Recording - May 2013 - 52

PLUG-IN OUTLET
Noveltech Vocal Enhancer

(and Character)
By Paul Vnuk Jr.

Finnish developer Noveltech originally developed plugins for the now-defunct PowerCore DSP engines from TC
Electronic. Noveltech was best known for the unique plug-in
simply called Character, and it’s here that our story begins...
Character is an “intelligent adaptive filtering system”
useful for enhancing the frequency response and dynamics of a source. Character is a harmonic enhancer akin
to an Aphex Aural Exciter on steroids, and is part eq,
part filter, part multiband compressor, part exciter and
part sonic voodoo all rolled into one. While that sounds
complicated, what makes Character unique is that it was
one of the first “one-knob wonder” plug-ins on the market. (Okay, there were a few other knobs, but in use, it
was really the large central Character knob that did the
heavy lifting and yielded the sonic changes.)
Character has been ported to native systems and is now
sold through the Plugin Alliance—see our August 2012
review for an explanation of this innovative and artistfriendly clearing house for plug-in sales, support, and copy
protection. The Plugin Alliance is now selling Noveltech’s newest plug-in ported from
the old PowerCore platform, called Vocal Enhancer. Can you guess what it does?
Vocal Enhancer is built upon the same technology found in Character, but offers
a deeper and more accurate level of control to pinpoint frequencies that benefit
from enhancing. And as we’ll see, it’s not just for vocals!
The Vocal Enhancer
The Vocal Enhancer’s interface uses a single window that is logical and intuitive.
Everything revolves around a large central FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) display; control
ranges from 1 to 20 kHz in frequency and –90 to 0 dB in amplitude. The audio signal
is represented by a thin grey-blue line that widens and turns orange as it is enhanced.
Two vertical lines move horizontally to select the low
and high ends of the frequency range you wish to affect,
and on each line there is a small triangle that you slide
up and down to choose the Q (bandwidth) of the filters.
This is akin to an old-school filter like those found on a
synthesizer. There is also a pair of buttons to select either
the 12 or 24 dB/octave setting for the filter. This section
also contains a large full-scale LED meter that shows just
how much enhancement is taking place.
To the left of the FFT window is the enhancement section, which is similar to the controls found on the
Character plug-in. There is a large Enhancement knob,
and a smaller Focus Frequency knob labeled Lo to Hi
(Noveltech points out that the Lo to Hi represents not any
Delivery: Web-based digital download only
Format: Mac OS X 10.6+ (Intel) or Windows XP/Vista/7; AU (Mac only),
VST2.4, VST3, AAX, RTAS, TDM, and AudioSuite
formats in 32 and 64 Bits as well as for Avid VENUE system.
Copy Protection and License: Plugin Alliance licensing—instantly
transferable licenses for up to three computers at one time.
A USB drive can act as a hardware license key (NOT required).
Documentation: PDF manual
Price: Vocal Enhancer, $199; Character, $149
More from: Noveltech, www.noveltechaudio.com; sold through the
Plugin Alliance, www.plugin-alliance.com
52

RECORDING May 2013

one absolute frequency, but more of a relative position in the frequency spectrum),
and lastly there is a small button labeled
Strong Processing which makes the processing more sensitive to weak signals.
On the right side of the FFT window are a
trio of LED meters for Input level, Output
level, and Gain Reduction. In and Out not
only represent their corresponding levels,

but contain small triangular controls which
allow you to adjust the corresponding signal
levels. The gain-reduction meter is tied to the
plug-in’s automatic level compressor which
is used to keep the input and output peak
levels consistent. Each set of meters has a
toggle button to turn off the compression and
the enhancement processing as a whole.
Lastly, on the bottom of the interface is a
section for choosing, storing and A/B comparing presets.

Giving up while gaining control
The first question I had, being an oldschool engineer (or, better put, control freak),
was, “Why use a plug-in that is largely a preset/under-the-hood affair when I can just pull
up my own filter, eq, compressor, etc.?”
The simple answer is ease of use for the
non-control-freak. But beyond that, both Vocal
Enhancer and Character are not merely preset machines, and you do have control over
how they react. It’s just that in many instances
one knob adjusts a whole collection of parameters, and most of these react to an input
signal in an interactive and intelligent way.


http://www.noveltechaudio.com http://www.plugin-alliance.com

Recording - May 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - May 2013

Recording - May 2013
Fade In
Contents
Talkback
Fast Forward
Jim Anderson Records Patricia Barber
Lewitt Authentica LCT 940
PreSonus Eris Series High-Definition Studio Monitors
How To Record Great Vocals At Home
Audio-Technica AT5040 Studio Vocal Microphone
Plug-ins To The Rescue—Real-Life Remedies For Vocal Tracks
Moon Professional 3500MP 2-Channel Microphone Preamp
DPA Microphones d:fine Series Headset Microphones
Plug-in Outlet: Toontrack EZmix Pack: Vocal Toolbox
Plug-in Outlet: iZotope Nectar Elements
Blue Spark Digital USB Microphone
Plug-in Outlet: Noveltech Vocal Enhancer (and Character)
Readers' Tapes
Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 17: Sweet Spot Conundrums—Part 4
CAD Audio Acousti-shield 32
Advertiser Index
Fade Out
Recording - May 2013 - Intro
Recording - May 2013 - Recording - May 2013
Recording - May 2013 - Cover2
Recording - May 2013 - 1
Recording - May 2013 - 2
Recording - May 2013 - 3
Recording - May 2013 - Fade In
Recording - May 2013 - 5
Recording - May 2013 - Contents
Recording - May 2013 - 7
Recording - May 2013 - Talkback
Recording - May 2013 - 9
Recording - May 2013 - Fast Forward
Recording - May 2013 - 11
Recording - May 2013 - 12
Recording - May 2013 - 13
Recording - May 2013 - Jim Anderson Records Patricia Barber
Recording - May 2013 - 15
Recording - May 2013 - 16
Recording - May 2013 - 17
Recording - May 2013 - Lewitt Authentica LCT 940
Recording - May 2013 - 19
Recording - May 2013 - PreSonus Eris Series High-Definition Studio Monitors
Recording - May 2013 - 21
Recording - May 2013 - 22
Recording - May 2013 - 23
Recording - May 2013 - How To Record Great Vocals At Home
Recording - May 2013 - 25
Recording - May 2013 - 26
Recording - May 2013 - 27
Recording - May 2013 - 28
Recording - May 2013 - 29
Recording - May 2013 - 30
Recording - May 2013 - 31
Recording - May 2013 - 32
Recording - May 2013 - 33
Recording - May 2013 - Audio-Technica AT5040 Studio Vocal Microphone
Recording - May 2013 - 35
Recording - May 2013 - 36
Recording - May 2013 - 37
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-ins To The Rescue—Real-Life Remedies For Vocal Tracks
Recording - May 2013 - 39
Recording - May 2013 - Moon Professional 3500MP 2-Channel Microphone Preamp
Recording - May 2013 - 41
Recording - May 2013 - DPA Microphones d:fine Series Headset Microphones
Recording - May 2013 - 43
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-in Outlet: Toontrack EZmix Pack: Vocal Toolbox
Recording - May 2013 - 45
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-in Outlet: iZotope Nectar Elements
Recording - May 2013 - 47
Recording - May 2013 - 48
Recording - May 2013 - 49
Recording - May 2013 - Blue Spark Digital USB Microphone
Recording - May 2013 - 51
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-in Outlet: Noveltech Vocal Enhancer (and Character)
Recording - May 2013 - 53
Recording - May 2013 - Readers' Tapes
Recording - May 2013 - 55
Recording - May 2013 - 56
Recording - May 2013 - 57
Recording - May 2013 - 58
Recording - May 2013 - 59
Recording - May 2013 - Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 17: Sweet Spot Conundrums—Part 4
Recording - May 2013 - 61
Recording - May 2013 - 62
Recording - May 2013 - 63
Recording - May 2013 - CAD Audio Acousti-shield 32
Recording - May 2013 - Advertiser Index
Recording - May 2013 - 66
Recording - May 2013 - 67
Recording - May 2013 - 68
Recording - May 2013 - 69
Recording - May 2013 - 70
Recording - May 2013 - 71
Recording - May 2013 - Fade Out
Recording - May 2013 - Cover3
Recording - May 2013 - Cover4
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