This review was written by local engineer, Dave Thomas...
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I have been engineering for 20 years and have a modestly equipped home studio comprising of Cubase 7, Pro Tools 10, UA Apollo Duo and an AKG c414, which I use as a vocal microphone. I also engineer in Absolute Music’s recording studio in Bournemouth.
My regular client base is mostly made up of singer-songwriters and artists recording to backing tracks and as technology and times have moved on, I've found that many of them have come to expect more and more for their money in ever decreasing time frames. As a consequence, it’s rare I get the time to experiment with vocals and although I generally get good results, I tend to err on the side of caution and use the same trusted techniques and settings over and over again. However, having not used a dedicated vocal 'all-in-one' plug in before, I was really looking forward to trying iZotope's Nectar 2. Could this be what I need in order to push me to try new things?
IZOTOPE NECTAR 2 - FIRST IMPRESSIONS
What struck me immediately was the highly intuitive GUI. I didn't even need to look at the manual to get started! I therefore went straight to the presets that are made up from the 11 modules/tools that are included in Nectar 2: Harmony, Reverb, FX, Pitch, Delay, De-Esser, Saturation, Compressor, Gate, EQ and Limiter.
I have to admit that I wasn’t prepared for what I heard, and I spent the next hour excitedly trying out the great-sounding presets, which cover a range of current and classic vocal styles. It was immediately obvious to me that Nectar 2 is an absolutely invaluable tool for any studio, from both a creative and workflow point of view.
IZOTOPE NECTAR 2 - FINDING 'THAT' SOUND
Finding the 'sound' that will help a vocal performance sit perfectly in your mix can often take a long time, and so being able to quickly audition styles without making tweaks (with several plug-in windows open) is very liberating; everything in one window is a joy! You can find the preset that best fits your mix and then use the overview panel to make quick and easy tweaks, or delve into the advanced view of each module for more detailed settings and re-order the modules in the signal flow to suit. It is worth making a point here that if you make use of the presets, you are likely to find something that you may not have considered previously, so my advice would be to try them out if you have the time.
IZOTOPE NECTAR 2 - SUMMARY
I can't argue with the fact that Nectar 2 allows you to achieve professional-sounding vocals in super-fast time. With the Nectar 2 software, creativity, quality and workflow are all big pluses for me.
I’m yet to fully explore all the different levels of Nectar 2, but with the current popularity of karaoke and talent shows, there is ever increasing demand for the fast recording of vocals to backing tracks. It’s good bread and butter money and I can say that with the presets alone (and pitch correction module at hand, sometimes used stealthily) you can get great results with Nectar 2 that will keep your clients coming back for more!
If you think that Nectar 2 might be a useful addition to your studio then the really good news is that you can download a fully-featured 10 day trial from iZotope's website, so you don't just have to take my word for it that this really is a top bit of kit! CLICK HERE for more information on the iZotope Nectar 2 demo.