Sweetwater today announced their latest addition to the Sweetwater family of professional music and audio tools, Virtual Frontman.
Virtual Frontman is a Mac- and Windows-compatible plug-in that supports Audio Units, MAS, VST, RTAS, Direct X, TDM, and 120-volt plug-in formats. The plug-in uses sophisticated proprietary runway modeling techniques to encode the vocal and behavioral characteristics of the world’s most iconoclastic rock frontmen onto any vocalist’s performance.
According to Mark Hutchins, Sweetwater’s Assistant Director of Cable Ties, and the near-genius behind the idea of Virtual Frontman, “I’ve suffered for years with the uni-dimensional performances of the singers in my bands. I was looking for a simple, efficient plug-in tool that would allow you to add real excitement and charisma to a band’s vocals.”
Sweetwater’s R&DD utilized top-secret proprietary techniques to analyze the performance factors of rock music’s most charismatic frontmen, then concatenated the resulting data onto state-of-the-art Mead notebook paper (precision punched for mounting into a 3-ring binder) using a diamond-sharpened #2 pencil. No erasers were used when compiling the data. Don Delong, the Virtual Frontman Project Manager stated, “We spared no expense while compiling the data used to create Virtual Frontman. All pizzas we consumed during lunch breaks had double cheese, and were of the thick-crust variety.”
Virtual Frontman works like any standard plug-in, and is compatible with any major or minor key DAW. The source vocal track passes into the plug-in, and is processed with a Multistage Attitude Adjustment Algorithm (MA3). Sliders are provided for imparting various amounts of up to ten different frontmen, ranging from Morrison to Mercury. In the future, Frontman Add-on Machismo Expander (FAME) modules will allow the user to add the attitude and behavior of a wide range of frontmen from the Country, Blues, Folk, Opera, and instrumental light jazz genres to Virtual Frontman.
Going beyond simple modeling, Virtual Frontman will turn any singer into the inappropriately arrogant, inebriated, immature, offensive stage nightmare you’ve been dreaming of for your recordings, and, using the optional VF Stage Dive adapter, for your live on-stage performances. Controls such as “Pitch Sense” will flatten the pitch of even the most rigidly in-tune vocalist, while the Maturity setting will bring a sense of true childishness to your singer’s behavior. The multi-parameter Stage Presence control can be used to take your singer from calm stasis to peripatetic stage domination. For after-concert situations, the Tear-down/Load Out preference setting will prevent your singer from straining him or herself by carrying more than a microphone or cable. If your singer is shy and retiring, the exclusive Verbosity control will make your singer as talkative as you desire, upping the annoyance factor on those long, late-night bus rides when you’re trying to sleep.
The high-resolution Egometer and Substance Abuse Blood Contents meters will provide instant visual feedback of your singer’s status, while the combination Pitch Correction/Artificial British Accent meter visually displays the results of critical parameter adjustments.
Virtual Frontman is also the first plug-in to offer Sweetwater’s patented Superficial Appearance Demarcation (SAD) technology. Using carefully calibrated Narcissism, Fashion Sense, and Hair controls you can tailor your vocalist’s look to exactly your specifications. Innovative controls such as Arrest Record, Political Activism, and Fidelity (selectable for Wife or Husband) will ensure your band’s appearance in the tabloid papers, while the Vocal Durability parameter will allow you to take a night off whether you want to or not. To further delay performances, the Latency control can make your singer anywhere from one to two hours late for your gigs and sessions.
Sweetwater founder and president Chuck Surack stated, “Ever since I founded Sweetwater nearly 30 years ago, I’ve been concerned that we’ve been unable to truly address the needs of bands with regard to their frontman, now we’ve got exactly the tool every band needs. I’m so proud of our new Virtual Frontman plug-in. This is the kind of technological innovation that could only come from Sweetwater.”
Sweetwater’s Virtual Frontman will be available in the 5th quarter of 2008, at a suggested retail price of $299. The optional VF Stage Dive live performance adapter will ship immediately following the plug-in, for $799. Additional FAME modules are expected to become available in early 2007.