Vocal editing is one of the most important advances in modern music technology. Autotune and Pitch Correction is heard everywhere, from your favorite artist's new hit vocal to the bass guitar riffs recorded on rock records. There are a multitude of creative applications for pitch correction and some pitch correction plugin companies have gotten so good at it that they have become synonymous with specific styles of music.
There are a myriad of different uses to consider when using an Autotune style VST.
Unfortunately, many of these industry famous pitch correction plugins will burn through your wallet. The Pro version of Antares Autotune can run up to as much at $400. Insane!
To help you further your music career without breaking the bank we’ve created a guide to help you discover which completely free pitch correction plugin is best for you.
To get you prepared, let’s go over what nuances to consider when choosing your shiny new free pitch correction plugin.
There are a few nuances to evaluate prior to choosing which pitch correction plugin is right for you.
The top question you should ask is… “What do I need this tool for?”
If you’re a rapper, you may want a pitch correction plugin that allows for hard settings, thus enabling “Stepping”. Stepping is when a listener can hear the breaks in between pitches. Think Nav, Travis Scott, Gunna and 88Glam. It’s the stereotypical “Autotune” sound.
If you’re an R&B singer, you may want a pitch correction plugin that allows for smoother settings, think The Kid Laroi, Maroon 5 and Charlie Puth. These people use Autotune, it just sounds more natural. This type of Autotune plugin will make more minor/subtle corrections and blurr stepping so that listeners perceive note changes as glides, not steps. This will sound more natural.
If you want to have all the capabilities previously described, you may want to download multiple free pitch correction plugins.
In order to keep the natural sonics of your vocal, you may want to use a pitch correction plugin with a colorless, transparent audio engine algorithm. This will ensure that your vocal sounds smooth, and untouched.
Moreover, when searching for the perfect Autotune plugin, you may want to find one that allows for MIDI input, formant controls and additional voice customization options. MIDI input allows you to sing up and down as you desire, the MIDI will correct your pitch to correlate with the MIDI input. A formant control will give you the ability to have a low, deep voice like Brockhampton - Sugar or a high mousy type voice like Gunna ft. Young Thug - Dollaz On My Head.
All in all, there’s a lot to consider when choosing which plugin is best for you.
With that, you now have a good idea of what to look for in choosing the right pitch correction plugin. Let’s get into the 5 best and completely free autotune plugins available in 2020!
MeldaProduction is a fantastic plugin company used by iconic artists such as Deadmau5. They have been gracious enough to make their VST MAuto Pitch available for free download.
MAuto Pitch has crucial features such as depth, detune, and speed, which often come standard with pitch correction plugins but are not always this intuitive.
The depth control adjusts how much of the plugin affects the sound. This is useful when you have a specific tone in mind. Detune offsets the pitch by cents so that you can get the exact pitch you desire. You can turn the detune knob either way so that if for example your vocal is too sharp, you can detune it flat, so that it’s leveled out and in key.
The speed knob is one of the most fun knobs to play with. It controls how quickly MAutoPitch will respond to out-of-tune notes. This knob is similar to the Retune knob in Antares AutoTune. Using a low setting on this knob will ensure that you have a smooth sound, perfect for those R&B vocals we previously discussed.
On the other hand, if you want to sound more like Gunna or Travis Scott, turn the speed knob all the way up. This will give you that super autotune sound.
One of my favorite features about this plugin is all the add-ons and bonuses.
The bonuses are all included in the effects rack shown under “Effects”. This section allows you to shift the formant and alter the stereo width.
Turning the formant knob up with make you sound like the Gunna and Young Thug song we discussed earlier. Perfect for mousy type vocals. Slap some reverb on this effect and you’re going to get a dope sound.
On the other hand if you turn the formant down you will be able to achieve the Brockhampton low voice effect. A$AP Rocky also used this effect a lot early in his career.
Adjusting the stereo width can also be useful. For example if you have a beat that is relatively mono in the chorus, adding width to the vocal from within MAutoPitch can really help add depth.
To complete this Effects rack, MeldaProduction included a dry/wet knob to really top it all off. If you’re having trouble getting the exact sound you want, this knob can really help you dial it in perfectly so that you achieve the perfection you deserve.
Shown in the plugin is also a super useful, intuitive visual detector that shows which notes your hitting. The plugin also allows you to select the key and scale of the song so that when you use MAutoPitch you are only hitting the correct notes for the song. This is useful if you have a great vocal that ends up hitting the wrong note in a specific section. This plugin allows you to correct it perfectly.
An additional feature included in the plugin is a limiter. This is helpful but not 100% necessary. The limiter ensures you don’t clip within the plugin, although adjusting the volume prior to hitting the plugin should just solve this for you. It’s convenient but not essential.
This plugin is great. Highly recommend it. The expansive feature set available in this VST plugin make it a great addition to any creators arsenal. If you want to check it out, check it below.
Auburn Sounds’ Graillon 2 is one of our favorite free pitch correction plugins, hands down!
This plugin is beautiful. Unlike Graillon’s free competitors, you can really tell that they put time and effort into the aesthetics of this plugin. This plugin has a future-vintage vibe that draws you in and encourages you to learn it inside out. Large fonts and concise descriptions make the intuitive interface easy to understand and the heavy contrast color scheme makes it easy for the eyes to drift towards the most needed features.
The central display delivers a fun visual of where the input sound is being corrected, as well as how far off the original input was from the desired pitch. Double thumbs up from us!
This plugin is super well programmed and leaves most of its competitors in the dust. The algorithm handles fast and slow retune speeds with ease and is able to dial in specific pitch correction settings with an algorithm rivaling the best of ‘em.
For most uses, adding Graillon 2 as an insert on your vocal channel will be perfect to help you achieve your desired Autotune like effects. In order to dial in the perfect setting, try using the “inertia” knob. The “inertia” knob is like the “speed” knob for MAutoPitch and “retune speed” knob for Autotune. This knob helps notes stick and can either introduce or reduce stepping.
As a disclaimer, be careful with the inertia function. Dialing in the perfect inertia settings can be crucial. If you dial in the wrong setting, some notes may stick. This can alter your melody completely and is an unfortunate feature of this plugin.
In order to get a more T-Pain robotic sound, adjust the “smooth” knob. This will control the speed at which the vocal will leap from one note to another note. This is another critical knob to perfect when dialing in your settings.
A unique feature that we were stoked to play with in Graillon 2 is the bitcrusher feature. The bitcrusher feature is awesome. It can make your voice growl and reinforce the bass aspect of a voice. We were so inspired to play with this feature, we think you will be too. This feature is great for EDM music as well as some hard trap rap. It’s an experimental setting that can really level-up your song.
In addition, by adjusting the quantize and reduction knobs, you can easily get sounds that are super distorted and robotic.
Another effect that we really appreciated about Graillon 2 was that it has pitch-shifting abilities. There is a pitch wheel on the bottom left which is useful when quickly making music. Moreover, much like MAutoPitch there is a formant section that allows you to reshape the singer's voice. This can enable the singer to have that higher voice or lower voice we previously discussed. Combining the pitch shift and formant section you can dial in a realistic sounding high or low voice. It’s best to use them together to really dial in the specific sound you like.
Much like MAutoPitch Graillon also includes dry/wet which has become standard with in-the-box production. Also included are a low cut filter and adjustable output gain meter. All helpful, not essential.
To be honest, there aren’t many negatives to this plugin. We highly recommend it. You can get a dope growl sound or a standard AutoTune sound. This is pretty much what the doctor ordered. A great AutoTune style plugin, free.
If you want a fully rounded plugin that has the essential capabilities needed for vocal tuning + some added extra bonus toys, Graillon 2 is perfect.
Graham Yeadon’s GSnap is among the top free pitch correction plugins.
Its ability to alter notes corresponding with MIDI fed into it is unrivaled and makes this plugin a top contender in our assessment of top free pitch correction plugins of 2020.
Additionally this was one of the first free pitch correction plugins available. Gotta give props to the OG.
In this plugin, if you want to play the notes that a vocalist sings via piano you can. In other words, you can play the notes with MIDI and GSnap will snap the vocalists singing notes to where the MIDI piano dictates the notes to go. If the vocalist sings a C and the MIDI dictates a G, the singer will now be singing a G. Pretty cool feature.
This is a pretty unique feature that not many other free pitch correction plugins have successfully replicated. This type of effect would be great for EDM music and some more experimental electronic pop music.
Additionally GSnap also includes a pretty intuitive visual interface that shows the artist where their vocals are being snapped to. This isn’t unique by any means but is appreciated, especially if you would like to get a better understanding of what’s going on under the hood.
This plugins includes twelve adjustable knobs that will allow the user precise editing control over the effect. The input sound is in red, the altered notes are in green. This makes the experience very intuitive and easy to figure out what’s happening without having to use your ears all the time. (Although that’s important)
Our favorite feature in this plugin is the ability to add vibrato. This is a feature typically only included in premium paid pitch correction plugins.
Vibrato essentially emulates a fast intended volume alteration and small pitch alteration. This could be described as a warble type effect used by vocalists. Post Malone uses vibrato all the time.
This is typically synthesized in plugins by using an LFO and assigning that to a specific wave type (Sine, Square, Triangle) and then assigning that to volume, pitch etc. This is a fairly complex effect and was historically only achieved by talented vocalists. Utilizing this effect in GSnap can really help you take songs to the next level if used sparingly.
An interesting feature we were surprised to see is the gate feature. This feature enables GSnap to only have an effect on the sound if it hits a certain threshold. This threshold is typically connected to volume. So for example, if the volume of the voice hits a certain db then GSnap will turn on, and turn off when the volume sinks below that db threshold. We’re interested to play with this more over the next few months.
This plugin is definitely worth grabbing for free. Not sure if we would pay for it to be honest. It lacks the professional quality shown in some of its competitors. Although the MIDI feature is impressive and we would suggest downloading solely to play with this and to see what unique effects you can create.
The KeroVee Pitch Corrector doesn’t have many bonus features but is great at what it’s great at, and that’s pitch correction. The knobs allow you to be ultra-specific and dial in the perfect effect. This plugin is way better than most of its competition.
On the left side there is a visualizer that shows you what notes the vocal is singing. This allows you to visualize what is being sung so you don’t have to try to detect by ear. After all, most of us don’t have perfect pitch. This visualizer is very similar to some of the Waves interfaces.
Next to the visualizer you will notice the note selector. Active/selected notes will allow KeroVee to autotune to those notes. For example if C# is deselected and C is selected and the note sung is a C# but the note in key is C, the KeroVee will round that note to C.
Similar to GSnap, KeroVee accepts MIDI input. This enables the user to play the note that they would like sung via MIDI, thus rounding the pitch to the MIDI input. This effect is not as robust as in GSnap but still useful for those who would like to use it.
A very cool feature in KeroVee is the “Nuance” feature. This allows KeroVee to ignore or identify vibrato and other vocal subtleties, allowing you to add effect to them.
The “TuneSpeed” knob is similar to “Retune Speed”, “Speed”, etc. featured in other similar autotune plugins.
The “Calib” function controls the pitch of the sound. Very similar to a channel strip, the plugin allows for “Panning” and output “Volume”. These are useful controls but not critical. This plugin allows you to adjust formant, fine tune (detune) and pitch shift vocals. This is all great to have.
KeroVee is great if you are looking for a super specific autotuning plugin. This is recommended for anyone who doesn’t need the bonus features, just some pitch correction with deep features. Due to the audio quality this wasn’t our favorite, but we gotta give props for the feature set.
Autotalent is a well performing pitch correction plugin that although may be unattractive, works very well.
This plugin is perfect for light autotune, heavy autotune and also chiptune. Chiptune is the crispy bitcrushed sound you may remember from the old NES Nintendo.
This pitch correction plugin has smoothing, pitch shifting, and a formant editing function. Pretty nice right?
This plugin uses Binary technology; 0s and 1s. To use this plugin you would set the piano scale to “0” if you want the singer or instrument on that note and “-1” for notes you want to exclude.
An impressive feature of this VST is the built out LFO section. What this plugin lacks in design, it makes up for in this section. The LFO section is great for emphasising vibrato in a vocalists voice.
This section could also be used to add chiptune effects to vocals.
If you’re looking for a vocal pitch correction plugin with a built out LFO section, give this a try. This section can be really fun to play with, not just for enhancing a vocal but also creatively.
As fun as this plugin was to play with, the interface was just so poor that we couldn’t give it a great rating. If the interface is important to you, you may want to pass. There are better ones out there.
Download it here.
Autotune and pitch correction plugins are a standard in this day and age. You can be sure that 99% of the music heard in the Spotify top 50 has pitch correction somewhere in there. Reviewing the 5 best free autotune plugins of 2020 was a must.
Hopefully this has been helpful and has assisted you in identifying which free autotune plugin is right for you.
We ask that you consider what type of autotune plugin caters to your needs. As discussed, some specialize in their bonus features like formant alteration, stereo widening etc, whereas others specialize in their deep ability to perform pitch correction and allow the user to get super specific in the sound.
We’ve presented all of the pros and cons of the top 5 free pitch correction plugins of 2020.
All of these plugins specialize in a specific aspect of pitch correction. We recommend our #1 choice MAutoPitch for the everyday artist.
Are you planning to use any of these plugins?
Did we miss any free pitch correction plugins that you think are better?
Let us know in the comments below!
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