VariAudio vs. Melodyne

Hi -

For you “Melodynists” out there (VariMu - I saw in another thread you used Melodyne - hope you’re reading this one too!) - how do you see it comparing to C6’s VariAudio - sound quality wise, and regarding ease of use, feature wise, etc.? I’m wondering which way I should go when I get to my vocals, which invariably need a lot of tuning, smoothing out of vibrato/tremolo, some timing adjustments, and I will often try to copy/drag notes up or down to manually generate harmonies rather than sing them again (works OK for me as long as it’s not too big a drag to the new note). I definitely won’t need DNA. It’s nice to have options for formant altering and voice changing (hoarse vs. smooth vs breathy etc.), but I have an old hardware box that can do some of that as well if neither of these programs can do that.

I’ve used an older version of Melodyne (please see sig), I didn’t find it incredibly easy to use, but I chalk that up mainly to me, not the program.

Thanks for any thoughts!

while back when i used melodyne,
variaudio is just as good as you does not hear a pitching effect on most pitched notes ±1tone. If you go extreme up to ±1 octave you can hear the effect of course but the sound does not sound just pitched, the algo tryes to hide the mickey mouse effect as good as melodyne does (my subjective notice). I mostly try to not use variaudio/any pitch correct software but if there´s a tune to pitch you need some seconds to correct it with VA. If you load melodyne, melodyne bridge… this is just a time issue to me.


  • timbre adjustment options
  • very good pitch quality
  • you need to load a second program and insert the bridge plug / or rewire it.


  • very good pitch quality
  • fast access
  • limited adjustment, no formant/timbre adjustment options

If you have more time go with melodyne. It is specialized in instrument/vocal processing and you can play around with adjusting timbre.
If you have a tight time line and nobody does hear that you fixed it with variaudio. go for vari.

Melodyne has a plug-in that works like any insert.

Time isn’t an issue

Aloha A,

IMHO while VA is a nice addition to Cubase (tanx Steiny) it can’t come anywhere close
to Melodyne.

If you want the best, you have to first get/buy the best and put up with what
team714 said:

you need to load a second program and insert the bridge plug / or rewire it.

While I do own and occasionally use Melo I prefer using AutoTune.
But that’s just one guys opinion.


To add to Team714’s pro/con list:

Melodyne Plugin:

  • formant correction
    volume adjustment
    correction tool for erroneous detection
    multi note rhythmic adjustments/time stretch
    quick vertical and horizontal zoom using ctrl-alt mouse modifier


  • Must record into the plugin realtime before processing
    Must remember to use Melodyne commands for delete and undo (program within a program stuff)


  • Note tilt function
    Straighten pitch function
    Quicker detection if applying to short segments
    Corrected parts can be copied/pasted and will retain their pitch correction
    Quick to apply by simply bouncing the audio


  • Once you’ve done a pitch detection and performed a correction, the audio is altered and can only be restored to the original state through undo.
    If there are a lot of parts with VA on them, the project takes on a lot of processing overhead
    Rhythmic correction/time stretch on single notes only
    Does not detect pitches at lower volume levels
    Does not detect high instrument pitches
    Not great for instrument pitch correction (IMO)

I find that variaudio doesn’t sound good at all on male vox. It kind of “blurs” the audio, even with little pitch shifting the effect is VERY obvious. It’s ok to correct a syllable here and there, but if you use it too many times, it degrades the audio material A LOT, and screws the recording IMHO.

Melodyne is better but workflow is not as good as Variaudio’s one due to its integration within Cubase.

patcub, bigearz, curteye, davebow, team714 - You guys are great! Thanks for the comprehensive reviews.

patcub - is the male vox in question a raspy one? I used to find even Melodyne had a hard time with that …

I think based on the above, I’ll see if VariAudio is good enough for the tasks at hand - everything else being equal, it is a bit cheaper (as in free!). I can always decide to check out Melodyne later if I think the VariAudio isn’t cutting the mustard. Maybe I’ll get lucky and Melodyne will have a free trial period …

Not really raspy, actually it’s a pretty clear voice but on low notes it distorts the audio a lot. Furthermore the “s” (like in “snake”) becomes “shhh”, the same goes with the “f”. It really degrades the recording IMO.

I hear this even when doing small adjustements (1/4 step), as soon as Variaudio is engaged the audio distorts. It took me some time to realize that Variaudio was screwing my recordings, now I prefer recording the audio one more time than using Variaudio.

I’ve never noticed this (has anyone else?), I’ll pay more attention next time but I use Variaudio a lot and it works great for me except with C6 “sluggish” bug. I use Melodyne editor as well (mostly for timing stuff and polyphonic correction) but the Variaudio integration in Cubase makes it my usual first choice.

I think pat is on to something here.

While quite nice (and free), there has always been a ‘I can’t quite put my finger on it’
quality about VA that I do not get when using Auto-Tune or Melo.

I have always chalked it up to the fact that VA is free with Cubase
so it may not have that ‘grace’ that the more expensive plugs have.

But the fact that VA is so quick and easy to use, makes it hard not to use it.

and in many cases (pop/rock/hop music) it works just fine on single vocals.

I also tried using it on a couple of jazz/classical singers and no go.
Back to A-Tune or Melo in those cases.

Re: using it for insrtuments.
VA seems to be ok on single raunch guitar/synth lines (even tried it on a cello once and it could ‘pass’)
but not so good on flutes or saxes etc -go figure

Guess it is best to have as many ‘tools’ as you can and use them where needed.


With Variaudio, if you know how to use it correctly, you could do some good tunings almost without artefacts.
You’ve to cut it on s’s and x’s and cut the attack, a little, on some segments.

Hi - I did a fair amount of VariAudio this weekend, and I have to say, any time at all I moved it more than 2 half steps there were MAJOR artifacts audible (male voice, moderately raspy). This was mainly in the notes below middle C, I didn’t have need to do that for notes above, so I can’t speak to that. So, to that degree, my experience matches the poster above who mentioned something similar. I can’t understand how people can drag it a 3rd, 4th, or 5th or more (to generate harmony, for example) and get useful results.

It worked fine for me to make corrections with in 100 cents or so, to fix the “tailing” off of notes, and to straighten pitch.

Question for anyone: I would love to take a pencil too and “draw” the vocal note, including vibrato, sliding to another note, etc. Is there any product that does that?

that would be a ‘Holy Grail’ of sorts.

And I want it Baaaaadddd!!!

Now where is that Frank Sinatra button? :slight_smile:

since this thread was started, Vari-A is now
a much better plug with C7.

Still no Melo or Auto-T but moving up.

In ignorance, I wonder if the technology isn’t already present? I can take a vocal tail in VA, chop it into many small segments, and repitch each of them to crudely “redraw” a different tail. Is it just a matter of computing power being limited that keeps coders from replacing that technique with one where (e.g.) the pen tool can be used instead?

I don’t want a bloody “Frank Sinatra button”. I want “Bon Scott button” for some of my projects and “David Crosby button” for some others … or maybe even “Bot Scott <-> David Crosby - slider” :sunglasses: Do you listen Steiny? I WANT IT NOW!!! :angry:

I upgraded from cubase 4 to cubase 6 mostly for the reason to use variaudio becuase i din’t like having melodyne as a plugin and than bouncing audio after melodyning etc…

But now I still use melodyne plugin

even thou AutoTune manual editor and especialy Waves’s Tune, introduce less audio artifacts, sound more natural after pitch editing than Melodyne, and of course VariAudio.

Aloha T,

I have not tried Wave’s Tune. I’ll have to look into it.

I take it you like using it?

TIA (thanks in advance)

I’m going back and forth between Waves Tune and Melodyne. the biggest disadvantage in waves tune is the small window, if it wasn’t for that I’d probably have ditched Melodyne by now

Hey T, you don’t like VariAudio because …?


Witch version of VariAudio is the one used in Cubase 6?