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iZotope Nectar.

June 1, 2011
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Fig1_BasicModeFig. 1 Basic mode includes a selected complement of controls.

  

Vocal processing to the max

Nectar seems more like a mastering program for vocals than just a “channel strip,” and includes several novel twists that make it far more than just a vocaloriented derivative of iZotope’s Ozone or Alloy.

Getting Started

Nectar has two operational levels. In the basic mode (Figure 1), you can specify a musical genre and style, with Nectar providing appropriate default settings. You also choose mixing or tracking modes, with the latter offering a lighter CPU load by reducing look-ahead, and abbreviating some features. Crucial controls are brought out for quick adjustments; the control complement varies somewhat depending on the chosen genre/style.

Going Deeper

Click on Advanced View (Figure 2), and you can edit all parameters of all 11 processors:


• Pitch correction. This provides automatic correction and in some hosts, manual correction with graphic, per-note editing of pitch and correction amount. Among the 64-bit Windows programs I tested, the manual option was available in Pro Tools, Studio One Pro, and Ableton Live, but not Wavelab, Sonar, or Vegas; this is a limitation of the host, not Nectar.
• Breath control. Identifies breath noise, then reduces it using compression. This has much latency due to significant look-ahead— consider bouncing or freezing a track once it’s set as desired.
• Noise gate. Standard, but also includes RMS detection option, and can serve as an expander.
• EQ. 5-bands, with seven response curves for each band.
• Saturation. Tube, tape, retro, analog, retro, and warm, with variable-slope high-frequency rolloff.
• Doubler. Actually, it’s a quadrupler, with a sophisticated design featuring adjustable pitch off set, delay, panning, gain, and octave up or down options for each “voice.” Two bands of shelving EQ can interact with each other for unusual responses.
• Compressors. The two different compressors, optionally routable for parallel compression, model four different compressor types; one includes post-filtering.
• De-esser. Minimizes “ess” sounds effectively
• Limiter. Complements the compressors by placing a ceiling on the peak dynamic range
• Reverb. If you’re familiar with the mastering reverb in Ozone . . . this isn’t it! It’s flexible and sounds good, thanks to seven reverb algorithms, with seven variable parameters.
• Delay. This offers digital, tape, and analog algorithms with modulation, tempo sync, and separate high-cut/lowcut parameters.

Fig2_AdvancedModeFig. 2 In advanced mode, all parameters for all processors are accessible.

  

Tweak Time

Despite the depth, if you know your way around signal processing, it’s not hard to figure out what’s going on. If you use Ozone or Alloy, you’ll feel right at home due to the GUI commonality.

Conclusions

Nectar is extremely deep—probably too deep for some, who will be thankful for the genre and style presets. Although experts might not feel the need for these “training wheels,” they’re a time-saving point of departure—get close to what you want, and you won’t have to spend as much time tweaking.

Although you probably have similar plug-ins for your DAW, the optimization for vocals makes Nectar a convenient, one-stop-shop for whipping your vocals not just into shape, but pretty much into any shape you want.

iZotope Nectar
$299 MSRP

STRENGTHS:

Deep collection of highly-editable plug-ins optimized for vocals. Genre/style presets are ideal for those who don’t want to spend time tweaking. Handles RTAS/ AudioSuite (Pro Tools 7+), DirectX, VST, AU, MAS. Separate mixing and tracking modes to optimize CPU load.

LIMITATIONS:

Major latency with Breath Control module. Not all hosts can use the Pitch Correction module’s graphic editor.

izotope.com

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