Today, CDM is proud to announce a new feature to keep us competitive with fast-moving music technology coverage on the Web. It’s called “Industry Clipboard Connection,” and it allows us to fully connect you with the latest industry news by giving you complete, un-edited press release content, pasted up to the minute. And we kick it off with what I think is a really game-changing product that could change the relationship of vocalists to bands forever. Be sure to read the full press release for the complete details. Seriously. I think you’ll want to read to the end.

Sweetwater announces today the innovative Virtual Frontman plug-in:

(Fort Wayne, Ind.) – New addition to Sweetwater’s plug-in family brings true character to any vocalist –

Sweetwater’s Reasearch & Development Department, creators of such popular tools as the Talent plug-in, Guitar Racket, Minute Audio, and the Octavisor, has 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.

For further news and information on Virtual Frontman, visit www.sweetwater.com.


Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone. I’ll admit, I wasn’t going to play, but this was too good to pass up. It reminded me of the true meaning of April Fool’s, in a sort of Scrooge-like reawakening. (PS, thanks to Mitch Gallagher at Sweetwater; the Sweetwater folks really did write the copy above and create the images. No foolin’.)

  • dead_red_eyes

    Good show Peter!

  • best copywriting i've read in a long time. however, if they (or somebody) did actually pursue the core idea which strikes me as a formant-morphing tool, it could be a nice plug-in for sound design

  • Just what the world needs…another mindless music making blog that copies and pastes press releases, calls it "content," and expects to make a dime on advertisements.

    You jester, you.

  • MonksDream

    Awwww!! And just when I was pulling out my VISA card!

  • HeartPound

    Ironically not that far from the truth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocaloid

  • Nice.

    You should have said "PC only" or "Mac only" and see how many people went instantly to the comments section before they realized it was a joke.

  • We are the Borg.

    April Fool's day rules.

  • I remember a time and age when April fool jokes really worked. There's an inflation of April fools jokes today. Maybe someone would be creative and release them outside April first next time…

  • @Kent: I tend to agree; it somewhat defeats the purpose. In this case, though, it was worth doing just for the fantastic controls they added to the UI. Now someone just needs to go build this thing. 😉

  • Oh, and I should add — I actually really did copy and paste the press release. No kidding. So all credit goes to the Sweetwater folks.

  • subbasshead

    I think sonic finegr set the bar fairly high for this sort of gag….

  • Motion

    Hope theres gonna be a group buy on this.Think of all those nashers that are going to get a workout on this fabulous bit of kit.

    X Factor punters and the like will be all over this, never mind Joe and Nancy Blog….especially since I heard word that there is also a wireless hardware mini pocket sized portable version with the software embedded in the works….connect up head mic, stream yourself direct to the PA and voila!, sing away to your hearts content, any style, anyway, anywhere with a convincing front….whopeee!!!, this is really going to up the performance standards imho and nobody would even know that you are being digitally assisted.

    I can't wait to demo it..in fact I won't bother, I'm getting it.I'm also beginning to wonder if maybe some people have been using this sort of tech secretly already to fake it, sorry I mean make it to the big time…wouldn't surprise me in the least.

    I'm so thrilled about this announcement…thanks Peter.

  • That would go great with Rane's Pseudoacoustic Infector!

  • Ahah, funny!

  • Granted, it only took me 15 seconds… but I'm embarrassed that I wasn't braced for it in the first place.

  • JavaJ

    Too bad- it would have been a way better hoax if they could have crafted the release to be more likely. Maybe next year they can really fool us.

  • Motion

    Courtesy of SteveHMusic who posted this over at Gearslutz


  • Downpressor

    WHAT? Hatsune Miku is not real?

  • bliss

    Haha, that was cool.

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  • lol

    Great one 🙂

  • robots took our jorbs!

  • Does it work in Vista ?

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  • lematt

    so i can record myself beatboxing and sound like freddy mercury trying to sound like jim morrison trying to beatbox like rahzel. that's awesome