The 8 Best Pitch Shifting VST Plugins

From thick and wide vocals, to in-depth effects and even pitch correction, a good pitch shifter VST is a necessary tool for your music production workflow. In this article we’re going to go over the best pitch shifting plugins available.

Here’s the complete list of the 8 best pitch shifter VST plugins on the market today.

  1. Melodyne 5
  2. Autotune EFX
  3. Little AlterBoy
  4. Waves SoundShifter
  5. Zynaptiq Pitchmap
  6. Eventide H3000 Factory
  7. Boz Digital Labs ProVocative
  8. MAutoPitch by Melda Production (FREE)

While we’re here we also did a free autotune article, if you want to see some more options for free pitch shifting plugins.

1. Melodyne 5

Melodyne 5 by Celemony is arguably the industry standard for pitch shifting plugins.

Imagine an autotune that allows you to literally change the key of a melody or a vocal. If you want to change from Cminor to a totally different major scale, you can do that with melodyne.

It analyses your audio and cuts it up into notes for you to edit.

With extremely clean algorithms, and easy workflow, the Melodyne 5 Pitch Shifter VST has been meticulously crafted over years of being on the market.

With a clean and comprehensive interface, Melodyne analyses your audio, and instantly gives you a pitch map, which you can then adjust. Add to this the several articulation possibilities, such as vibrato, glide etc. And, you can completely change the melody of anything.

Perfect for pitching vocals, or even instruments.

Whether that’s to fix a flat note, or completely change the melody, Melodyne 5 will be one of the best pitch shifter VST plugins you’ll ever use.

How Does It Sound?

The Melodyne pitch shifting algorithm is impressively transparent, while offering a powerful amount of sonic manipulation capabilities.

Like with all pitch shifter plugins, Once you go past an octave each way, your results will start to feel less and less realistic. That being said, if you’re doing minor adjustments, or complete changes, most of the time, you can’t hear melodyne itself.

What you want from a pitch shifting plugin is exactly that – to do it’s job, without letting you know it’s there.

Our Thoughts

While at first, the UI of Melodyne might be a bit daunting for people just jumping in, once you get accustomed to the way Melodyne does things, you won’t want to use anything else.

Our usual go-to, to fix vocal mistakes or even a wrong guitar during a guitar solo, Melodyne is an absolute beast.

That being said, it’s not a cheap plugin, so this might not be the best pick for your first ever pitch shifting plugin.

2. Autotune EFX

The original autotune & pitch shifting dons, Antares are another great pitch shifting plugin to consider.

From hard-tuned trap vocals, to slight adjustments and layering, Autotune has been utilized again and again, by professionals in the music industry.

For over 20 years, Antares have been at the forefront of innovation in interactive pitch shifting technology. With it’s autotune algorithms having went through iterations and evolutions, what you get now is the king of modern vocal music.

Autotune EFX is awesome when it comes to sound design. Wihle you have all of the familiar autotune settings at the core, you have a lot of added functionality and modulation.

Other versions of Autotune are also available, such as Autotune Pro, Autotune Artist and Autotune Access, the latter being their entry level, bare-bones pitch shifter plugin.

How Does It Sound?

Autotune EFX comes with a host of other presets and modulations, that you can use for creating awesome FX with your vocals. Patches included are from artists like Richard Devine, so you can expect awesome growly distorted presets too.

The Actual autotune algorithm, when in chromatic mode with tune speed all the way up, creates that ever familiar auto-tuned vocal sound, that’s synonymous with a lot of modern music.

Auto Tune can also be used subtly.

However, where it excels, is in more noticeable pitch shifting scenarios.

Our Thoughts

AutoTune EFX is our favourite of the autotunes.

It has some awesome sound design capabilities of this pitch shifter, allowing for some truly interesting sounds and effects to be found, when playing around with the different effects and re-sampling in Ableton.

Perfect for both subtle and hard pitching, AutoTune EFX is one of the best creative pitch shifting plugins on the market.

3. Little AlterBoy

soundtoys-little-alterboy-plugin-interface

Soundtoys’ Little Alterboy is an awesome little plugin, from the incredible Soundtoys. At it’s core, little Alterboy is extremely simple and easy to use.

Little Alterboy gives you 3 creative modes to use to create wonderous sounds.

  • Transpose – lets you pitch the entire vocal up and down + and – 12 semitones.
  • Quantize – is the more usual auto tune hard pitching algorithms, that give you the trap and hip hop hard-tune sound.
  • Robot Mode – this lets you control your vocal with MIDI. Even without midi enabled, it makes your entire vocal a single note, which can be pitched up and down. This can be used to layer your vocals and make interesting harmonies.

How Does It Sound?

Little Alterboy is rarely the plugin you would go for when trying to do tiny adjustments and fixing notes.

It’s more of a creative plugin, that let’s you do wide brush strokes over your audio. The added gain knob also makes this a super capable sound design tool.

The algorithms aren’t the cleanest, but they don’t have to be.

Little Alterboy is an entirely creative plugin, that can be used to quickly pitch shift your tracks, or add some hard-tune to vocals.

Our Thoughts

Little Alterboy is a lovely plugin, and honestly one of our favourites. Full of charisma, the simplicity of this pitch shifter is what makes it so awesome. It has saved us a few times, and is just a great creative tool to have in your toolbox.

We have a full review of Little Alterboy, if you want to know more about how capable this little pitch shifter is.

4. Waves SoundShifter

What has been called, the most advanced pitch-shifting and time-shifting processor, SoundShifter lets you do a lot of things with audio.

From Changing keys, tempos, time durations, SoundShifter can do a lot of sonic alterations, with incredible accuracy and clarity.

SoundShifter is one of those plugins, that can be everything you will ever need from a pitch shifter – including a Parametric Graphic, as well as real-time components, with punchy transient and sync modules.

While it may not look as nice as some other plugins on this list, it’s really a powerful beast, and we use it consistently on tracks we need simple pitch shifting done.

How Does It Sound?

SoundShifter is an extremely transparent and clear pitch shifter that can do a lot of functions, in one small package.

The algorithms included are top of the line and extremely in-depth.

Easily the best option, when time-stretching, or doing any other kind of sonic alteration. It’s really good for clean, pitch shifting audio across a wide range of semi-tones.

Some pitch shifters built into DAWs (like the Logic Pro one), really don’t do this well without creating artefacts.

Waves SoundShifter is perfect for this.

Our Thoughts

We couldn’t think of using anything else, to stretch our vocals longer, or adjust samples to our track, with more clarity and the least amount of artifacting.

From small adjustments, to big time-continuum destroying shifts, SoundShifter is an awesome pitch shifter VST plugin.

5. Zynaptiq Pitchmap

Zynaptiq’s Pitchmap is an entirely new take on the pitch shifter VST.

While most pitch shifter plugins we’ve mentioned are designed for single audio tracks, Pitchmap is made to allow you to pitch individual sounds in already mixed signals.

With an awesome, colorful interface, Pitchmap is an incredible plugin, and feels like a step in the future of pitch-shifting.

In addition to pitch shifting, you can also suppress individual sounds in the mix, or apply advanced synthesizer like sonic transformations to your audio.

An inspiringly musical pitch shifter, Pitchmap is an absolutely awesome pitch shifting VST.

How Does It Sound?

While it can’t completely surgically adjust sounds, you can still do a lot with singling out wrong notes.

The algorithms in play are quite advanced, and require a lot of user-intervention to properly get working the way you want it.

Pitchmap is more like a last-resort when you need to fix an instrument in your mix, but don’t have access to your stems.

Our Thoughts

Pitchmap is a very ambitious concept, and it delivers on it, up to a point.

While you won’t be getting the most surgical pitch shifter ever, it’s an incredibly interesting concept, and we’re behind it entirely.

Lastly, it needs to be mentioned that his can be quite a difficult plugin to master.

If you don’t look up some tutorials on YouTube, it might be hard to get going and use Pitchmap to its full potential.

It’s also quite a costly plugin, so it might not be the best choice as your first and only pitch shifter VST.

6. Eventide H3000 Factory

Any pro studio probably has an Eventide H3000 Ultra harmonizer hardware unit.

Released in the mid 1980s, The H3000 is a timeless classic, having left it’s pitch shifting footprint on many classic hits.

Eventide have released a plugin version of the H3000, at a fraction of the cost, of the classic rack unit.

The H300 is a multi-effect unit, capable of far more than just pitch shifting. Effects like Delay, Filtering and different modulations combine to create an incredibly deep plugin.

The H3000 Factory is easily one the most in-depth, versatile and powerful effects plugins we’ve ever seen. It’s so deep in fact, that we think it’s better to start with a preset and go from there. Designing your own patches will take a lot of learning and deep tweaking.

How Does It Sound?

The sound of the H3000 can be heard all over popular music for the last 40 or so years. The plugin version sounds just as great as the original, having been made by the same company.

From incredible delay tones and filtering, the range of different sounds you can get with the H3000 Factory are seemingly endless.

The pitch shifting algorithms involved are also incredibly interesting and sound great, allowing for thick, creative pitch shifting effects.

Awesome not only for vocals, but any synth or other mono signal.

Our Thoughts

The H3000 is an incredibly powerful pitch shifter VST.

Offering way more than just Pitch Shifting, if you ever were in a desert island situation, this is the unit to get for your pitch shifting, delay and filtering needs. That being said, we found it a bit clunky, to start from an empty patch and less than intuitive, so as mentioned previously, start with a preset and go from there.

All in all however, the H3000 Factory by Eventide is still one of the best pitch shifter VST plugins you’ll find.

7. Boz Digital Labs ProVocative

ProVocative by Boz Digital Labs is a micro pitch shifter VST plugin.

Available for both Windows and Mac OS, ProVocative is quite simple, but impressively powerful at the same time.

Micro Pitch shifting is nothing new, and has been used for decades to add width and character to vocals, guitars, or even drums. Unlike regular pitch shifters, you’re not transposing by semitones, rather, tuning by cents.

Boz Digital Labs made ProVocative to be extremely simple to use, without sacrificing control and quality.

In addition to this, ProVocative is cheap and light on the CPU.

How Does It Sound?

It’s another creative pitch shifter, you’ll want to be using for sound design and mixing. This isn’t going to be what you’ll use to pitch correct your vocals.

ProVocative offers a super tight doubling effect to your signal, making your vocals, guitars or anything else you throw at it, wider and thicker.

Tuning your vocals up 5 to 8 cents, and layerin them with another vocal, tuned down the same amount, will thicken your vocals (or instruments), while making them wider.

You also get a high, and low-pass filter to have even more control of your signal.

Adding Subtle low-pass filtering to your signal, can result in some awesome, smooth stereo widening, for a more chilled out vocal feel

Lastly, a dry/wet knob allows you to adjust the amount of processing that gets through to your output sound.

Our Thoughts

ProVocative is almost everything we love in plugins.

It’s cheap, super powerful and simple to use, which makes it even more versatile. The low CPU usage also means that we don’t feel held back, to throw this bad boy on a bunch of tracks in our mix.

While you don’t want to go overboard with ProVocative, if used appropriately, it’ll take your mixes to the next level.

8. MAutoPitch by Melda Production (FREE)

mautopitch free autotune plugin

Melda Production’s MAutoPitch just had to be on our list.

If you’ve ever asked anybody if there is an autotune plugin for free, you probably got MAutoPitch as the answer. An incredibly capable unit, MAutoPitch was our first pitch shifter, and it could be yours too!

While it doesn’t offer the fine-control and in-depth customizability that pitch shifter VST plugins on the higher end do, it does a lot for free.

You get an awesome pitch correction plugin for free, with some added functionality, like limiter and stereo adjustment, as well as automatic gain control.

For a FREE pitch shifter, this is a great option to start with.

How Does It Sound?

MAutoPitch sounds fine. It’s not going to be the king of clarity and transparency, but it does what it’s meant to. You don’t have any way to control single notes in your audio, or re-record a melody with MIDI, so you’re more or less at the mercy of what the plugin does.

MAutoPitch also features a formant shifting feature, that can change your vocal to sound deeper or, more nasaly.

Be careful with adjusting your formants too much though, it can quickly start sounding strange.

Our Thoughts

We used MAutoPitch for years, before getting our first proper pitch shifter VST plugin. MAutoPitch looks dated and unappealing, and the lack of control can feel clunky at times. With that said however, MAutoPitch is an awesome pitch shifter, it does what it needs to, and it’s more than usable and workable in any situation.

Still unsure about it? We made a whole in-depth review for the Melda Productions MAutoPitch.

If you’re on a tight budget and need something to tune your vocals, consider downloading MAutoPitch!

What Is Formant Pitching & Do I Need It?

Formant Pitching or Formant Shifting, adjusts the harmonic frequencies in the human voice, changing the timbre and perceived pitch of the vocal.

If you do a -12 semi tone detune on your formants, the harmonics of your vocal will resemble a deep and masculine voice, while still being in the same Octave. Adjusting the formant pitch positively will result in a more nasal-y and bright vocal sound.

Adjusting formants is very important, when pitching your vocals, to avoid any unwanted artefacting from your pitch shifter vst plugin.

What’s The Difference Between Pitch Correction & Pitch Shifting

Pitch Correction is your auto-tune, that can snap your melodies to exact notes, correcting a off pitch vocal for instance. Pitch Shifting is just raising or lowering the pitch of your signal, without correcting your mistakes.

That being said, a lot of the times both of these effects cross into single plugins, so you’ll be finding both pitch correction and pitch shifting in plug ins like Melodyne, Auto-Tune EFX and others.

If you’re interested more in the pitch correction side of the coin, we made an awesome article about the best FREE pitch correction plug ins.

Summary

Here’s the essential list of the 8 best pitch shifter VST plugins on the market today:

  1. Melodyne 5
  2. Autotune EFX
  3. Little AlterBoy
  4. Waves SoundShifter
  5. Zynaptiq Pitchmap
  6. Eventide H3000 Factory
  7. Boz Digital Labs ProVocative
  8. MAutoPitch by Melda Production (FREE)

We hope one of these fits what you’ve been looking for. From Pitch shifting, to pitch correction, in-depth vocal effects and whatever else, a good pitch shifter vst is a necessary part of your production toolkit.