It really has come to the point where if you don’t run pitch correction lightly on a vocal track it just doesn’t have that pro studio sound. I’ve had this conversation many times with a pro Nashville session singer who works at the studio frequently. We’ve deduced that’s mainly due to so many artists being signed who can’t stay on pitch, that engineers are forced to run correction on nearly every master vocal session. We’re all so used to hearing it on major label mixes that if it isn’t there on a vocal track, the track doesn’t sound right. Wow!
There’s No Clear Winner
Having started out with Antares Auto-Tune and using it for about two years while producing for clients of Nashville Trax on Music Row, then trying Melodyne when it became available in year three, twelve years now, I don’t see a clear cut winner here. It really depends on your experience, how good your ear is and what you need to achieve.
When harmonizers first came out my drummer then, cousin still, David Watson, and I used to jokingly refer to them as “de-harmonizers” because they’d sound great through a few chord changes then hit a chord they couldn’t recognize properly. At times the generated harmonizer part was so far out of key it was painful to listen to.
Well, Antares Auto-Tune, set once and allowed to do its thing on an entire track, unfortunately can de-tune with the best. Many engineers use it that way when a vocalist is pitchy on nearly every note and time is of the essence. It may track perfectly throughout a song or there may be points where it gets out of whack.
Antares Better At Set & Run
The best way to handle that problem in Pro Tools and in most digital recording software is to duplicate the track and run Antares on the duplicated track. Then, using your ear, find the spots the pitch correction algorithm went haywire and paste those specific vocal phrases over from the original section. The pastes can then get individual attention.
Melodyne Is The Better Choice for Detailed Work
Melodyne is better at the individual attention in my opinion. The newest version actually allows you to go into an out of tune guitar chord and move individual notes up or down in pitch, incredible! It’s also better at automatically pocketing phrases, changing amplitude of a note or group of notes and other things- B.E. Watson
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