How do artists automatically tune their music professionally

The 5 Best Vocal Editing Tools

5 Rap and Vocal Editing Plugins You Really Need

Use these tools to improve your vocal performance

In the music production of many genres, a good vocal sound is the be-all and end-all. After all, singing and rap tell the story of the song and convey a large part of the emotions. When recording, it is not uncommon for a take to be favored as the lead vocal that has small timing and pitch deviations, but conveys the expression and feel of the song well. Only the artist himself can put the emotion into his performance, but pitch, timing and other things can now be corrected retrospectively in the software.

So it's no wonder that there are countless tools on the software market for editing vocals, rap, and speech. With the mass of plug-ins, however, you can quickly lose track of things. So which plug-ins do you really need to edit the vocal sound like a pro? We have selected five tools that experienced engineers can use to hide small mistakes and polish the vocal sound of their productions.


1. Synchro Arts VocAlign Pro - Synchronous Takes

So that the vocals in the song sound in unison or with several voices, doublings, also known as backings, are recorded in the recording. Individual parts of an arrangement are recorded several times "one below the other". Last but not least, in different pitches to create harmonies, for example in the chorus of a song. When the passages are doubled, timing differences naturally arise which, depending on the artist's performance, differ more or less from the main voice. It can even be so extreme that it almost sounds like a short delay. For tight vocals that are all close together, these timing inconsistencies need to be corrected.

This is exactly where VocAlign Pro from Synchro Arts comes in. The plug-in was originally developed in order to subsequently synchronize language in films using ADR (Automatic Dialog Replacement). Engineers quickly made use of the tool to automatically align the timing of backing vocals with the main voice in music production. The corresponding main track and the duplication to be matched are selected in the plug-in. VocAlign then automatically adjusts the latter to the main track and also offers parameters with which the synchronization can be fine-tuned. The use of this plug-in makes particular sense not only in pop and rock, but also when correcting rap. Every word can be cut and faded in the DAW, but especially with fast vocals, such as double time, VocAlign does a lot of work and thus saves time!

You can find the test for the plug-in here.

Synchro Arts Vocal Align Pro automatically aligns duplicates with the main track.

2. Celemony Melodyne - Corrections that sound natural

Melodyne from the Berlin software company Celemony is known for its natural algorithm for correcting pitch and timing. The tool is often used when the processing of the vocals should sound as inconspicuous as possible. The software is available both as a plug-in for editing individual tracks and as a stand-alone editor, with which entire arrangements can be managed and all tracks are displayed at the same time. In addition to pitch, Melodyne can also edit pitch drifts, vibrato and even timing. One advantage of Melodyne is the precise processing of individual notes or words. In addition, thanks to the specially developed DNA technology, you are even able to intervene in played chords and subsequently correct individual notes, which is why Melodyne even enables the editing of polyphonic instruments. The tracks to be edited must be transferred to the Melodyne plug-in using real-time recording, but the software enables very targeted interventions on individual notes. In the meantime, there are similar editors from other manufacturers and some DAWs, such as Cubase or Logic, are equipped with comparable onboard editors as standard. If the result is to sound as natural as possible, the Melodyne algorithm is unbeatable.

You can find the test report here.

Melodyne enables the precise timing and pitch of individual notes to be edited.

3. Antares Auto-Tune - The mother of all pitch corrections

Antares Auto-Tune is a real-time pitch correction plug-in. Since the invention of the plug-in, Auto-Tune has straightened the vocals of countless hits. The software is popularly known as the T-Pain or Cher effect. This is an extreme setting of the retune parameter, which is responsible for the speed of the pitch correction. If this is set to 0 milliseconds, the robot-like "auto-tune effect" is created. But apart from this extreme setting (which has still not been heard dead after around 20 years), Auto-Tune can also sound inconspicuous when used discreetly and has therefore helped many a star to achieve a melodious hit. It is said that with auto-tune even people can sing who actually can't sing. Since Auto-Tune has to do without an editor, it hardly allows precise editing of individual notes compared to Melodyne. If the vocals are to be absolutely "on point", a combination of both plug-ins is often useful: This gives you smoothly ironed vocals and can also specifically "tackle problem passages (which cannot be dealt with with Auto-Tune alone) with Melodyne." “And correct.

The test report for Auto-Tune can be found here.

Auto-Tune enables pitch corrections in real time, both live and in the studio.

4. Synchro Arts Revoice Pro - Artificial backing generation, timing and pitch

Revoice Pro, also from Synchro Arts, offers, among other things, the automatic alignment of several vocal takes, similar to VocAlign. A very special highlight of the plug-in, however, is the artificial generation of duplications. For example, backing vocals can be generated automatically from a lead vocal. The sound of this feature is more authentic than any other tool. There are also features for precise editing of s-sounds, an editor for pitch correction, warp and good DAW integration. In addition to the ability to record the tracks, Revoice is able to import the audio files via copy / paste or drag and drop, which speeds up vocal editing a lot.

Here is the test!

Revoice can be used to edit s-sounds, correct pitches and create artificial duplications.

5. Antares Harmony Engine EVO - create artificial harmonies

Harmony Engine, also from Antares, enables the generation of artificial harmonies. In the plug-in, the basic tone of the song and the pitch of the source material can be defined in soprano, alto, tenor, bass, etc., whereupon up to four harmonies can be created. In order for the effect to sound as natural as possible, subtle deviations in terms of delay, pitch deviation and volume can be generated. The mixer, with which the voices can be mixed with the original, has gain, panorama, mute and solo. Up to 16 artificial doublings of the generated voices can be switched on in the choir section, which creates the effect that the harmonies are sung several times. The results sound very authentic, especially if the source material has been corrected beforehand with Melodyne, Auto-Tune and Co.

Here is the test!

The Harmony EVO plug-in from Antares enables generated harmonies including duplications.

In addition to the plug-ins mentioned, there are of course many other tools with which you can edit your vocals. Many DAWs are already equipped with sufficient editors and plug-ins as required. Ultimately, it also depends on your own way of working, which tools facilitate or accelerate the vocal processing in the individual case. Which tools are your personal favorites that you don't want to miss anymore? Just write us in the comments which plug-ins you use to edit your vocals!

You can find out what you should pay attention to when editing vocals in our Vocal Production Workshop!