I’ve admitted before that I am a sucker for strange, and often gimmicky, melodic manoeuvres. A monstrous touchpad with swappable silicone playing skin-deeps? Sign me up. A bisected grapefruit that you tilt and slap? I’ll make two. So, an app that lets you play a synthesizer simply by buzz a theme was clearly going to grab my attention.
Dubler first debuted last year as a packaged transaction: a custom-built designed USB microphone and an app that turned your beatboxing, singing or any other audio really into MIDI data. With the launch of Dubler 2, Vochlea is manufacturing the special mic optional. The new app allows you to quickly and easily calibrate it to work with any microphone or audio source of your hand-picked. But I want to be frank about something right off the bat: Dubler works best with its own special microphone.
Terrence O’Brien/ Engadget
When I experimented Dubler using both an SM57 and an SM58 run through a Focusrite 2i4 the research results were decidedly mingled. The MIDI data was always a little messier, there was more noticeable latency and the tone tracking just wasn’t as good. The latency was mostly an issue when using Dubler to trigger rhythms. With the buffer size in my audio regulates at 128 samples it was almost impossible to keep a lilt as the drum thumps came precisely a little too slow and impeded throwing me off.
If you use the dedicated mic sold by Vochlea, though, the tale is a bit different. In happening, Dubler 2 is quite impressive. There is basically no palpable latency. Pitch tracking is surprisingly accurate. And the resulting MIDI data is reasonably clean … or at least as clean-living as the resources. Which I belief is one of the first things I should lay out: If you can’t carry a motif, Dubler is only going to be so useful. My vocal sciences are borderline nonexistent under the best of circumstances. But the onslaught of twilight allergy season has cleared things significantly worse.( I would describe my current vocal form as chain-smoking donkey .) Could I get Dubler to spit out something resembling a song? Sure. But it wasn’t always easy and I had to clean up a lot of MIDI after the fact.
So, I did what any smart-alecky being would do: Enlist the help of their sister who has spent a good glob of her life singing and training with vocal coaches.
The difference was immediately self-evident. Where Dubler often struggled to figure out what was going on with my flat erratic humming it was generally able to follow my sister’s vocal histrionics without much topic. You can tell Dubler to automatically snap mentions to a particular scale which I highly recommend regardless of your job skills. But even in chromatic state the app was able to pretty accurately identify notes my sister sang and even follow along the vibrato of her spokesperson fairly well.
To get rightfully usable outcomes out of Dubler though, you’ll need to learn to use it properly. While it’s fun to belt out a melody or clumsily beatbox your behavior through a rhythm proportion there are a lot of gimmicks to impelling the most of the app. For one, you’ll need to tailor your vocal tones so that the app can recognize them easier. This is especially true of the rhythm provokes. Simple beatboxing is probably going to trip up the software unless you’re really good. Sound like “ti” “ts” and “ta” will often get mixed up, so it’s better to use more different musics that you might not contact for if you were actually trying to beatbox, like “ka”. It’s likewise best if you keep the number of provokes it enables us to three or four. You can program up to eight, but it’s hard to make varied enough hubbubs for it to be useful.
The same is true for themes extremely. If you simply hum with your cheeks closed, Dubler will struggle more to tell when you’ve changed memoes and you’ll end up with messier data. It’s better to go with percussive sounds like “da” to help separate indicates from each other.
You can also gave Dubler in chord mode which I actually received was a fun and interesting mode to be drawn up with new progressions when I was feeling deposited. But perhaps my favorite facet is the ability to turn vowel sounds into MIDI CC information. That meant that if you deemed a tone and gradually shifted it from an “ooo” to an “aaa” you could cause the filter to open up. It’s difficult to control these features though, and it was better for creating strange and interesting interferences than actual music.
If you’re vocally inclined then Dubler braces a lot of predict as a musical representation pad. I sometimes struggle to turn what I sounds in my foreman into musics on a keyboard or guitar and humming it might be the quickest and easiest road to get an idea out.
While the ability to use the app with your own mic is appealing, right now the calibration seems like it could use a little work. That tell me anything, my microphones are old and have encountered a lot of abuse. And it’s not like the SM57 is known for its excellent vocal loyalty. I’d probably have better luck if I had SM7B fresh out of the box to measure with. But I had to move due with what I had. And, what I had, wasn’t as good as Vochlea’s Dubler Studio mic when it came to capturing clean MIDI data. The application is pre-tuned for that mic and there’s fewer variables to contend with.
Terrence O’Brien/ Engadget
Which leads us to our final phase: cost. Dubler is not cheap. And that’s not surprising. While Vochlea isn’t the first or only company to try turning audio into MIDI, it’s still not a simple task. So you’d have to be pretty committed to the idea of singing to control your synths to fell $329 on the Dubler Studio Kit or even the $249 for the app on its own ($ 78 to upgrade if you own the original Dubler previously ). For someone like myself, it’s a tough sell. But for a vocalist who wants to start dipping in the world of music creation and synthesizers( even just for idea generation) without having to learn a whole new instrument I can certainly investigate the appeal.