Replacement for VX-64 Vocal Strip?

Replacement for VX-64 Vocal Strip?
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Leftover from my days using Sonar, one of my absolute favorite utility plugins from Cakewalk was the VX-64 Vocal Strip.

It was a really unique plugin with input and output saturation stages, a de-esser, a compressor and expander, a 3 band “tube” equaliser (which allowed you to saturate different eq bands with different amounts of saturation), a doubler and a delay.

I absolutely loved this thing for background vocal busses, in particular. The saturation properties were what made it really unique, and the fact that you could re-order the processors within the plugin.

All of this came for FREE with Sonar… (and you can still get it to work with Cakewalk by Bandlab, which is now also free)…

I still have this on my Windows machine, and it still works fine in Reaper… Alas, there is absolutely no option to port this over to my Mac system.

Here’s the thing: I had to try to duplicate this on a number of mixes I ported across to my new system. It took about 6 individual plugins to try to approximate what it was doing!!!.. and then I only got ‘sort of in the ballpark’ of the sound this thing produced.

I would love it if someone ( @bozmillar ?) could come up with a plugin that duplicates the functionality and sonic possibilities of the VX-64. I’m pretty sure it’s out there for free these days, but it is Windows only, so getting a cross-platform version would be my dream-come-true!

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It seems to me that Scheps OmniChannel does a lot of the same things, except for the more advanced saturation options. Can’t you find a way to fill in the missing bits with the insert feature of the plugin?

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The Omni-Channel is great, but it misses out on quite a bit of the specific combination of functions of this plugin… put it this way: You could use it with the insert, and it would get you some of the way there, but you would need to add more plugins in the chain to get within a bull’s roar…

I actually used Kilohearts Snap Heap Plugin System to get me most of the way there… but as I said… not quite!

Wow that free plugin looks killer!

About VX-64, I don’t know…other than sampling or reprogramming the same thing it doesn’t look like you’re going to get the same result in just one existing plugin.

I’m in the slow process of collecting the Kilohearts plugins. Love that dev.

Another one you might try is Voxengo’s Voxformer. I’d be collecting these plugins too, but they’re typically priced past my “pain threshold” for an impulse buy. It’s got a “Presence” and “Saturation” stage and routing options too.

My “standard” vocal processor is Izotope’s Nectar3. However, I have to use it sparingly because of the CPU hit - but worth it IMHO. I’ve pushed past the “pain threshold” on this dev and have invested in their stuff over the years.

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That is interesting. I never did mesh with this plugin that well when I used cakewalk but now that you remind me of it I miss it. I think that when I tried it I was early in my learning and I wanted a magic bullet not knowing that that did not exist I was disappointed.
Now I use the softube console 1 system to do this kind of channel work. But it doesn’t have the functionality of the VX-64. I guess you could create a “macro control”, i think it is called in studio one I am sure reaper has a similar feature, using your fav doubler, delay, etc. I know it still would not feel quite the same.

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Yeah the thing with VX-64 was that the saturation was both on the input, the output, and could be added into three different bands of the equaliser as well. That was a unique setup I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Yeah that is what I have done - I’ve saved a plug-in chain in Reaper. As I said, what I have is close enough for BVs, but the doubler and the saturation were pretty much impossible to emulate with any real accuracy. All other doublers sound super chorussy and lame by comparison.

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That’s what I’ve started to use. I’m hoping that by using the AI settings as a starting point I can prevent myself from going too far in improvising with my own FX chain… But it is expensive (I have the standard plus version) considering I probably already own all the ingredient plugins one way or an other. But I’m looking for a more standardised workflow than the haphazard workflow i had and went for Isotope (Nektar, Neutron3 and Ozone) on the one hand and Andrew Scheps on the the other. I want to try and mix with either one set or the other with minimal use of extra plugins and then decide which gets the best results for me. Nektar has quite good manipulation options for adding different kinds of distortion with mid-side and multiband options, but if you really want specific sounding distortion I have no idea if you can dial in anything like what you are looking for Andrew.

I’m not a big fan of most doublers for the same reason. It sounds too much like modern pop music… :nauseated_face: That applies to the (free) Isotope doubler as well. I find it hard to dial in a sound that I like and in most cases decide not to use it. Anyway for vocals a real double is perhaps a better option to avoid chorus effects. On the other hand, I watched a You tube about the recording of Bohemian Rapsody where Brian May recalls that Freddy Mercury was so accurate in doubling that it caused the typical chorus/ flanging like effect. There was no processing on his vocal!

I watched this just last night! Super interesting and informative AND impressive! :open_mouth: