Written by Michał Pukała
Dehumaniser 2 is a modular, node-based vocal sound design system for designing a wide range of vocal effects such as monsters or robots, but also incredibly versatile for subtle dialogue, voice-over, and music processing.
The software’s modular effects modules can be customised and combined for practically endless options.
A favourite across audio post-production and games industries, Dehumaniser 2 has been responsible for creature effects in a growing list of major titles from Stranger Things, Avengers, Captain Marvel, Star Trek and so many more.
1. Apply Basic Processing & Have Fun Experimenting
Dehumaniser 2’s node system allows you to chain effects in a very flexible and easy way, without the need to stack them on separate tracks in your DAW. You have plenty of different nodes to choose from, but first, start with something that’s easy to make and sounds good. You can follow these simple steps to make your first monster sound. Experiment with the values inside of the nodes to find the tone you are looking for. Have fun and try different things!
This is a raw vocal recording that we’re going to be processing in this tutorial:
You can create your own presets from scratch by selecting the _Fresh Patch_ in the preset drop-down. Lets start by making a simple monster. Pitch Shifting is going to be our friend here. Simply drag and drop the node and connect it to the output. Sounds dehumanised already!
2. Prototype & Vocal Effects in Seconds with Parallel Processing
The main point of using the node system is that you can either chain effects together or you can run them in parallel. This gives you a plethora of design possibilities and allows you to prototype and design your sounds in seconds by just changing the connection of the nodes.
Let’s start with running some processing parallel. This means that it will be a separate processing chain, that will only meet with our Pitch Shift once we sum everything in the output. Think of it as adding another track in your DAW only that you can control everything from the same UI. We are going to make our monster a bit more interesting by adding the Granular node. It chops up the input into tiny grains that last only a couple of milliseconds and fires them off together with a specified density.
Krotos have recently updated Dehumaniser 2 to v1.3.1, which has seen a full range of new presets added to the software covering ‘Speaker’ and ‘Transparent’ dialogue as well as specialised music presets for processing lead and backing vocals. Sound Designers Damjan Mravunac and Tyler Hoffman have contributed their own artist presets.
3. Chaining Effects with one Gigantic Multi-Effect Plugin
This is starting to take shape but there’s more ahead of us. I haven’t shown you how to chain effects yet: You can do it the same way as you would on a track in your DAW. Connect the output of one processing node to the input of another processing node. You can think of Dehumaniser as one gigantic multi-effect plugin that allows you to do both effect chaining and parallel processing.
We are going to chain the Granular node with a Scrubbing Convolution node. We will modify the input of this node by imposing a different audio source on it. Let’s add a Walrus Growl to our vocals:
For this part, I liked the Granular output as it is as well so I added another output so I have a sound both affected and unaffected by the Scrubbing Convolution. Adding outputs in nodes is a powerful way of creating layers upon layers of both parallel and chained processing. Every node comes equipped with an EQ and a limiter so you can also mix while designing.
And there you go, your first monster is ready – congratulations, Dr Frankenstein!
4. Transparent Processing for Voice-Over
Usability of Dehumaniser goes beyond creature sound design. With a different approach to processing, we can create patches that can be used for dialogue, be it in post-production or game audio.
With our latest 1.2.1 Update, we have included several presets for transparent processing. Those are usually light effect touches that slightly shift the timbre of your voice so you can make it deeper or more nasal.
You can also apply heavier processing to worldise your sounds. Do you need to create an effect of someone talking through a tiny speaker? Head to the Speaker preset section and you will find examples of that. The Noise Generator node is very helpful here.
5. Go Beyond: Turn your Voice into a Choir with Vocal Harmonies
Dehumaniser 2 now comes with new music presets included! Combining the power of Pitch Shift and Delay Pitching, you have 4 pitch nodes that you can use to create vocal harmonies. You can instantly turn your voice into a choir and perform major, minor and house chords while still recording only one note!
As you can hear, taking advantage of the versatility of the tool, we went far beyond creature sound design.
Check out other nodes for music production. Vocoder works great for processing vocals and the Flanger node adds space to anything you put into it. For wilder vocal processing, turn to granular and create pads out of your voice.
Pro tip: If you add the Vocoder node, turn the mode to Noise and increase the Release, you have now created a reverb-like effect inside Dehumaniser.
Please share this:
+ free sounds with every issue: