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New to Audition CS6 is an effect called Automatic Pitch Correction, known in some circles as Autotune, which can help finesse a slightly off-key recording back into tune. Now you hear a lot about Autotune these days usually from people complaining about how much it's overused in pop music to the point where the singing doesn't sound natural anymore. My personal take is that it's best when used subtly, which requires getting as on-key a recording of a singer as possible which you can then just slightly tweak to bring it a little bit more into tune. I've got this Say Yes LV Only file open right now. This is an isolated vocal track. Let's give it a listen.
(music playing) So that's really pretty good. Nothing that can really be classified as being really out of tune or off-key.
But there are a handful of notes that we could certainly nudge around a little bit. For example, in this phrase here, listen to the word arms. (female singing: So keeping me on your mind and in your arms tonight.) And to me that word just sounds maybe just a little tiny bit sharp. Certainly not completely off-key, but it could be nudged down a little bit. (female singing: So keeping me on your mind and in your arms tonight.) So with that phrase selected, I'm going to go to Effects > Time and Pitch and choose Automatic Pitch Correction.
Now in order to properly use this Effect, you ideally should know the key of the song it's in. Notice we can choose a key and select whether it's major or minor. This gives the tool a better idea of which notes the singer might be trying to hit as it'll adjust to the nearest note in the key you select. There's also the option of choosing a Chromatic scale which leaves all notes available but might produce undesirable results. Now I happen to know this song is in the B major, so I'm going to choose that. Now I'm going to leave the current settings and I'm going to toggle the Preview on and off and you should be able to hear a subtle difference in the tuning of my selection, especially in the word arms. Let's listen.
(female singing: So keeping me on your mind and in your arms tonight. So keeping me on your mind and in your arms tonight. So keeping me on your mind and in your arms tonight.) So to my ears that sounds a little bit better. Again, it's very subtle, but I think that's how this tool should be used most of the time. Now just to show you how important it is to know the key of the song, if I switch this to say C minor, notice what happens. (female singing: So keeping me on your mind and in your arms tonight.) So even without the backing music, we can tell this is really wrong.
I'm going to switch that back to B major. Now you can tweak the effect by adjusting the Attack and Sensitivity sliders too. The Attack determines how quickly the pitch will be corrected. Generally, the faster you set it, the less natural it's going to sound, but if you set the Attack too slow, there might not be enough time to correct the pitch before it's over. So you want to start with the default and maybe drag to the right a little bit if necessary. The Sensitivity slider is used to specify how off-key a note has to be before it's corrected. If you drag this all the way to the left, almost nothing will be corrected, and dragging to the right will increase the sensitivity.
Notice when I play the track and drag the Sensitivity slider to the right you'll see that more correction is being applied over here in the Correction meter. The more red you see, the more correction it's using. Basically, you just want to find the place that sits best to your ears without sounding artificial. (female singing: --your mind and in your arms tonight. So keeping me on your mind and in your arms tonight. So keeping me on your mind and in your arms tonight.) So keeping me on your mind and in your arms tonight.) I think that sounds good right about there.
When you're happy with your result, you can click Apply, or if you're using this in the Effects Rack, which again you really should, you can just close the Effect window. Okay, so that's how you use the new Automatic Pitch Correction effect in Audition CS6.
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