Melodyne: Pitch Correction Done Right

| Mixing, Plugins

Melodyne_plugin_Blobs_rgbIt seems like the whole world is currently obsessed with Auto Tune. Despite its long history in the audio world (even before it was ever a plugin), Antares Auto Tune seems to be hitting a popularity streak thanks to the likes of T-Pain and his iPhone app. Just type “Auto Tune” into the YouTube search bar and you’ll be entertained for the next week straight!

But as far as what you and I are concerned about (using a pitch correction plugin for audio work), Auto Tune is quietly being out shined by it’s German arch enemy, Melodyne. Made by a company called Celemony, Melodyne is by far the easiest, fastest, most powerful and natural sounding pitch correction software out there.


Using a simple graphical interface that shows notes as orange blobs, Melodyne lets you easily see your performance, grab a note, and move it somewhere else. This can be a subtle pull sharp or flat, or it can be a complete re-write of the melody. You can even stretch notes out longer or shorter to change timing. In the background Melodyne will adjust the formant of the note along with any cross fading that’s necessary to keep it sounding fluid and natural.Melodyne1

If that weren’t enough you can quickly add or remove vibrato (on a note by note basis if need be), adjust the volume of individual notes, affect the transition or scoop from note to note, and even globally quantize pitch to a scale and timing to a grid of your choice. Pretty dirty stuff if you ask me.

You Won’t Go Back

If you haven’t used Melodyne yet, you really owe it to yourself to play with it. It’s hard to really appreciate how elegant and intuitive this program is until you’ve gotten your hands on it. I starting dabbling with it back in 2005 and now I can’t imagine using anything else. It is more than simple pitch correction, it is performance correction one very level imaginable. This is especially powerful when you only want some subtle tweaks. It is musical and tasteful, and really you don’t hear it doing anything at all. Perfect.

at4melodyne_lIf you bought a Pro Tools system in the last 4 years or so (like the one included in the $500 studio I recommend) then you received a free copy of Melodyne called Melodyne Essential. It is a one track version that lets you do all of the things I mentioned above. Unless you’re doing something crazy you won’t need anything more. You should install that puppy now and get to work. It’s awesome.

And if you don’t have a copy, head over to the Celemony site and give it a good browsing. For under $200 you can access this crazy good software and go buck wild. Again, it’s not a necessity to make great music, but it’s a super powerful tool and those guys at Celemony truly have something amazing going on. Melodyne is a fantastic addition to any DAW as it gets pitch correction right: it simply corrects, not affects the sound.


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18 Responses to “Melodyne: Pitch Correction Done Right”

  1. Crimson Note

    Melodyne is an amazing product, you can us it to snap a vocal that is a little off back into correct key, in a very subtle way, or you can be more extreme and flatten the modulation of every sung note making it more hard tuned (the “t-pain” effect). The latest version of the software (Melodyne DNA Editor) goes even further though, allowing you to extract notes from polyphonic audio… for instance a piano chord or strummed guitar, and rearrange the notes to form new chords … so you could change a major to a minor chord for instance … the creative potential is enormous with this new version.

  2. Kyle

    Ummm…I got PT8 and can’t seem to find where Melodyne is installed if it came with Pro Tools.

    • Graham

      Kyle – If you purchased a Pro Tools LE system than you definitely get Melodyne. It doesn’t come with the Pro Tools 8 install instead it’s part of the Ignition Pack that comes with it. (Extra plugins, loops, etc). Just check your discs or your downloads if you’ve setup your account at I don’t believe the Ignition Pack comes with Pro Tools M-Powered however.

  3. Kyle


    Thanks! I’ll check the extra CD’s. I didn’t install the loops and actually to think about it, so it’s probably there. I did purchase an LE system, so it should be there, I just need to do some checking! Thanks for the info! Now I can too sound like T-Pain!!!!!!

  4. ryan

    graham, I installed melodyne and the program runs fine.. but when I set the autotune function to take effect, even at the most extreme settings (100% snap to grid etc) melodyne doesn’t actually change the pitch of out of tune audio, just moves the little blocks/notes closer to the grid… any suggestions?


    • Graham

      Ryan – Not sure which version of Melodyne you are using, but it sounds like it is tuning fine, you just may not be “auditioning” the change. My version of Melodyne requires I use Rewire and set my Pro Tools track to the right channel of Rewire so I can actually “Hear” melodyne working.

  5. hillelKAPS

    For the record…. Unless I’m mistaken I believe the version of Melodyne that came along with pro tools only works as a standalone. so you’d have to bounce out the vocal track, fix it up, and import it back in. Might be worth the trouble though if you don’t wanna shell out the $$$

  6. Jake

    What about Waves Tune? That’s what I’ve been using ans it seems like a simular concept to Melodyne.

  7. Ed

    Been trying to use it for bass but when I correct pitches it moves the recording around (when compared to original), some places hundreds of samples. Not sure why this is happening but it is unusable for me at this point.

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