Artificial Vibrato Effect: How to Add Vibrato to Your Voice


Thales Matos


Do you want to add a Vibrato Effect to your voice? Below you'll learn how to add natural-sounding vibratos to any vocal track.

And don't feel embarrassed about adding Vibrato in post-production. Sometimes when I sing, my Vibrato comes out. But sometimes it doesn't.

So I'll show you my fake vibrato technique using Ableton Live. But it works on every DAW.

Even without Autotune, Melodyne, Waves Tune, or any pitch correction software.

All you need is a delay and a tremolo effect.

Watch the video above to listen to the audio examples.

What is a natural vibrato?

A natural vibrato is a slight variation in pitch, going up and down over time, on a pattern that resembles a sine wave. The wave cycles at about 5.5 to 6 Hertz in most cases.

Artificial vibrato effect step-by-step tutorial

Use a delay plugin to create an artificial vibrato effect in your music production software.

Add it to your vocal track, then automate some parameters during the words you want the Vibrato to happen.

I like to use the Echo device in Ableton Live. It has incredible delay features. Here's how:

delay plugin to add vibrato effect to your voice

First, load the Echo effect.

Change the delay mode to "time" so it's not synced to the BPM but a value in Hertz instead.

Bring the Left and Right knobs down to 3 milliseconds. Decay knob to 0, and Feedback knob to 0 so it doesn't create multiple echoes.

Turn the Filter off to preserve the entire frequency spectrum and adjust the Dry/Wet knob to 100%.

Now click the modulation tab and turn off sync. That allows you to modulate the pitch according to a human's natural vibrato rate.

ableton live echo modulation tab

Change the oscillator's frequency to 6 hertz, and phase to zero.

The most crucial step is the following.

Applying modulation to the delay time

Keep the modulation at 0 by default. Then raise it to 65% during the notes you want vibratos.

Feel free to experiment with higher values than 65%. But I find that it's too much — it becomes too unnatural.

Combining the Vibrato with a Tremolo effect

I've worked with lots of singers that had great natural Vibrato. And I noticed there's also a tremolo component.

So, pitch and volume variations happen simultaneously.

When the pitch goes higher, so does the volume. When the pitch goes lower, so does the volume again.

In Ableton Live, load an Auto-Pan and change the settings to turn it into a tremolo effect.

vibrato effect - autopan settings

Adjust the rate until it's the same as the delay effect, so they're in sync.

Then bring the phase down to zero. It removes the phase difference between the left and right channels.

And now it's a tremolo effect.

Here's the thing, though.

You'll want to automate these two parameters at once:

The delay modulation and the tremolo amount. So let's create a macro.

Automating the artificial vibrato effect

Here's how to automate the delay effect and tremolo effect at once.

artificial vibrato effect automation macro - mapping
  • Select the audio effect devices;
  • Group them up with Ctrl+G or Cmd+G;
  • Click the icon on the top-left to display the macro controls;
  • Click Map;
  • Then click Delay modulation;
automation macro - delay modulation
  • Under Macro 1, click Map.
  • Now do the same for the Auto-pan amount.

Minimum values: use 0 in both cases to ensure these effects don't impact the whole track at all times.

fake vibrato effect automation macro - minimum and maximum macro amount

Maximum values: I like 65% for the delay modulation and a modest amount for the Auto-pan. Barely noticeable — try 15%.

Once this is done, click Map to close the mapping menu.

Drawing Vibrato automation

  • Pick the words to which you want to add the artificial Vibrato.
  • Turn automation mode ON (Press "A").
  • Click your new macro and draw curves like this one.
automation macro curve

I find it to sound more natural when you don't start the automation at the beginning of the word.

I prefer to draw a fade-in.

The Vibrato effect gets stronger as I hold the syllables longer. That's usually the pattern of a natural vibrato.

Keeping the effect subtle is the secret to a natural-sounding vibrato.

But if you return to your Mapping controls and increase those values, you can exaggerate this.

exaggerating the vibrato effect

If you want to get freaky, this is how you do it.

What's the best Vibrato effect rate?

The Vibrato can be faster or slower depending on the singer's technique.

Sometimes it's a much higher rate than 6kHz.

If you listen to Post Malone, you know what I'm talking about. Try a vibrato effect at 8 Hertz to sound like him.

post-malone vibrato effect

Now it's your turn to add a vibrato effect to your voice

This vibrato technique will make your productions sound more expressive and professional.

Now, imagine if you could use vocal doubling to create huge choruses like the pop songs on the top charts. If you'd like that, read this post.

And for more resources to learn music production, visit my website.


Thales Matos

September 2, 2022


Enjoyed this article ?



Leave a Comment

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}