part of the TweakHeadz Lab Network
Review of Melodyne Plugin
compared with Auto-Tune
by TweakHeadz Lab
Above you see the Melodyne plugin in action on a vocalist's voice at the Lab
Melodyne Editor Software
I've been an auto tune user for about 8 years and recently crossed over to Melodyne, having hear many sing it praises (in key, by the way). I've pretty much learned how to do Auto-Tune's little tracks. They are both different products and have different strengths. Auto Tune has "automatic" settings as well as a detailed view that lets you draw over the pitch with a line tool. It also controls how quickly the effect is applied. That is what let's you do the vocoder-like "Cher effect:" in AutoTune. You simply abruptly force the waveform to move to the exact pitch.
Melodyne is a different beast. Instead of drawing over the waveform with a mouse in a tiny window, you get to "grab" onto pieces of the waveform with your mouse and move them around on the screen. The screen is much larger too. That is a joy in itself. Unlike AutoTune, which can sound less than natural, Melodyne sounds excellent, even as you transpose pitch, 3, 5, 7, notes. The Melodyne plugin, which is for use in your sequencer, is intuitive to use. I did not even look at the manual.
In addition to Pitch control, you can also quantize by length. You can stretch or shrink each element along the axis of time. This can create cool effects as well as get your vocals to sit properly. Speaking of effects, Melodyne lets you adjust pitch, formant, and volume globally (for the whole track). This is fantastic. Why? Because you copy your vocal track to another and apply a different pitch/formant offset. What that does is it allows you to create perfect harmonies easily. If you apply Melodyne to 2 different "doubled" tracks, you can go in and adjust the pitch of each word after the fact and create some natural sounding harmonies.
If there is a limitation to the Melodyne plugin it is that it has a hard time correcting vibrato. It seems to center the fundamental of the note, rather than force the pitch variation to defined limits, like auto-tune does. What this means is that there are some kind of problem that Melodyne will fix best and others that Auto-Tune will fix best. But if you could get only one, my opinion is to go with Melodyne. If you absolutely have to have the Cher effect, and don't want to deal with vocoders, then yep, Auto Tune would be it.
Links and Threads: