Sonnox VoxDoubler Review Sonnox VoxDoubler Review
4.5
Article... Sonnox VoxDoubler Review 4.5

Double or Nothing

If you’re not familiar with Sonnox plugins you’re missing out on an engineering staple. This classic brand has offered genre defining processors such as the Inflator, Oxford EQ, TransMod and the amazing Oxford Reverb has a new trick up its sleeve to catch the eyes and ears of a younger generation of producers.

That generation is using Ableton Live, FL Studio and other newer, more user friendly DAWs and they are looking for processors that are more straightforward offering task-specific processing with a clean, optimised GUI. This is something Sonnox are taking pretty seriously. Enter the new Sonnox Toolbox range.

“…offering task-specific processing with a clean, optimised GUI.”

User Interface

The VoxDoubler is actually a mini-bundle consisting of two plugins: Widen and Thicken. Yes, I know, it doesn’t get any simpler than that! Upon instantiating either plugin you will notice the über clean GUI you are presented with. If you hit the [i] in the bottom left corner you’ll be presented with three options. The first is an extremely useful Quick Guide that tells you exactly how to use the plugin. This is a perfect example of the new Sonnox Toolbox paradigm.

The controls themselves are standardised across the two processors with ‘STEREO SPREAD’ on Thicken and ‘WIDTH’ on Widen being the only slight differences. Similar as they look, the differences between these plugins is notable.

We have to mention that with the super-sized screens and up to 5k options freely available to all of at this point in time, the tiny, fiddlesome interfaces of a great many plugins are no longer welcome. A great start has been the willingness of some devs to include small medium and large options but, whilst being welcome, that is not what

we at APN term an elegant solution, so full marks to Sonnox for their delightful resizeable GUI. A simple drag on the right corner allows you to blow the plugin up to what appears to be 200% or any place inbetween that and the standard dimension. Screen Real Estate is at a premium, just like real-world Real Estate. It’s time everybody jumped on board!

“…full marks to Sonnox for their delightful resizeable GUI.”

What's the Difference?

Thicken creates a facsimile of your vocal, overlaying it and allowing you to pan anywhere between the original version and 100% width (hard-panned left and right) and -100% or the former, simply inverted. Judicious use of the Humanising function will alter the generated vocal enough to prevent unwanted phasing – an age old problem when you try to copy an original vocal to a new track.

Widen actually creates two copies of the original voice panning each to the left and right of the original vocal. This does exactly what it says on the tin – widen your vocal. At 0% both voices will be centrally panned but at 100% they’ll be hard panned left and right. Again, the goal is to tweak the Humanise controls to differentiate the generated vocals.

Humanise

The main advantage of VoxDoubler is immediately apparent if you have ever tried to thicken up a lead (or even group of backing vocals) after the artist has departed back to where they came from (often another state or even country…) This means you are now obliged to duplicate the vocal track and pull up a vocal pitching plugin to manually adjust the pitch and timing of each syllable with minute precision, in order to avoid those phasing issues we talked about earlier. After this you may want to add a detuning effect like the excellent MicroShift by Soundtoys or the classic Eventide MicroPitchShift effect.

Whilst those effects are absolute classics, engineered by the original minds who created those effects. They exist because clever engineers back in the day were looking for a quick fix and decided that the most realistic way to get it was by spreading the original signal and detuning it – much like a chorus effect. In its day, this effect, used judiciously was a very convincing way of making a vocal appear richer but now, in today’s hyper-clean production environment it’s immediately recognisable as a very sweet stab at late twentieth century, production kitsch.

“The main advantage of VoxDoubler is immediately apparent if you have ever tried to thicken up a lead (or even group of backing vocals).”

Artist: GQ Rap Dry_No Processing
Artist: GQ Rap Thicken Mix 16%_Width 82%
Artist: GQ Rap Widen Mix 50%_Width 94%
Artist: GQ Rap Widen+Thicken Same settings

So What's the Big Deal?

“Naturally both plugins feature a Mix control to blend wet and dry signals, essentially offering the user a parallel processing environment.”

Some processes are just not meant to be hand-crafted and vocal doubling is one of them. It’s a texture not a show of prowess. There are way more important things to turn your creativity towards. For this reason VoxDoubler is an unmitigated gem. It sounds really, really good – you can liken it to the difference between an 80’s airbrush picture and the actual Polaroid it was copied from. VoxDoubler is the Polaroid. To know that you can whip out convincing doubles on key words for your Rapper or exemplify some backing vocals in a Celine Dion-esque masterpiece is reason enough to pay attention.

Naturally both plugins feature a Mix control to blend wet and dry signals, essentially offering the user a parallel processing environment, negating the need for Aux Bussing and so on – another time-saving function. You’ll also notice the Aux switch on both interfaces which basically fixes the mix to 100% allowing you to instantiate the plugin on a Return if that’s how you’d prefer to use it.

CONCLUSION

There really is nothing else to be said about these stunning new Toolbox plugins from Sonnox. We are simply in love with them. Thanks to the absolute thoughtfulness inherent in their design it is clear to the user that these were conceived by producers and engineers from the very beginning (and according to SOnnox, there are more Toolbox plugins on the way).

We definitely love the sound, the GUI and even the TOO LOUD warning that pops up if you push the plugin too hard. To clarify before we sign off; the VoxDoubler does the single job it’s designed to do in an easily accessible way, offering fast, believable results in seconds. The VoxDoubler is the definition of a great plugin.

“The VoxDoubler is the definition of a great plugin.”

Price and Availability

Sonnox VoxDoubler weighs in at a solid $80 USD and is available to buy directly from here.

Compatibility

Compatible on Mac OS X 10.7 – 10.12

Audio Units-compatible application (Logic, Digital Performer Ableton etc.)

VST2 or VST3 compatible application (Cubase, Studio One, Ableton etc)

Pro Tools 10.3.8, 11.3.2, 12 – AAX Native

Approved Pro Tools CPU, OS and hardware configuration: www.avid.com

Compatible on Windows Win 7 or Later

VST2 or VST3 compatible application (Cubase, Nuendo, Sequoia etc.)

Pro Tools 10.3.8, 11.3.2, 12 – AAX Native

Approved Pro Tools CPU, OS and hardware configuration: www.avid.com

    

The first in a new line of stunning Toolbox plugins is a definitive must-have for producers and engineers in any genre.
  • SImplistic Design
  • Re-Sizeable GUI
  • Single Purpose
  • Not combined into one plugin
  • No Presets
  • Price

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Baby Brown Publisher & Editor

Baby Brown is a Grammy Nominated Composer/Producer and guitar player. He’s privileged to have written, played, produced and recorded some of the coolest artists ever from Eminem to Xzibit, Mickey Avalon to Deniece Williams the Lady of Rage and C Murder – to name a few. His technology swag is strong and he’s happy to make friends with you on Instagram.

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