Since its inception in the late 90s with Cher's hit, "Believe," autotune has become one of the most controversial effects in the world of music production. On the one hand, many producers and singers have been criticized for using it too heavily to compensate for poor singing. On the other hand, many singers and producers have used it to their advantage to create unique vocal textures with more dimensions.
No matter what you choose to use your auto-tune VST for, there are plenty of options to pick from, all of which have differentiating features.
Today, we're going to take a look at some of the best autotune plugins on the market today, so you can find the right one for your needs and budget.
What Is Auto-Tune?
In modern music production, auto-tune is a pretty standard effect. It got its name from Antares Audio Technologies, the company that released the very first version of Antares Auto-Tune software back in 1997.
This unique effect combined pitch-shifting algorithms with pitch-detection algorithms. When you would run vocals through this software, it would recognize notes and allow you to shift them by semi-tone.
Like many products that are first of their kind, "auto-tune" became the general name for any pitch-shifter plugin. While Antares Auto-Tune developed the plugin as simple pitch correction software, it ended up becoming a popular effect, thanks to artists like Cher, T-Pain, and many others who followed. Singers found that it could deliver a unique hard-tuned effect that today seems so familiar.
Because these tools are so versatile, there's no reason not to have them in your arsenal. In fact, you could be doing yourself more of a disservice by not having them.
1. Antares - Auto-Tune Access
Antares was the inventor of auto-tune, so it's no wonder that they still have one of the best autotune plugins on the market. While there are many versions of Antares Auto-Tune, Auto-Tune Access is one of the most popular and affordable options for everyday music producers.
This high-quality autotune plugin comes with all of the features you could need to get crisp and clear-sounding auto-tune from any kind of vocal take. It can be as authentic and subtle as you need it to be.
The thing that truly sets this particular auto-tune VST apart from others is the built-in monitoring feature. You can hear exactly what the plugin is doing to your vocals in real-time. This is different from other autotune plugins, which only allow you to hear the effect on the vocals after the take has been recorded.
The interface is easy to navigate, and the ability to dial-in keys and scales to lock in your vocals couldn't be more self-explanatory. Whether you're a professional producer or a home recording enthusiast, Auto-Tune Access is one of our most highly recommended autotune plugins.
2. Synchro Arts - Revoice Pro
If you're looking for a more advanced auto-tune plugin to fulfill your pitch correction needs, Revoice Pro is an excellent choice. Within this powerful plugin, you'll find a number of unique features and capabilities that take it beyond the realm of standard pitch correction.
Not only can you change the pitch of each note in your vocal take to create the perfect vocal, but you can also synchronize multiple vocal takes to glue their rhythmic elements together.
In modern music production, the act of layering vocals to create larger and wider-sounding mixes is standard. This is especially true with backing vocals or choral parts. Trying to edit and align multiple vocal takes throughout the course of an entire song can be incredibly time-consuming.
With this plugin, you align an entire song in a matter of minutes, which is what makes it such a powerful piece of software.
Proper editing is a surefire way to elevate your music production and get your songs to sound like those you hear on the radio. If you often find yourself spending hours editing layered vocal takes, this is the plugin for you.
3. Melda Production - MAutoPitch
MAutoPitch is one of the best free autotune VST plugins on the market. Though it may not have all of the fancy features of some of the high-end paid plugins on this list, you'll find enough vocal processing functionality to get a professional sound from any vocal take.
Upon opening MAutoPitch, you'll find an automatic tuning section for true "auto-tune," a scale section with a few basic scales for locking in your vocals with the track, and an effects section with formant shifting controls.
If you're just getting into the world of music production and you don't want to pay for a pitch correction plugin, this auto-tune effect is an excellent choice to start with.
4. Auburn Sounds - Graillon 2
Graillon 2 is another one of our favorite free autotune VST plugins. You'll find a basic array of pitch correction features through a unique and satisfying interface with an intuitive layout and functional controls.
The beauty of Graillon 2 is that you can upgrade to the paid version if you like the plugin. Some of the more advanced features include bit-crushing, pitch tracking modulation, and formant modulation.
The pitch shifting algorithm is super clean, transposing the voice up and down while retaining its natural sounding quality. And, though bit-crushing can be an extreme effect, dialing it in ever so slightly can give your vocals a sparkly, saturated sound to help them rise above your mix.
Graillon 2 certainly isn't the most groundbreaking auto-tune VST around, though its pitch correction capabilities are strong and it's hard to argue with the free price tag.
5. Celemony - Melodyne
Melodyne is one of the most advanced pitch correction tools on the market today. Though it can be used for a wide range of editing needs, it specializes in vocal processing. While you can certainly get auto-tune-style effects out of this plugin, it's a far better choice for subtle and more natural-sounding pitch correction..
With its polished and fine-tuned interface, you can adjust your vocals in such a way that they sound in tune, yet organic. This is the kind of sound that is very difficult to achieve if you don't have the right quality software.
One of the things that truly separates this vocal editing tool from the rest is its multitrack note editing. You can view and edit the notes of multiple tracks simultaneously. This unique format makes the editing process feel more tangible and transparent.
You can also access instrument and vocal overtones, changing their color in unique ways. From morphing to resynthesis to ultra-musical equalization, the possibilities are endless. While you can use Melodyne within your DAW, the standalone version works like a charm too. In recent times, they've upgraded their software for better compatibility and a more streamlined GUI.
If you can afford it, Melodyne might be the best autotune plugin on the market today.
6. Waves - Waves Tune Real-Time
Waves Tune Real-Time is a surprisingly inexpensive plugin considering how much you get out of it. The interface is clean and simple, giving you a no-frills ways to dial in everything from subtle to robotic auto-tune effects in a matter of seconds. In essence, the plugin is criminally underrated, delivering similar results to Melodyne and Antares for a fraction of the price.
Of course, there are some bells and whistles that you don't have access to, such as multi-track tuning, though everything else you could expect to find is there. One of the unique features found in this plugin is the separate knobs for note transition and speed. You have more surgical control over how intense the auto-tune effect is.
Some of the other handy effects including vibrato correction, advanced formant correction, ultra-low latency response for real-time auto-tune when recording, and plenty of built-in scale presets, ranging from standard western scales to exotic eastern modes.
Waves is certainly a company name that needs no introduction, and most producers wait to score deals from them, as plugin sales are pretty consistent. If you're looking for a budget auto-tune VST for quick, easy vocal tuning, look no further than Waves Tune Real-Time.
7. iZotope - Nectar 3
iZotope has a suite of advanced mixing and production plugins with endless digital flexibility. If you have a budget for more premium plugins, you'll no doubt enjoy all of the features that they have to offer.
Nectar 3 is just one of the products that iZotope offers. You can think of it as a full production suite, delivering 12 separate vocal processing modules, including de-essers, EQs, vocal editing, pitch correction, and more.
One of the effects baked into the Nectar 3 suite is a range of auto-tune effects, perfect for those who want intuitive, automatic pitch correction.
Nectar 3 is very similar to Melodyne in many ways, one of which in that it can polish your vocals to a high degree while keeping them sounding natural. Subtle vocal pitch correction seems to be the MO these days, and Nectar 3 does it right.
Beyond its pitch correction capabilities, one of our favorite features found within Nectar 3 is its unmasking capabilities. One of the most difficult tasks to undertake when mixing is getting clarity throughout your mix. If you're not working in the best acoustic environment, it can be difficult to hear certain frequencies.
When you place Nectar 3 on multiple tracks, the software can tell you when masking becomes an issue, allowing you to fix problems in a pinch.
Plus, as with all iZotope plugins, the interface is clean, crisp, clear, and modern, making it easy to navigate and exciting to use in your mixes.
8. GVST - GSnap
GSnap might be one of the oldest free autotune VST plugins on this list, though it shouldn't be underestimated. When it first hit the market back in the day, finding quality pitch correction software was quite rare. The good thing is that it still holds its own as a solid pitch correction plugin.
It looks very similar to some of the other free autotune plugins on our list at first glance, such as MAutoPitch and Graillon 2. However, one of the unique features that sets this free autotune plugin apart from the other is that you can tune your processed audio signal to input MIDI notes.
Essentially, you don't have to rely on automatic pitch detection algorithms. Simply run the MIDI notes through GSnap and you can let it take care of everything else.
With that said, if you enjoy the simplicity of an automatic pitch detention algorithm, GSnap offers this as well. Just note that it does not have formant shifting features, such as those found in MAutoPitch or Graillon 2. The interface is a bit simpler and leaning on a bit outdated, though it's hard to ask for more from a plugin that's totally free.
You should also note that this particular plugin does not work on Mac systems. If you're a Windows user and you have interest in the plugin, it's worth mentioning that the manual is very well-written, giving you all the information you need to use this plugin smoothly.
Voloco is a unique autotune plugin in that it is available as an iOS app. You get a wide range of incredible and creative presets to use from, which are great in just about any situation. Whether you want a Daft Punk-style robotic sound or an old-school 8-bit tone, you'll find a preset for just about any creative endeavor.
You get six basic styles to choose from, including Hard, Natural, Alient Warlord, Super Vocoder, Night Chorus, and Big Chorus. If you can't tell already, this plugin works best for unnatural vocal effects, such as T-Pain or Cher-style auto-tune.
There are much more creative tools built into this app than others, allowing you to give your vocals unique effects before sending them out into your DAW for further editing.
The app works with a chosen scale that you want to lock your vocals into. You can pick a key and change it to either major or minor. There's also a kind of dry/wet control to choose how extreme you want your effects to be.
While it's certainly not the most flexible or versatile pitch correction plugin on the market, it's one of the best autotune plugins for those who want a creative tool, rather than something more clinical for natural sounding mixes.
The best part about Voloco is that it is completely free, so there's no risk in downloading it and trying it out for yourself! If you want to enjoy it on your computer, it's worth mentioning that Voloco recently released a 64-bit VST3 and AU plugin.
10. g200kg - KeroVee
Kerovee , which was developed many years ago by Japanese plugin developer g200kg, is one of the best free autotune plugins on the market. It is very similar to GSnap in terms of its design and output.
You can choose from a wide range of scales to lock your vocals to, as well as choose notes manually that you want to tune your notes to individually. All of the features you'd expect to find in a pitch correction plugin can be found in KeroVee. The neat thing is that it has a few more control features than found in other free plugins.
For example, KeroVee offers a vast number of built-in scales, as well as a wider range of parameters. You can control how natural or robotic your pitch correction sounds with the ability to change the tune speed.
You'll also find a unique Tone section that you can use to transpose and fine-tune your pitch correction style. There's even a handy formant shifting parameter to alter the sound of your vocal in interesting ways. Each of the tone knobs can be adjusted by volume and panning, controlling the tone of your auto-tune as well.
While the GUI might look a bit clunky and outdated compared to other higher-end pitch shifting tools on this list, KeroVee still has an excellent sound and far better control than what you might expect from a vocal tuning plugin. In a way, the plugin almost adds a tube-style sound to your vocals, locking them into place and giving them the bite they need to sit perfectly in the mix.
Final Thoughts - Finding The Best Auto-Tune VST
So there you have it, some of the best auto-tune plugins on the market today. If you're looking to get perfect sounding vocals and better match the music you hear on the radio today, we recommend starting with some of these high-end pitch correction plugins.
Of course, keep in mind what exactly it is that you're looking from in a tuning plugin.
Do you want to alter pitch in a natural sounding way or dial in robotic, T-Pain-like effects?
Certain plugins have different specialties than others, so see if you can demo them or watch videos with them in use before spending you money.
In the end, the tools that you choose to use don't really matter as long as you're getting the sound you want out of them. We simply hope that you're able to make a more informed decision about pitch correction plugins after reading our guide.
Also, consider looking at your DAW to see what kinds of stock options you have! Most modern DAWs, including Ableton and Logic, have wonderful built-in auto-tune plugins that are just as good if not better than some of the plugins mentioned on this list.