Review: Realivox Blue by RealiTone

For less than $150 (at time of writing it's on sale for just $99!) you can get the lush, expressive vocal library of a pro in Kontakt! Jay Asher gives Realitone's RealiVox Blue an in depth test.  

When RealiTone released Realivox–The Ladies, I was an early adopter and unabashed fanboy. The singers were great, each with their own sound, beautifully recorded, and the workflow was simple to master. The keyswitches were well thought out and the legato was as silky smooth as in any library I have played.

Now comes Realivox Blue and once again, I am in love. Mike Greene has recorded a singer who is his “go to” when he wants a singer with a gorgeous tone and here she is. 

Requirements

Realivox Blue comes in two versions: one which requires the full version of Kontakt and one slightly more expensive version that works in the free Kontakt player. With either it works on Mac or PC as AU, VST, RTAS, and AAX.

What You Get

When you purchase Realivox Blue, you get a single instrument with a four-octave range and an ensemble mode that allows you up to three “Blues.” Like The Ladies, there are some preset syllables but there is also a Wordbuilder, and it works really well. A Polyphonic legato is also included for those who want to play chords. It also includes a decent algorithmic reverb.

The Wordbuilder Page

There are only two pages, the Wordbuilder and the Settings page. When you load up the instrument and play a note you hear… err… nothing. You must first either choose a vowel for her to sing or begin to build a phrase. You can enter Vowel mode either by clicking on the tab or pressing the F#1 key on your controller.

In Pic 1, notice that I am in the Vowel section (monophonic with “true legato”, meaning that actual transitions were recorded) and have chosen “Ah.” Once you choose a vowel as you see in the pic, you can then choose an “End Consonant.” In this pic, you can see I have created “ahm.”

Pic 1

Pic 1

I play it and it sounds great! What if I want to make this available as a keyswitch? No problem, simply press any available key on your controller and you have it. Here in Pic 2, I have assigned it to my F1. I have also created “ehsh” and assigned it to G1. I can now keywitch between the two.

Pic 2

Pic 2

To un-assign them, all I need to do is click on those keys on the virtual keyboard in the GUI. Clicking the Reset button then gets rid of the “ehsh” I still have.

Special Syllables in the Wordbuilder Page

Like The Ladies, Blue also has some syllables that can be quite useful. In fact, My guess is that “Airy Ha” and “Airy Hoo” bathed in reverb are going to start showing up in a lot of people’s work as they are sort of an Instant Enya. See Pic 3 for the syllables.

Pic 3

Pic 3

Unlike The Ladies they are not pre-assigned to keyswitches but you can do so using the same method I already explained.

My guess is that “Airy Ha” and “Airy Hoo” bathed in reverb are going to start showing up in a lot of people’s work as they are sort of an Instant Enya.

Creating Phrases 

Here is where the real fun begins. You can enter Phrase mode either by clicking on the tab or pressing the G#1 key on your controller.

In Pic 4, notice that Mike has already created two phrases for you to trigger and see how he created them phonetically. “Elysium” is assigned to C1 and “Realivox Blue” to D1.

Pic 4

Pic 4

Time to build one of my own. I will create “funny boy.”  

I press the F as a start consonant.

I then press the Uh in the Vowel choices.

I press Next Syllable to continue.

I press the N as a start consonant.

I then press the Ee in the Vowel choices.

I press Next Syllable to continue.

I press the B as a start consonant.

Now I have a bit of a problem, as there is no “oy” sound. 

I then press the Oh in the Vowel choices.

I press Next Syllable to continue.

I press the Y as a start consonant.

Voila, I have created “funny boy.” Obviously not all words are possible, but you can certainly do a lot this way.

But what if I want here to sing a phrase of just “fun-”, breathe quickly, then “ny”, breathe quickly, and then sing ‘Boy.” If I press the F#1 key I can do that although it ends up being funny bo” but still sounds believable, especially if I then press the G#1 button for Blue to sing the whole phrase. Pressing the B 2 key allows you to repeat a syllable within a phrase before advancing to the next one.

Using Poly Legato 

You can enter Poly mode either by clicking on the tab or pressing the A#1 key on your controller. This works differently from the other two legato modes as poly legato only triggers legato if new notes are played after previous notes are released. For example, this gives me the ability to play a C Major 7th chord of C,E, G, B, hold the C and E but move the G and B to A and C, smoothly. (You can turn off legato all together but pressing any two of the three hardwired keyswitches.)

This brings us to the other page, the Settings page. In Pic 5, notice that right below the Voices selector, you see the area to click to open the Settings Page.

Pic 5

Pic 5

The Settings Page 

Pic 6

Pic 6

If I am playing the included Realivox Blue phrase and it does not respond as quickly as I like, I can adjust the milliseconds in the Ply Legato Time Window from 210 to e.g 80. It now responds more quickly, though perhaps a little less believably. 

There is so much more here, however. If you go to the Vowel or Phrase mode you can control the attack and release, as well as the vibrato speed and pitch amplitude. You can adjust the reverb or just turn it off.

A great feature is that it allows you to add a second and third voice with lots of control over the tuning, delay, panning and volume of the three. 

A great feature is that it allows you to add a second and third voice with lots of control over the tuning, delay, panning and volume of the three. What is not as obvious bit is a huge benefit is the ability to set the voices to Bright or Dark with a range of 1-12 for each. What this does is to use lower (bright ) or higher (dark) samples that are pitch shifted to be in tune. Bright1 therefore uses samples ½ step lower and tunes then up, Bright 2 a whole step, etc. While dark does just the opposite, as you would expect. This allows you to create a much more believable ensemble. I especially like this for unison lines. See Pic 7 for an example.

Pic 7

Pic 7

Clicking where you clicked before, which now reads Click For Wordbuilder Page, returns you to that page.

MIDI Controls

By default, Realivox Blue uses Expression cc11, to control volume and Modulation cc1 for vibrato although with Kontakt’s ability to “learn”, you can reassign these and many other things.

Conclusion

This is a great library, inexpensively priced, that deserves a place in your palette for when you simply do not have the time or budget to record your own favorite girl singer.

Price: $114.95 for the Kontakt Player version and $99.95 for the version for those who own Kontakt. Eventually it will be raised to $149 (still a bargain in my opinion).

Pros: This library sounds great, is easy to play and program. 

Cons: It is simply not possible to create some words believably. Presently there is no way to save created phrases without saving a version of the instrument with them.

Web: http://realitone.com/blue

Jay is a Los Angeles-based composer, songwriter, arranger and orchestrator, conductor, keyboardist, as well as vocalist. As a composer, he is best known for scoring the New World Television series Zorro. Among the films and TV movies he has arranged, orchestrated and/or conducted are Paramount Pictures' Blame It On Rio Read More

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