I admit that, before arriving at the NAMM show this week, I didn’t know that Auto-Tune was an actual brand. Like most people, I knew of it as a generic term to describe pop music producers making their singers’ voices sound more pristine and angelic or, conversely, transgressive artists like Kanye West and will.i.am using it to distort their vocals into digital inhumanity. I expect Auto-Tune’s use will become a lot more widespread, however: this week, a new Auto-Tune Access version has been announced at a price of $99.
Antares, the maker of Auto-Tune, sells multiple versions of its software, with the Pro edition costing $399. The $99 Auto-Tune Access simplifies everything down to the essentials, giving users only the most basic set of controls — though the company promises that you’ll still be able to go “from subtle, natural-sounding pitch correction to the most extreme Auto-Tune Effects.” The difference with the more pricey and professional varieties of Auto-Tune is the inclusion of advanced features like adjustable throat modeling, real-time MIDI control, graphic pitch and time editing, and even the ability to tune parameters on individual notes.
The democratization of voice beautification
Auto-Tune Access promises to live up to its name by being the most affordable and accessible version of the standard-setting pitch-correction plug-in. Antares says it’s got minimal latency, allowing you to hear its effect in real time, and the software is also said to have light CPU requirements. You will need a DAW (digital audio workstation) to plug Auto-Tune Access into, and Antares further notes that some of the leading examples, like Tracktion’s Waveform, will bundle the $99 Access as a free addition to their software suite.