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Celemony Melodyne – The Ultimate Pitch Correction & Quantization Tool

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This post is part of a series called Producing Vocals: From Mic Placement to Mixing.
How to Use Pitch Correction for Vocal Effects
Transforming Vocal Samples into Lead Synths

Celemony’s Melodyne Editor is one of the major tools used for vocal editing and pitch correction. It has revolutionised the vocal editing process, enabling you to manipulate the notes of the vocals in ways you never thought was possible. It's more flexibility than similar products, and is available in standalone and plugin formats.

If you feel that a note in the vocal is a little off-pitch, you can make it hit the right note with Melodyne. If you feel that the vocal is a little off in the timing, Melodyne is here for the rescue. It can also be used to correct and quantize unpitched audio sources like drums, ambient sounds, and noise.

In this tutorial, I'll show you the basic functions of this amazing plugin and how to use it. I'll teach you to edit the vocals of your song, and to handle each note in the most effective way. I'll show you how to quantize the notes of the vocal so that the performance of the vocal can be tightened according to the rhythm. Let’s get started.


Step 1 – Transfer the Audio Data

Before we get to the tweaking and editing process, we must first transfer the required vocal file to the Melodyne Editor. To keep things simple and understandable, I have added Celemony’s Melodyne to the Insert of the vocal track. We could also have added the plugin to the Sends of the project and bus it to the plugin.

Once you have inserted the plugin to the Insert of the track, click the Open/Close Insert Editor, which is right beside the button of the Insert.

Melodyne_Transfer process

Once you've completed the Insert process, proceed to the Transfer process. Press the Transfer button in the Melodyne Editor, then press the Play button on the Transport panel of your DAW.

Press Transfer again to stop the transfer. Melodyne will process the track and display the graphical position of each notes that was processed. This gives us a visual map of the notes that are being sung by the vocalist.

Here is a snippet of the untreated raw vocal. Please keep in mind that this was recorded using an inexpensive microphone.


Step 2 – Select the Algorithm

This is an important part of the detection process, and helps determine the type of audio that Melodyne is dealing with. By default, Melodyne selects the algorithm, but if you are unhappy with its choice, you can select a better option from the Algorithm menu.

There are three algorithm options:

  • Melodic: This can be used for vocals or instruments with monophonic pitches like bass, cello, and woodwind. You can change the values of the pitch of single notes, which helps in making subtle corrections to the pitch of the audio.
  • Percussive: This can be used to quantize the rhythm section, or to correct loops. You can make each note hit the right spot, and follow the beat exactly as you wish.
  • Polyphonic: This can be used for chords, and instruments that play multiple pitches at once, like guitars. You can change each note in the chord, giving us more control over the various sections of the song.

Since we are dealing with a vocal track, we'll use the Melodic Algorithm, which Melodyne selects by default.


Step 3 – Use the Pitch Map

After it has finished analysing, Melodyne presents us with the following view. It shows what notes or the pitch the vocalist has hit.

pre 400

On the left hand side of the window you can see the corresponding notes of the pitch. If you think that a certain pitch was not detected correctly in the Editor, then you can switch to the Detection Mode and manually arrange the wrong notes.

Once you've correctly identified all the notes, we'll finally move on to the fun stuff.


Step 4 – Correct the Pitches

Look at the waveforms and the related pitch variation graph on the notes to discover any notes which haven’t hit the right pitch. Depending upon the genre of the song, some minor pitch variations may be acceptable, but extreme variations won't be very pleasing to the ears.

The most efficient trick is to get it right at the source—during the recording stage. But we can use the pitch correction process in Melodyne for any bad notes that slipped in. It's an easy and simple process.

Before we begin, you need to identify the erroneous notes that seem a little off pitch by either looking or by listening. Do that by looking at the notes list on the left side, or by clicking on each note and listening to the pitch.

Once you find a note that needs to be corrected, select the Pitch Panel to make the necessary changes.

melodyne_pitchtool

The Pitch Panel offers three methods to make corrections to the pitch of a note. They are:

  • Pitch Tool: This tool helps you make changes to the pitch by semitones. You can drag the selected note from one semitone to another to change the pitch. You can hear the changes as you drag it around. For example, if the note was supposed to be C, but is B or Bb, just drag it up to C.
  • Pitch Modulation Tool: This tool is used to make changes to the modulation of the note. You can select the note and drag it up or down according to the need of the situation. The modulation of a note can be entirely removed using this tool. You can also manually enter the values for the modulation change by entering the values below the toolbars. Values from -1000% to 1000% can be entered.
  • Pitch Drift Tool: This is used to adjust the drifting of the pitch from the original pitch, making the vocal more consistent and enjoyable. Values from -1000% to 1000% can be entered.

Step 5 – Control the Timing

In the process of editing the song, making the vocal sound perfect is a major aim. This includes the minute timing variations or mistakes that cause the vocal to be flawed. With Melodyne’s Timing Control feature, we can say goodbye to those glitches, and work towards making our song sound perfect.

Melodyne_timing

 

Timing Control offers three options:

  • Timing Tool: This tool can be used to change the length of the notes. While changing the duration, you can also make changes to the surrounding notes, and make them align properly. Depending upon the grid specified, note durations can be made to snap to the grid.
  • Time Handle:  The Time Handle Tool is useful for editing the details of each word. You can create hit-points on the waveform by double-clicking the required part. This can be used to change the duration of each word. You can increase or decrease the length of the parts of the vocal according to your need. This is very useful when remixing songs, when the vocal needs to be stretched or cut short to keep the tempo of the remix.
  • Attack Speed: This tool helps in changing the attack speed of the note. If you reduce the value, the speed of the attack on the vocal will be reduced, and vice versa. Values from -100% to 100% can be entered.

Step 6 – Adjust the Amplitude

Once the pitches and timing of the vocal have been corrected, you may have to adjust the loudness of some notes. The Amplitude Tool is there to help you do this process in the easiest way.

melodyne_amplitude

After you have made the final adjustments, close the Editor and the changes that you made will be saved. When you play back the track, you'll now hear the edited version, with the corrections you made.

Here is the final edited vocals in the context of the final mix:


Conclusion

Editing vocals can be a nightmare if not done correctly, or if the proper tools are not available. With Celemony's Melodyne, it becomes a hassle-free process, making vocal editing a piece of cake. Practice and experiment with the various functions the plugin offers.

Finally, make sure you get all your recordings right at the source. Your goal should be to reduce the number of edits you need to make as much as possible.

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