Melodyne vs Autotune (Which Is Best?)

Melodyne is one of the most powerful studio plugins ever, allowing for extremely in-depth adjustment of your vocals, both Monophonic and Polyphonic. Auto-Tune is the performers dream, letting you tune your vocals in real-time, or during a performance.

Both plugins offer incredibly good pitch-correction algorithms, but the choice of which is best for you, depends on what you’ll be using it for.

Celemony Melodyne 5Antares Auto-Tune
Real-Time Pitch Correction
Polyphonic mode
Graphical pitch-correctionOnly for Auto-Tune Pro
ARA
Included EffectsNone
PriceMelodyne 5 Essential – 118$
Melodyne 5 Assistant – 297$
Melodyne 5 Editor – 477$
Melodyne 5 Studio – 836$
Auto-Tune Access – 119$
Auto-Tune EFX+ – 2454
Auto-Tune Artist – 364$
Auto-Tune Pro – 462$

Melodyne Review

Celemony Melodyne
Melodyne 5 Editor

Melodyne 5 by Celemony is easily, the most in-depth and controllable graphical pitch control tool out there.

And, in an industry so full of auto-tuned vocals, plugins like Little Alterboy and Antares Auto-Tune EFX are a great way to get that pitch-correction sound on your vocals.

Melodyne takes a different approach. Instead of automatically tuning all your vocal notes to a scale, Melodyne gives you complete control over your vocals.

Of course you can still do all the usual automatic pitch-correction just like auto-tune, but you also have super deep control over every parameter of your vocal, from pitch glides, to note length and more.

Melodyne isn’t just all about vocals though, the algorithms used are so clean and transparent, that running any melodic material through Melodyne will let you tune and adjust it to your liking. Additionally, the Chord Track feature makes it so you can edit polyphonic material.

This basically lets you correct mistakes in your piano chords after the fact. With some adjustment, nobody will ever be able to tell you made a mistake.

To use Melodyne, you need to analyze the audio you want to adjust. After running the analyzer, you’ll be instantly presented with each melodic note, and options to change and alter them.

There is a very helpful chromatic scale on the left side, letting you know exactly where your notes are and how far they’re deviating from the center.

You can also use Melodyne to find out the chords of any chord sample, making this so much more than just pitch control.

The close control you get however, means that analyzing your audio is a necessary step, so you probably won’t be using Melodyne on stage. Melodyne is a versatile tool, that allows you to make mistakes. You won’t use it as an effect as much as you will for altering recordings and correcting mistakes.

The main downside of Melodyne is just how powerful it is. If you have it, you’re likely to use it on pretty much everything. With even faster and more transparent pitch correction, Melodyne is a must-have for professional producers.

Melodyne 5 Studio also offers multi-tracking and multi-track editing, as well as reference track quantization and timbre editing. Additionally, Melodyne 5 also supports ARA technology, which can get rid of the analyzation process on some DAW’s, speeding up your Melodyne workflow immensely.

Choosing the right Melodyne version for you is a great task in it’s own right, but no matter which version you get, the awesome pitch tuning and timing correction remain at the core of Melodyne.

Pros

✅ Clean and transparent tuning algorithms

✅ Separate Pitch and Noise control

✅ ARA integration makes Melodyne extremely fast and streamlines

✅ Polyphonic control

✅ Multi-Track pitch correction

Cons

❌ ARA isn’t yet compatible with all DAW’s

❌ Polyphonic and Multi-Track pitch correction only available for Editor and Studio versions.

Pricing

There are 4 Main versions of Melodyne:

  • Essential – basic time & pitch
  • Assistant – includes audio to MIDI, tempo detection & more in depth pitch control.
  • Editor – introduces Polyphonic Direct Note Access, which allows you edit things like piano pieces.
  • Studio – Polyphony, Quantization, Tempo, Advanced pitching tools & more.

If you don’t need extreme depth of control, Melodyne 5 Essential is a great way to start using melodyne right away. For only $120 you get their incredible algorithms, as well as pitch and timing control. Melodyne 5 Assistant is a step-up from Essential, adding additional tuning settings and controls.

If you want to have access to polyphonic control, you’ll need to get either Melodyne 5 Editor, or Studio, costing $480 and $840 respectively. These versions come with everything that Melodyne has to offer.

Antares Auto-Tune Review

auto tune EFX+
Auto-Tune EFX+

Antares’ Auto-Tune is probably the most well known plugin of all time, to the point where auto-tune is synonymous with pitch-correction.

Just like when it was released, Auto-Tune is still a staple for musicians all over the world.

Antares’ Auto-Tune is a monophonic vocal pitch editing plugin, that lets you adjust monophonic channels, with vocals being the primary focus.

With Auto-Tune Pro, you also get a graph mode, allowing for a graphical tuning mode, similar to Melodyne.

The key to Auto-Tune’s popularity however, is it’s usability.

It’s extremely simple to set-up, and works in real-time, unlike Melodyne. This means that Auto-Tune can be a great tool for live performance as well.

The basic view of Auto-Tune comprises of a few elements. You get to choose from different voice types, as well as set your key and scale. Additionally you can also adjust the pitch correction algorithm, with Retune Speed and Flex-Tune.

A humanization option also allows for variation in the retune speed, based on note length, making for less-robotic, hard-tuning effect – sounding more natural.

You also get Vibrato controls, to insert some natural vibrato in your voice, or even remove it.

Above it, the top bar of the plugin houses the formant correction controls, as well as throat modelling, transposition and detuning.

In addition to all the new features in Auto-Tune, the Graph mode is probably the most important.

This brings it closer to the super in-depth control of Melodyne, allowing you to adjust your vocals graphically, note by note, after analyzing the audio.

Additionally, Auto-Tune now supports ARA, or Audio Random Access, which is a new technology that allows for closer integration between plugins and DAWs, resulting in faster load speeds, improving workflow.

DAW’s compatible with ARA are Logic Pro X, Cubase, Studio One, Reaper and Cakewalk. Sadly, no Ableton or Pro Tools support for ARA yet.

Pros

✅ Clear and intuitive interface

✅ Auto-Key can detect the key of your song

✅ ARA support, for better graphical mode operation

✅ Can be used in a Live performance (no latency)

✅ Industry standard pitch correction algorithms

Cons

❌ ARA isn’t yet compatible with all DAW’s

❌ Monophonic Only

Pricing

Antares’ Auto-Tune has 4 main versions:

  1. Auto Tune Access – basic Auto Tune functionality with professional quality sound.
  2. Auto Tune EFX+ – All the above with formant and throat modelling, & additional EFX multi-effects module.
  3. Auto Tune Artist – EFX multi effects rack removed, introducing a new classic mode for Auto Tune 5 sound, flex-tune & vibrato controls. Additional MIDI input control.
  4. Auto Tune Pro – All the above including Graphic Pitch Editing, Time Editing and generate note objects using MIDI.

Access costs $120, EFX adds a multitude of effects and additional control, for $250. Auto-Tune Artist is the standard version of Auto-Tune, coming in at $360, while Pro offers everything that auto-tune has, for $460

Melodyne vs Auto-Tune (Verdict)

Probably the biggest difference why you would choose one over the other, would be whether you require real-time tuning, or offline tuning.

Auto-Tune allows the user to have instant tuning, with little to no latency, as soon as the plugin is on the channel. The speed associated with real-time tuning is essential, if you want to perform with auto-tune on, but it tends to introduce errors and inaccuracies.

Real-Time tuning also gives you less control over your individual notes, if any at all. For example, a note in your vocal could end up tuned to the wrong note, which would instantly make your vocals sound off.

Melodyne on the other case, is not a plugin you’re going to be performing with.

The core of Melodyne is offline correction, and requires you to analyze the audio into the plugin before you can do anything to it.

For this, you get extreme control over all your vocal notes.

Anything from sibilance, to note length, formants, vibrato, note glide, etc. Additionally, with the Editor or Studio versions, you can tune polyphonic material.

Auto-Tune only allows for monophonic channels, and will not give you any good results, when you feed polyphonic audio in.

The best way to compare these plugins would be that, one is an artistic plugin, while one is a precise and surgical one.

In the studio, you’re more likely to use Melodyne, to get that control over all the tiny details in your vocal, to ensure it sounds the best it can. Auto-Tune on the other hand is more of a brush over your mistakes kind of effect, it’s more apparent, less transparent, but much faster, and adds the familiar auto-tune quality to your vocals.

If you’ll just be sitting in the studio tuning vocals, Melodyne is probably your best bet. If you’re a vocalist, or work with vocalists a lot, Auto-Tune might be an absolutely key part of your toolbox.

Price

So, probably one of the biggest considerations when getting a new plugin for producers is:

What’s cheapest, and what will get me more bang for my buck?

If you’re trying to save money, Melodyne would be your best option.

With the cheapest version of both plugins, Melodyne 5 Essential and Auto-Tune Access, you simply get more with Melodyne Essential.

If money isn’t an issue, we’d obviously suggest getting both, since they are meant for quite different applications.

That being said, if you’re only interested in buying one, Auto-Tune Pro is an awesome choice.

At half the price of Melodyne 5 Studio, Auto-Tune Pro offers all of the things that Auto-Tune offers, in addition to a Graphical tuning mode.

This means that you pretty much get the best of both worlds, for half the price of the full-fledged Melodyne version.

You will however be missing out on both multi-tracked pitch correction, as well as polyphonic pitch correction, which can be so helpful that it’s hard to explain without trying it yourself.

If you’re looking to spend less than $150, Melodyne 5 Essential makes more sense. If you want to spend under $500, Auto-Tune Pro is the better option.

If money isn’t an issue, Melodyne 5 Studio is one of the most powerful plugins you’ll ever find, worth every dollar it costs.

Why You Should Be Using Pitch Correction

Gone are the days, where using Auto-Tune meant, that the vocalist couldn’t sing. In contrast, nowadays, most people know enough about Auto-Tune, to see it more as an effect, than a crutch.

That being said however, when you’re working with vocals in any capacity, you need some sort of pitch-correction tool.

Everyone makes mistakes, from the best singers to the worst, but pitch-correction plugins can help fix these issues seamlessly.

Imagine you’ve just sung the performance of your life, but you had a flat note at the start. instead of scrapping the recording, you can just fix it, and keep the amazing performance.

Melodyne is awesome for even more than just vocals too. You can use polyphonic mode, to re-tune chords and change melodic lines entirely on your instrument recordings.

If you do any mixing, or vocal production, Pitch Correction is absolutely necessary, regardless of how good your vocalist is.

Which Is Better For Live Performances?

As we already discussed, it’s pretty much no question that Auto-Tune is the king of performance pitch-correction. It introduces negligible latency, and can be adjusted and tuned in real-time. Additionally, you also have a host of FX, to choose, to change your voice entirely.

These can all be bound to MIDI and performed with on the spot.

While we prefer Melodyne as our pitch-correction plugin of choice, there is just no way you’re going to be using Melodyne on stage.

For Live performance, we’d suggest getting Auto-Tune EFX. It’s more light-weight, than Auto-Tune Pro, but still features the basic tuning controls you need, as well as humanization and a ton of vocal effects to use.

That being said, all pitch-correction software, adjusts your vocal notes to the nearest step in your selected key and scale. This means that, if you mess up a lot, Auto-Tune will only accentuate your mistakes, instead of correcting them.

So before you fall back on Auto-Tune, every time you’re singing Live, make sure you’re singing more or less on point, without Auto-Tune.

Either Way, nothing beats a clean vocal, there’s no shame in using auto-tune, but there is quite a lot of merit in not using it.

Finishing Up

Whether you’re a studio rat, or a live performer, pitch-correction is an integral part of your production set-up. Whether you choose Melodyne or Auto-Tune entirely depends on what you’ll be using it for.

We hope we cleared up the differences between these two awesome plugins and you’ll have an easier choice choosing the Pitch Correction plugin for you.

Before you go and produce your next, professional vocal edit, make sure you have the necessary tools you need, to make any artist you work with, sounding the best they can.