Auto Tune Vs. Pitch Correction: What’s The Difference?

Yes, we all know you’re a fantastic singer. But no singer is perfect, not even the best.

Auto tune vs. pitch correction
Daft Punk, a band that loves to use auto tune

That’s why pitch correction and auto tune can come in handy as tools (not as crutches).

So what’s the difference between pitch correction and auto tune? When should you use each?

Pitch Correction

Even the greatest singers of all time rarely have absolute perfect pitch throughout an entire vocal session.

Pitch correction is just a way to correct specific notes you sing, bumping them flatter or sharper to be more exact.

And no, you can’t just “fix it in the mix.” If that were the case, anybody could fake being a great singer.

This is a manual process, so whoever is doing the engineering and editing could spend hours correcting pitch, depending on how good the singer is and how perfect the singer tried to perform in the studio.

Auto Tune

Auto tune became famous when artists like T-Pain and Daft Punk hit pop culture with their heavily autotuned songs. You’d know the sound when you hear it.

Auto tune is an automated but less precise version of pitch correction.

Basically, auto tune allows you to choose the key you’re working in so the notes you sing will be automatically adjusted to fit the closest note. That’s why auto tune makes you sound like a robot.

Which Should You Use — Pitch Correction or Auto Tune?

The answer is both. Or you shouldn’t use either.

First, it depends on what style you’re going for.

If you want to sound like T-Pain, then go crazy with the auto tune. But if you want listeners to hear your raw natural voice, then maybe don’t use either.

But probably, you’ll want to use just a bit of pitch correction here and there.

Not too much that you hide your beautiful voice behind it, but not too little that melodies sound off from their respective harmonies.

But the only way to really know is to try it out for yourself!

Here’s an example of some heavy-handed use of auto tune:


I first wrote a version of this article for iSing Magazine

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