead vocal. The main lo-fi telephone-like effect is the typical 2-D sound, because this is a 2-D song. I can’t tell you what it is, but it’s done with hardware. The plug-ins on the inserts are a Waves Renaissance De-esser and RVox, and the Waves Kramer PIE [compressor], which I use a lot on vocals. Below are two tracks of lead vocals with delays. > > While recording, I often use the SoundToys EchoBoy for delays, but I replace that with hardware delays to get more character. In this case these two tracks are prints of me running Damon’s vocals through a Roland SDE 2000. I was having fun with that, doing fast delays and delays with modulation. Then there are some Damon harmonies, and the yellow tracks are him singing the chorus, and some of these are pitched down an octave with the Little AlterBoy. I usually compress vocals with outboard, either using Empirical Labs Distressors or sometimes the Summit TLA 100A or Tube-Tech CL1B compressor. If want to impose a lot of character I’ll engage an old Collins broadcast limiter. For reverbs on the vocals I often use the studio’s EMT 140 plate.more
“Six of the saxes tracks have the Little Altar Boy. That is such an interesting and creative tool for changing the formant, and it has pitch shift capabilities up to 1 octave above or below the original. You can change the masculinity of how something sounds, and those saxophones are very dark, and they come in and build right before the drop, and by turning the formant down with that plug-in I created something that almost sounds like saturation, but that makes it a little bit tougher sounding"more
Used on "What Do You Mean?" for the "radio effect", as stated by *Purpose* mix engineers Josh Gudwin and Andrew Wuepper in this May 2016 *Sound on Sound* interview about the mixing of the title track and others. An image of the settings for the "radio effect" can be found [here](https://dt7v1i9vyp3mf.cloudfront.net/styles/news_large/s3/imagelibrary/I/IT_05_16_08-SacDeADu2Uk094cYbjAZ08Fpb_c0XkG4.jpg). > Gudwin picks out a few other interesting tracks, beginning with a vocal track named ‘vcls’. “That track contains a vocal sample that Blood made of Justin’s vocal. I’m just touching that with the LFO Tool for a bit of pumping, I take out some high frequencies with the Pro-Q 2, and then use the SoundToys Microshift for a slight pitch-shift/chorusing effect. ‘Sry1V’ below that is the vinyl sound in the track. ‘$JBU’ is the main lead vocal bus, on which I have the UAD 1176, Waves De-Esser, Manley Massive Passive, Metric Halo Channel Strip. The sends are to the generic aux tracks at the bottom of the sesion: verb, ping-pong delay, Dimension D. Below the lead vocal bus is the print track of a Bricasti outboard.” > Wuepper: “There are two tracks called ‘Bric’ around the main vocal bus; the one above is the print from the Bricasti effect that was used on the percussion, and the one below is the print of the Bricasti reverb on the vocal. Next are Josh’s vocal delays. Putting delays on audio snippets [ie. copying short vocal clips to new tracks and applying delays as inserts, rather than automating a send from the main vocal track] is a pretty interesting way of doing things. I’ve not seen anyone else do this, but it makes it easier for Josh to manipulate these delays and to go deeper into the effect. He can really fine tune the delay times and decay lengths and so on. Sometimes the feedback you get with plug-ins can act a little weird, and this approach allows him to have more control.” > Gudwin: “The five green tracks are all vocal throws and delays. I don’t like to automate delay throws via aux tracks. The top green track is the master track for the delays, ‘JB Throw All’, and it has a compressor and an SPL Vitalizer. The ‘1147’ delay track has the UAD Cooper Time Cube, with a quick ping-pong-y flutter delay that I use to widen, and the track called ‘1167’ has a basic eighth-note delay from the Echo Boy. The ‘A’ insert is Auto-Tune, but it’s not working on these tracks. When needed, our vocal tuning is normally done by Chris ‘Tek’ O’Ryan in Melodyne. I sometimes do it myself, if I have the time do it, in the stand-alone version. > “The blue vocal tracks below the vocal delay tracks are the main lead vocal comp tracks, and on many of them I have the UAD SSL Channel Strip, UAD LA-2A, and the Waves C6 multiband compressor, and sometimes also the Pro-Q 2 EQ. The ‘DLYP’ track has a delay pan effect, with the SoundToys Primal Tap delay and Panman auto-panner, SSL Channel Strip and the P&M Vinylizer. ‘White’ and ‘Master’ are printed reverbs recorded in two rooms at Henson. They are my main plug-in vocal reverbs, and the green tracks below are pitched with the Elastic Audio X-Form [in Pro Tools] and effected with the Waves H-Compressor for a pumping effect. I pitched the reverbs up an octave or two, and I mixed them in very low. The ‘PCM’ and ‘PC1’ tracks are prints from ping-pong delays from the Lexicon PCM42 outboard. > “Justin’s backing vocal tracks all go to the group track called ‘JBG1’, on which I have a Waves De-esser, an SSL Channel and the C6 multiband compressor, plus there are a number of delays and reverbs via the sends. Trevon’s backing vocals all go to ‘JBTR’, which has similar effects. I wanted to fill the song up a bit more, and sometimes it’s not the most enjoyable process for an artist to sing all these background parts. Plus a different vocalist will add a different texture to the song, as long as it complements the lead vocal and the record. As I mentioned, Julia added her vocals during the final mix in New York, and her group track also has the De-esser, SSl Channel and C6. Right at the bottom are some effects tracks, with the Dimension D and group delay throws, and so on. > (...) **'Love Yourself'** > (...) Next are Justin’s vocals, with I overdubbed in New York. Almost all the regular vocal tracks have the UAD SSL Channel, LA2 and the Waves C6 multiband compressor. These three plug-ins work great on his vocals, so I tend to stick with them. Each of the vocal tracks has slightly different settings from them. They all go to Justin’s lead vocal bus above them, which has the FabFilter Pro-DS de-esser and the Pro-2 EQ. Justin’s lead vocals also go through the Bricasti, and the effect is printed. My own four backing vocals went through a vocal bus on which I had the SSL Channel, and a compressor, but they didn’t do much, nor did the sends. These vocals are very much in the background, I just wanted to add some texture really quickly. Finally, at the top of the session everything went through a Master track, on which I had the UAD SSL channel, mainly for compression set to mid-attack and auto-release — without drums you don’t need the slow attack and quick release — a Massey EQ, boosting 100Hz and 16kHz, a FabFilter Pro-L for level, and the Sonnox Oxford Inflator to add some sheen.” > **'What Do You Mean?'** > (...) “There were a few more complicated vocal effects, like the ‘JG FX’ track, on which I used the Vitalizer doing some spatial expanding, a UAD Fatso to thicken it up, and I then cut some low mids with an EQ, and used a de-esser. This effect track gave more depth to the vocal and made him sound more like an angel! Underneath that are two ‘Radio’ tracks [which sound like they could have come straight from Peter Gabriel’s ’80s Fairlight experiments]. I used Auto-Tune to pitch the vocals up, and then put on a SoundToys AlterBoy, which changed the formant, and then I’m filtering 350Hz and below. > “Below the ‘radio’ tracks are all my vocal delay tracks, in green as usual, with the bus for all delay throws at the top. One delay track, ‘Splaater’, is a flutter delay with Auto-Tune and the Cooper Time Cube, and the other two have the Waves H-Delay and SoundToys Echo Boy. They’re both quarter-note delays, but with different feels. Below the delay tracks are some ad lib tracks, and all the actual lead vocals, pulled out over several tracks. Most of them have my regular trio of UAD SSL Channel, LA2 and Waves C6 plug-ins, and all vocals are sent to the ‘JB Buss’, on which I have the FabFilter DS de-esser, a Manley EQ doing light cuts at 330Hz, 560Hz and 3kHz, and then a whole bunch of sends to my regular aux tracks at the bottom: a hall reverb, a plate reverb, a light quarter-inch delay, a light ping-pong delay and a Dimension D. > “Further down are four Justin backing vocal tracks, which go to a bus above them, ‘JBG1’, on which I have the SSL Channel, boosting highs and cutting lows and doing some heavy compression, a UAD 33609 compressor, and then the Waves Enigma [phaser/flanger] on a Mutron setting, adding some sweeping sounds. The sends are once again hall and plate reverbs, a quarter-note and a ping-pong delay and a UAD Roland Dimension D. Once Justin had decided to go with my rough mix, I spent another half hour on it, doing some EQ adjustments, and that was it.”more
Used for the strings on "Solo", as stated by mix engineer Mark Ralph in this November 2018 *Sound on Sound* interview. > “The main treatments on some of the Bollywood strings come from the Valhalla VintageVerb, the SoundToys Little AlterBoy and the Cableguys ShaperBox. We could have asked the string players to do those pitch slides, but because we wanted things to sound slightly synthesized we used a combination of pitch-bend automation in NI Kontakt, when we resampled them, and Little Alterboy to do this. Instead of going smoothly between notes, it bends up to the notes, and this plug-in is really good for automated pitch shifts like that."more
"My favourtie plugin right now, I'm using it on everything, It's LittleAlterBoy. I'm a cheap guy, I like the few plugins I have, it took me a long time to be convinced but a lot of my friends working with big people and I realy love what they do with the vocals and some times I use this on synthasisers. Once I started using it, I can't stop." - 15:42more
It's a fun toy and you can really mangle a vocal with this, but in FL Studio 12, it almost invariably causes the first occupied mixer track to play out of sync with the master tempo when it is loaded. While it is fun to use to mangle a vocal, this glitch makes it difficult to use in an actual project.
AlterBoy does a decent job with monophonic pitch stability, and the Formant knob really brings this one onto the forefront when you need something in a different key and/or tonality range. It usually only freaks out with pitch glitches if you're also teasing it with other pitch shifting.