Not recommended for use in the shower
Not everyone has perfect pitch, not even multi-million selling vocal artists! Luckily they have an auto-tuner to smooth out those false notes. The good news is that you have access to this almost magical technology. These are some of the best apps to auto-tune your (already lovely) voice at home.
We’ve chosen some of the best auto-tune apps out there today and an author with an awful singing voice to test them. Some offer pitch correction in the free app version, while others require a purchase or subscription to unlock that feature. Let’s see if these apps can stand up to the vocal torture we’re subjecting them to and let you sing songs that could get you a spot on The Voice.
What Is Auto-Tune?
“Auto-Tune” is a specific software product created by Antares Audio to perform sophisticated voice processing. However, just like “Hoover,” the name has become a generic term for all devices and software producing similar sound effects.
When used as intended, pitch-correction software (which is the proper generic term) is meant to help polish slightly off-key notes recorded by an artist. However, when most people think of “auto-tune,” they think of the novel way the software was used to change artists’ vocals like Cher, Kanye West, and T-Pain. Rather than hiding the fact that auto-tune had been used, the effect was pushed way up to radically alter the sound of the human voice in real-time or after recording.
Auto-tune Vs. Voice Changers
Before we get to the list of apps, keep in mind that these apps can either create an auto-tune voice effect or just pitch-correct your voice.
Since many readers are also looking for a voice modulator or vocoder app that will make their voices “sound auto-tuned” rather than an actual pitch corrector, we will include both types of apps in our list below.
Mobile Auto-Tune Apps
These apps let you use pitch correction or apply an auto-tune effect to your voice right on your smartphone or tablet.
Starmaker: Sing Karaoke Songs (Google Play Store & iOS)
Starmaker isn’t an app for making auto-tuned voice recordings. Instead, it’s a karaoke app that lets you sing along to your favorite songs and then adjust them in the audio editor before posting to social media or creating your ringtone.
Some of that editing includes pitch correction so that it doesn’t sound like you can’t carry a tune in a bucket. However, the pitch correction applies to all of your singing and isn’t automatic. It’s just about letting you hit the notes, but you still need some singing talent. You can listen to a sample here.
The app has millions of licensed backtracks, synced rolling lyrics, and video filters to go along with vocal adjustments. Once you’re done and brave enough, you can put a video of your gyrating performance on social media. You can even sing live if you want to play on hard mode.
AutoRap by Smule (Google Play Store & iOS)
Suppose you’ve always wanted to be a rapper like Dre or Eminem but lacked the talent. In that case, AutoRap can help you fake your way to making original raps or just doing covers of your favorite songs, thanks to its innovative rap mode and music video feature.
AutoRap does pitch correction and automatic beat-matching, whether you’re going freestyle or sticking to the script. So really, you only have to speak into the mic and let the software turn it into something musical. You can hear a sample here.
The app comes with more than 5000 beats used by big-name rap artists. They also offer AutoRap Originals, and you can access beats uploaded by the AutoRap community.
Sadly, most of these features are locked behind a subscription paywall. You can try two songs for free to see if you like the result, but if you want more, you have to pay up, and there’s no free trial either!
Tune Me (Google Play)
Tune Me is designed as a mobile Hip Hop and R&B studio and includes more than 500 free beats so you can be the next mumble rap star.
As the name suggests, the main feature of this app is its pitch correction technology. It calls it “Auto-Pitch” and lets you adjust the strength from subtle correction to total auto-tune vocals. You can listen to a sample here.
The app automatically syncs your vocals to the beat, apart from pitch correction. So if you lack both rhythm and pitch, this is the app for you.
A paid “Pro” version of the app adds multi-track recording, removes ads, and includes more vocal effects.
Voloco Auto Vocal Tune Studio (Google Play & iOS)
Voloco is one of the most popular auto-tune apps out there. It’s essentially a vocal recording studio in your pocket. The app automatically removes background noise and applies pitch correction automatically, so you always sing in tune.
The idea is to create professional-sounding karaoke tracks, and as such, there’s an extensive library of beats included with the software. It auto-detects the key of the provided beats and tunes your voice accordingly. You can also use professional audio effects such as audio compression, EQ adjustment, and reverb. While the app doesn’t allow for fine-grained control of the pitch correction function, you can choose between several presets to get the sound you want. You can listen to a sample here.
Perhaps the most mind-blowing feature of this app is the ability to remove vocals from existing tracks. So if you’ve already recorded something, you can pitch correct that without the need to record tracks again! This also means you can make your own karaoke tracks. When you’re happy with the final product, simply export it as an AAC or WAV file for easy playback on almost any device.
Desktop Auto-Tune Apps
These applications run on desktop operating systems and tend to be for professional use rather than being suitable for beginners like the singing apps listed above. However, don’t be dissuaded if your dream is to make professional music. You’ll have to learn pitch correction tools without the training wheels eventually.
Antares Auto-Tune Artist ($299)
There’s nothing quite like the original, and Antares Auto-Tune is the plugin that started it all. Auto-Tune Artist is an alternative version of Auto-Tune Pro. The Artist version of the software is designed for live performances, offering the lowest latency of the different Auto-Tune packages.
It’s an expensive software package, but it’s pretty reasonable compared to what most professional audio software costs. You’ll also find a distinct difference in Auto-Tune quality compared to the apps you’ll find on a mobile phone.
Auto-Tune Artists offers a free trial to see for yourself if it’s worth the money. It provides the full spectrum of pitch-correction use cases. You can get that classic, deliberate auto-tune sound or subtly correct an on-stage performer’s pitch without anyone knowing. The “Humanize” feature is specifically designed to leave those human imperfections in sustained notes so that the performance still retains its emotional impact.
Soundtrap (From $9.99 a month)
Soundtrap is a music-making platform similar to GarageBand that lets you record vocals and instruments in multi-track arrangements to make professional songs.
There are apps for multiple platforms, including the iPhone Soundtrap Capture app, which you can use to capture audio wherever you are. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be a version of the capture app for Android devices. Soundtrap seems like a better-than-average music production app, although it’s better suited to amateur musicians with limited budgets.
There is a free tier of the software that lets you do most of the essential multi-track recording work you’d want, but the reason Sountrap is on this list is to include the real-deal Antares Auto-Tune software part of the paid subscription tier.
Yes, even the $9.99 a month subscription includes Antares Auto-Tune integrated into Soundtrap. If you just did a spit-take when seeing the price for that software above, you’ll understand what a smashing deal this is for this reason alone, and you get a whole music production suite in the deal.
Tune-Up and Rock Out
These apps made our voice sound, if not great, at least palatable to the karaoke crowd. If you use the correct pitch correction and make a little effort to get close to the actual note, we think you’ll be delighted with the results, especially if your main goal is to share content on social networks.
If you want to move on to improving your singing voice rather than using pitch correction to hit the notes, consider something like Yousician or any of several human vocal coaches who’ll help you over Skype or Zoom for a fee. You can always use auto-tune to polish your singing skills, but the better your original singing is, the better the results!