How to Use Auto Tune

Three Parts:Getting the Software and HardwareApplying AutoTune to Vocal TracksUsing Mobile Apps

AutoTune, love it or hate it, is an iconic pitch-correction software that's gained popularity in songs by the likes of Cher, T-Pain, Daft Punk, and countless other rappers and pop singers. The use of pitch-correction has been a staple in recording, however, for as long as music has been recorded on computers. While it's use for robotic voice effects is relatively new, pitch-correction is as common as microphones in pro recording studios. You can use it to clean up natural-sounding vocal tracks or make yourself sound like you're from outer space. See Step 1 for more information.

Part 1
Getting the Software and Hardware

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    Get recording software that is compatible with AutoTune. AutoTune is a program designed to pitch-correct recorded vocal tracks. If you want to use AutoTune, you've got to have a computer with enough speed and space to run a basic recording package and install AutoTune software. Some packages are expensive, but include basically the same options for the beginner, so get one that's in your budget if you're just getting started. Good, user-friendly recording software includes:
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    Download Antares. Obtain Auto Tune from its official website. Install the software. You can also browse for more simple packages, like the AutoTune EFX 3, which leaves off some of the more complicated features of the software, but is a good option if you're just looking to get a T-Pain effect on a song.
    • Antares isn't cheap, but it's the software the pros use. If you want to try it with a free trial, you can apply it to a few recordings and see if you're interested in making the purchase.
    • If you buy Antares, take the tutorial for more specific information and guidance on using it with your home recordings. It's complex and professional software, very versatile for home recording. Do your research.
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    Get a microphone. If you're going to record music, you need a good-quality USB mic and any other MIDI hardware you need to record the music you want to back your AutoTuned vocals.
    • Alternatively, if you want to alter the settings on pre-recorded tracks, all you need is an isolated vocal track to import into Audacity, or whatever software you're using, and add your effect.

Part 2
Applying AutoTune to Vocal Tracks

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    Open or record a new sound file with your recording software application. You can AutoTune a recording of a voice or any other sound. When you're just getting started, it's best to record a brief snippet of your voice to mess around with and get the software figured out.
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    Isolate the vocal track. Unless you want to AutoTune the entire track (which would sound ridiculous), highlight the portion of the vocal track you'd like to tune and mute everything else.
    • You might copy over the vocal track into a new track so you can work on it separately, still saving the original recording to revert back to if you want.
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    Use Auto Mode to automatically retune the vocals. To do a basic AutoTune effect, all you've got to do is make sure the key is set correctly and choose a retuning threshold dial, selecting the amount of time you'd like to take between the note and the automatic correction. When you've selected the retune speed, select apply and the track will be AutoTuned automatically. This is the easiest way to get started, especially if you're going for the robot voice.
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    Select the key of the song. It may ask you to select a key when you're starting a new file, or it may analyze the track you've already recorded and determine the key itself, depending on the application you're using. Make sure the key is set, or the AutoTune will sound all wonky.
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    Set the retune speed. The threshold should be set low (at zero, if possible) to achieve the "T-Pain effect." If you want the AutoTune to sound obvious and robotic, set it so the AutoTune will minimize the amount of time between the note and the effect. If you want it to sound more natural, aim for somewhere between 50 and 80 milliseconds.[1]
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    Set other effects. In the AutoTune window, you can also select effects like "humanize" and "natural vibrato," to make the recording sound cleaner and less tuned. Depending on what you're going for, you can play around with these settings until you get the desired effect.[2]
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    Use Graphic Mode to manually manipulate individual notes and bend soundwaves. If you want to do more specific spot-checks and tune individual notes and fragments in a sound file, you need to use Pro Tools. This is commonly done on most commercial recordings to get the vocals to sound as natural, but as correct, as possible.[3]
    • Create two mono audio tracks of the vocals and route the outputs into two separate channels on the mix page of the main track, linking one to record to the other.
    • Open AutoTune and click off "auto" and switch over to the graph feature.
    • Highlight the individual sound waves you'd like to correct and bend them accordingly. AutoTune uses reference markers for the individual "notes" they identify as being correct, and you can manipulate the sound wave around them to get the desired effect.
    • When you've got the track where you like it, record it from one mono track into the other, and you've corrected your vocals.

Part 3
Using Mobile Apps

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    Try "I am T-Pain." If you're not interested in making actual recordings but want to have some fun with Daft Punk vocals, you just need to use your phone. AutoTune gained fame after becoming notable on tracks by Cher, T-Pain, and other pop singers. T-Pain developed a mobile phone app that's widely available and fun to use as a novelty, though not good for use in more professional recordings.
    • Download the app and open it. When you sing into the mouthpiece of your phone, it works as an instant-AutoTuner, or really more like a vocoder. You can also record yourself and play it back, or you can sing along karaoke-style to T-Pain songs.
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    Give StarMaker a shot. StarMaker is a free app that combines karaoke with AutoTune. If you want to sound like a star on your favorite songs, it's a good option to try out. It works like a game, and you can earn tokens to purchase new songs, making it a good quality option for kids or adults who're interested in just singing along and having fun.
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    Load Songify onto your Android. Songify takes AutoTune one step farther. It takes bits of speech and any other records you have and turns them into songs, complete with backing tracks, pitch-correction, and music. Instant-pop songs. All you've got to do is upload the app and hit record, and it spits back a silly, but perfectly tuned, song.


  • Tutorials for advanced effects, such as the popular "T-Pain Effect" can be found online. But with a little time and creativity, the user can discover unique effects to use on their recordings.


  • Even "inexpensive" editions of Auto Tune can cost upwards of $100. Pirating this software or any software is illegal.

Things You'll Need

  • A computer (this product works on Mac and PC computers).
  • An audio file (either from files or a recording)

Article Info

Categories: Songs and Song Writing