VST for harmony

I’d like to add harmony to some melodies I’m playing using SWAM sax, fishman guitar midi, and a breath controller. Been looking and not really seeing a midi vst but Waves has Ultra Pitch which works on audio.

I have a question out to Waves to see if that would work in my Cantibile configuration where I would route the audio out of me sax vst into the Waves vst in real time. It “appears” to be able to be used in real time but it’s kind of fuzzy and my searches haven’t cleared it up much.

Any one have familiarity with that product or a midi vst that could be used?



Hi Tom,

It can be done, but some of the VST’s are look ahead, so a problem with latency. The Eventide 949 Dual Harmonizer works pretty well, but there are many others on the market, and some of the ones I use are linked in bundles, which can get rather expensive. There are pitch shifters, but for what you are using it for, it would be best to use one that that let’s you set song keys. Those are nearer to real emulated harmony. Give me a little time, and I will be able to tell you the ones I’ve experienced, and use occasionally (My rig is packed up at this moment).



Smart harmonizing VSTs definitely exist. I don’t use them so I don’t know anything about them. Antares has a real-time harmonizer I think.

$299.00 :moneybag::money_with_wings::money_mouth_face:

Yeah, that’s kind of ridiculous lol

There’s this too, but I don’t know if it works in real time or not.

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I have zplane…real time, yes for DAW …but not really for live performance. Shame though, $96.00.

Antares is a huge CPU hog.

There is always VoiceLive if you want to do hardware.

Most of my harmonizers come from amp sim programs, and use them to do some harmony work on guitar. I will post them here after I get my rig situated. But, in the meantime, I will start a list here:

Aegean Music Pitchproof - a FREE plugin


Thanks for the amazing quick reply! I’ll check these out.

Question: when you say Zplane is real time but not for live performance, what do you mean? I guess I’m equating real time with live performance. Is that not correct?


Hey Thomas

IMHO…Real Time means immediately, no latency. BUT, the developers of these type fx are looking at their product as a DAW/Recording only plug. So, what THEY are basically saying is “no need to process the wav file before hearing the results”. You can hear the results at the time, in the particular recorded file, which to me means it looks ahead on the recorded file. That process totally brings CPU extremes and latency with it, and will not work with a live sound because there is no “look ahead” sound for it to work with.
I am unpacking my rig today, and will test a few things I have, and get back to you on this thread.

Before I spend $299.00 on a CPU hog, I would look into some hardware like VoiceLive or others in that vein. Hopefully I will find you a good VST at a decent price. Will most likely be a guitar effect, as they process live sound very well.

Voicelive might really be the way to go. I’ve used it on vocals, it’s pretty groovy and very reliable.

You should check izotope vocalsynth

kind regards

Hey Alexander

I tried the VocalSynth when it first came out, and it is more of a Vocoder/FX/Ambient plug, but it does well in live performance.
I have a demo of Nectar 2, which I believe would be more what Tom is looking for. It also works well live, and has a key selection. I used about 2 years ago, but it required setting intervals which didn’t turn out well. There is a Midi engine where actual notes for harmony could be derived from a keyboard, but that would be difficult for Tom while playing sax. He might be able to send midi info with a foot pedal, as the sax player in the above video. Thanks for the Izotope reminder . :wink:


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You might want to download a demo of Nectar 3. The harmony module has been improved, and from what I’ve been seeing it will stay in key for you without midi control.


Thanks guys, I’ll check these out as well.

I viewed a vid on Pitchproof and a sax player was playing live with harmony so that looked promising…and it’s free!

BTW, a note on my setup regarding MIDI. I am using MIDI input via Fishman MIDI guitar which is driving the sax vst. So a MIDI derived harmony solution could work for me as well.

Thanks again!

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My 2 cents on this:

I’ve been looking everywhere for a plugin equivalent to my VoiceLive boxes (VL Touch 2 and VL 2) in order to simplify my setup, but haven’t really come across a realistic replacement.

The main reason for this seems to be that most plugin solutions are (understandably) built with a studio production environment in mind. So their chord recognition capabilities are mostly very rudimentary compared to what VoiceLives can do: with VL, I play my piano / organ parts (almost) without restrictions, and VL will somehow guess what key fits best with what I’m doing. For songs where I play guitar instead of keys, it will also extract chords from my mediocre guitar efforts.

For most plugins, you need to customize your keyboard playing to their requirements, either having to directly specify the vocal lines via MIDI notes or holding chords in a specific area of the keyboard for them to recognize them. This is not a problem in a production context - simply create a “control” MIDI track and produce away happily - but for live usage, it is not practical for me.

For simple scenarios, e.g. creating harmony lines in one specific scale that doesn’t change, plugins might work live, but - unfortunately - I haven’t seen anything in plugin form coming close to the live chord recognition capabilities of the VoiceLive range.

Hope this helps!



I saw a guy in a restaurant recently with a guitar and a hardware device harmonizing his voice. I assume it was listening it the guitar, figuring out the chord sampling his voice and providing harmonies. Maybe hardware is a better answer than a VST.

Many of the hardware harmony pedals require an instrument input so they can determine chords.

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The higher-end Voicelive devices from TC Helicon (Voicelive 2, 3, 3 Extreme, and Rack), also support harmony generation based on MIDI notes, and are also key+scale programmable via MIDI CCs. I use a Voicelive 3 with Cantabile using the CC method and it works perfectly.

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Well, I mostly know the TC Helicon range. They have some specialized devices that either listen to instrument input only or to MIDI only, but their generalist devices (VoiceLive) are pretty amazing: you can feed them guitar input, MIDI, set the key or scale manually or via MIDI commands, and it can even listen to a full mix and extract the chords (mileage may vary in full mixes).

These live-oriented capabilities are so far ahead of anything that I’ve seen in plugins that I’m sticking with my hardware for the foreseeable future.

Production is a completely different arena - this is where some of the plugins can outplay the TC range in terms of the quality of their results - the TC sound is always recognizable as an effect. Good enough for live, but in “real” productions, I’d use tools like Melodyne.

But I do use my VoiceLive for producing harmonies in demo tracks with my band, since that’s what we sound like live. And when kept to a reasonable level behind the real vocals, the TC harmonies sound pretty cool.



But one other question - maybe getting closer to the original poster’s question: does anyone know a decent MIDI harmonizing plugin

  • Feed it a chord on one input (or set a key via its controls)
  • Feed it a single MIDI line
  • it generates MIDI chords at its output

That’s not the domain of the TC range - does anyone know something decent for this application? Would come in useful at times…