There are numerous techniques that you can use to change the pitch of a sample, I cover these in a tutorial I recommend you look at before this one, as it will give you some context on pitch correction. In this tutorial, I will detail how you can autotune in Ableton using the Antares Autotune plug-in and its different variants.
Ableton does not have a native Autotune effect which is why you need third party plug-ins for autotuning (correcting the pitch of a sample). This technique only works for simple audio samples (monophonic samples i.e. vocals and melodies) as using complex samples might result in undesirable pitching skews.
If you are using imported samples that happen to be out of key with your session, you will need to re-pitch your sample before autotuning. Antares Autotune is the premium autotuned plug-in used by industry professionals and professional studios. As mentioned, there are variations to the Antares Autotune, each with its use case, here is a little summary, and what they do:
- Auto-Key – this simple but effective plug-in allows you to find the key of your sample and export this key to your autotune plug-in
- Auto-Tune Access – this is the entry-level Antares Autotune plug-in. it is simple and has the primary autotune parameter controls
- Auto-Tune Artist – this is the intermediate-level autotuned plug-in by Antares, providing you with a bit more controls than Auto-tune Access
- Auto-Tune Pro – this plug-in is the premium autotuned plug-in by Antares. It has all the controls of any premium industry standard autotuned pug-in
- Auto-Tune EFX – this plug-in works just as a hybrid of Auto-Tune Access and Artist, but has advanced effects features such as Vocoder, Duet etc.
Now let us take a deep dive into these plug-ins and see how they work:
This plug-in, while not pitch-correcting your samples, can be used to detect the key of your sample. It works well with simple and complex audio and MIDI samples that will help guide your autotuning. You can import your samples manually using the ‘file’ option or, if you have it loaded, you can have it listen to a portion of your sample and detect the key by simply clicking on the middle button.
You can also manually select the key and export this key to whichever autotune plug-in you have loaded in the track so that the plug-in will treat the incoming audio.
I recommend using this plug-in right before you autotune. You can buy it here for $49.00 for a one-off payment
This is the entry-level autotune plug-in by Antares. It is simple with the following two parameter controls:
- re-tuning speed: which affects how fast this plug-in shifts the input of the audio input.
- humanizes: which affects how hard the plug-in will shift between the notation.
The faster you push these parameters, the more robotic the audio output will sound. Ultimately, depending on the speed between notes in your samples, you will need to affect these parameters to match your sample.
You can buy this plug-in here for $49.00 for a one-off payment.
Now we are entering the professional side of Antares’ Autotune pug-ins. Auto-Tune Artist has a lot more parameters than Access. Ultimately you will notice that the parameters are not fixed, you will be able to change these parameters linearly outside of the fast/slow or medium/high. Here are what these parameters are, and what they do:
First you will notice that the key selection area now allows you to pick the voicing of your audio input.
Secondly, you can choose whether Artist should behave as a classic autotune plug-in. In the format option, you can further fine tune how Artist should treat your audio sample input.
In this plug-in you will find the same parameters as Access (retune speed and humanize) with a couple more additions. If you are working with multiple artists, they will all have different vocal and performance characteristics. This is how they glide between noted and vibratos, you can add or remove these parameters from their vocal characteristics using the flex-tune and vibrato controls. The controls are also flexible, not fixed.
These controls are best when you’re resampling. You can read more about sampling and resampling in Ableton in this tutorial.
In the keyboard edit mode, you can hold down a note, and either remove or altogether bypass the note selected when tuning your sample.
In the keyboard modes, if you select latch, the keyboard will hold down and latch to this note, and at the end of every phrase, Artist will return the tuning to the selected note.
In momentary mode, the note you press on your keyboard is what Artist will pull down as the tuning of your sample (at the end of every phrase) as long as you hold down the note. This parameter is also flexible.
With the advanced feature activated, you can now further control the vibrato and the keyboard parameters. This plug-in is available here for $349.00.
Antares Pro functions a lot like the Artist version, but you get more in-depth control with Pro. You get higher control of individual notes and passages, and pitch. The plugin also helps you automate these controls. These parameters are similar to the manual pitch correction feature you get from Celemony’s Melodyne. You can access these extended features by switching between the Auto and Graph modes.
This plug-in is available here for $459.00. A little bit pricy, but well worth it!
This is the final autotune plug-in by Antares on my list. It also works a lot like the Access autotune plug-in. The autotune parameters are the same, but you also get access to the voicing options in the key selection. What makes this plug-in different, is the effects module in the bottom panel. This panel has fixed effects patches (presets) created by industry professionals. The only mutable aspect will be the mix between the different effects modules
This is the secondary effects parameter control set that you can activate by toggling between. You can create a performance pattern between the original audio sample, and the effects. The effects will follow the pattern style, the effects play style (hard, soft or legato) and finally, the tempo of the play pattern. These effects take effect post autotune.
This plug-in is available here for $229.00
Antares has made a phenomenal set of plug-ins. They do not stop here, they make other vocal effects such as compressors and equalizers, however, the autotune bundle is Antares’ magnum opus. From the simple key detection plug-in Auto-Key to the complex Pro and EFX plug-ins. Consider purchasing these plug-ins to enhance your productions. For more on how to install and use plug-ins in Ableton, have a look at this tutorial, the best autotune plug-ins, as well as the best vocal plugins for Ableton here. Have fun!
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