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zplane Élastique Pitch Version 2

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zplane Elastique Pitch Version 2
 zplane Élastique Pitch Version 2 
Élastique Pitch Version 2 is a real-time pitch shifting plug-in for RTAS, VST, AU and AAX DAWs running from 44.1 to 192kHz sample rates. It uses zplane's élastiquePro pitch shifting engine--the same technology licensed and used within many DAW systems.

As with Version 1, I like the simplicity of Élastique Pitch; it has a single automatable joystick that will shift pitch anywhere up or down one octave without affecting tempo. You may choose to keep timbre (formants) linked to pitch change or not.

Version 2 adds adjustable Feedback delay, a Wet/Dry control, Voicing Control for adjusting the dominant formant frequency quality, three different viewing sizes for the GUI window, and the infiniSTRETCH feature also made possible by the new élastiquePro v3 engine. The GUI 'look' is darker but with no choice of a lighter skin and the controls are moved around to allow space for the new feature controls.

I installed Élastique Pitch 2 in my Pro Tools 12.4 HDX system and began experimentation with it. Pitch shifting percussion bits and tom-tom tracks using the joystick is fun--I was able to get a little more 'girth' into the drum sound. I automated the joystick's movement when I wanted the drum's sustaining tone to pitch bend downward to mimic an old Simmons drum sound.

You can transpose pitch and timbre +/-12 semitones--50 to 200% with the display showing the shift in either semitones or percentage. If you connect a MIDI controller, note C3 is unison and you can play shifts for harmonies or just when you want to go instantly to a new pitch without gliding as when using the joystick.

Conceivably you could control up to eight instances of Élastique Pitch by using eight MIDI channels in Pro Tools--one MIDI channel (node) for each instance: think backing vocals singing oo's and ahh's and then building big stacks of harmonies and octaves. I had no CPU issues with running six at the same time throughout a mix. Using Élastique Pitch ver 2 is totally addictive.

I used the new feedback delay feature where the shifted audio repeats and each successive repeat is then shifted again. This is an unusual effect to be sure! A single Feedback knob calibrated in percentage controls the number of repeats and level. Delay timing can locked to the session tempo (selectable in fixed subdivisions anywhere from a dotted 16th to a whole note) or old school--set in milliseconds.

If you set up Élastique Pitch as a send/return effect and are looking for only pitch-shifted delay repeats, set the Wet/Dry control to 100%. It would be good if both the level of the feedback as well as number of repeats could be controlled separately. In addition, an on/off automatable mute button would be handy--a choice to mute either the send or the return path of the repeat signal chain would be totally awesome.

When inserted on an audio track, use the Wet/Dry control to mix the original track with the shifted audio--this works for harmonies and octaves. For a lead vocal I used Wet/Dry at 50/50 and Feedback at around 12% and got a very cool doubling effect with an included 1/4-note slap delay.

infiniSTRETCH works as a high quality freezing effect. Again used on the lead vocal track, using the Freeze button I would grab and freeze certain sung notes from the singer and "play" a melody (with a MIDI controller) using that frozen note. You may want to be in record mode for this performance!

With 100% wet, the vocal track (in this case) is not heard whilst the frozen note is playing. Fading in some of the Dry sound mixes the vocal back in with the frozen note. You can get in and out of infiniSTRETCH mode very freely for live performance. I can see DJs running this plug across their entire mix output bus! It works well for full program mixes with minimal artifacts, distortion, absolute phase coherence and good spatial image stability.

With a collection of factory presets for typical film and video frame rate pull-up/downs, Élastique Pitch Version 2 sells for $199 MSRP and there is an upgrade path if you already have version 1. It works in MACs and PCs and is a great addition to your DAW's bag of tricks!

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