I was first introduced to Celemony Meladyne Editor when I was searching for a pitch correction plugin for Pro Tools. I've used pitch correction before, and I was never happy with the results, partly because I never spent the time to become proficient with pitch correction using the methods that most plugins employ. I began my search for another plugin because I felt certain that someone out there had approached pitch correction in a way that didn't require me to spend hours learning how to correct pitch in a vocal track without it sounding bizarre and robotic. That search led to Melodyne Editor, and I can't possibly tell you how happy I am that it did!
Imagine being able to manipulate an audio file of a polyphonic instrument as though it were MIDI data; that's exactly what Melodyne will allow you to do. I know it sounds unbelievable, but it's true.
If you listen to music, watch movies or watch television, you've likely heard the magic of Melodyne. The fact that you had no idea you were hearing manipulated audio is a testament to the quality obtainable with Melodyne Editor. Many music producers use Melodyne to fatten vocals, adjust formant or pitch drift, make corrections to timing and otherwise manipulate vocals. More amazingly, Melodyne can deal equally well with polyphonic material. Imagine being able to manipulate an audio file of a polyphonic instrument as though it were MIDI data; that's exactly what Melodyne will allow you to do. I know it sounds unbelievable, but it's true.
Pictured above is the standalone version of Melodyne. Melodyne can be used as a plugin (VST, AU, RTAS and AAX) in your favorite DAW, but you can also use the standalone version via Rewire if you choose. If you're a user of Presonus Studio One or Cakewalk Sonar, you can use Celemony's Audio Random Access (ARA) technology for better communication between the plugin and your DAW.
Across the board, the high-quality editing afforded by Melodyne means that you can edit audio to your heart's content and the final result will sound completely natural. We can't say that about any other similar plugin we've tried.
You can load an audio file into Melodyne by either transferring a track (or a partial track) from your DAW or by simply opening an audio file in Melodyne. After you do, Melodyne will analyze the audio and identify where all of the individual notes are. Each note is displayed as what Celemony calls a blob, and it can be manipulated as an individual entity using any one of Melodyne's powerful editing tools.
Melodyne's tools are quickly available by right-clicking inside of the main window. This makes it super easy to get to the tool you need without a lot of mouse travel. This is especially convenient as you tweak multiple blobs.
Aside from altering a pitch or tonal quality, you also have the ability to change formant, amplitude and more. For example, you can use the formant tool in a case where a vocalist didn't open his or her palette enough. Some other plugins offer the ability to modify formant, but not with the same flexibility as Melodyne. Results in Melodyne are also much higher quality than other plugins we've tried. In fact, across the board, the high-quality editing afforded by Melodyne means that you can edit audio to your heart's content and the final result will sound completely natural. We can't say that about any other similar plugin we've tried.
Melodyne also has complex copy and paste capabilities. For example, maybe you like the character and tonality that a vocalist used on the first chorus of a track, but on the second chorus, the vocals lack the same energy. You can copy the blob from the first chorus and paste it to the same place in the second chorus, and even if the timing is a little different, Melodyne will adjust accordingly so that it sounds great.
As good as Melodyne is, it's not perfect. It does do an admirable job of identifying notes, but it doesn't always get things right. Sometimes overtones are determined to be notes, and other times, notes aren't visible because Melodyne assumes them to be overtones. Fortunately, that's not a problem thanks to Melodyne's DNA (direct note access) feature.
When you click the DNA button (outlined in red in the screenshot below), you can see all of the notes that Melodyne detected. Notes that Melodyne believes really are notes are orange (and are visible when DNA is turned off.) Notes that Melodyne believes are actually overtones are outlined in gray and hollow. If you double-click on a hollow note, it becomes an active note. If you double-click on an active note, it disables that note and changes it to an overtone.
Mastering direct note access is important in order to get the best results with Melodyne. Fortunately, it's not a difficult skill to learn. You can get a lot of great hints by watching this video. For even more great information on using Melodyne, check out Celemony's YouTube channel.
It's impossible to convey the magic of Melodyne in a review. In order to truly appreciate the wonder of this software, you absolutely must try it for yourself. Polish some pitches on a vocal track. Add some harmonies and fatten up your vocals. Prototype some new chord progressions or fix a stray chord in an audio track. The possibilities are virtually endless, and you'll be amazed at how transparent and natural Melodyne is. You can download a trial version from Celemony and use Melodyne fully for 30 days. There are no limitations on the trial. You can use every function and you can even save your changes. We're convinced that before your 30 days are up, you'll realize that you absolutely must add Melodyne to your audio production workflow.