Pitch correction (Melodyne, Auto-tune, etc.)

I have been using MAutoPitch | MeldaProduction quite a bit and it can do a pretty good job for free but I’m wondering if I want to try anything a bit better.

I’m writing a tune at the moment that means a lot to me. I am therefore keen to get to an end product that actually sounds good, and while my singing in places is ok, there are some melodies I write that I just don’t think I can properly nail. And while a basic auto tune effect can do an ok job of pitch correction, it still sounds very robotic in a way that I don’t want.

So I’m wondering if it’s worth getting myself the cheapest version of Melodyne.

Do any of you use it or anything similar?

Very interested in anything that’s free but not expecting that to be the real solution here.

I am using Ableton. Think it’s version 10. And my macbook is nearly 10 years old. Still works tho!

is this likely to be legit? Celemony Melodyne 5 Essential, Unregistered, New | eBay

Does your version of Ableton support Max 4 Live? If so, have you tried Autotuna from this?

I have some UAD stuff and if I’m using autotune at all I use either their own Autotune Advance or the Antares standard - they’re pretty much identical (and cost money but came bundled with my soundcard). I’ve found the best way to make it sound realistic (if you’re actually just correcting slightly sharp or flat notes) is to make two identical vocal channels in Ableton and print one without autotune & one with and then either comp them or mix them together. Basically you want to avoid tuning notes that are already more or less in tune

As for my experiences with Melodyne - used it on some sessions years ago and while the results were pretty convincing it took a LOT of finnicky editing to get them convincing and it annoyed me. I expect there’s a lot of improvements and some shortcuts since then but be prepared for a learning curve there rather than slapping something on for a quick fix. As for whether the Ebay one is legit … all I can say is that they have a 100% positive feedback so … go for it… maybe

Another couple of things worth mentioning with vocals is that you should also think about timing and not just pitch. There’s is a timing psychoacoustic effect that basically makes us perceive notes sung a little bit early as flat and notes sung a little bit late as sharp (or is it the other way round - I always forget) so the better the timing the better the perception of pitch. This also goes for note duration so think about the ends of phrases as well as the beginnings

Then the other thing is - don’t be afraid of doing a shit ton of takes and then comping. In fact, get used to it. Loop sections and sing the phrases over and over and pick the best one out of the 50 takes and glue them all together into one long perfect take like doing a jigsaw. And don’t think that this is cheating because it is not. The best singer I’ve ever worked with was happy to do 100 odd takes, some of the worst singers think the first take is the ‘real’ one or that if they can’t do a perfect performance of the song from start to finish it’s not ‘authentic’ :man_facepalming:t2:

but don’t just take my word for it

Live 11 & 12 make this easier by having take lanes - a semi-automized route to comping but you can set this up yourself in Ableton 10 with groups

So, in sum - probably a combo of different techniques is going to be your best bet going forward. You might want to think about perhaps upgrading Ableton if you want Max 4 Live stuff or I’d suggest taking advantage of the Melodyne 30 day free trial to see if it’s for you before spending £45 on the license off eBay

then of course there’s mics, mic techniques and rooms to think about too … but you didn’t ask about that … yet :wink:


Agree that comping and using autotune as a last resort is a good approach. If melodies are too complicated or challenging for you to sing you’d be much better off rewriting or simplifying them to something more achieveable. If youre seeking to not actually sing a melody but use software to make it happen its gonna sound bad regardless imo. Melodyne has improved but its pretty incisive and very fiddly for someone who doesnt use it frequently. Its good for nudging things slightly rather than flatlining.

That said even mautopitch has some settings so that you arent in full t-pain mode. Trying putting a minimal amount of it and making the speed lower. The robot effect is usually caused by the note correcting too quickly.

I’m not an expert by a very long stretch, but I think there’s no ‘right’ answer here. Was doing a songwriting course with Sam Evian recently and his take on vocal comping was that he’d prefer to do a maximum of 3 live takes, try to do a minimum of slicing up and comping it together, try and retain as much live chunks as possible, and then use melodyne if anything needed a little bit of a nudge. But by nudge we’re talking anything that was very very slightly off, rather than using it to ‘sing’ a line that wasn’t possible to sing.

I haven’t used melodyne myself with Ableton - I’ve been messing around with it within ProTools and have exported a few stems back to myself to use in Ableton projects that I’ve got. I found it quite easy to mess with and have found results particularly useful on backing vocals that need a slight nudge, where they’re in the background and distant sounding anyway - so the loss of natural vocal tone is much less important.

I suspect that endless comping might be the route to madness for me, so I’m not going to do it - hence very happy to have little solutions like this. But I think for it to sound good they will have to melodies that you can sing, even if you can’t quite ‘nail’ them.

Yeh lots of takes and finding the best will lost likely sound the most natural

I’ve had a lot of success using the free in build auto tune in reaper and drawing in what I want. I should add this is jlusuallymon behalf of other people who have supplied waves to mix

For my own stuff I’d rather comp until it sounds good

  1. I might have a melodyne license. If so, I’ll see if I can transfer it and you can have it. Will check later

  2. Reaper is endless trial (not free!!) And has good built in pitch correction that is similar to Melodyne.

  3. Melodyne is free with loads of software, so there’s usually a super cheap copy or ten going on the classified section of kvrvst.

I do have a license and I’m happy to transfer it to you (version 5, essential) as I have no use for it. Message me if you want it; I think I would need to put in a support request with you details over at the Celemony support site (having googled it for 30 seconds!). Or I guess you could just have my Celemony and change all the details to you…

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thank you to everyone for all the replies, very helpful as always from the good lads of DiS :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

will take up the kind offer from @TeaRex as for free I might as well do some experimenting with Melodyne in addition to all the other suggestions