Review: Baby Audio Humanoid

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Review: Baby Audio Humanoid

Baby Audio Humanoid
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

Humanoid Vocal Transformer/Hard-Tuner Plugin | Baby Audio | Enquire for pricing

Baby Audio have been featured pretty heavily on Mixdown’s pages, and for good reason. Their plugins, packs of VST synths are supremely creative; and we should know! We try a lot of different plugins.

The Baby Audio Humanoid plugin is a newer offering, a vocal synthesis plugin designed to shift and shape formants, adjust pitch and more, offering the uniquely robotic sound of automatic tuning software, but pushing it to a whole new level. Where some plugins and software are designed to seamlessly correct pitch and performance, Baby Audio’s Humanoid is more explicitly designed to sound explicitly effected.

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With main controls like Pitch and Synthesize, Filter, Utility and finally Effects, Humanoid allows you to easily shape and hone your input into the sound of your dreams (does Humanoid dream of electric sheep?)

Scale, Note or MIDI mode

Pitch is used, as its name suggests, to adjust pitch and you can select Scale, Note or MIDI mode for input signal. This instructs the plugin where and when to shift and process different notes, formants and more, seamlessly forming a voice into something not quite human, but obviously with a humanoid element. Select the Key, and adjust how explicitly the plugin Quantizes, ‘Robotifies’ or affects Formant shaping and sound, a particularly human element in vocalised sounds like singing or speech.

From here, you can add a totally synthesised layer beneath your voice with the Synthesize control. If I could liken this to anything, it’d be to say that the Synthesize control makes the Humanoid’s input particularly like a traditional robotic sound from a film, think Darth Vader, or other random characters from the Star Wars universe. While the synthesized sound follows your voice, it adds an underlying, digital and robotic timbre to it all. 

While not intended for this use at all, I found myself trying this on bass guitar for an additional layer of rock solid low-end. One thing we humans have over robots is our imagination, used to think outside the box! The Humanoid plugin can be used for more than what it was intended for.

The Synthesize section of the plugin has controls for Mix (between 0% and 100%), as well as Note Shift and Stretch controls to subtly refine, or to help the effect stand out as it gets further and further from the input source. Finally, the Synthesize section of the plugin allows you to select the wave shape of the synthesized sound.

Filter serves like more of an EQ than a traditional filter section. With a high-pass filter and low-pass filter as you’d expect, you can also add resonance at either end where your filter begins, as well as Gain, Width (of the bell) and Frequency selection for an additional EQ band.

From here, the Humanoid plugin offers Utility controls to De-ess, Gate and Smooth your input signal, allowing you to refine and shape the sound before it gets synthesized, affecting the overall sound from the plugin. In addition to Utility, there’s Effects to Widen and add Warble. 

Sonically, the Humanoid does it exactly what it says it does – it synthesizes a robot-like undertone (or overtly C-3PO timbre) of your voice. You can adjust, shift and shape the sound once you’ve got it going, as well as mixing it in subtly or dialling everything you can to maximum effect for hard-tuned, robot-sounding results.

Where the Humanoid gets really interesting is as an option for other sounds like bass guitar, synths and more. It’s not uncommon for mixing engineers to hard-tune and pitch correct bass guitar for a larger than life sound, the bottom end really staying consistent to hold down the root note of a section and groove. Baby Audio Humanoid offers a hard-tuned, pitch perfect synthesized bass underneath your natural sounding bass guitar. The same goes for synths, you can use it to add a stoic, unchanging additional layer to your synths, using Utility and Filter controls to refine and tuck that synthesized sound underneath the main layers. The use for this plugin is only limited by your imagination, as even for vocals it can be used to bolster a choir, gang vocal or harmony, tucked and filtered beneath a main track to give the impression of depth, width or even multiple singers.

Baby Audio’s plugins overall are more creative than most, offering a myriad of VSTs that we know and love. The Humanoid has an intended use, hard-tuned, effected, robotic and perfectly tuned vocals, and while it does this job very well, the software and features included for that job make it incredibly useful elsewhere as well.

The EQ options and Utility controls allows you to tuck the Humanoid’s sound into a mix or arrangement, or otherwise make it an overtly effected and in-your-face sound, the Humanoid handling both with ease. The beauty of Humanoid is that it’s not trying to be anything other than what it’s intended for. Other tuning plugins and software struggled to offer both effected sounds as well as subtle ones, intended for use as a seamless pitch correction. Seamless pitch correction the Humanoid is not, instead harnessing technology as it grows, expanding and augmenting what we’re able to do to a sound instantaneously.

No matter who you are, what you do, or what you’re trying to do, you’ll find a use for the Humanoid from Baby Audio.

For more info, and to buy Humanoid for ourself, visit Baby Audio here.