What Is Melodyne And How To Use It? (2023)

In the article, you are going to learn what Celemony’s Melodyne is, the basic options, and the difference in versions. I will run through some of the most common ways to use Celemony’s Melodyne, give a quick tutorial and help you decide if this product is for you.

What Is Melodyne And How To Use It? (1)

Have you ever received a vocal track from a great singer, only to discover that some notes of the melody are not quite right? You have two options. You can get the track re-recorded, or you can use Melodyne to correct the notes. Getting the vocalist to redo the vocal recording may not achieve the desired result. The notes may still come back out of tune, or worse, other notes are now out of tune.

Why not pull the track into Melodyne and adjust just those two notes? This process will take even the least experienced user a few minutes. Sounds much better than hours of painstaking effort and editing, not to mention the cost of carrying out multiple takes!

What Is Melodyne?

What Is Melodyne And How To Use It? (2)

Melodyne is a software tool that allows you to manipulate the pitch, timing, and formant (more about this later) of an audio track on a note-by-note basis. While this is particularly useful for vocals, you can also use it to manipulate audio for any recording including bass, guitar, piano, etc.

What Melodyne Is Not

Melodyne is not Autotune. We are probably all familiar with the highly distorted sound of Cher’s ‘Believe’. While Celemony Melodyne 5 can produce this effect with its pitch tools, it is so much more than Autotune. The difference is with the word ‘Auto’. Using Melodyne, you can tune automatically. You can also adjust the pitch, correct the timing or change the formant of your audio on a word by word, syllable by syllable or note by note basis. Melodyne does this in such a way as to be completely undetectable in the final product.

Melodyne Free Trial

There is currently a 30-day free trial version of Melodyne 4 Studio. However, I would not suggest downloading unless you are prepared to lay out at least $99 for Melodyne 4 Essential. I can almost guarantee that once you try it, you are going to want to invest.

Different Options & Pricing

What Is Melodyne And How To Use It? (3)


If you decide to go for it, then Melodyne 4 Essential at $99 is a good starting place. Using this version, you can load up and work on a single audio track. You can adjust the pitch and timing of individual notes, or automatically tune the entire track to a selected key. You can also copy and paste between sections.


The next version up is the ‘Assistant’ at a cost of $249. In addition to the functionality above, you can correct where the pitch drifts away from the note’s pitch centre (or takes a ‘swoop’ to get there). You can also tweak formants, vibrato and amplitude. A useful feature of this version that is not available in the ‘Essential’ version is the ability to create an accurate MIDI file from an audio track. This is an easy way to make a MIDI file that follows the vocal melody. You can then get creative with this MIDI, such as making a flute, or a synthesizer play along.


The next version up is the ‘Editor’ version, which retails at $499. This offers the same functionality as the ‘Assistant’ but also allows for polyphonic detection with Direct Note Access (DNA). This means that you can import an audio file of a piano or guitar and pinpoint and manipulate individual notes within the chords. This is a very powerful feature, but perhaps not for the fainthearted.


The Rolls Royce version of Melodyne 4 is the ‘Studio’ version, which is not cheap at $849. Something that will make this slightly less painful is that you will never pay for upgrades. In fact, lifetime upgrades are free for all four versions. Using the Studio version, you can load and work on multiple audio tracks in one session. This means that you can line up and tune multiple lead, harmony, backing vocal and instrument tracks simultaneously. I use the Studio version to synchronize multiple backing vocals and harmonies with each other. I also make extensive use of the Audio to MIDI functionality to double lead vocals with a synthesizer or strings.

What Are The Minimum System Requirements For Melodyne?

All versions run on both Windows and Mac computers or laptops. The Windows version will run on an Intel or AMD Dual Core processor with at least 4 GB of RAM. It needs Windows 7, 8.1, or 10 and is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit architecture.

The Mac version runs on an Intel Dual Core processor also with a minimum of 4 GB of RAM and macOS 10.6.8 and 10.11.x to 10.15.

All versions will run as a standalone application or as a Melodyne plugin in your favorite DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).

Songwriting And Composing

What Is Melodyne And How To Use It? (4)

Because of its multi-track capability, the Studio version of Melodyne can help you with all sorts of musical endeavors from songwriting to composing. Similarly to Band-in-a-Box, it enables you to quickly build up arrangements and experiment with new ideas. You can change the whole feel of a melody by shifting a note or two or changing the tempo. There is no need to re-record the whole vocal to hear what it would sound like. You can double the lead vocal tracks and create an experimental harmony track to hear what that will sound like. For more information on intervals and harmonies, head here. You can even change the vocals from male to female and vice versa using the formant tool.

What Is Formant?

I bet there are a few people reading who want to know what this ‘formant’ is that I have been talking about. There doesn’t seem to be an easy definition, but essentially the formant is a group of harmonics that are stronger than others. So, the formant of male voice is different to the formant of a female voice. With Melodyne, you can make a female vocal sound like it was sung by a male, without changing the pitch. Sounds weird? It is! You will have to try it out for yourself to understand it. You can do some funky things with the formant tool, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that is what was used in Cher’s ‘Believe’, too.

Quick Melodyne Tutorial

I am using the standalone version of Celemony’s Melodyne 4 Studio for this quick tutorial. I have a lead vocal and two harmonies of an original song called “Why I Never Asked”. The song was recorded in the key of Bb.

Open the program and open the WAV file of your lead vocal. Use the File Open command. Now import the two harmony vocals into the session using the File Import command.

What Is Melodyne And How To Use It? (5)

You can see the three tracks in two different windows. In the top window, you can see how the tracks line up with each other. In the bottom window, Celemony’s Melodyne has split the tracks out across the pitch grid into what are called ‘blobs’. A blob is a word or a syllable that is sung on a single pitch. You can see the pitches on the left-hand side of the screen.

The first thing I do is select the lead vocal and tune it to about 90% on both pitch center and drift.

What Is Melodyne And How To Use It? (6)

I would then listen carefully to the entire track and make individual adjustments as necessary. I do this by simply picking up a blob and moving to the pitch I want.

What Is Melodyne And How To Use It? (7)

Melodyne Essential

You can also stretch or shrink a blob if the timing is off. It may be necessary to split a blob up into two portions so you can move each portion to different pitches on the grid.

Sometimes the vocalist may have wandered far from the note’s pitch centre, and you may want to rein it in. Here is an example of where I had a bit too much vibrato on the C note.

What Is Melodyne And How To Use It? (8)

The above is what it looked like after using the pitch modulation tool to keep the vibrato in check.

Once I have the lead vocal as I want it, I will start tuning and lining up the two harmony tracks with it. I will tune the harmonies in the same way as above, and start lining up the harmonies one at a time with the lead vocal.

Starting with the lower harmony, I will take a copy of my tuned lead vocal and move it down a third to where the lower harmony was sung. I can now see the tracks one on top of each other and can start stretching and shrinking the harmony blobs to match the lead vocal. You can see in the picture below how the harmony did not align 100% with the lead vocal. This can easily be fixed in Melodyne 4 Studio by simply picking up and dragging the edge of the offending syllable or word so that it lines up nicely with the same syllable or word of the lead vocal.

What Is Melodyne And How To Use It? (9)

Melodyne Torrent

When you adjust the timing of a blob, Celemony Melodyne automatically adjusts the size of the surrounding blobs so that the edits are indiscernible.

This may seem like lots of effort to get perfectly lined up harmonies but it gets easier with experience. It is certainly easier than recording multiple takes to get perfect alignment between backing and lead vocals.

To export your lead vocal as a MIDI file, simply hit File Export and select MIDI as your export format. You can then use this MIDI file to make artistic arrangement nuances in your production.

What Is Melodyne And How To Use It? (10)

Summary: Is It Worth It?

If you are serious about producing high quality demos with vocals as a big focus, I would say yes. Even the vocals of top recording artists are put through Melodyne to fine tune. In my opinion, every vocal can benefit from some slight manual tuning. To see the benefit before investing time and money, there are Fiverr freelancers who can process your track though Celemony Melodyne for a reasonable fee. Then, load the tuned vocal with the raw one in your DAW and switch between them to hear the difference.

I would suggest starting with the Essential version. Get familiar with the product by using it on one lead vocal, and see where it takes you. Once convinced, start putting money in your piggy bank so that you can invest in the Studio version. There is no doubt that if you make the commitment to purchase and learn Melodyne, you will save time and money and produce better recordings. In my opinion – it is a great investment!

If you’re not sold and are looking for Melodyne alternatives, take a look at our guide to the best Autotune plugins and software and our review of the best free autotune plugins + free download pack!

What Is Melodyne And How To Use It? (11)


What Is Melodyne And How To Use It? ›

Melodyne by Celemony is a software plugin that lets you tune vocals in a really easy way. It lets you adjust the pitch and timing of a track. This plugin is really useful for pitch correcting a vocal, but you can also use it on pretty much any other instrument.

What's better Auto-Tune or Melodyne? ›

If this is the sound you're after with your vocals, then Auto-Tune will deliver where Melodyne can't. However, if what you are hoping for is a more transparent approach to the tuning, Melodyne is the best choice. When used properly, the vocals will be left sounding untouched but perfectly in tune.

Is Auto-Tune the same as Melodyne? ›

There is a fundamental difference in how the Melodyne and Auto-Tune process audio. The key difference between the two plug-ins is that Melodyne is nonlinear, whereas Autotune processes audio in real-time in a linear fashion. To be more specific, Melodyne records the audio it is to process into the plug-in.

Can Melodyne automatically fix vocals? ›

People often call it “autotune,” and it does have auto-correcting features. But the best way to use it is manually (more on that below). You can also manipulate the formant. And in the context of Melodyne, formant adjustments can make a typical female vocal sound like a typical male vocal, and vice versa.

What Auto-Tune do professionals use? ›

Antares Autotune Pro by Antares Audio Technologies

Their software is used as the standard when it comes to the big leagues in many of the top recording studios worldwide. This is due to its ease of use and trusted reputation. After all, Antares do actually own the trademark “Autotune”.

What is the easiest Auto-Tune to use? ›

6 Best Autotune Plugins to Enhance Your Vocals
  1. Antares Audio Technologies Auto-Tune. ...
  2. Waves OVox. ...
  3. Melodyne. ...
  4. The Mouth. ...
  5. Logic Pro's Flex Pitch. ...
  6. BeatLab's Autotune for Ableton Live.
Jun 24, 2022

Do most artists use Melodyne? ›

Melodyne is often used in song production, but most often it's not the singers who use this software but their mix engineers. As you know, the most important thing in a song is emotion and the right vocal expression.

Can you get Melodyne for free? ›

Like most audio software, Melodyne comes with a 30-day free trial.

When should I use Melodyne? ›

Melodyne is a software tool that allows you to manipulate the pitch, timing, and formant (more about this later) of an audio track on a note-by-note basis. While this is particularly useful for vocals, you can also use it to manipulate audio for any recording including bass, guitar, piano, etc.

Does Melodyne cost money? ›

Try out Melodyne 5 studio free of charge

This makes finding the right edition simple.

Why can't i hear anything in Melodyne? ›

Generally, the main reasons you can't hear your Melodyne recording is because you've either muted the track on which the plugin is loaded, or you've accidentally left Melodyne turned off. You may also need to locate the original Transfer files, or you've forgotten to set the computer's audio output.

What is the difference between pitch correction and Auto-Tune? ›

While pitch correction tools are primarily about fixing minor imperfections in vocal recordings, Auto-Tune can also be used as a stylistic choice, transforming the singer's voice into another instrument that can be edited and altered indefinitely.

Is Melodyne good for vocals? ›

Celemony Melodyne has a strong reputation in the world of professional audio production. The vocal pitch correction software is one of the most respected plugins for fine-tuning a vocal performance in the studio. If you record and produce music, you've may have heard of Melodyne and how it can improve vocal tracks.

What is the replacement of Melodyne? ›

  • Voloco. Free • Proprietary. Android. iPhone. Android Tablet. iPad. ...
  • x42-Autotune. Free • Open Source. Mac. Windows. Linux. ...
  • TalentedHack. Free • Open Source. Music Production App. Windows. Linux. ...
  • Autotalent. Free • Open Source. Music Production App. Mac. Windows. ...
  • GSnap. Free • Proprietary. Mac. Windows. Linux.
Jul 4, 2022

Why do I sound bad with Auto-Tune? ›

Autotune uses software algorithms to quickly change the current pitch of a note to the desired pitch. This is not something a human being can do, therefore it tends to sound quite unnatural, even robotic.

How do you use Melodyne to correct pitch? ›

Choose the pitch tool from the toolbar or the context menu in the editing area. Drag a note up or down to alter its pitch. If the note is one of several selected, all the notes in the selection will move up or down en bloc.

Why do I still sound bad with Auto-Tune? ›

Here's why your Auto-Tune doesn't sound like the pros: The pitch of the vocalist prior to Auto-Tune processing must be close enough to a note in the scale of the key of the song for Auto-Tune to work its best. In other words, the singer has to be at least near the right note for it to sound pleasing to the ears.

What is the most natural sounding autotune? ›

What is this? For natural, realistic sounding autotune, you'll want a slower retune speed (set it to where you barely hear it and then back it off a bit more) and maybe 10% flex tune to allow some wavering. That's it.

What songs use a lot of autotune? ›

Auto-tune Anthems
  • Try Me. DeJ Loaf.
  • Blood On The Leaves. Kanye West.
  • Novacane. Frank Ocean.
  • These Streets Will Never Look The Same. Chromatics.
  • Woods. Bon Iver.
  • Turn On The Lights. Future.
  • Real Life. Cat Power.
  • Dark Star. POLIÇA.

Can auto-tune make your song sound better? ›

Auto-Tune is a voice processing app that uses algorithmic technology to automatically correct and enhance the pitch of a singer's voice. This allows for more accurate and expressive performances and has become a popular tool for recording artists and music producers.

Does every song need autotune? ›

Though Auto-Tune is used in almost every genre, it is more obvious in certain musical styles such as hip-hop. Famous American rapper Kanye West and the Black Eyed Peas use Auto-Tune heavily in some of their hit songs to create different effects with their voices, not necessarily because they are singing out of tune.

Can everyone sound good with autotune? ›

But, through correctly training your voice and ears, you can take anyone from not being able to sing to being able to perform live with AutoTune correctly. However, singing live nowadays isn't that important as you may think. Lots of incredibly successful singers can't sing live correctly even if they use AutoTune.

How is Melodyne so good? ›

Melodyne is renowned for its superior, artifact-free sound and comprehensive control over numerous elements of recorded performances—pitch, timing, volume, vibrato, sibilance, formants, and length. You can surmise based on the parameters above that Melodyne 5 is primarily a vocal plugin.

Should Melodyne be first or last? ›

Generally speaking, Melodyne should always be the first plugin in your signal chain. You want Melodyne to transfer the cleanest audio signal possible, that way you don't highlight any artifacts or sounds created by things like EQ, compression, or other effects.

How long is Melodyne free trial? ›

For a period of 30 days, free of charge, with no obligations or limitations. Melodyne will behave throughout the trial period exactly the same way as if you'd purchased it.

What are the minimum requirements for Melodyne? ›

Intel or AMD Dual Core processor (Quad Core or better recommended), 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended), Windows 10 (64-bit), Windows 11, ASIO-compatible audio hardware. Computer-based or iLok USB dongle (2nd or 3rd generation), Melodyne essential only computer-based.

Is pitch the same as tuning? ›

Pitch in musical terms is related to frequency - how high or low a sound is. 'Lower' is a better parameter than 'deeper' here.To tune an instrument, its pitch may be altered. Fairly obviously, a 'tune' musically speaking, is a melody - the sort of thing one would whistle, sing or play.

Why does speeding up audio change pitch? ›

Answer: Sound is a wave form which means it has peaks and troughs. If you speed up the tape you receive more peaks in your ear per second than you would otherwise and that makes the pitch go higher.

What is the best retune speed for Auto-Tune? ›

As a general rule, aim anywhere between 50 and 80 milliseconds. There are some other effects that you can add as well. Make sure you select the effects like 'Natural Vibrato' and 'Humanize' to make your recording clearer and more natural.

What software do singers use to sound better? ›

Voloco: Vocal Recording Studio

If you want to sound better, Voloco is an excellent option to use as an audio editor as well as a recording studio.

What app do singers use to make their voice sound better? ›

Voloco is a mobile recording studio and audio editor that helps you sound your best.

What is the best frequency for vocals? ›

A great deal of vocal character resides in the frequency range of 400 Hz–800 Hz. Too much of this frequency range will accentuate the throatiness of a vocal causing it to sound papery or boxy. Too little of this frequency range and the vocal can sound hollow and unnatural.

Does Auto-Tune make your voice sound better? ›

Auto-Tune is a voice processing app that uses algorithmic technology to automatically correct and enhance the pitch of a singer's voice. This allows for more accurate and expressive performances and has become a popular tool for recording artists and music producers.

Does Auto-Tune make you sound better? ›

Auto-Tune automatically shifts the pitch of the voice to the nearest key belonging to the specified harmony. This way you can correct the imperfection of the singing instantly and make the artist sound perfectly in harmony with the music.

Is auto tuning a good recording technique? ›

Auto-Tune is a very smart tool when used correctly. This usually occurs in graphic mode. In this mode, you can keep all the vocal scoops and nuances of the singer's style and just tweak the notes after they reach closest to the desired note.

Do professional singers use autotune? ›

Virtually everyone in the music industry today uses autotune, even just a little bit. It helps everything blend together by correcting any off notes that would distract the listener. It's pretty much impossible to sing perfectly in tune all of the time, so autotune is a subtle tool to tighten up a singer's performance.

What do singers use to improve their voice? ›

Practicing scales, improving your tongue-soft palate coordination, repeating tongue and lip trills and simply humming are a few fabulous little warm-up exercises to get your vocal cords loose and ready for business. Breathing exercises are an excellent start for those looking to improve their ability to sing.

How can you tell if someone is using autotune? ›

You can hear it. If they have cranked it way up, the voice will sound robotic, like Cher in “Believe.” The less they cranked it up, the harder it is to tell. If the voice sounds too perfect it is probably autotuned.

Why do I still sound bad with autotune? ›

Here's why your Auto-Tune doesn't sound like the pros: The pitch of the vocalist prior to Auto-Tune processing must be close enough to a note in the scale of the key of the song for Auto-Tune to work its best. In other words, the singer has to be at least near the right note for it to sound pleasing to the ears.

What was the first song to use autotune? ›

Auto-Tune was popularized by Cher's 1998 song "Believe". While Auto-Tune was designed to be used subtly to correct vocal performances, the "Believe" producers used extreme settings to create unnaturally rapid corrections in Cher's vocals, thereby removing portamento, the natural slide between pitches in singing.

Can you autotune a bad voice? ›

I also think it is necessary to clarify that if a person sings badly, Auto-tune will not fix their voice, as many people think. The voice can be significantly improved with many tricks, Auto-tune is just one of them, and it doesn't have as much scope for action as people think.

Which DAW is most used by professionals? ›

Studio One 5

It is now one of the most commonly used DAWs. It combines the best of both world from electronic-focused DAWs like FL Studio and more audio-focused programs like Pro Tools.

What is the easiest autotune to use? ›

6 Best Autotune Plugins to Enhance Your Vocals
  1. Antares Audio Technologies Auto-Tune. ...
  2. Waves OVox. ...
  3. Melodyne. ...
  4. The Mouth. ...
  5. Logic Pro's Flex Pitch. ...
  6. BeatLab's Autotune for Ableton Live.
Jun 24, 2022

Is there a free version of auto tune? ›

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: You must provide a method of payment to authorize your free trial. If you don't cancel your free trial before it ends in 14 days, you will automatically be charged $24.99 to begin your paid monthly subscription to Auto-Tune Unlimited.

Should you compress before autotune? ›

In general, effects like high pass/low cut filters, subtle EQ, de-essers, and gentle compression/dynamics should be used before Auto-Tune in the effects chain. All other processing such as delay, reverb, spatial effects, distortion, etc should be applied after Auto-Tune.

Why do singers sound different live? ›

Live Audio

Performances that re live can be lip synced. They can have autotune, reverb, or other vocal effects. Those effects enhance the singer's voice in real time. In some cases, vocal effects can even make a singer make mistakes.


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