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An Introduction to Auto-Tune: Basics of Vocal Pitch Correction

Auto-Tune is a widespread audio plugin used by music producers and engineers to change the pitch of a vocal performance. In this article, we'll look at the basics of Auto-Tune and how it's used to improve vocals in music mixing.

Woman singing in the studio with headphones on

Auto-Tune can be used to correct pitch, add vibrato, and create unique vocal effects.

Published January 23, 2023, by Anton Berner

What is Auto-Tune?

Auto-Tune is a voice processing app that uses algorithmic technology to automatically correct and enhance the pitch of a singer's voice.  This allows for more accurate and expressive performances and has become a popular tool for recording artists and music producers.

The Invention of Auto-Tune

Auto-Tune was invented in 1997 by Antares Audio Technologies. The app has since then become a necessity in most recording studios. Other brands have launched similar vocal effect software in the past 20 years, but the original Auto-Tune brand is still maintained and marketed by Antares.

Impact on pop music

The invention of Auto-Tune has had a significant impact on the music industry and has become an important tool for shaping the meaning and expression of a singer's voice. What started as a digital tool to correct out-of-tune singing has become a desired voice effect in genres ranging from Hip Hop to Indie Rock.

Women playing guitar and singing into a microphone using Auto-Tune

In Soundtrap, Antares Auto-Tune® is already integrated into the studio and ready for you to use.

How to use Auto-Tune

Setting up

First, you need to find the key and scale of your song. If you played the instruments yourself, you should already know what key and scale your song is in. If you need to find the key and scale of an instrumental, this website lets you upload an audio file and find the song key for you.

Applying Auto-Tune

  • Add the Auto-Tune effect to the desired vocal track. 

  • Set the key and scale to the same values as your song. 

  • Adjust the Speed to hear the effect kick in. The faster your speed is, the more effect you will be able to hear. 

  • Aside from Speed, there are other settings you can tweak, like Flex, Vibrato, and Humanize. Try out different settings until you’re satisfied with the sound.

Criticism of Auto-Tune

Auto-Tune has received both praise and criticism since its invention. One of the main criticisms of Auto-Tune is that it is often used excessively to correct pitch inaccuracies, leading to an artificial sound in popular music. 

Others argue that Auto-Tune has established a new creative style in music. That the Auto-Tune effect adds a layer of allure and excitement to vocal performances. 

Whichever side you’re on, there is no doubt that Auto-Tune has revolutionized the music industry. The technology has allowed artists to express themselves in new ways and music producers to easier mix and edit vocals.

Male singer recording vocals on a microphone into Soundtrap

Auto-Tune has become a desired voice effect in genres ranging from Hip Hop to Indie Rock.

Soundtrap Vocal Tuner - Pitch Correction online

Soundtrap’s online studio comes equipped with an easy-to-use Vocal Tuner. No download or installation is needed. Just open up the studio in your browser, record your vocals, and apply vocal tuning. The result will sound professional, polished, and most importantly – in tune!

About the author

Anton Berner is a music producer, audio engineer, and songwriter from Stockholm, Sweden. He's produced hip-hop & rap music since the early 2000s and his expertise is in vocal mixing and sample-based beat production. Anton is also the SEO & Content Manager @ Soundtrap and manages the blog and newsroom.

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