Sunday, July 26, 2015

Setting Up Vocoders in Cubase Part 6: Native Instruments Razor

This is part 6 of a multi-part tutorial on setting up vocoder plugins in Cubase. See part 1 if you missed the introduction.


Razor is a powerful and unique synth produced by Native Instruments, that also has vocoder capability. Unlike all other vocoders we've looked at so far, Razor only supports an internal carrier configuration, using its own synth engine as the carrier. Razor is also not a standalone plugin; it's a Reaktor ensemble, meaning you need either Reaktor, Reaktor Player, or Komplete Kontrol in order to use it.

The screenshots below use the Vocoder Tutorial Projects that you can download at the Ultimate Outsider Downloads page.

USING RAZOR'S INTERNAL CARRIER

This configuration requires an audio track or group channel to serve as the modulator (voice), and a MIDI track to play the carrier signal on the plugin's synth. The Vocoder Internal Carrier demo project in the tutorial projects download is already set up for this.
  1. In the Vocoder Internal Carrier demo project (or your own Cubase project), add Reaktor5 FX or the FX version of Reaktor Player as an insert on the audio track or group channel you wish to use as your modulator. (If you are using a group channel in a Cubase project of your own, make sure that your modulator source's output is not routed to Cubase's "Stereo Out," because if it is, then you will always hear the raw modulator audio mixed in with Razor's outputs.)


  2. Inside Reaktor, open the Player tab and expand the Razor folder, then drag the Razor.rkplr ensemble to where it says, "Drag a file from the browser here." Razor will appear shortly after.
  3. Only some of Razor's presets use the vocoder capability. For just starting out, I recommend the Green Hornet Razorcoder preset.

  4. On your MIDI track's inspector, route the track's MIDI output to your Razor instance, as shown here:
  5. Begin playback on a section of your project that loops your modulator and carrier tracks. You should now hear a vocoded harmony line and see activity in the spectrogram portion of the instrument. If you don't hear anything, make sure you've got a known-good preset selected (like Green Hornet Razorcoder), and check your audio and MIDI routing.

If you followed along using the tutorial project, the result should sound like this:

Conclusion

If you were successful in following the above use cases, you should now be able to jump in and explore Razor's various features.

In the next part of this tutorial, we'll set up mda Vocoder and the Steinberg Vocoder...

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