Manually Auto Tune With Audacity
Want to be T-Payne? Want to sound just like Kanye on 808's and Heartbreaks? Want to hide the fact that you can't carry a tune to save your life? Then you need auto-tune. Windows users can auto-tune their voices for free with Audacity. To do so, you'll need to install and configure Audacity for auto-tuning before beginning to record apply the auto-tune effect to your recordings.
Note that this only works on Windows computers.
Setting Up Audacity for Auto-Tune
- Download Audacity for free. Audacity is a recording and sound editing program that comes with effects and tools to tweak your recordings and songs. You can download it for free on SourceForge. Remember, however, that you will need a Windows computer to use Audacity for auto-tune.
- Click the large green button labeled "Download." You must wait 5 seconds for the download to begin.
- When prompted with the file "Audacity-win-2.1.0.exe" click "Save File." The number refers to the current version of Audacity, and will change frequently.
- Open the ".exe" file. If you cannot find it, it is likely in your downloads folder.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to install Audacity.
- Download the verified plug-in "Audacity VST Enabler." This free program will make it easier to add auto-tune features to Audacity, and is provided for free by the Audacity development team.
- Click the version labeled "vst-bridge-1.1.exe."
- Save the file.
- Open the ".exe" file
- Follow the on-screen instructions to install the program.
- When prompted for the "Destination Location," make sure to select "C:\Program Files (x86)\Audacity\Plug-ins" if it is not chosen automatically.
- Download GSnap, an auto-tune effect. GSnap is a free effect that you can add to Audacity that gives you control over auto-tune. Like both Audacity and VST, it is available for free on this website. While Mac and Linux computers can use Audacity, they cannot download this plug-in and thus cannot use auto-tune.
- Click "Download GSnap (for 32-bit VST hosts)."
- Download the zip file.
- Apply GSnap to Audacity. GSnap is not a program -- it is a specific effect that Audacity can use to auto-tune songs. Before you can use it, you need to "teach" Audacity how to find your new effect.
- Export the GSnap zip by right clicking on the file and choosing "Export Zip"
- Copy the exported zip files, labeled "GSnap.dll" and "GVST License."
- Open up a "My Computer" window and navigate to "Local Disc (C:)"
- Paste the two files into the folder "C:\Program Files (x86)\Audacity\Plug-ins."
- Start Audacity to register your new effects. As Audacity opens, a small window asking you to "Register Effects" will appear. There will be two lines, one for VST and one for GSnap, with small check boxes to the left of them, Make sure these boxes are checked and click "Okay."
Auto-Tuning with Audacity
- Open a vocal file or record yourself singing, not talking. You can edit any audio clip you want, but you should start with a simple voice recording to learn how to auto-tune. Either open a file using "File" → "Open" or record a few seconds of singing with the red, circular "Record" button.
- Your recording must have pitch! Auto-tune takes your singing and tries to adjust it to a proper melody (like an A scale). If you are recording a flat, normal speaking voice auto-tune will not pick have a melody to try and adjust.
- You can only record if your computer has an internal microphone. You can also purchase a USB microphone if you would like higher quality recordings.
- Highlight the part you want to auto tune. Click and drag over the parts of your recording you want to auto tune. Your selected section will be highlighted in blue.
- To click and drag, you need to be using the "Selection Tool," which looks like a large uppercase "i." You can choose this tool from the menu at the top of the screen.
- Click on "Effect" → "GSnap." Using the "Effect" tab on the top of the screen, navigate down until you see "GSnap." This will open up an auto-tune window.
- Click "Select a Scale" and choose your desired key. Auto-tune automatically configures all of the notes so that they fit in a scale, but if you choose the wrong key your vocals will still be out of tune. To find the key of a song, look it up online or find it by ear by searching for the one note you can play throughout the whole song that doesn't sound "wrong."
- Check the button "Fill Threshold" after choosing your key.
- You can change keys as often as you want, so feel free to experiment.
- Set the knobs to to auto-tune levels. Though you can play with these knobs as much as you want to get a unique sound, change these settings to get the "classic" auto tune sound:
- Minimum Frequency: 40hz
- Maximum Frequency: 2000hz
- Gate: -80db
- Speed: 1
- Threshold: 100 cents
- Attack & Release: 1ms
- Click "Apply" to auto-tune your vocals. Make sure that your vocals are still highlighted in blue. If they aren't, you can always click on them again without ruining your settings.
- Click the small green "Play" button to preview your auto-tune. After hitting apply, you can check how it sounds. If you don't like it, change your settings, hit apply, and try to preview the audio again. Hit "close" when you are done.
- Customize your auto-tune. Keep playing with the settings to find the sound you want, but keep these tips in your mind while you work:
- Larger "attack" and "release" times make your voice sound more natural.
- Adding vibrato can make you sound more natural.
- The lower the "threshold," the more robotic you'll sound.
- The farther off key you are on the recording, the more "auto-tuned" your voice will sound when you're done.
- You have to try a little when you record your voice. To make your voice go up and down a bit, like auto tune, for this to sound perfect.
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