Other options than Melodyne for Cubase?

I wanted to use Melodyne to correct the pitch of a few notes in a song my niece played on the piano, but it turns out that to even be able to correct anything that is polyphonic you need a paid version. And perhaps it might be a good investment for things other than my niece’s piece, but basically if I want to upgrade to the first version that allows polyphonic instrument editing, I’d have to shell out $320.

Not the end of the world if I use it for other things besides this, but then the problem is that I hate the interface. It’s a huge contrast with Cubase. Cubase Pro 12 is a pleasure to use for many things, but the GUI is beautiful and not harsh on the eyes. Steinberg knows how to make contrast work, while Celemony does not.

Cubase in macOS doesn’t have a scalable GUI, but depending on the resolution and monitor size, it’s still easy to see. Melodyne is too small at the same resolution I use Cubase, and the GUI was obviously written for Windows and poorly ported to macOS, because any zoom in or out makes my Mac Studio Ultra feel like a Commodore 128. Then everything is microscopic, all the text in the GUI, menus and everything else. And they have options for GUI color scheme, which makes it dark without many the text and icons, lines and other graphical elements white, so it’s even worse, because they call it “High Contrast”, and they don’t have a clue what contrast really is. If you have the background in a dark gray, and the text in black, that is not high contrast, it’s very low contrast. This is basic stuff, it just takes having someone work with it for a while and asking them what are the good things, and what are the bad ones, and in the “bad” column, they’re going to say “Hard to read. Text too small and low contrast GUI.”.

But well, enough ranting about Melodyne. What’s out there that does the same thing basically, with polyphonic instruments like a simple piano, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and has a usable interface?

I’ve known Peter Neubacker and the folks at Celemony for many years. Melodyne Studio/Plugin is worth every dime. It may seem a bit expensive but for polyphonic editing it’s absolutely the best. They have worked so hard to develop this. Until Steinberg comes out with polyphonic VarAudio, Melodyne is the best choice IMHO.


That’s good to know, but I wish they had also focused on its GUI. A program can be great, but if it’s not easy to use, or if the interface gives you headaches, you’re going to try to avoid it. Perhaps this works a bit different under Windows because I’ve read that even Cubase under Windows scales differently than in macOS, and I know there’s a setting to force HiDPI in Windows that’s not available in macOS, so maybe Melodyne uses that as well on Windows and doesn’t look tiny.

But they have to realize that a lot of people work with Macs, especially in the music world, and you can’t just put out a half-assed version of your software for that platform. Sorry to be blunt, but that’s the reality. We’re not talking about Linux here. More and more people are switching to Macs because of the speed of the Apple Silicon chips. I was about to switch back to Windows and build myself a monster PC like the one I built 11 years ago (and still use), but when the Mac Studio came out, it was an easy choice, and one I’m happy I made.

But even if Melodyne is great at what it does, it can’t be the only software to achieve that result, right? In the videos I’ve seen about Melodyne, it does get some things wrong sometimes, so it’s not perfect.

Last I knew Melodyne had an unrestricted trial for a month. Hopefully your niece’s playing won’t require longer.

Not much. Editing polyphony is a tough nut to crack.

Well, it did have that when I bought Cubase Pro 12 in March, that period has long ended by now. And I wouldn’t spend a dime on a plugin just to correct a few notes in my niece’s piano playing, I was looking at this as an investment for more serious cases, not that she won’t become a great musician one day not too far down the road.

I have no complaints about the GUI for Melodyne, either the standalone version or the plugin inside Nuendo/Cubase on the MAC.

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Good for you, however, it’s not good enough for me and I bet for many others, so I’d like to find something that gets the job done, and it’s enjoyable to use, like Cubase for example.

What specifically don’t you like? I use it a fair amount and the GUI works fine for me - nothing special but it mostly stays out of my way.


Well, do you use it on Windows or macOS? It seems to me like one of those things that was created on PC and then adapted to Mac without taking advantage of the proper technologies in macOS, but mostly ported to say “We have a Mac version”.

Usually when that’s the case you see a big difference in the way the GUI responds in one OS and the other when the machines are both powerful. For example, if I click on that little hand to move the grid around, it’s sluggish. Not to brag, but I have a Mac Studio Ultra, and it flies on everything else. There’s no reason why something as simple as moving around a grid with MIDI notes and some waves should be sluggish.

Now, a lot of software is written for Windows and is still very well ported to macOS. It seems to me that Cubase was developed for Windows, and then at some point Steinberg realized they needed a macOS version. But the macOS version is really well done, it’s a workhorse, it’s stable, in fact a lot more stable than Apple’s own Logic Pro X, at least on Apple Silicon.

But that’s just one thing. The main problem to me is that my eyes are not what they used to be, even with prescription glasses, but for the most part it’s fine. I use two 32" 4K Samsung monitors that are crisp, but if the software has a GUI that is too small, I can work with it for a bit, but after half an hour or so, it strains my eyes.

Take a look:

That’s just too small for me, because of the the size of the text, and the other contrast reasons I mentioned above.

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Hi @Sebastian_Alvarez,

regarding Melodyne’s GUI scalability, IMHO you do have a valid point.
I’m on Windows 10 / 11 and I’m using UHD (at 125% GUI scale factor) as well as FHD (native) screens.

Whenever I open Melodyne or any other (similar) “static” user interfaces on the UHD screen:
no chance to work comfortably without reading glasses on my 28 inch UHD screen.
So yes, eye strain can indeed be an issue for some of us.

However, as far as Melodyne’s event grid scalability is concerned… is there no zoom key combo available on OS X that you could use? Since there is such a function with the Windows edition, in Melodyne standalone as well as in its ARA 2 plug-in version loaded within Cubase (Pro 12).

In Windows 10 and while the mouse is hovering over the grid, I’m able to zoom in / out by using CTRL + Mouse wheel up / down (STRG key for German keyboard layouts).

Like this:

[-Screenshot 01-] Melodyne 5.3 standalone (key prefs are also accessible within the ARA 2 version

[-Screenshot 02-] Melodyne 5.3 standalone - zoom factor comparison

[-Screenshot 03-] Melodyne 5.3 ARA 2 Cubase Pro 12 - zoom factor comparison

Best wishes,

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Go for Repitch standard by SynchroArts. It’s by far the best I’ve used and integrates perfectly with ARA2

Hi @Five18Studios,

some of the cons mentioned in this article wouldn’t make me want to use it, instead of Melodyne:

SOS (Feb. 2023)

Synchro Arts RePitch

RePitch standard does look quite modern, though.
Another questionable aspect would be that the standard version seems to be monophonic only.

Whereas Melodyne assistant (2nd “cheapest” version out of 4) can already interpret polyphonic material like solo piano tracks (with somewhat restricted access to some event parameters).


From your screen shot, I can see you’re working with Melodyne in the lower pane of Cubase. That’s painful for any serious editing (not just with Melodyne, but also RePitch, Cubase’s MIDI Key Editor if there is a reasonable range of notes, etc.). You can move it to a full screen window to get better vertical and horizontal spacing.

Also, did you know Melodyne has both vertical and horizontal scaling, so you can shift the range you’re working with to get zoomed in quite a bit. If you’re trying to work with a whole song at once, or even a full verse or chorus, that would often be pretty painful (not just with Melodyne, either – the same would be true of RePitch, which only does monophonic tuning, by the way). The only meaningful thing you can do with a whole song or section is select everything in that section and apply macros or make numeric modifications that affect everything, or at least everything selected if you’re lasso-selecting less than everything, such as a specific range of notes. For anything else, it helps to just focus on a little at a time and zoom in both horizontally and vertically to focus on that section. For example, when tuning a vocal, I’ll usually just do a phrase at a time, unless I’m applying a macro. That extra resolution is needed to get only what you want and make the detailed tweaks. (That isn’t just a Melodyne thing – the same is true with RePitch, and I’d guess with any sort of tuning software that lets you do detailed manual editing.)

As for performance, the polyphonic tuning Melodyne can do is very intensive its demands. I’ve only experimented with it, and my computer is nowhere near as powerful as yours, but certain operations just require a lot more horsepower due to the nature of what they’re doing.

It may be that there are other tools out there that do polyphonic tuning, though I’m not aware of any. If I were using Melodyne this way, for correcting some bad notes here and there, I’d probably just select the small part of the performance with the bad notes, rather than the whole song (or verse or whatever) and work on that. Of course, if there are bad notes throughout, maybe that’s more tedious than it’s worth.


Yes, pretty much same as yours, CTRL and wheel mouse forth to zoom in, back to zoom out. It’s what I used when Kontakt didn’t have GUI zoom, and it’s a pain, because it’s just as eye straining to zoom in and out, in and out, probably dozens of times in a session.

And yes, Melodyne may have a zoom for the grid, but all the characters are still tiny. I don’t understand why software publishers still don’t understand that people need to see their software well to be able to work with it, even if some people are ok with the small text and numbers.

And it seems to me that in your screenshots with the full Cubase GUI, Melodyne doesn’t show as small as in my case, which means you may be using a smaller resolution, so Melodyne is not too small in it.

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Yes, but that’s not the point. I’m not talking the part where the notes are. I know that can be zoomed in. The rest of the GUI cannot, so there’s a lot of tiny text that is simply too annoying to work with.

Look guys, I know this is not something that bothers everyone, and that’s totally fine. But small GUIs bother a lot of people, which you can easily find online, and it bothered enough people that we all complained to Native Instruments and finally they introduced GUI zoom a couple of months ago, and now working in Kontakt is much easier.

Now, Cubase doesn’t have scalable GUI, but at least it has an interface that doesn’t have too much tiny text, and they know how to use contrast properly, so the text is white on a dark gray background. I can work with Cubase for several hours and my eyes are not strained. Hopefully some day they will make the GUI scalable, but at least it’s not bad as it is.

Hi @rickpaul,

just for the record, and as far as I know, there is (or was) a company named ZENPH which had been using a proprietary software-hardware recognition system to scan / audio-grab (analogue) piano recordings and then create pretty exact replicas of some historic solo piano recordings by pianists like Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Glenn Gould and Sergei Rachmaninoff (something that Melodyne has been capable of doing for quite some time too, but perhaps still on a different / not so extreme quality level).

Audio-grabbed replicas to later be performed via using advanced (HiRes) player grand pianos (in principle like MIDI, just at much higher resolutions in the dynamic and the time domains).
This was also something that very much influenced the HiRes Steinway Spirio and Bösendorfer reproductive piano systems.


Addendum (an article from 2008):

SONY BMG Masterworks and Zenph® Studios Releases Re-Performance® of Legendary Art Tatum Concert | Sony Corporation of America
(ZENPH link now directly leads to the Steinway Spirio website)

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Hi again @Sebastian_Alvarez,

this is what I’m mostly using (Screen-Resolution UHD and 125% GUI + font scaling):
…and in combination with this setting in Cubase Pro / Nuendo 12:

Apart from that, - and while I think I do understand your sentiment, - it may not be of much use to endlessly complain about these things - here in the Steinberg user forum.
It might be much better to directly addresss the companies who make such GUI design decisions.
As far as I know, Steinberg are well aware of all this and they’re obviously on their way to make thinks gradually better. Not so sure if Celemony see things much differently, in that respect.


Ah, okay, I see what you mean on the tiny text, even when the horizontal space of the notes is expanded. On the contrast, I’m not sure it will help much, but there is are some preferences for User Interface, one of which has two higher contrast modes (see screen shot – note that is in the standalone mode as I don’t have Cubase running at the moment).

That was my point a few posts ago, those high contrast modes are actually lower contrast than the others. High contrast is what Steinberg does right with Cubase, they have a dark background with white text. So that’s good contrast. If you have black text and you make the background darker, you’re decreasing the contrast, meaning the difference between the text and the background is less the closer the two colors are.

This is basic stuff, it’s not something that you need to be a GUI expert or graphic designer for. So they can call it High Contrast all they want, it’s worse than the normal mode.

Wow. There’s an underappreciation of how groundbreaking this software is.

When Peter Neubacker first announced Melodyne, months before it’s release, he had people searching around trying to work out if the announcement was an April Fool joke, such was the unheard of black magic he was promising. And then he took it even further with DNA later on.

We live in an age were people seem to just assume that software can do anything, instantly, no matter how almost impossible, and for no money.

I know these things are not cheap for the individual user/hobbyist, but your options are limited if you want this ability. As others have said, there is a months unlimited trial, which might get you sorted. Other than that, maybe if it’s only very occasional use, pay someone to do the job for you - it might cost considerably less than buying the software.