This article will explore an array of the best autotune and pitch correction plugins for mixing your vocals in 2023.
Top 6 Auto-Tune & Pitch Correction Plugins 2023
1. Slate Digital MetaTune
Meta-Tune is a simple auto-tuner and pitch correction plugin that is great for more ‘modern’ genres of music such as Electronic or Hip-Hop.
The easy-to-use interface gives you basic controls that have enormous impact and are bound to save you time in the mixdown. There certainly are more advanced and powerful plugins out there, but this one boasts simplicity with mixed results at a reasonable price.
- User-friendly Design and Interface
Meta Tune offers a highly user-friendly design paired with simple yet effective controls, allowing you to get editing in seconds. By adjusting the speed, sustain, and amount parameters, you can vary the result of your moves from a natural sound to a more robotic fx sound. Use the built-in keys and scales features to select your range quickly. You can also see where the vocals are hitting from the incoming signal of Heatmaps. Additionally, you can see where the outgoing signal is hitting, which means you can also see the level of pitch adjustment.
- Negative Speed Processing
The negative speeds function refers to note detection and pitch correction timing. Essentially, it controls the speed at which tuning happens in the transitions between keys. Setting the ‘speed’ control beyond 0, you get into the negative speed region where Meta Tune’s unique algorithm kicks in. Designed to help the vocals pop against the rest of the instruments and note changes, it’s easy to use and can get you some fascinating results.
- Groups Function
The ‘groups’ function is handy when working with a lot of vocal tracks in a mix. It allows you to link whichever other instances of Meta Tune you have in your session for multi-track editing. For example, you could connect your background vocals in a group and simultaneously make adjustments that affect the entire group. Grouping is a considerable time saver and a great perk that alleviates a ton of individual adjustments or copy-pasting automation.
- Note Stabilizing
This feature has different settings to choose from, which will determine how much stabilization occurs. By employing this feature, you can eliminate the need to open up a graphic editor and manipulate problem areas by hand. By selecting Long, Mid, or Short, you can decide which instance sounds best for the type of music you’re editing. Long allows the singer’s natural vibrato to remain present, whereas the Mid and Short instances adjust faster and more in tune with the desired notes.
This plugin is available for Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.12 or higher. It comes in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Important Note: Ilok USB dongle required.
If vocals are your focus and simplicity is what you’re after, then Meta Tune is an excellent pick for you. Additionally, if you’re on a budget and can’t afford some of the high-end programs, it’s worth checking out.
2. Antares Auto-Tune Pro
Auto-Tune is a widely used software by engineers and producers across the globe and has been around for over twenty years.
Auto-Tune is somewhat of an ‘industry standard’ vocal editing tool, so you’ve probably heard of it and may have used it yourself. With an array of powerful features, you can use this plugin for real-time correction or meticulous pitch and time adjustment in a mixdown. Whether you’re a beginner or an audio professional, Auto-Tune’s simple aesthetic and powerful interface make it an excellent tool for anybody that works with vocals.
- Auto Mode
Auto Mode is designed for real-time tuning and comprises a ‘basic’ view and an ‘advanced’ view. Low latency processing is helpful in live performances or in-studio for real-time pitch and time correction. Depending on the style of music at hand, you can adjust the Flex-Tune, Humanize, and Throat Modeling controls to achieve natural-sounding correction or SFX-like affected vocals. You also have access to transposition controls, MIDI adjustments, and Scale Editing for efficient modification and real-time results. Additionally, you can toggle Classic Mode (to re-create Auto-Tune 5’s famous sound). Auto-Mode grants engineers and performers the confidence that they’ll sound great on stage or in a recording session.
- Graph Mode
Graph mode delivers maximum control over every element of the vocal track. It allows you to open the audio in the plugin and exercise an array of powerful features to tune your vocals. In its entirety, graph mode handles every factor of the vocal and gives you the ability to manipulate it beyond recognition or subtly nudge it towards perfection. Meticulous vocal editing is done in graph mode, where you can go through every instance of the recording and adjust various elements.
Auto Key helps increase efficiency when mixing by recognizing the key and scale. Next, it sends that information to all instances of Auto-Tune Pro in your session, saving you from manually dialing in the settings for each track. Additionally, you can set the parameters using a single instance of Auto-Tune and send it to all the cases in the session. So, if you have multiple backing vocal tracks, you could simultaneously apply the settings from one across the rest for continuity and time-saving.
Auto-Tune has an array of plugins that you can employ to enhance the vocal performance and final product. You can access them all by purchasing a perpetual license or subscribing. Furthermore, you can also crossgrade (upgrade from or add to your collection) from multiple instances of ownership, so you don’t need to purchase the entire bundle if you want to upgrade. There are a lot of perks to using it, that’s for sure.
This plugin is available for Windows 10 (64 bit) and macOS 10.14 to 11. x. It comes in VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Auto-Tune Pro is a celebrated tool for pitch adjustment and corrections by members throughout the music community. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a seasoned professional or just learning your way around a mixdown; this software will do the trick for you. As a result, Antares continues to uphold its reputation of being a celebrated mixing tool. Simplicity aside, this is genuinely comprehensive software that can take your vocal manipulation to the next level, whether you’re doing it in real-time or in the studio.
3. Brainworx bx_crispytuner
The Crispytuner is an uncomplicated but comprehensive tool with three separate modes to engage with and a practical sister plugin that identifies root notes and scales.
Reviews state that the tuned-effect sounds similar to most auto-tuning software; however, a unique musical element adds to the sound, making it desirable for many modern genres of music production.
- Lightning Fast Processing
We know the deal with low latency – it allows you to process data in real-time, so you can use it for live performances due to the instantaneous tuning. However, it’s also helpful when artists are recording in the studio because they can hear the general effects or corrections while they do their takes.
The Crispyscale is a sister plugin by Brainworx, which works hand-in-hand with Crispytuner by identifying notes and scales and sending that information to all instances of it in your session. Some software has this feature already built-in to the interface. However, having an additional plugin to use in tandem isn’t much extra work because it communicates with Crispytuner and automatically applies the information.
- Modes (Simple, Graphical, Advanced)
The simple mode is designed for quick and easy application. It gives you control over the amount of tuning occurring by adjusting the attack time and the note tolerance. There is a filter EQ built-in for pre and post-frequency adjustment. You can use the Advanced Mode if you want additional functions, which gives you access to ‘transition, tightness, correction, and formant control.’ With these, you can further manipulate the vocal to fit the track or recreate harmonies that work in context. You could use the Graphical Mode with the usual extensive features for careful editing through many adjustable parameters for more technical and in-depth correction.
This plugin is available for Windows 7-10 (64 bit) and macOS 10.11 – 11.0.1. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Crispytuner is a trusty device for achieving the general auto-tune effect because it adds musical character to the audio, which has proven to be a desirable feature for many producers. Thanks to the well-integrated sister plugin, you can work across your entire session without having to dial in parameters for each instance of the plugin. Along with the quick processing, this device could be a real-time-saver. However, in addition to its efficacy, there is also a more meticulous side to this plugin, making it all the more desirable.
4. Waves Tune Real-Time
As the name suggests, the Waves Tune Real-Time is designed for live performances and an instant effect. It’s great to have in the studio when recording vocals too. Thanks to its compelling interface and simple controls, this plugin is an uber-efficient tool for many needs. If you’re looking for a great vocal tool to use in real-time that achieves seamless results and can add such value to a live show, check out the key features that follow.
- Real-Time Correction
The main feature of this plugin is the real-time adjustment and correction made to make live performances and studio recordings sound great. The low-latency algorithm does a great job of keeping the natural nuances of the singer’s vocal alive while smoothly integrating adjustment. Professionals worldwide use this tool mainly because of its instantaneous results, which maintain the integrity of the vocal.
- Straightforward Design and Layout
Waves have made it easy to navigate the various functions by designing an interface with an instinctual layout and workflow. Essentially, you can control the initial signal by adjusting the speed, note transition, and vibrato controls which determine how quickly, smoothly, naturally, or unnaturally correction happens. Next, you can regulate the range of frequencies being processed and focus on where it matters most by hand or with tonal presets. You can also select the key and scale or dial it in yourself. And, of course, we have the formant control, which can vastly alter the character of a vocal but, more importantly, retain the natural character across correction.
- Tolerance Controls
The tolerance controls have two parameters that can adjust to achieve various intensities of ‘tolerance’. The cents and time parameters determine how much a singer can be off, and how long it will be corrected while the singer is off. By increasing the cents, you allow more ‘tolerance’ from the plugin when adjusting off-key notes. On the other hand, you have time control, which determines how long this adjustment is held. If the singer is dropping off towards the end of a long note, you can extend the time which the adjustment will engage. Essentially, you can help the singer hold that note for an extended period.
This plugin is available for Windows 10--11 and macOS 10.14.6 – 11.5.2. It comes in VST/3, AU, and AAX formats.
The Tune Real-Time is yet another testament to the quality that Waves produce. If you’re a live sound engineer or a recording engineer, excellent results are guaranteed when this plugin gets used adequately. Clean, smooth audio can easily be ascertained when using one of the many presets or by dialing in specific parameters that help the vocals on their way to greatness.
5. Celemony Melodyne 5
Celemony’s Melodyne is a prolific software in pitch correction and tuning as it is one of the most reliable programs around. When it comes to editing the voice, this program does it all and allows you to manipulate so many trouble areas, artifacts, and even consonants. It might take a bit of getting used to due to the all-inclusive interface that hosts many controls. Exercise these controls through Melodyne as a plugin or as stand-alone software, depending on your situation.
- Scale and Note Editing
Melodyne automatically picks up the note and scale of the audio at hand. It also has a simple layout that allows you to see all the keys, waveforms, transitions, formants, vibratos, and more. Once you open up the session view, you can pick a scale and chord progression from the presets or manually remove keys. After making your selection, the chosen notes get highlighted in the session. Therefore, you can easily see where to transpose various instances of the vocal to it while staying in key. Additionally, you can alter a single vocal sample or select multiple of them and manipulate them simultaneously.
- Sturdy Tuning
The tuning features of this program are top quality and cover most vocal elements. You can access the ‘correct pitch macro’ for quick and easy tuning, which has two controls: pitch center and pitch drift. These are considered the essential components for tuning and can adjust from 0% – 100%. However, once you go in for meticulous editing, each of these elements gets broken up into other components, and you can control them all.
- Natural Voice Emulation
Melodyne boasts a sturdy natural voice emulation, and they focus on so many things to make this happen. Most plugins focus on formants and transitions; however, Melodyne gives you access to the sibilants with a powerful de-essing feature, the dynamics of the voice, breath control, and more. You can incorporate extreme changes that adjust and sound entirely normal if you understand how the human voice works. More importantly, you can exclude many flaws in the vocals without compromising what makes the voice sound natural because you can readjust whatever is needed to rectify it.
- Musical Editing and Note Separation
Melodyne also lets you work with music. You can access many of the same controls for different instruments and sounds and easily experiment with new harmonies and melodies. You can also add excitement to chosen instruments by adjusting their dynamics, pick-ups, timbre, and more. There’s no limit to what instruments you work with, and the ability to manipulate them is as sturdy as the vocal features.
This plugin is available for Windows 10 (64-bit) and 11 and macOS 10.12 (64-bit) or higher. It comes in VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Melodyne is a magnificent program that has rightfully earned its reputation in the industry. If you’re serious about music production and have the money, it’s certainly worth the investment. Fortunately, it’s not restricted to music because it will be helpful wherever a voice needs editing. It might take you a while to learn this product well, but it will be worth the time and serve as a fantastic companion to your mixes and music for an extended period to come.
6. Zynaptiq PITCHMAP
Pitchmap is a unique plugin with an extensive set of abilities. It reaches beyond vocals and gives you control over instrumental music and the ability to separate and attenuate specific instruments in real-time. This is useful when creating bootlegs and remixes as you can generate quality stems to work. All-in-all, Pitchmap can be used as a creative tool, a corrective tool, a synthesizer, and more.
Pitchmap can separate instruments and sounds in a song into separate elements by employing advanced algorithms and technology. The musical aspects of the mix will be identified and isolated, allowing control over each of them. You’re able to manipulate the pitch and more of each component. This could be useful in many ways, but especially if you’re remixing tracks, experimenting with different harmonic combinations, removing elements, and more. You can do this by isolating parts needed for a remix, mapping existing instruments and harmonies to different ones, and eliminating unwanted elements. There is a lot to discover through experimentation and exploration.
- Natural Correction
As was mentioned earlier, the human voice is a complex aural phenomenon, and hence, our ears are inherently good at interpreting it. Unnatural changes can be very noticeable and drastically take away from the feel of a song. Natural mode is a new edition to the interface and provides a separate processor for the voice due to its complexity and the importance of sounding realistic. It does so by accurately identifying vocal aspects and separating them for unique processing. This integration means you can retain the imperative nuances of the human voice when editing, preserve its natural sound, and still enjoy the freedom to explore various melodic shifts along with the rest of the track.
- Creative Manipulation
The next feature we’ll look at is the creative section that houses a ‘purify’ and an ‘electrify’ function. With electrify, you’re able to manipulate your audio through various synthesis processes and recreate it to sound more electronic or unique. On the other hand, the purify function does the opposite and creates a cleaner result. So, depending on your goals, you could either manipulate the original sound and come up with something new.
This plugin is available for Windows 7 or newer and macOS 10.12.x or newer. It comes in VST2.4/3, AU, AAX, and RTAS formats.
Thanks to the swift processing and wide-ranging yet straightforward features, you’re able to easily manage audio in a multitude of ways with comprehensive creative control to achieve unique sound possibilities.
Best Free Auto-Tune & Pitch Correction Plugin
The GSnap is a simple plugin with a straightforward workflow.
It can do simple pitch adjustment and correction to a scale or incoming MIDI. Additionally, you can achieve the standard auto-tuned effect.
- Detection Section
Detection gives you control over the incoming signal. You can adjust the EQ, gate, and speed to achieve varied results. Once you’ve got a comfortable setting, the signal needs treatment at the next stage.
- Correction Controls
Correction refers to the adjustment of the pitch to a given scale. You can adjust the threshold in cents to determine how much pitch will be altered. Next, you can select the amount of correction that will occur. Lastly, it’s backed by an attack and release setting that allow you to set the speed at which it occurs and how long it happens.
- MIDI Capable
The MIDI feature lets you respond to incoming MIDI information. Essentially, you can regulate the pitch bend, vibrato, and auto-tune effect characteristics based on the MIDI. These elements can be used to add excitement and modulation to the audio.
This plugin is available for Windows (32/64 bit), macOS (32/64 bit), and Linux (32/64 bit). It comes in VST format.
All in all, this is a straightforward tool that is great for learning the basics of pitch correction. You can achieve numerous results from an uncomplicated interface and experiment with other instruments and sounds too.
2. Auburns Sounds Graillon 2
The Graillon 2 is one of the market favorites when it comes to free pitch correction plugins.
This isn’t much of a surprise, considering it has a pretty unique interface and level of control. It also has some rather exciting settings than what one might typically expect. Although it’s free, you can also buy it to support the brand.
- Detect Section
The initial section of the plugin handles the detection of audio, quantization, and bit-crushing. This is a somewhat surprising trio of controls but a combination that can achieve some interesting sounds.
- Harmonics and Modulation
Choose between ring modulation and pitch-shift modulation before you explore the various settings that work with it. In this section, there is also a low-cut EQ to tame any unnecessary low frequencies.
- Pitch Correction
The next item in the chain is pitch correction. There are several elements involved here and a fair amount of control over them. These include pitch shifting, formant control, scale, amount of correction, and more. Finally, you can adjust the dry/wet to balance it into the mix after all of this.
This plugin is available for Windows (32/64 bit), macOS (32/64 bit), and Linux (32/64 bit). It comes in ST, AAX, AU, and LV2 formats.
The Graillon 2 is a helpful tool on the free market that can bring about all kinds of results for your vocals and music. It has a unique character and a load of tricks up its sleeve for experimental results.
Antares Auto Key
We briefly touched on Auto Key earlier in the Auto-Tune section.
This plugin is designed specifically for Auto-Tune, and its purpose is to enhance efficiency in your workflow. It cooperates with all instances of Auto-Tune in your session and allows you to make changes across all of them.
- Key and Scale Identification
You’re able to identify the key and scale of audio with Auto Key by placing the plugin on a track in the session or by uploading a file for analysis.
- Auto-Tune Integration
The Auto-Tune integration means that you can send the information from Auto Key to all open instances of it for a blanket effect. This saves time from having to enter this information manually. It also shows the reference frequencies that match the chosen audio key and scale.
- Sample Selection
You’re also able to browse sample libraries and pick samples that work with the key and scale of your chosen audio or session. This is a valuable perk that’s bound to save you tons of time in your mixdown.
This plugin is available for Windows 10 (64 bit) and macOS 10.14 to 11. x. It comes in VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Auto Key is a well-paired companion to Auto-Tune and will save you a lot of time working through a session. Some plugins have this feature built-in, but it’s worth the extra seconds spent opening up another plugin if you’re an Auto-Tune user.
How Does Autotune Work?
It refers to the registered key hit by the vocals.
- The formant
Formant is more complicated as it relates to the voice box’s natural tone and singer’s throat, which differ from one person to the next. Capturing this and maintaining its accuracy is key to having great sounding vocal edits as it retains the natural nuances of the singer’s vocal.
Refers to the minor pitch fluctuations that occur naturally and uniquely in the human voice. It’s prevalent and noticeable when singing more extended notes.
Note usually speaks of the root note or fundamental frequency of the vocal.
The human voice is a highly complicated phenomenon with a lot of sonic character and detail. It makes two types of sounds – sibilants, and tones. Sibilants are the hissing sounds we produce and they do not change pitch. Tones, on the other hand, are produced by our vowels. If these nuances are not maintained when adjusting pitch and time, it’s noticeable and sounds unnatural. However, artificial sounds like the famous auto-tune effect can be the desired outcome. Whatever you’re trying to achieve, be it clean, smooth correction or robotic auto-tune, there are some great plugins out there to get it done.
If you’re looking for a real-time correction and tuning plugin that’s great for live performances, there’s plenty available to you. Are you at a point in the production process that requires meticulous editing and fine-tuning of vocal performances? Well, there’s an array of highly comprehensive tools to help you get the job done. Perhaps you’re going for that classic, auto-tune effect. Whatever your goals, different devices might suit your needs better, so check out our pick of the litter for 2022.
There are many powerful pitch-adjustment and correction plugins on the market, but if you have a budget, it’s worth investing in one that has comprehensive features to handle the voice and more. Understanding the voice will be a giant leap in the right direction of becoming an excellent vocal editor, and getting a comprehensive tool to achieve this would be another. Finally, you’ll need a lot of practice, trial, and error to elevate your vocals to the next level.
After exploring the technical features of these plugins, we can see that there is some superior software that takes the lead. Melodyne, Auto-Tune, and Waves Tune Real-Time stand out as industry favorites, technical beasts, and because of their overall impeccable abilities. Depending on if you work with live audio or in the studio, you might seriously consider investing in any of these programs.
If you’re looking for something less complicated or expensive, the Crispytuner and Meta Tune might suit your needs perfectly. The Crispytuner offers more in terms of editing ability, but the Meta Tune has its perks too. Both of these plugins have their charm when it comes to achieving that auto-tuned effect, so if that’s what you need, look no further.
Finally, if you’re in the creative realm or make many remixes, you might consider the Pitchmap by Zynaptiq. This is an exciting plugin that offers an extensive set of features backed by a radical algorithm. You can manipulate audio in seemingly unimaginable ways.
Remember, if you’re just getting started, consider trying out the free plugins so you can get a feel of what it’s all about. Once you feel confident in your abilities you can decide which paid plugin will fit your needs and invest in it.
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I’m an audio enthusiast, electronic music producer, label co-director, and sound engineer from Cape Town.