Music producers have been experimenting for decades to generate “larger than life” vocals and instruments. Luckily today, there are many ways of creating a wide stereo image, but some of the plugins are also capable of introducing additional aspects like depth and texture. For example, a company named SoundToys has released an excellent plugin called MicroShift, and in this tutorial, we will examine its unique sound processing capabilities.
MicroShift by SoundToys
MicroShift gives you three different types of a classic stereo widening trick at the push of a button. It uses a particular recipe of pitch shifting, and delay that varies over time, to create a rich stereo width. It’s incredibly straightforward to use and ideal for spicing up important instruments, or for blending background vocals subtly into a mix. The design replicates hardware pitch shifters like the Eventide H3000 and the AMS DMX 15-80s. MicroShift captures the quirks of the originals including saturation and even the different de-glitching algorithms used by these units. Bearing this in mind, you can have the big, wide sound of the original hardware with a refined and straightforward interface that makes getting those tried-and-true sounds faster and easier than ever. In the next tutorial, I will guide you thru its user interface and show you a few practical audio examples.
In the project that I have made earlier in SoundBridge: DAW, I have an acoustic guitar riff and a vocal line which will be suitable to process with MicroShift. Let’s start by adding a fresh instance of the MicroShift to both channels of the Acoustic guitars and the vocals.
As you probably noticed the interface of the MicroShift looks pretty simple, but don’t let that discourage you. This simple control makes much difference. Let’s start going thru them one by one.
This control determines the balance between the dry (unprocessed) and wet (processed) sounds in MicroShift. For the clearest, fullest sound, 100 percent wet is the way to go. For a beefy, more chorused sound, you can use the Mix control to blend in the original dry signal with the pitch-shifted and delayed effect.
Controls the crossover point of a 2-band crossover filter, and applies the affected signal only to the high band. While very source dependent, it’s useful for widening mid and high-frequency content without making the low end sound vague or muddy. It defaults to 20 Hz but can go all the way up to 10 kHz.
It’s divided into three different variations. The Style 1, is modeled on preset #231 from the Eventide`s H3000 hardware unit. It is a genuinely close match to the delay and pitch variations of the original preset. The Style 2, is modeled on preset #519 from the H3000, which was based on a different pitch shifting algorithm. The Style 3, is modeled after a favorite setting from another vintage hardware unit, the AMS/Neve DMX 15-80. This style has much wider delay variation, different saturation characteristics, and a separate, harder, ‘de-glitching’ circuit.
Increases or decreases the amount of micro pitch-shifting that is happening with any of the three types. Because the pitch shifting for each style is continually time-varying, this control is in units of percent. At 50%, the amount of detuning is halved — but it doubles st 200%.
This control increases or decreases the amount of delay that is happening with any of the three types. Because the delay for each style is continually time-varying, this control is in units of percent. At 50%, the amount of delay is halved. At 200%, the amount of delay is doubled.
Once we have examined the main control parameters, we can move to the audio examples. Like I mentioned before; first, we will hear how acoustic guitar riff sounds unprocessed and then processed with Microshift. You will notice that with MicroShift, acoustic guitar riff got a totally new texture. It became wider, spacious and slightly chorus sounding. On the other hand, the vocal line was already double tracked and harmonized in the first place. Nevertheless, Microshift gave it a slight push to become wider and more present in the mix. Finally, we will listen to the acoustic guitar riff and the vocal line in context with the other elements in the song.
~Ac. Guitar – Unprocessed
~Ac. Guitar – Processed With MicroShift
~Vocal – Unprocessed
~Vocal – Processed With MicroShift