Review: Realivox Ladies by Realitone
5 vocalists for wide variety of lead, melody and background styles.
Ability to stack up to 10 vocalists in the Mixer
High level of realism achievable by using controls
Timbre function changes singers "age"
Will not solve all lead vocal needs
Reverb is algorithmic only (minor point)
Sampled vocal libraries as whole give me pause, but Realivox Ladies has me singing a different tune. The library lends itself to creating authentic-sounding vocals from lush and wispy to soaring and dramatic, this diverse collection of super-deep sampled singers is sure to find a place in everything from trailers, scores, ethnic styles, electronic music and offers a variety of possibilities for backing vocals across the board.
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Review: Realivox Ladies by Realitone
Realitone breaks new ground (again) with the release of Version 2 of Realivox Ladies, a virtual treasure trove – 5 talented female singers that have you covered for many of your needs from Shoo-Bee-Doo-Wah backups to soaring film scores and gossamer or haunting ethnic vocals and even opera.
Version 2 of Ladies has made some real strides over the previous incarnation by almost doubling the number of articulations and adding a number of great new features to make sculpting your solo or ensemble performances lifelike.
There are several purchasing options for the library with a Kontakt Player Version starting at $419.95 as well as Lite versions and single singer versions of the library.
Realivox Ladies is available from Realitone
Sampled vocal libraries as whole give me pause. Realivox Ladies made me do a refreshing double take after I watched the demo. After spending some time playing with it I was completely blown away by the realistic sounding vocals that I could create, not only by the soloists, but also by doubling or tripling an individual voice or creating an ensemble made up of various soloists. There is some care that must be taken to offset the delay and de-tune the vocals in an ensemble but it is a breeze in the interface.
After spending some time playing with it I was completely blown away by the realistic sounding vocals that I could create
Realivox Ladies is comprised of 5 soloists: Cheryl (airy and ethereal), Teresa (operatic diva), Patty (ethnic or pop), Julie (full range of styles) and Toni (smooth R’n B) that are each great sounding singers in their own right for the styles presented. With a bit of experimentation, I found that you can stretch these boundaries a bit as well. Some of these voices I couldn’t initially imagine in a specific musical context without having the music behind the singer. It seems straightforward enough, but a bit like imaging what a dramatic score could sound like by only listening to the Acapella vocal part in isolation.
The first thing that is immediately noticeable in the new version is the sleek and sexy new interface call “Ruby”. If you are a fan of the old one, you can change it back in the settings tab, but “Ruby” adds that air of elegance to the library that it deserves. Realivox Ladies is a library with a fairly deep set of controls so I am going to walk through the standouts and strongly suggest that you read the manual and watch the full Realitone video to get the most of the library. The manual is a nice easy read and the video will give you lots of tips and tricks to get your creative juices flowing.
The Main Page tab allows you to control your selection of singer by clicking the Name button or dragging your mouse. Once you decide on singer, you need to decide what she is going to sing. You can choose which Articulation is being sung by either using the keyswitches or clicking the on-screen keyboard. You can create additional articulations and phrases on the Articulations page which I will get to shortly. You also want to decide on what type of Legato you want to use. Poly Legato will allow you to play either individual notes or chords. The Release Time determines how many milliseconds you have to play the next note and maintain the Legato connection.Phrase and Vowel Legato are both monophonic and thus you can only play individual notes and will repeat only Phrase or Vowels in an articulation.
The Timbre function is another important feature here that I really like. Realivox Ladies uses a concept known as “neighbor borrowing” where it will take samples and plays them a half step lower or a half step higher and the re-pitches it so that you can age a singer to sound younger, older or employ the tactic in mixing multiple instances of the singer to add variety to the sound. One note on the Delay option; this is not a true delay but really utilized to add ambience to the voice. The Reverb is also just an algorithmic effect, not a true convolution reverb. I prefer using premium plugins for mixing in the room so my preference here is to route this through effects in my DAW.
On the Mixer tab you can create as many as ten instances of a specific singer or mix then together to create a custom ensemble. Here you can also adjust the Volume, Pan, Offset and Tuning of each singer. Offset should be employed to create a more natural sound in an ensemble in order to “humanize” the performance as singers tend to be slightly off in their annunciations. The Tune function can also be important in ensemble to change the pitching of the voices for the same reason. Finally, each singer’s Timbre can be adjusted by up to twelve darker or brighter settings – again, aging the voices from somewhere between a child to the natural soloist with a minor tonal difference.
The keyboard is divided up with the Yellow keys (C0-A1) for keyswitches, B1 repeats the last note played and then the natural range of the voice is spread over the Blue keys. Teal keys are reserved for stretched samples of the singer beyond their normal range for the singer loaded in slot one of the Mixer.
As I said earlier, you can keep stacking the vocalists into the Mixer and one important feature I need to mention here is the Load button. Once you turn on a new soloist, the Load button purges all of the samples and then loads just those needed for the selected singer and articulations. This feature can be particularly handy with memory utilization as the fully loaded Ladies-All patch loads in an about 1.5 GB of memory. With a larger number of singers and a smaller set of articulations, you can cut memory usage by more than 2/3.
The Articulations tab is where much of the magic happens.
The Articulations tab is where much of the magic happens. With Version 2 of Ladies, you have a choice from almost 60 different articulations now. It is important to note that these will apply to all singers loaded in the Mixer. Musically, there is an endless variety to what you can do with each singer and choice of these articulations. That being said, the library will not solve every need but carries its own weight with ability to move from backing vocals for a variety of musical styles to solo vocals for scoring and Vocalise performances. This new update makes this even more compelling as a substitute for a real vocalist in the studio.
The Settings tab allows you to get deep into the Attack and Release settings for everything, as well as to control Octave Shift, Reverb and Delay (remember what I said before about these two and their purpose), and finally the Vibrato control. Here you can experiment with the Speed and Amp/Pitch for the vocals and fine tune. This is where you will want to refer to the manual for some additional guidance, although the default setting sounds great.
What would a great vocal library be without natural breath sounds? The Breaths patch allows you to further humanize your vocals and add authentic Exhales and Inhales that are variable in length, played across the keyswitches noted.
All and all, Realivox Ladies made a convert out of me.
All and all, Realivox Ladies made a convert out of me. I found everything here to create authentic sounding vocals that will fit right in with a vast number of applications. If you are scoring films, you have Cheryl and Patty (my personal favorites) for the lush and wispy or soaring and dramatic needs of both film and trailer work. I found them to work convincingly well in a variety of different ethnic musical styles, as well as an addition to my electronic music. Julie is a full range vocalist with some pretty wide-open possibilities for backup vocals, jingles, or paired with the other singers for ensemble. Toni is a solid singer for Soul or R’ n B vocals and Teresa is the Diva of the group of operatic music.
I really enjoyed working with this library and have only scratched the surface here on the possibilities. I would encourage you to check this one out if it fits the various types of music you work with. As I said earlier, working with the Timbre control and ensemble shaping, you can create some real magic with Realivox Ladies. As with all of my reviews, please check out the audio and video demos and online documentation links below to determine if this is the right tool for you.
Realivox Ladies downloads at just over 8 GB and requires the full version of Kontakt version 5.5.2 or higher.
The library contains sample sets for 5 separate vocalists including Cheryl,- Airy and pretty, perfect for ethereal film cues, Teresa – Soprano opera diva, Patty – Pop or Ethnic, Julie – Full range, Toni – Smooth R’n B.
With the release of Realivox Ladies V2.0 the library now contains true-legato samples and polyphonic legato.
There are several purchasing options for the library with a Kontakt Player Version ($419.95) a Kontakt Version ($399.95) as well as Lite versions, Lite Kontakt Player Version ($219.95) and Lite Kontakt Version ($199.95).
There is also an option to just buy “The Diva” as Realivox Teresa as a Kontakt Version ($119.95) or Kontakt Player Version ($134.95).
Realivox Ladies is available from Realitone