Auto-tuning is widely used in music production. It is a function that is applied to a singer’s vocal track, to bring it into key. Some of the most talented and amazing vocalists might be using it to a negligible level, while others apply it to a more noticeable level.
Even though Adobe Audition is not primarily a music production digital workstation, you can still apply a few music production processes, one being auto-tuning your vocals.
This article will break down the settings and tweaks in the auto-tuning process and highlight the changes being applied to your audio file.
Auto tuning falls under time and pitch effect. These are effects that alter the pitch or tempo of an audio file.Adobe Audition has organized different effects into their respective categories for easier access.
Start by launching Adobe Audition and importing the track that you want to autotune.
Select all or the section of your track that needs autotune.
Click on the Effects option in the menu tab and scroll down to Time and Pitch. Hover your mouse over this option and a new dropdown list will appear on the right.
On the dropdown select Automatic Pitch Correction by clicking on it.
The dialogue box in the screenshot below will appear.
The first entry, Presets, has a list of predetermined settings that you can use in different cases. These presets are Default, A Minor, C Major, Extreme Correction, and Subtle Vocal Correction.
The Default preset allows you to make changes based on the condition of your recorded file. A Minor and C Major are used for minor and major keys respectively.
Major and minor in music are defined using keys, scales, chords, and intervals. When listening to music you will notice that some sounds come out as happy or bright. These are major chords and hence fall under the major key. Minor keys are primarily used if the sounds have a dark and gloomy characteristic.
Therefore, under the presets use this breakdown to choose a preset. If the vocals or the instrumental is bright pick C Major and if it is gloomy or dark pick A minor. You should however, already know the exact key of the song, so based on that you should make a selection between major and minor options.
Lastly, Extreme Correction adds a more noticeable auto-tuning effect to your track, while Subtle Vocal Correction has more of a lower impact.
Scale is the next entry which has the following three options: Chromatic, Major, and Minor.
We already discussed Major and Minor, the third option, Chromatic is used to correct the audio to the nearest note regardless of its key. This leverages the data on your file to determine the right scale to be applied to your audio.
If you select Chromatic, note that the next entry will be greyed out as it will have determined the best settings. This means that scale and key entry are connected.
With that said, the option chosen under the key entry should compliment the choice under scale. The screenshot below shows the available Keys.
Under the key choices, it is important to know the key that you are working on. If you are not sure pick Chromatic in the Scale entry.
The next setting in this dialogue box to look at is Attack which is a slider.
This slider is scaled with fast and slow figures. It controls how quickly the pitch is corrected towards the scale tone.
If you drag the slider toward the right you make the attack faster than it would be if you were to drag it to the left. Slow settings result in a more natural-sounding end result as compared to an unnatural robotic sound that you will get from a faster attack.
The Sensitivity slider is used to define a threshold where the notes in the audio will not be corrected.
In this process, Adobe Audition allows you to pick a channel where you believe the pitch correction effect has been applied.
The Reference Channel entry is used to pick either the left or the right channel. The effect will analyze how the change in pitch correction has been applied to the chosen channel, and once you finalize the changes, it is then applied to both channels.
Note that if you are working with a mono file, this option isn’t changeable since the entry will have number 1 as the only option, while stereo files will allow you to pick left or right.
Under FFT entry it is important to note smaller figure works with higher frequencies.
This entry has three values, 1024, 2048, and 4096. If you are working on vocals it is advisable that you use 2048 or 4096.
Lastly, the Calibration setting is used for giving a tuning standard for the audio. The calibration can only be done between 410 to 470 Hz.
You can now click Apply on the bottom right of the dialogue box to apply the changes made in the dialogue box.
But before doing so, check the conclusion on how to save the settings that you have made for future use.
Auto-tuning has been quite regularly used in music production in recent years. It gives identity to some artists. In this day and age, artists with a raspy or deep voice use auto-tune to sound softer and have their high notes altered.
If you intend to use the effect recurrently, you need to save the changes made into a preset. Different songs on an album end up with a similar sound. This means that there are some settings that are used recurrently.
To save the changes in Adobe, click the save presets button in the Automatic Pitch Correction dialogue box. This is highlighted in the screenshot below.
In the pop-up box that appears, type in how you want to save this preset: eg Lizzie Presets, for a particular vocalist to separate her settings from other individuals as well as save time whenever you want to apply the autotuning effect again.