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  • Posted On: 17 Mar 2020
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Voice Pitch Correction Tips for Professionals

The advancements in computer-based pitch correction software from past twenty years has allowed sound engineers, producers and artists not only to correct pitch with newfound surgical precision, but also to use it as a creative tool. Pitch correction tools such as Waves Tune Real-Time and Waves Tune are now days used in every style of music recording and live shows.

Here’s a comprehensive set of tips for better understanding about the basics of pitch and how it’s affected in both creative effects and natural-sounding corrections:

1. Natural or Robotic Sound? It’s the Transition

The understanding for pitch tracks from one note to another is necessary for effective pitch-correcting vocals. Here transitional periods between notes make the main difference in the process of achieving natural or unnatural results. Many of the vocalists prefer a note either sharp or flat before settling on the pitch, usually depending on the previous note in the melody. If the note is moving from high to low, singer will shift into it sharp; if moving from low to high, they will shift in flat. The key factor of in this transition is affected from the approach during the pitch correction. Using a slow, gradual transition will lead to natural sounds whereas faster, abrupt transition will sound robotic. Similarly a faster “Note Transition” setting, will instantly track to the pitch center of the pitch, creating a more robotic sound

2. Natural or Robotic Sound? It’s the Fluctuation

The musical notes perceived in a vocal performance are usually made up of vowels (A, E, I, O, U) with consonants (L, M, N). The pitch will always fluctuate to some extent whenever a vocalist lands on one of these notes. However if the fluctuation is focused around the target note, the pitch will be perceived as natural and correct. During the pitch-correction in vocal with some slight fluctuations around the note center will make the pitch correction natural-sounding. Moreover flattening the note in context to the perfect pitch center will lead to a more unnatural sound, which paired with faster note transition will give a robotic result. Also with faster speed settings and 100% correction Ratio, the pitch will get flat-lined to the pitch center hereby creating a completely robotic note.

3. Select the Right Tool

The 2 types of pitch correction methods are represented by the Waves Tune and Waves Tune Real-Time plug-in. The first method (Waves Tune) will allow updating / editing the performance note with surgical precision. While second note (Waves Tune Real-Time) will operate separately on every set of parameters throughout a performance, while or after the singer is singing. Since both the methods are effective but some important considerations are needed to be kept in mind while selecting any one. Precise editing of the pitches (note wise) will produce the best of results for a subtle yet intricate performance, or an erratic one.

If the performance is intricate with a complex melody, you must to edit note-by-note to get that the pitch correction as per the performer’s desired intricate character to smooth the subtleties. If the performance is erratic, with stray notes widely going out of tune, automatic tuning ‘correct’ the wrong notes, but it’s needed to ensure that correction is always on the right note manually. An automated real-time processing is an effective tool for performance correction that’s generally in tune and pitch-consistent. It’s a good idea to match the key signature matching the song to redirect ‘illegal’ notes in close proximity with the correct note on a given musical scale. The setting of range will eradicate pitch-correcting of unnecessary sounds outside the required octaves; background noise or other artifacts. Just remember to make sure that notes do not end in the wrong place; and safeguard the presets of your settings during live performances.

 4. Separate the Notes Using Tolerance Settings

Decision to edit note-by-note and separating each note is imperative for your success. Also note that tolerance settings will be important to determine how sensitive the note separation will be. The settings for low tolerance will result in note separations whereas high tolerance settings provide fewer notes separating. Generally, low settings are used for fast paced performances and high settings are used for slow paced performances.

With Low Tolerance settings, vibrato is quickly separated into individual notes while in high tolerance settings it’s centered on a single note

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