As many may know, Antares Tech are the masterminds behind one of the most influential software plugins of all time: Auto-Tune. Their current suite of vocal effects includes numerous tools used by engineers and producers everyday to enhance the sound of their vocals, and Duo is one of them. Antares Duo executes the doubling process with precision and transparency — one of the finest doublers we’ve reviewed in some time.
What Is a Vocal Doubler?
A vocal doubler is an audio processing technique used to create the illusion of multiple voices or singers. It’s used in music production all the time, particularly in genres like pop, rock, and electronic. The purpose of a vocal doubler is to add thickness, depth, and width to a main vocal recording.
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Vocal doublers are often used to enhance the impact of choruses, add depth to lead vocal lines, or create a fuller sound in vocal harmonies.
How Does a Vocal Doubler Work?
A doubler achieves its goal by creating copies, or “doubles,” of the original vocal track and slightly altering their timing, pitch, or both. By offsetting the timing and pitch of the doubled tracks, the effect creates the perception of multiple singers performing in unison or harmony.
Antares Duo Review: The Ultimate Vocal Doubler Plugin?
System Specs & Requirements
Antares Duo requires Pro Tools 2018.1 or higher for the AAX version of the plugin. It also runs on macOS 11 or later, and Windows 10 or 11. The VST3 version of the plugin simply requires a compatible host DAW, as well as macOS 11 or later and Windows 10 or 11. For Audio Units, macOS 11+ and a compatible host will do the trick.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is one of Duo’s specialties. The simple layout is intuitive and fast. You can quickly create a duplicate of the original vocal track, or craft one with a totally different timbre. All it takes is a single vocal track, and you can achieve instant doubling with very little input or manipulation.
When we think about Antares and specifically Auto-Tune, we tend to remember some of the most heavy-handed applications of the plugin. It’s a powerful and obvious effect when used as such — in certain cases, it’s even polarizing. But it certainly doesn’t have to be, and Duo further exemplifies how intended use has a drastic impact on overall perception and quality.
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Duo can be a subtle thickening or stereo widening of a main vocal, or it can create the illusion of two different vocalists altogether. In most applications, it sounds natural and extremely realistic. The average listener would hardly recognize that a plugin was used to make the magic.
Antares Duo Features
Duo is a streamlined plugin. It contains a Variation section with control over pitch, timing, timbre, and vibrato. On the right side of the interface, we have two faders. One is for the original vocal, and one is for the double. You can adjust the mix between the two, as well as their position in the stereo field. Finally, there’s a selection for the Vocal Range, just like the one in Auto-Tune. This helps the plugin more accurately track and process the incoming signal.
Does Antares Duo Work With Instruments As Well?
Like virtually all Antares effects, users frequently load up instances on mix elements other than vocals. For gentle widening or fattening, Duo could be used on instruments like guitar, bass, piano, keyboards, or more. While the heart and soul of Antares plugins is for vocal use, a little experimentation can prove the versatility of effects like Duo.
Closing Thoughts: Is the Duo Plugin Worth the Price?
As a standalone plugin, you can purchase Duo for $79. Antares currently leans heavily into the subscription model, which includes three tiers. The cheapest of those that lets you acquire Duo is roughly $2/month as part of the Auto-Tune Essentials bundle. Because of the flexible subscription plans and the ability to alternatively purchase a perpetual license, Antares Duo is reasonably priced.
For a quick and easy vocal doubler, Duo nails it.