Tips for professional vocal pitch correction and Autotune
Autotune software and in general any vocal pitch correction plugin, are one of the most used techniques of any vocal mixing specialist to make a chart-topping hit.
There are some tips we can give you in order to achieve the same results in this task, but be aware, on this article I only want to focus on the right mentality (if you are a beginner) that will bring you the best result based on YOUR OWN STYLE, giving you the advices I would like to have received when I was (and I’m still) a self-learning music producer. For that, I will not give you a step-by-step tutorial to “make the best Autotune for trap” or similar.
You have to really want to learn each tool you put your hands on. Otherwise, this is not for you, YouTube is full of tutorials to make “that artist Autotune effect”.
1) Don’t think Autotune tips are valid for any voice or that automatic pitch correction is a one-setting magic tool.
Those software are awesome, but using them properly is a real art that needs experience and knowledge. Basic knowledge of the music scales (major and minor scales are enough) is mandatory in order to use them properly.
You can use both the scale provided by the software, or use the keyboard to “remove” notes from the scale, but before you have to play with a keyboard or guitar by yourself and find which notes have to be removed because they are not in that song’s scale and will sound totally out of tune. Each voice and style reacts differently with pitch correction, so patience and will to reach perfection is mandatory to have a professional result. You will need to automate the amount of “retune speed” and other parameters to follow the real amount needed for each moment of the song. Even the most extreme Autotune for trap music techniques involves different automations to sound at best in each part of the song.
2) Help Autotune with a manual pitch correction software.
The best way to have a Autotune sound without unwanted glitches, is to prepare and correct some of all the vocals sections (in particular the parts resulting with “robotic glitches”) before they come into the Autotune or MetaTune or any other vocal pitch correction software.
So any Celemony Melodyne, Steinberg (Cubase and Nuendo’s) VariAudio or Waves Tune will be the perfect combo for a professional vocal pitch correction on your song.
3) Cut noises and rumbles before
On manuals often it says to put pitch correction before any other processor, but this is only valid for perfect recordings.
If you are recording at home probably you don’t have studio quality recordings, so you have to cut out noises, low end rumble, headphone spills and any other noise (check This Article for great vocal recordings at home!) you have to cut/equalize/gate/de-ess them before they hit the vocal pitch correction plugin you want to use, especially if it’s an automatic one like Autotune. Those noises and imperfection will cause glitches, so the most clean is the recording, the highest the tuning quality will be.