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Tremolo versus Vibrato... need a VST effect!

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I'm trying to figure out what the difference between these two is, but it seems confusing, especially as (apparently) some manufacturers just kind of put whatever name they feel like on them? Can someone explain this to me?

Anyway, I'm running Ableton Live 8 and it doesn't seem to contain either as an effect.

What I am trying to do right now specifically is to get this:


To sound a bit more wobbly, like this:


I got it a tad wobbly using the synth controls, but I can't get any more with the synth itself so I'd live to pick up an effect that could do it. Plus I just managing stuff like this through effects anyway, and there are a billion other sounds in the music I make that I would like to use this type of effect on, so might as well find it.

So with that said, does it matter if I go tremolo versus vibrato? And does anyone have any suggestions for a good VST effect? Preferably a free / cheap one?

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Your synth can probably do that. You'll need to use an LFO to control pitch modulation.

As far as terminology goes, vibrato is the more correct description of the effect. In general, "vibrato" refers to variation in pitch and "tremolo" refers to variation in loudness.

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Tremolo usually means quick modulation (variation) in VOLUME. For real instruments like guitar or violin, it involves playing the same note over and over in quick succession. In the computer music world, tremolo is just volume modulation... like if you were to grab the volume knob and wiggle it back and forth.

Vibrato is PITCH modulation, not volume. So when a singer hits a high note and their voice goes up and down, that's vibrato. Many real instruments and all synths are capable of vibrato.

What you're looking for is VIBRATO, which is an excellent way of adding expression to synth leads. You generally do not do this with effects, as it's typically built right into the synth itself. But without knowing what plugin you're using, I can't be more specific.

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For that particular one I was using Ableton's Analog. I'm messing with the LFOs now, I see what you mean. Kind of amazed that I never noticed this before, I usually play with every little knob. Analog even has a section that says "Vibrato" right on it.

I still think it would be nice to have a VST to use on some of my more limited plugins. I have a few that only have a small handful of knobs and I don't recall seeing LFO on those.

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You can also modulate other things with LFOs, like pulse width or the pitch of a synced oscillator, but just as well filter, pan, or anything else you can route the lfo to.

There are other effects that also use pitch modulation, like chorus and flanger. If you actually can't find a vibrato effect for audio, you might be able to use a flanger as a substitute, depending on its parameters. A pitch-modulated-only signal without feedback is really just a vibrato. Mix it in with the original (signal feedback optional) and you've got a flanger.

Stupidly fast vibrato is used in synths. You might have heard of frequency modulation synths by the abbreviated term FM synth.

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