Autotune has become one of the most frequently used vocal processing effects in modern music. This is due to the possibilities it provides for singers of all abilities to correct their pitch, or to use their vocals as an instrument.
It is commonly thought that autotune produces an over the top, unnatural sound. It certainly can do this, but many singers and producers use it subtly to straighten out the pitch of their vocals, while still sounding natural.
Below, I've discussed some of the best autotune VST plugins available. Whether you're looking for a heavily processed sound or simply want to add some stability to your vocals, you'll hopefully find something that fits your needs perfectly.
The Best Autotune Plugins / VSTs (Paid)
Table of Contents
- The Best Autotune Plugins / VSTs (Paid)
- Free Autotune VST Plugins
- How to Choose the Best Autotune Plugin/VST
- Optional Features
Antares Auto-Tune Pro is the most complete edition of the hugely popular auto-tune plugin which has been used by producers for two decades.
This plugin allows you to fine-tune natural sounding vocals without losing the human elements by using the Flex-Tune and Humanize features. It also has the capacity to produce dramatic, over the top autotune effects by turning up the Retune Speed.
Auto-Tune Pro isn’t just a useful addition to your studio set up though. It can also be used in real time using the Low Latency Mode, so you can pitch-correct or manipulate vocal tracks on stage.
The Pro edition’s added features include a new interface design which makes it easier to switch between the editing screens, automatic key and scale detection which saves you the hassle of manually entering the key of you track and MIDI parameter control which allows for all of the plugins key parameters to be controlled in real-time with a MIDI controller.
If you don’t require the newly added features of Auto-Tune Pro, there are some more affordable versions of the plugin which have less features, but still provide the main functions.
Auto-Tune Artist includes all of the pitch-correction capabilities but isn’t MIDI compatible and has less of the built-in effects.
There is also Auto-Tune EFX which is more focused toward real-time, dramatic vocal manipulation and has multi-effects racks which can be used to heavily process audio.
Finally, Auto-Tune Access is another more stripped back, affordable version. Access is a good option for those with less VST plugin experience and provides users with a simplistic design and the entire core features of autotune.
Melodyne is an exceptionally functional vocal pitch correction plugin which is a popular choice for producers. The 5 Essential version combines the core features that Melodyne is known for with some interesting new additions which give you even more control over the audio. In the process, Celemony has created an easy to use but highly effective autotune VST.
Once your audio tracks have been loaded into Melodyne, you can tweak the pitch and timing settings using a variety of controls. The formant, pitch bend and note duration controls can be manipulated to create your desired sound.
The great thing about Melodyne 5 Essential is that once you get the hang of the controls, the layout is very easy to understand and to navigate your way around.
This plugin is especially useful when correcting the pitch of a vocal track without wanting the robotic feel that autotune can sometimes produce. If you intend to smoothen out the blemishes without making it obvious that pitch correction has been used, Melodyne 5 Essential is an option to strongly consider.
MUnison is a great tool for adding thickness to your vocals track. This VST plugin is based on a smart harmonizer and doubling effect, allowing you to create up to 50 voices from one selection of audio.
The effects can be used to create a subtle double-tracking which strengthens the vocals, or you can use the pitch modulation function to tune the tracks and create complex harmonies.
For live usage, you can modulate the MUnison using an array of built-in effects such as an LFO, envelope generator, pitch detector and randomizer. The real time processing is responsive and is useful for creating variation within the vocal track.
You don’t need any prior knowledge of music theory to use the MUnison autotune plugin. The harmonizer allows you to simply scroll through the different intervals when building harmonies until you find the right one. You can literally build a choir of voices from one single vocal track using this VST.
The Waves Tune Real-Time plugin automatically corrects the pitch of vocals both in the studio and in a live setting. It’s designed like a keyboard so you can select the key signature of the song, then watch as the keys are highlighted when the audio is played.
You can also pre-program the plug-in to set the specific autotune settings for each song.
A common problem with real-time autotune VST plugins is that there can be a lag between the dry signal and the wet output. Waves Tune has very little latency so you don’t have to worry about timing issues when using it for live performances.
The plugin also preserves the natural formant of a vocal track so it doesn’t sound overly manipulated.
This autotune plugin is laid out in a simple manner. You can hook it up to a MIDI controller and program the pitch correction for a vocoder-like effect, or choose to retain the natural feel of the vocals and only correct the vibrato.
Soundspot’s VoxBox is a vocal processing plugin which is capable of autotune, among many other things. It was created to solve the problem of needing multiple channels for vocal thickening, without losing quality.
This VST allows you to create wide and thicker lead vocals while not over burdening your CPU usage.
The first thing which strikes me about the VoxBox plugin is the simplicity of its design. Unlike some other autotune plugins, it only has a handful of controllable effects built-in, but you can do a lot of processing with them.
For producers or vocalists looking for a quick and easy autotune plugin which doesn’t slow down your DAW, I would recommend considering VoxBox as it is very easy to use and effective.
The Waves Vocal Plug-in Bundle is a comprehensive vocal processing pack which features a selection of the best plugins Waves have to offer.
You can transform melodies and autotune vocals using the Tune plugin, remove unwanted breath sounds with DeBreath, or EQ and gate your vocals using the Renaissance channel.
The RenAxx plugin allows you to compress the audio, and finally RenDeEsser serves to remove the extremes from plosives and limits unwanted hiss.
Although all of these functions may seem slightly confusing at first, once you get the hang of one plugin the rest are all designed in a similar way.
This pack is great for autotune purposes alone, but can be used as an extensive vocal processing suite. You can even save your preferred presets on each individual plugin for future reuse.
If you are looking for a natural sound, the adaptive threshold which Waves employ on their plugins achieves this by allowing the compressor to adapt dynamically to the level of input.
With the VocalSynth 2, iZotope have created an autotune and vocal processing VST plugin which provides an incredible amount of detail. The versatility of this plugin makes it perfect for vocal-heavy styles of music.
There are five vocal engines contained within the VocalSythn2. These are Vocoder, Compuvox, Polyvox, Talkboz and Biovox. Each unit is displayed within the main window of the VST so you can tweak them alongside each other in real time. You can stack vocals, create a sea of harmonies, or hard tune them for a robotic effect.
This plugin is not only useful for autotune and processing, but can be an effective songwriting tool also. There is an abundance of built in scales which you can set the vocals to be tuned to, from the common major and minor scales to more the more exotic ones – a great tool for thinking outside of the box.
Free Autotune VST Plugins
If you are on a budget, these free plugins are worth adding to your VST collection.
- MAutoPitch – Simple but effective automatic pitch correction plugin for editing vocals and other monophonic instruments.
- Auburn Sounds Grallion – Vocal processor which modulates shifts and corrects pitch.
- GSnap – Pitch correction tool with a straight forward design.
- Autotalent – Decent autotune plugin that’s compatible with most DAWs.
Of course, the quality of these free autotune VST plugins doesn’t compare to those on the previous list, but they can be useful with if you want to keep costs down.
How to Choose the Best Autotune Plugin/VST
The sheer volume of great autotune plugins and VSTs out there can make it difficult to narrow down your search and find the most suitable option for your needs. Here are the key factors to consider before making your decision.
Simplicity vs. Versatility
The possibilities of editing recordings using autotune are endless. However, it’s easy to slip into the trap of overanalyzing every aspect and this can have a negative impact on your creative process.
Before deciding which autotune VST is right for you, it’s important to assess what exactly you need from the plugin. Are you likely to use the plethora of adjusting tools it has to offer, or do you only require a handful to fulfill your needs?
Simplistic autotune plugins are great for producers and artists who already have a sound in mind, and would rather not overcomplicate things.
On the other hand, if you’re interested in learning the ins and outs of autotune and using it as a tool to come up with your unique sounds and effects, then, by all means, opt for a more complex plugin.
Another key difference between many of the autotune plugins available today is their capability to apply the effect in real-time, or only to add it retrospectively once the recording has taken place.
The main advantage of having real-time autotune in your arsenal is that it can be used in live performances, or during the songwriting process.
Vocalists who perhaps lack confidence in their ability to sing in tune, but still often come up with ideas for melodies and hooks, might find that applying the autotune in real-time is a very useful tool for composing their tracks and testing out new ideas.
Alternatively, if you are certain that you won’t be using autotune for live performances and plan to use it exclusively during the mixing process, you won’t need a plugin with this capability.
Retune Speeds & Humanizers
Basic autotune plugins are designed to keep the process as simple as possible. You can expect to simply apply the effect to your recording or sample, choose your desired key, and adjust accordingly.
More advanced VSTs offer features like humanize and retune speed settings. These allow you to manually control the extremeness of the autotune effect, or reduce it to make it sound more natural.
People often get confused between autotune and pitch correction. Adjusting the retune speed and humanize setting allows you to blend natural-sounding pitch correction with the effect of autotune, which sounds more artificial.
I find that when using autotune or pitch correction VSTs it helps if they include a keyboard-style layout that allows you to see the notes as the effect is being applied.
If you’re familiar with the layout of a piano and have basic music theory knowledge, it may be worth looking for a VST that includes this feature so that you can apply your knowledge to the autotuning process.
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Hopefully this extensive selection of the best autotune VST plugins has made it easier for you to find the VST which fits your needs.
In my experience, the best way to learn about vocal processing is to experiment with all of the settings. That way, you might come across a unique combination which takes your vocals to the next level.