Auto-Tune from Antares is so ubiquitous that it has not only become an industry standard for vocal pitch correction, it has morphed into a verb as well. With recent versions of Auto-Tune, it has become possible to “auto-tune your vocals” in real time. In other words, without the need for transfers and offline editing.
Antares has released Auto-Tune Access, making real time vocal tuning more accessible, easier to use, and less expensive, than ever before. When I first saw a demo of this at NAMM I had my suspicions that this was too good to be true. After all, how accurate can it be when there are literally just two controls, with three settings each? After testing it out, I have to say that the results are simply stunning. I don’t know how they’ve tweaked their detection and processing algorithms, but this thing just works!
In this video, I put it to the test in a Logic Pro X project with a male lead vocal. The singing is decent, but not stellar. You can hear for yourself how, with a few simple adjustments, Auto-Tune Access helped this vocal shine.
I’m not claiming it will make your vocal perfect, but I think it will bring you from 70% to 90%. If you’re starting with a subpar vocal, nothing can really change that fact; at least in any meaningful way. But if you are starting with a decent take, it will polish it up nicely. To get that last ten percent, a perfect vocal, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and get into the under the hood editing that Auto-Tune Pro offers. But for 90% of us, this will get us 90% there, 90% of the time. And that’s pretty good for $99! They have priced this to be affordable with just the right feature set for very good vocal tuning results on average (or better) vocal takes. What more can you ask for?
The three-position Retune Speed and Humanize knobs allow for a variety of tuning applications, from subtle and natural-sounding pitch correction to the most extreme Auto-Tune Effect. The latency is low enough to be usable in real time; so there’s no worry there.
I found that automating key changes in different sections of the song, as necessary, helped allow Auto-Tune Access to do its job properly. But of course, this is dependent on the material you are working with and not always necessary. If it is a vocal sung over a beat with one or two chords, it won’t be an issue. If it’s a jazz tune with lots of chord changes, it should perform well with the proper key/scale/note automation turning the desired target notes on/off as they change.
Logic’s flex pitch generally works pretty well, but it’s not real time. You need to go in after the vocal is recorded, and edit each note as necessary. So, comparing Auto-Tune Access to flex pitch is a bit of an apples and oranges comparison. For ease of use and end results, I have yet to see anything simpler, and more accurate, with the degree of flexibility Auto-Tune Access offers.