Love it or hate it, vocal tuning looks like it’s here to stay
Item: Antares AutoTune EVO, Pitch Correction Plug-In
Price: US: $199 UK: £149
At A Glance: Since its introduction in 1997, Auto-Tune has had a profound effect on how music is produced. Although, it cannot make a bad singer sound like a great singer; it has been used extensively to make vocal performances sound more ‘perfect’ by correcting selected off-pitch notes. The latest version aims to do this with minimal audible artifacts and it comes with a range of features to appeal to both novice and advanced users.
High Notes: The plug-in has a clear interface and works with all major DAW software. In auto mode, the effect is very simple to operate and, unless there are dramatic pitch discrepancies, it is very effective. With subtle settings and a good performance the effect can sound quite natural, however with higher settings voices start to sound robotic, which can be a useful effect for certain genres. For more advanced users, there is a graphical mode, giving the user has complete control over how the effect is applied to every note. Used in this way the plug-in becomes a very powerful tool to correct performances with dramatic pitch problems and no option of a retake.
Off Pitch: Although some users may like the auto mode, the best results are achieved when the effect is used manually and this can be quite time consuming. When used across an entire track, it can easily start to make vocals sound artificial; as a listener you can start to lose the sense of a human connection with the singer.
A VoiceCouncil Review Says: Even if you would never dream of using auto-tune on your lead vocals, the plug-in can be used more creatively, such as to create a double track effect on a duplicate of your lead vocal, or simply using it as a special effect on a particular line in a song. It also works well in tightening up backing vocals that are clashing with the main vocals. Nearly all vocals are treated with some effects processing such as reverb, delay, EQ, doubling, chorus and compression – so perhaps auto-tune can be seen as an extension of the effects world. It can certainly ruin the human element of a vocal recording if overdone (unless that’s your desired effect); however, when used carefully, it is a powerful tool that can put the finishing touches to your vocals, especially when there is no option to re-record the take.
There are several other vocal tuning plug-ins available from other manufactures such as Waves Tune, Celemony Melodyne and the TC-Helicon Intonator, also some DAW software such as Cubase come with pitch correction facilities built-in.
Manufacturer’s Website: http://www.antarestech.com