It was time for another ProTools Update so I went for “2020” which wasn’t very different than “12”. The biggest change was the introduction of “Dark Mode” which makes it easier on the eyes if you’re working for long stretches (ie. always).
It also came with the bare bones version of Melodyne. The tuning of vocals (and instruments) is pretty much de facto in the day to day world of audio production and the two main players are Antares AutoTune and Celemony’s Melodyne. The two camps each have their followers and detractors but the general consensus seems to be:
AutoTune for Real Time and/or a more Processed Sound (T Pain, Cher, etc). Detractors claim that AT produces more artifacts than Melodyne.
Melodyne for more natural (but off line only) sound.
AT has a Graphic Mode like Melodyne and both require you to transfer the audio (in real time) into the plug in before you can start fooling around with it. They both offer advanced editing in terms of volume and timing as well.
After a frustrating run with the basic Melodyne in ProTools, I bit the bullet and upgraded to the more advanced version…and I love it. The sound DOES seem more natural, the GUI is much more appealing and it seems a LOT easier on my system; AT in graphic mode has had a tendency to crash my sessions.
I recently did a session in which I was asked to tune 64 vocal tracks and I was happy to have both plug ins at my disposal. Some especially tricky issues were better fixed by one than the other.
ARA Technology promises to make Melodyne a real time process (ie. no need to transfer audio first) but ProTools has not adopted it as yet. I think that Avid’s inclusion of Melodyne (however basic) in it’s newest upgrade seems to indicate that it’s right around the corner…and did I mention..Audio to Midi??