Jan 07, 2008 Why a self-tuning guitar isn't a good idea. Gibson has just released a self-tuning guitar, but a $100 tuner is probably a better investment. May 17, 2017 The reason I say it was my secret weapon is that it offers so many advantages over the other featured vocal pitch correction pedals. Firstly, those who are familiar with studio autotune, realize that Antares is the go-to company that provides the best, industry-standard vocal autotune plugins for recording studios and live sound. Wh at kind of tuner best suits your needs? Electric Guitar Tuners; Acoustic Guitar Tuners; The Best Electric Guitar Tuners. It’s important to be able to tune your electric guitar in just about any environment you’re in without having to worry about the noise, or if there is an outlet around for your pedal tuner.
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- How To Tune An Acoustic Guitar
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- Best Auto Tune Software Free
- Auto Tune Guitar
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Prior to the digital age, life in the studio was all about moderating the effects of human touch.
Compressors evened out the dynamics of the bass player while a side chain feed kept them matched with the drummer. The drummer had a metronome feed playing to maintain tempo.
Singers, well, you could keep their dynamics in control, but when they sang flat, about all you could do was tell them to smile as they sang and aim above the problem notes.
Smiling has the mysterious effect of raising singers' pitch. Aiming high is probably wishful thinking on everyone's part, but sometimes it works.
The Advent of Auto-Tune
You wouldn't think earthquakes have a lot to do with singing in pitch and they don't, really.
However, it was seismi c research that provided the background for Dr. Andy Hildebrand, the creator of Auto-Tune and its parent company Antares.
He left that field and returned to his early love of music, bringing knowledge that created seismic interpretation workstations and applied it to issues arising in the early days of digital music.
Hildebrand's expertise with digital signal processing led to a series of audio plug-ins, including 1997's Auto-Tune, which could correct the pitch of a voice or any single-note instrument with surprisingly natural results.
Audio engineers now had a weapon against the occasional bum note. Rather than scrapping an entire take, Auto-Tune offered a repair tool that quickly caught on.
Auto-Tune as an Effect
It was only a year later in 1998 that use of Auto-Tune as an effect rather than repair tool happened. Mac os sierra image for virtualbox x.
Called the 'Cher Effect' after the singer's hit, 'Believe,' artificial and abrupt pitch changes came into vogue. Later, real-time pitch correction hardware brought both effects and repairs to the stage.
In the studio, Auto-Tune proved another weapon to 'fix it in the mix.'
Issues with Auto-Tune started soon after, with lines drawn between the purist and users camps. Many felt that using pitch correction was an artistic cheat, a way to bypass craft.
The arguments resemble the resistance synthesizers received in the 1970s and 80s that led Queen to note that none were used on their albums.
The other side of the argument pointed out that tools such as compressors and limiters and effects such as audio exciters had already been modifying the sound and behavior of voices throughout the history of recording. Though the anti-Auto-Tune camp seems vocal and large, rarely does a session go by without some use of pitch correction. It's nearly impossible to detect when used judiciously, nowhere near as obvious as when used for effect.
Auto-Tune is no longer the only player in the pitch correction game either. Celemony's Melodyne software substantially improves on Auto-Tune's interface and brought the full power of pitch correction to a plug-in ahead of the tool's originator, which still leads the pack when it comes to response and set-and-forget capability.
The Antares version of the effect has achieved 'Kleenex' status. Its brand name is now synonymous with the generic effect it originated. It joins 'Pro Tools' from the audio world and 'Photoshop' from digital imaging in this manner.
Unlike some digital music signal processors, pitch correction hasn't generated a huge number of knock-offs. Melodyne is a serious contender, due to its far more intuitive interface. GSnap is an open source alternative that produces similar results. While iZotope's VocalSynth includes pitch correction features, it's more of a full vocal processor rather than a dedicated pitch correction app.
The 4 Best Auto-Tune VST Plugins
Now, lets get into the top 4 autotune plugins. Each one offers unique features and I assure you that one of these plugins have exactly what you are looking for
Auto Tune For Guitar
Antares Auto-Tune Vocal Studio
The originator is now a full-featured and functional vocal processor that still masters the innovative pitch correction duties it brought to the market, but adds a wide range of additional features and effects to help nail down the perfect vocal take.
Auto-Tune 7 forms the core of the Vocal Studio package, still tackling the pitch and time correction duties it always has. Since its earliest days, automatic and graphical modes handle the various chores for the main Auto-Tune module.
While still presenting a learning curve for the new user, the Auto-Tune 7 interface remains familiar enough for experienced users. Since it's the best-selling pitch correction software going -- and by a huge margin -- there are a lot of existing Auto-Tune users. Even if you're new to the plug-in, chances are you know someone who's used it.
The rest of the Vocal Studio package focuses on vocal manipulations such as automatic doubling, harmony generation, tube amp warmth and vocal timbre adjustment. The range and nature of these adjustments takes vocal processing into some new territory.
The MUTATOR Voice Designer lets you manipulate voices from subtle to extreme, permitting organic or alien manipulations but with results that still sound like voices, though perhaps not of this world. The ARTICULATOR Talk Box produces effects such as the guitar talk box of Peter Frampton and Joe Walsh, but also Alan Parsons-ish vocoder sounds, combining the features of sung or spoken voice with an instrument's output.
While the Auto-Tune Vocal Studio remains pricey, it remains at the top of a niche market of audio processing.
Melodyne 4 Studio
If Auto-Tune has a serious competitor in the pitch correction universe, it's Celemony's Melodyne. The interface, layout and operation of Melodyne is inherently more musical than the Antares take, so newcomers to pitch correction will likely find Melodyne easier to work with.
The Melodyne 'blob' is an easy to grasp analog of a sung note. It's far more intuitive than a waveform to understand. With the focus on graphical interface, Melodyne makes sense more quickly and easily than Auto-Tune. The latter's switching between automatic and graphical modes creates a comparative disconnect between functions.
Even long-time users of Auto-Tune will find moving to Melodyne natural, as there's enough in common that, once a user gets their bearings, familiar functions remain available.
Many Melodyne functions perform on polyphony too. Correcting a track with a multi-voice choir or chording instrument can work too. It's not a perfect function, but it's uncanny how often Melodyne senses chords clearly enough to allow changing of a single element.
What Melodyne doesn't do is the advanced vocal pyrotechnics offered by Auto-Tune. The Celemony product is all about pitch and time correction and it accomplished these with grace and ease.
Those looking for an affordable entry into digital pitch correction can turn to Melodyne 4 Essential. It's a plug-in that handles the pitch and time corrections of its big brother, but with fewer advanced features and without the full-featured price tag.
Though pitch correction isn't the focus of this iZotope plug-in, it resembles the full Auto-Tune Studio package. At a fraction of the cost of the big boys in this class, VocalSynth doesn't offer the depth of control experienced with either Auto-Tune or Melodyne, yet it still manages to provide a reasonable job of pitch correction.
There's no graphical representation such as Melodyne's or Auto-Tune's graphical mode. That makes fine-tuning performances a little beyond the reach of VocalSynth, but for reasonable performances, it's not a major limitation. Think of the iZotope product as a first-aid kit rather than an emergency department.
The four voice synthesis modules are where the fun resides with VocalSynth. Talkbox, Compuvox, Polyvox and Vocoder modules emulate many of the vocal effects you've heard on hits from a wide range of artists. This is also just the most overt extra in the VocalSynth package.
A variety of additional modules let you tune up or tear up your vocal tracks. Add harmony, filter vocals, create radio and phone effects. These modules can either optimize your track or take it to new and exciting places.
VocalSynth may be the country cousin to the serious pitch manipulators, but it has capability with a high fun factor.
Don't let the download page fool you, GSnap is a VST plug-in that works with any DAW platform that supports VST, not simply Windows-based DAWs. Both 32 and 64-bit support is included. Completely free, it does come with limits. While there is more graphic information than iZotope offers, it doesn't offer direct edits.
While not as flexible as pro pitch correction, it's a low-cost alternative for users who can't swing the big time prices. It's difficult to use GSnap subtly. That's not an issue for those seeking pitch correction effects, such as Cher or T-Pain. Backup vocals are also a good candidate.
This is the entry level of pitch correction, and because of that, it's included here. The effect is so ubiquitous that anyone working in the field needs to know how it works. GSnap represents the place to start.
Wrapping It Up
Love it or hate it, pitch correction is here to stay, both as tool and effect. These four plug-ins aren't the only ones out there, but they represent the spectrum of pitch correction treatment. Auto-Tune is the originator. Melodyne is the refinement. It works just as well as the Antares product in nearly every way with an interface that easy to grasp.
iZotope VocalSynth represents the cream of the mid-priced plug-ins. It's capable and creative, even if it's not as flexible on pitch correction as the top-line apps. GSnap represents pitch correction for everyman. You can't knock the price of freeware.
The debate will likely rage over the ethics of pitch correction in popular music. While you wait for the dust to settle, give one of these packages a try.
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Whether you’re a home producer or work at a major recording studio, Autotune and other pitch correction software can help deal with a weak vocal performance.
In a hurry? I love Melodyne 4 Studio from Celemony. It’s sounds incredible, leaving little to no artifacts on vocals recorded in a treated space, but are in need of a little fixing.
But Autotune isn’t reserved exclusively for pitch correction. T-Pain popularized the hard-straightened pitch, even going as far as releasing an iOS app called “I Am T-Pain.”
Pitch correction software can also be utilized for other instruments as well. I’ve even used VariAudio (the “Autotune” built into Cubase) on bass guitar parts that were slightly out of tune. The result was surprisingly excellent, with little to no audio artifacts.
There’s a lot you can do with Autotune and similar software.
With so many options for producers, how can you decide on which one to use? Fortunately, I’ve had the experience working with many pitch correction plugins to weed out the good from the bad.
I’m going to include both free and paid options, so please read on!
Have an interest in virtual instruments? Don’t miss my other roundups!
Table of Contents
1) Antares Auto-Tune Pro (Paid)
Auto-Tune is the original pitch correction software. It’s so popular that its name is synonymous and is more of a colloquial term.
Antares gives you a couple of options to pick from depending on your needs — Pro, Artist, Access, or EFX+. As you’d guess, the price moves up the more features there are.
Auto-Tune is very hands-off. I’d even go as far as to say that it’s the most straightforward plugin for correcting pitch.
- Easy to use for beginners
- Lightweight on memory
- Great-looking user interface
- AUTO mode is limited
- Difficult for beginners to use GRAPH
- A little outdated compared
When using Auto-Tune on a vocal track in AUTO mode, set the key, the retune speed, and the amount of humanization. You should be able to hit the playback button now and hear hopefully great results.
Because it’s simplicity, I find that it doesn’t perform as well as others (when using the quick settings) that require more fine-tune vocal editing.
To fix an abysmal vocal performance, use the graph mode and hand tune each note to your liking. This process is much more complicated but yields a far better result.
I am not huge on Auto-Tune (I know many are), but it can deliver exceptional results. If you take the time to learn how to use it properly, you’ll have great-sounding vocals with ease.
Auto-Tune from Antares is available at Plugin Boutique.
2) Steinberg VariAudio — Cubase Pro (Paid)
Steinberg’s VariAudio is a pitch correction software included in Cubase Pro. It’s not a standalone plugin, so you won’t be able to use it if you don’t own Cubase Pro.
But, for those of you with Cubase who didn’t realize your DAW has pitch correction, rejoice!
I love VariAudio — so much so that I couldn’t imagine switching DAWs. I’ve been on Cubase for ten years, so I know my way around, but VariAudio is the one thing that will keep me as a forever customer.
How To Tune An Acoustic Guitar
- Integrated into Cubase
- Quick to edit any clip
- Very fast and no CPU
- Audio artifacts are very noticeable if not careful
- Limited cutting resolution
- Not intuitive at first
VariAudio functions similar to Melodyne and Auto-Tune’s graph mode. Double-clicking on a clip opens up the editor, where you can choose to enable VariAudio — no plugin required.
From here, it’s simple as using Pitch Quantize and Straighten Pitch on each clip. Cutting clips also helps pitch only individual sections of a waveform.
The newest version of VariAudio introduced some incredible options for adjusting pitch that make the software even more valuable.
I highly recommend considering Cubase Pro if you plan to switch DAWs — for VariAudio exclusively!
Steinberg’s Cubase Pro is available from Plugin Fox.
3) Celemony Melodyne (Paid)
We’re moving up the price ladder, but for a good reason. Melodyne from Celemony is one of the most utilized pitch correction plugins used by professional vocal editors and producers.
Melodyne offers (to my ears) the most accurate and musical sounding algorithm, leaving no tuning artifacts that are easily recognizable to the untrained ear.
- Incredible-sounding algorithm
- Tons of flexibility when vocals sound poor
- Zero audio artifacts in most cases
- Difficult for new users
- Rather expensive
The software has incredible note detection allowing for more accurate tuning. I find that in VariAudio, there are times that the software cannot understand individual notes, so they are omitted. It’s not too often this occurs, but Melodyne does it better.
Melodyne is available at Plugin Boutique.
4) Waves Tune (Paid)
Gibson Auto-tune Guitar
Waves Tune operates similarly to Auto-Tune and Melodyne. Before you begin tuning, the software scans the audio track and displays audio waveforms.
The process of editing is quite similar as well, though the interface is slightly dated.
- Included in many of Wave’s plugin bundles
- Relatively lightweight on CPU
- Difficult to use
I have never enjoyed using Waves Tune but figured it needed a mention since Waves is one of the most popular audio plugin companies.
5) Waves Tune Real-Time (Paid)
While cheaper than the regular version of Tune, Tune Real-Time offers a quick and user-friendly experience for tuning vocals. I’d compare this plugin to using Auto-Tune on AUTO mode.
Note transition is iffy at best and artifacts are present throughout (at least when I used it). The plugin isn’t smooth sounding at all, and there aren’t many parameter changes available.
I’d recommend Real-Time for two different scenarios. The first being someone new to audio production looking to fix a vocal without technical knowledge of tuning vocals. You won’t get the most professional sound, but it will be acceptable.
The second scenario is for producers working with singers in the studio who struggle to sing on pitch.
Using a pitch-correction software can boost the confidence of the singer in the booth, though I can’t say for sure if this will lead to a better sounding vocal take.
Despite the marketing of Waves Tune Real-Time, claiming instant vocal tuning, I could envision latency becoming an issue in some home studio settings.
Free Auto-Tune VST Plugins
If you’re on the fence about which one to get or want to save a little cash, try some of these free pitch correction plugins I’ve listed below.
Things To Consider When Choosing a Pitch Correction Software Plugin
Despite all the choices I’ve laid out, you still may be confused on the correct option. Here are some things to consider before making a decision.
Does the software maker provide a trial?
If so, take the trial and check out the software! There’s nothing more frustrating than buying a plugin only to find out that it’s non-refundable.
Do you need graph editing functionality?
Graph editing, like seen in Melodyne and VariAudio, is for advanced vocal editors. If you need a quick tuning for a little enhancement of a track, you may not need to edit each note.
Tune Guitar With Computer
If you want to draw in the notes physically, a more advanced pitch correction software will be necessary.
Further features you may desire are formant control, MIDI input (for vocoder), and note straightness. These types of effects are often essential in a lot of today’s popular music.
Does your DAW already have pitch processing?
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Best Auto Tune Software Free
Mine does — that’s why I’ve included VariAudio in this list. Digital audio workstations like Propellerhead’s Reason and MOTU Digital Performer also come with their native pitch correction software.
Which one do I like most? If I didn’t have VariAudio included in Cubase, I’d most likely be using Melodyne exclusively. It sounds incredible, and the workflow is so intuitive.
Auto Tune Guitar
So there you have it — my list of the best Auto-Tune/pitch correction VST plugins. Which one do you currently use in the studio? I’d love to hear from you down below in the comments. Thanks for reading!
Auto Tune Guitar Center
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