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One of the most beautiful effects that you can put on a track is the sound of a large vocal ensemble. In the old days, you had two options to create this. The first was to hire a massive choir to sing in perfect harmony. The second was to record hundreds of vocal tracks, all perfectly hitting the right notes, and then mix them all down with painstaking attention.

Today, Antares’ Harmony Engine vocal harmony generator produces the same effect, instantaneously and with stunning realism. Let’s look at using Vocal Harmonizer with Harmony Engine to create a virtual ensemble from a single voice.

Harmony Engine delivers the sound of a 32-person vocal ensemble from a single human voice.

I’m Not in Love (With Painstaking Workflows)

To understand how harmony generators work in the context of a track, the best reference is 10cc’s classic hit “I’m Not in Love.” To create the effect, 10cc’s Eric Stewart recorded the band’s three other members singing 16 iterations of the  “ahhh” vocalization for each note in the chromatic scale. Each was laid down as a tape loop, creating 48 different loops per note, and 576 loops in total. These loops were then faded in and out using a mixer. The result was one of the most pioneering and dramatic vocal effects of its time.

It’s a beautiful effect, but it’s worth noting that it took Eric Stewart three weeks to produce. With the Harmony Engine plug-in from Antares, the process takes just seconds and can be generated from a single human voice.

The Wizard of Ahhhs

Of course, hearing is believing. Let’s use the Harmony Engine vocal harmonizer plug-in to produce a similarly dramatic vocal harmony effect. In the sample below, you can hear a simple loop of a single sustained, vocalized note–similar to how 10cc started things with “I’m Not In Love.” (I’ve also added a little reverb for atmosphere.)

To see how we accomplished this, take a look at the screenshot below. We’ve adjusted the Humanize controls to add natural vibrato and timing variation to the virtual voices. That’s a key reason that Harmony Engine is the best vocal harmony plug-in for this process, because it allows you to create an effect that doesn’t sound like a bunch of clones. There’s also a global Glide control to smooth transitions between notes, and dedicated Vibrato controls which we’ll explore when examining the voices.
On the next screenshot below, you’ll see the controls that you get individually for each of Harmony Engine’s 4 harmony voices.
Interval lets you select a harmonic interval relative to the input pitch. Throat Length lets you adjust formant sounds to give each voice its own unique character. Vibrato makes the voices sound even more realistic and unique. You can choose the rate of modulation, when the vibrato starts, and how much it will vary pitch and amplitude. (For a more natural-sounding ensemble, set similar Vibrato settings across the different voices.)

Expand at Scale

Harmony Engine’s Scale Interval mode lets you choose a global scale and set voices to scale intervals, rather than raw semitones. Listen to the examples below.

The note sung is in E major, so Harmony Engine is set accordingly

You can also multiply things exponentially using the Choir feature. The Choir effect can be enabled or disabled individually for each of the 4 voices and the original input voice. You can add up to sixteen extra voices per voice channel for a total size of up to eighty voices. Let’s hear that phrase again with Choir enabled.

Harmony Engine Inspiration

We’ve barely scratched the surface of what Harmony Engine can do. But as you can see it gives you a lot to work with. If you’re ready to explore the possibilities of Harmony Engine, download a free trial of Auto-Tune UnlimitedAuto-Tune Unlimited comes complete with Harmony Engine, every current version of Auto-Tune, professional vocal production effects, FREE upgrades, and more.

Auto-Tune Unlimited comes complete with Harmony Engine, every current edition of Auto-Tune, a full range of vocal effects plug-ins, and more.

What is a Vocal Harmony Generator?

You already know that the Auto-Tune Harmony Engine is the best vocal harmonizer plug-in for creating big, lush choir effects like the one I’ve outlined above. But what is a vocal harmony generator, anyway? Simply put, it’s a process that produces harmony vocal arrangements—usually in real-time—from a single vocal track.

The best vocal harmonizer plug-ins, such as Harmony Engine, give you new ways to create the harmony parts you hear in your head, with the ability to fine-tune using a variety of control modes, from fully automatic to individual control of every note.