Tuning and Pitch Correcting Vocals | iZotope Nectar

Hi, and welcome back to my vocal master class with Nectar.

This time we’re going to be looking at tuning. Now, I’d like to say, first of all, before we carry on, when I got into singing in the 60’s working harmony groups with The Castaways or singing on Hey, Jude, or Kiki Dee or any of those, they didn’t have tuning in those days. You sang in tune, or you didn’t sing, and you kept doing it until it was in tune.

I have no opinion either way as to whether we should use tuning software, but I do think if we do use it, we need to use it appropriately so we don’t take away from the original performance.

So one of the hardest things I’ve got to do now is to demonstrate tuning when the song is sung by Lizzie Deane, who’s actually a great singer.

There are still areas where we might use tuning creatively. So you can see here we’ve got pitch correction, and we can turn it on straight away. Let’s solo the lead vocal.

[vocals]

So what I’m going to do is turn the space off for a moment — the reverb off so we can hear it dry.

[vocals]

So because we’re in the full program, we can go to the advanced view, and there’s something about Nectar you may not realize, is that all of these modules can be rearranged in a different order. The only module you can’t move is tune, and the reason for that is the signal going into it needs to be clean. In other words, no echo or delay. This will help the tuning to be precise.

[vocals]

Then we can do some correction if we wanted to. We could set it at about 40 to 60.

[vocals]

So what I’d like to do is rather than use the tuner in the basic sense, I don’t really subscribe to the idea that you should put the tuner across the whole track and leave it, I have in the past done that, but I find that you get a much better result if you go into the pitch correction note by note, or line by line.

Now, the better way to do it is to go into advanced view and to come into the capture mode. Capture mode is far more powerful, and what I’d like to do is to concentrate on some vibrato which is coming up in the track. We’re just going to highlight it there and listen.

[vocals]

So what I’d like to do is I’d like to flatten out that vibrato. So I’m going to show you some power use here using the tuner.

So I turn off snap to scale for awhile, and we’re going to go into capture mode, press that red button, then we press play on our DAW.

[vocals]

So we captured that now. So the great thing now is we can pop out the editor. So we hit this button here and we can see if we just come down a bit here what we’ve just captured.

[vocals]

Now what’s cool as well, you can see the vibrato going up and down as the note is shifting. So what you could do if you wanted to lose the vibrato completely is to grab these notes with the mouse and merge them all together. You can still see, we’ve got the line, and we’ve still got that there. We can grab the note, hear it make a noise.

[sine wave]

And what we’ll do, if we went to full correction power… Full correction speed, you can now see that the black line is the original, the orange is what we’ve done to it.

Let’s listen to it now.

[vocals]

Which is not as musical as we want it to be, so I’m going to pull the strength down a little bit, and we’ll pull the correction speed down.

And we’ll have a listen to that now.

[vocals]

We can also go in there. There’s a note there that’s jumping. Pull that.

[sine wave]

[vocals]

What we can do as well is we can reset what we’ve just done. We can pull it back.

Now if we don’t like what we’ve done, we can actually remove all the data and set it back to what it was.

One thing to take notice of when you’re using capture mode in a DAW is that now replaces the audio playback on your timeline. Let me show you what I mean by that.

If we just stop the editor for a second…

[vocals]

There’s the original.

[vocals]

Now the other thing we can do is we can still use the regular tuner, snap to scale, as well as the stuff we’ve done in capture mode.

[vocals]

Play it from here.

[vocals]

Now, for a bit of fun, I want to show you a final thing in the tuning section under the advanced setting.

Now what we could do, and don’t forget, we’ve already got some stuff captured, and if you’re going to use this as an automated process, you need to clear that stuff first. I’m just going to show you on this first piece of audio how we can change Lizzie’s voice.

[vocals, adjusting formants]

You can hear there where I’ve done a capture, but it goes back to the original voice, but we can actually transpose this now.

[vocals, adjusting formants]

So the great thing is, if you do some pitch shifting, you can use formants to make it sound more natural.

Let’s say we want to go up a fifth.

[vocals, adjusting pitch]

It can go through…

[vocals]

And make that sound more natural. If we put this back to where it came from, and the best way to do that is to press the Alt key and click on it.

[vocals]

Let’s see how she sounds with a much deeper voice.

[vocals]

You can hear the capture bit coming in at the end there. But you get the idea.

Now I wouldn’t ever really do that, but it’s a great thing you might use for special effects, or you might just want to change the character of the voice slightly, or you might have two voices and do a little bit of drifting there.

[mix]

And what we have here is a double track vocal here, and this one here, and what I’m going to do is clear the data from the capture section, and we’re back on to automated processing now.

[vocals]

Then you can hear, we can thicken that vocal.

[vocals]

We can go to chipmunks too.

[vocals]

So there’s some special effects you can work on if you so desire. Thanks for watching.

iZotope

iZotope

iZotope develops award-winning audio software and plug-ins for mixing, mastering, restoration, and more. Learn more at iZotope.com.
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