Celemony Melodyne: The Producer’s Guide to Pro Vocal Software
Celemony Melodyne has a strong reputation in the world of professional audio production.
The vocal pitch correction software is one of the most respected plugins for fine-tuning a vocal performance in the studio.
If you record and produce music, you’ve may have heard of Melodyne and how it can improve vocal tracks.
But what exactly makes Melodyne so popular? What are its core features and how does it work?
In this article I’ll break down everything you need to know about the classic vocal editing software.
Let’s get started.
What is Melodyne?
Melodyne is a software plugin and standalone editing suite for manipulating the pitch and timing of vocal recordings.
It helps producers fine-tune a vocal track so that it sounds closer to an ideal performance.
This could include operations like adjusting the pitch center to improve tuning, or decreasing the effect of excessive vibrato.
In addition to pitch adjustments, Melodyne can help with timing issues by time-stretching individual words or phrases to improve the rhythm.
The software is able to perform these extensive edits without any negative effects or audible changes to the sound.
Why is Melodyne so popular?
Melodyne is a professional quality pitch correction solution for editing vocal takes to perfection.
Since the debut of vocal pitch correction software in the late 90s, the technology has become an essential part of studio vocal workflows.
You’re probably familiar with the classic hard-tuning effect that has come to define some styles of hip-hop and R&B.
But you may not know that pitch correction is used in many situations to get better results.
Vocal tracks are notoriously challenging to get just right, even for highly accomplished singers.
Pitch correction helps reduce the time it takes to get finished material. It can also improve takes that have the right energy despite pitchiness or timing issues.
As a result, most engineers and producers use pitch correction sparingly to get the best possible results from their vocal production.
Melodyne is one of the preferred professional solutions for editing vocals in top studios. It offers extensive manual control as well as impeccable sound quality.
How to buy Melodyne
Melodyne is a software suite that comes in several packages with different features and price points.
I’ll quickly break down each one to help you choose the right one for your workflow.
At just $99 USD, Melodyne essential is the most accessible edition of the software.
It provides access to basic pitch and timing functions from within the Melodyne plugin
Melodyne assistant is the vocal pitch correction bundle for artists and producers. It features expanding editing functions for the essential tasks in modern vocal correction.
If you’re just planning to use Melodyne to polish up your vocals, this edition might be appealing at just $249.
Melodyne editor is the professional tier package that includes the greatest hits of Celemony’s pitch technology.
In addition to all the in-depth vocal editing features, Melodyne editor includes the revolutionary Direct Note Access technology.
DNA allows producers to edit note pitch information from within a polyphonic musical texture.
That means you can change the individual notes in a chord!
If you’ve ever worked with a sample that needed different notes in its harmonic progression to fit with a song, you’ve probably dreamed of a tool with the power to do this!
At $399, this edition is pricier, but it’s still worth it for producers who need the extra flexibility.
Melodyne studio is the complete edition of Melodyne.
In addition to all the tools available in the previous three editions, studio adds a full standalone editing suite.
This gives you access to the most powerful processing Melodyne has to offer.
At $699 USD, studio is the priciest version of Melodyne.
But pro producers who need to edit a large volume of vocal tracks with extreme precision will find it indispensable.
Working on vocal tracks?
Grow your skills with our guides to vocal mixing.
Melodyne is a great option for any pitch correction task, but it might not be a perfect fit for your production process.
Whether you need a different option for price, compatibility or workflow, there are plenty of other excellent vocal pitch correction tools out there.
Here are a few of the best Melodyne alternatives for music producers:
1. Synchro Arts RePitch
Synchro Arts RePitch is the newest vocal pitch correction tool on the scene.
Built by the team that brought you the industry standard vocal alignment tool Vocalign, RePitch comes with decades of expertise in the vocal processing space.
Its next-gen technology includes seamless pitch and time editing as well as deep DAW integration via ARA2.
2. Antares AutoTune
Antares AutoTune is probably best known for defining the hard-tuning sound in the late 90s with hits like Cher’s “Believe.”
This early use of the technology was deliberately exaggerated, but it inspired a style that’s now common in pop, hip-hop and R&B production.
While any pitch plugin can still create this type of sound, many believe AutoTune’s classic algorithm is the best way to get it.
If you’re looking for aggressive hard-tuning effects, AutoTune may still be your best bet.
That said, pro editions of AutoTune have all the fine grain editing power of other pitch correction tools, so it’s great for more subtle tasks too.
AutoTune comes in a variety of editions, so make sure you get the right one for your needs.
3. Auburn Sounds Graillon 2
If you’re looking for a free pitch correction solution, you might have trouble finding a full-featured pitch correction plugin.
Of the few available, our pick is Auburn Sounds Graillon 2.
Though it may not offer the depth of editing and fast performance of some other options, Graillon 2 is available for free.
If you’re just looking to get started with a pitch correction plugin to see what they can do, Graillon 2 is a free way to try it out.
Looking for more free plugins?
We round up the best of the best every month.
4. Your DAW’s built-in pitch correction tools
Today’s DAWs come with many excellent tools built in.
Some, like Logic Pro, include features for vocal pitch correction.
For example, its Flex Pitch feature contains many of the same functions as standalone vocal editing plugins like Melodyne.
In Cubase you’ll find the Variaudio function can perform well for editing vocals.
If you take the time to try it, your DAW’s stock pitch correction may work well enough for your needs.
Precision vocal editing
Melodyne’s technical advancements have made a notable mark on the music production industry.
If you record vocals in your music, it’s worth understanding its role in pro workflows.
But if you’ve made it through this article you’ll have a great start to know if Melodyne is for you.
Michael Hahn is an engineer and producer at Autoland and member of the swirling indie rock trio Slight.
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