We check out Antares’ latest fine‑tuning of their flagship product.
It’s hard to underestimate the impact that Antares’ Auto‑Tune had on the world of music production when it was launched in 1996, when it broke the link between pitch and time changes, made pitch correction quick and convenient — and created the warbly ‘Cher effect’ that’s been used by countless other artists since. Its name quickly made the transition from proper noun to popular verb! Of course, it’s now far from the only game in town, and competition has increased to the point that both real‑time and offline pitch‑correction processors are bundled with most serious DAW software. Nonetheless, Antares have continued to refine Auto‑Tune and expand its capabilities, as well as embedding the algorithms in various hardware products, and recently the company released Auto‑Tune Pro‑X, the latest iteration of the software/plug‑in version. Does it offer anything your DAW doesn’t already? Let’s find out...
On The Shoulders Of Giants
We’ve reviewed several iterations of Auto‑Tune over the years, including the first to be given the ‘Pro’ suffix in SOS October 2018. And while there are certainly improvements, this latest release takes a similar approach to what’s gone before, and can best be viewed as an evolution of the already impressive feature set. So there remain two main modes of operation, called Auto and Graph.
Auto provides the familiar ‘auto‑tune’ insert process/effect, its carefully chosen control set enabling you to apply just as much automatic pitch correction as you desire. That control set has been expanded over the years, and now offers considerable flexibility, especially when you dip into the Advanced view, as well as a low‑latency configuration to allow for live pitch‑correction effects (obviously the latency of your audio interface must also be taken into account).
Graph mode lets you dig considerably deeper, and offers far more precise control. It provides a sophisticated graphical interface with very useful visual feedback and all the tools needed to fully finesse your vocal’s pitch (and timing, if required) in the finest of detail. It’s already both flexible and impressive, and the quality of the underlying pitch‑shifting can be very transparent if ‘invisible correction’ is your aim, though there’s still plenty of scope for more obviously creative effects.
Antares have made a number of changes to the GUI. For example, the plug‑in window is now fully resizeable and its high‑resolution vector‑based graphics scale perfectly. Assuming you have the screen real estate available, squinting to see Auto‑Tune’s finer details is a thing of the past. The GUI can now also be switched between Light and Dark modes, to match your personal preference or the current lighting conditions. Both the Quick Settings and Preferences menus have undergone a redesign, which make for easier operation, and new users will benefit from the more comprehensive advice offered by the revamped Tooltips system (this can, of course, be toggled off if it’s not required).
Some new global controls have been added. These include undo/redo buttons, a global bypass button and, interestingly, a Mix knob, and all of these are found in the top‑right region of the main window. I found the first of these particularly useful: the ability to step backwards/forwards through your history of control adjustments means you’re much freer to experiment, since you know you can return to the safety of an earlier configuration should your adventures lead you astray.
Apple Silicon hardware is now supported, of course. Also new is the Input Type Learn button: press this and Auto‑Tune will ‘listen’ to your input signal, after which a machine‑learning process attempts to identify the best settings (and underlying Auto‑Tune algorithm) to use. In addition, Antares have included a collection of presets created by...
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