Autotune is an extremely popular effect that is commonly used to pitch correct vocal performances that are out of key, or slightly flat. It can be used as a natural effect for natural-sounding vocals, or as a hard-tuned effect for more Hip Hop & Rap style autotune.
In this article, we’re going to show you how to use the auto tune in GarageBand, on both Mac and on iOS devices.
How To Use Auto tune GarageBand (Desktop)
Here's how to add pitch correction in Garageband:
- Find the key of your track
- Create a vocal track and record your vocals
- Change your project to this key so it's in tune, ready for autotuning
- Double click your audio recording & select “track”
- Select “limit to key” and move the slider to alter the pitch correction amount
1. Find the key of the track you are recording to
Before recording your vocals, you'll want to find out the key of your track, so you know what to tune your vocals to. If you've made your own music, you probably already know this. If you haven't, then you can use online tools to figure this out.
To find the key, all you need to do is either:
- Export your music
- Or take your downloaded beat file
And upload it to a key finding tool online. These are generally pretty good at finding out what the main key of your song is, but can sometimes be inaccurate when working out smaller sections of audio (just something to keep in mind).
Once you have the key, you can go ahead and change the key of your project to ensure that when it comes to autotuning, you're using the correct piano scale.
2. Create a vocal track and record your vocals
The 2nd step is to create a vocal track and record your vocals.
You can do this by going to the ‘Track’ drop-down menu and selecting a new track. A window will then come up and you should select a new audio track.
From here you can select a vocal track preset – Classic Vocal is a good, clean sound to use – which will have reverb, delay, compression, and EQ already set up.
You can now record your vocal, or drop in a vocal take into the vocal track from your files.
3. Change the key of your project
Once you have recorded your vocal track the next step is to make sure your project is in the correct key. This can be found and changed in the navigation panel at the top of the project.
4. Double click your audio and select “Track”
Next, double-click on the audio region and select the ‘Track’ tab to bring up the auto tune control.
5. Select limit to key and apply autotune
This will bring up the smart controls and from here you can adjust the level of pitch correction you want in the track using the pitch correction slider. You should be able to hear this control the strength and the speed at which the audio is tuned.
If you put this all the way to 100 then you will get a hard-tuned rap music vocal sound like T-Pain or Travis Scott. If you’re looking for a more subtle pitch correction sound then the slider should be set around 50-60.
You also have the option to limit the pitch correction to the key of the song using the ‘Limit to Key’ tick box. This is a very useful tool as it means that all the notes will be in tune with the song – instead of just being corrected to the nearest note.
Alongside the option to limit to key you can also enable flex. These smart controls allow you to find the desired note and then move its position.
And that’s it!
You can now correct the pitch of any audio recording you have on Garageband using this method.
How To Use Auto tune GarageBand (iOS)
Using Auto tune in GarageBand is even easier on an iOS device.
Here's how you can apply auto-tune in Garageband iOS:
1. Make sure the key signature is correct
First up you want to make sure that the key signature is correct for your recording. To do this you need to click the button that looks like a gear and choose ‘Song Settings'. From here you can adjust the tempo, time signature and key signature for the entire song.
You want to make sure you're singing in the correct scale for the project key because in iOS the auto tune automatically corrects tracks to notes in the project's key signature – not to the nearest note.
2. Add a vocal track and start recording
Next, go back to press ‘done' at the top right of the settings window then press the ‘+' button at the top right of your screen.
Select the ‘Voice' option in the ‘Audio Recorder' window to make a new audio track for recording your vocals.
3. Add autotune to your vocals using a preset or manually
This will open up a clean vocals track and give you a selection of knobs. These adjust the tone, pitch correction, compression, drive and reverb on your audio track.
One way you can correct pitch in GarageBand iOS is to adjust the pitch control knob. This will adjust how quickly and closely the pitch of your vocals sticks to the key and the scale.
You can adjust this knob by small amounts and hear how the effect sounds – listen out for where the music goes from sounding natural to more artificial and then straight up robotic.
Another method for using auto tune in GarageBand is to press use the ‘Extreme Tuning' vocals preset. You should use this one if you want your music to sound more hard tuned and pop/hip-hop.
To find this preset, hit the blue knob in the top right hand corner. This should bring up a large dial with different images representing various vocals sounds. Choose the microphone button called ‘Extreme Tuning'.
You can use the pitch correction on your vocals using the control knob on the left of the screen.
You should play with these different sounds in your tracks to get your vocals sounding exactly how you want them.
FAQ – Your Questions About Garageband Pitch Correction Answered
Does GarageBand Have Auto tune & Is It Good?
GarageBand has a built-in autotune which is a great pitch correction tool for vocal takes – especially for achieving a hard-tuned sound like Travis Scott. However, it is quite limited and won't do a great job at natural tuning.
The pitch correction tool is quite limited though and it’s definitely worth checking out other 3rd party pitch correction plugins if you want to have more control and flexibility over how you use the effect. GarageBand only has the option to control the amount of pitch correction whereas other plugins give you the option to adjust the formant of your voice and control each individual note’s pitch.
Does GarageBand Have Autotune iOS?
The GarageBand app in iOS has built-in autotune and pitch correction however this is even more limited than the desktop version and it is worth looking at other pitch correction options on iOS.
For example, the iOS version does not include the enable flex option which reduces the amount of vocal track and notes editing in your recordings.
What Are The Best GarageBand Autotune Plugins (Desktop)?
Here are the best autotune plugins for Garageband:
- Melodyne – This plug in has polyphonic graphical pitch correction software that can alter the pitch of individual notes, chords and even detect sibilance. It does not work in real time like Antares AutoTune.
- Antares Autotune – Antares Auto Tune most famous auto tune plug in. Autotune pitch correction software works in real time and allows you to adjust individual notes and has a wide range of vocal effects.
- Graillon 2 – This is the best free autotune plug in. It has a great looking user interface that rivals most paid plug in options and numerous controls that can be used to obtain natural and artificial results.
- MAutoPitch Autotune – This is one of the best free autotune plugins that offers almost the exact same vocal pitch correction features as Graillon 2, but with a bit extra included. However it does not have the same easy useability.
Here is the complete list of the best autotune plugins for Garageband:
- Voloco – This is not the most technical pitch correction app but it has an ultra-simple design and a wide range of great sounding presets. Voloco works best for hard-tuned settings and is a great tool for being creative and getting inspiration.
- LE03 AudioTune – this is a real-time pitch correction AUv3 plug in. It works well with pitch correction and a creative tuning sound.
- 4Pockets Vocal Soloist – Great for adding harmonies and basic auto tuning to vocals. Also includes MIDI control over pitch to control the pitch of the harmonies.
Is GarageBand Professional For Vocals?
GarageBand is great for recording vocals and you can achieve a very professional-sounding performance. However, other DAWs provide more control and options over vocal editing and effects, giving a more professional sound than Garageband.
This doesn't mean you can't achieve a professional sound in Garageband!
It mainly comes down to the quality of the singing itself – if your vocals sound bad then there’s not much you can do to fix it regardless of how good your set-up is. However, it is a good idea to invest in a good microphone to cleanly capture vocals and improve your music production setup.
Many artists and people in music production have used GarageBand to create professional-sounding vocals and the effects it offers are more than capable of achieving it. Using a plug in like Antares Auto Tune in a GarageBand project can make your vocals sound amazing.
With over 8 years of hands-on experience in the music industry, Harry has run successful raves, played alongside industry heavyweights such as Max Chapman, DJ EZ, DJ Zinc and more (pictured below), had music played on national radio, DJ'd on live radio, produced until he hated every song, mixed until his ears bled, created sample packs from scratch using just a Zoom H1n and some sound design skills… and pretty much anything related to music production – he's done it, tested it, tried it.