Cubase Pitch Correct vs 3rd Party Auto-tune (hard-tuned vocals)

I’m wondering if anyone has any experience with using both Steinberg’s Pitch Correct plugin and other 3rd party auto-tune plugins (Antares, Waves Tune, etc.), specifically for hard-tuning vocals. VariAudio and Pitch Correct pull serious weight in transparent tuning, but I’m struggling to get the results I’m looking for with more obvious settings. I can get really close with a combination of VariAudio and Pitch Correct, but I just can’t seem to find the “sweet spot”, if you will. There’s something really pleasant-sounding about some of the major 3rd party options, particularly when more extreme settings are applied, that I just can’t seem to replicate with native Cubase options (I get “ok” results, but I often find glitchy artifacts and general unpleasantries in the overall timbre). I’ve tried multiple combinations of plugins, such as EQ, compression, and saturation, both before and after Pitch Correct, as well as both with and without VariAudio correction - to no avail.

Am I missing something? Maybe a tried and true method of using native Cubase tuning options to produce more consistent and pleasant hard-tuned vocal effects? Or am I expecting something out of these native tools that is just simply handled better by 3rd party options?

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I don’t do hard/more obvious tuning, but I can speak highly of its transparent tuning. Maybe worth a look.

Thanks for the suggestion, but VariAudio and Pitch Correct are more than sufficient for transparent adjustments. I’m specifically looking for info on more obvious usage as a deliberate, noticeable effect. I’ve already invested thousands of dollars in Cubase and other software/hardware. If native options just aren’t built to deliver what I’m looking for, so be it. But I’d like to avoid dropping a few hundred more on a plugin if I’m just missing a way to better finesse what I already have.

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Did you try feeding MIID notes playing the melody to the Pitch Correct plugin? (At fastest, strongest setting)
There are little tips, when you feed such MIDI notes, try to move the notes a little bit ahead of the audio by 32nd or so and also extend it until well after the audio ends, like strapping the vocal to one note no matter where the one sings to. You can detect the melody MIDI easily with the variaudio and then export it to a MIDI track. Remove all the pitch bends, CCs and make notes as simple as possible, if the melody is staying on one note but MIDI notes are split, connect them together, and move/connect all the leading small notes to the correct note, e.g. if the melody is at C3, a little B2 leading to it and C#3 at the end should be connected to the main C3 note and so on. The same thing can be done with just variaudio but it’s easier to edit with the plugin and midi notes.

Usually, you don’t need a 3rd party plugin to create such an effect (it depends on the singer’s format. Sometimes the artefacts created by an algorithm are so naturally fit to the original making it too natural/boring, but it can happen to any other similar plugin sets), the pitch correct plugin is ‘bad’ enough and you can make it sounds pleasantly ‘unnatural’. Although the traditional way to create the effect is an antares autotune variant, I have all the antares and several others that can do the effect but the procedures are similar to the above for all the plugins. And since the pitch correct and variaudio, I use them most of the time, you don’t really need them anymore. Gl.

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I’ve fiddled around a bit with using MIDI, but only on specific troublesome phrases where hard-tuned auto settings seemed to make the vocals glitch out rather unpleasantly. I hadn’t thought about extracting the melody from VariAudio for use as a full-length MIDI line, nor have I been able to find any Cubase-specific workflow tips like you suggested - thank you. I’ll try your suggestions on a couple tracks and report back.

Ok, I did try your suggestions. I was certainly able to force a little more of the hard tuned effect by utilizing the MIDI from VariAudio and fine tuning as you suggested. Unfortunately, while I had much more control, I still couldn’t get the smoothness and tonal characteristics I was looking for. Maybe it’s my voice/recording setup vs Steinberg’s algorithm that doesn’t mesh, but I caved and purchased Waves Tune. Almost immediately, I had the sound I was looking for. I think I could get away with using Pitch Correct sparingly as an effect here and there, but not so much as a full time effect.

I appreciate your tips nonetheless! Might not have been the ultimate solution for me, but I can never complain about understanding Cubase a little better :slight_smile: Thanks!

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