ART AutoTunePre - Microphone Preamp with Pitch Correction
Most of the reviews I've read for this unit laud it for live sound assistance. I've only used it in my home studio, but found it an excellent corrective to my somewhat wayward intonation as a vocalist. I've only used it on the softest "Pitch correction" setting, eschewing the harder Cher-like options. In practice it's transparent: I don't hear any degradation in quality, the end result is the same but in tune. In this setting it's sufficiently intelligent to allow through deliberate transient swoops and glides without attempting to correct them, so the finished vocal retains the personal touch. Hearing the corrected audio in my headphones has also helped me improve my intonation - in time I may even be able to do without it.
One particular application needs a mention. I record a lot of multi-tracked harmonies; some of these are at the outer reaches of my range and have previously sounded strained as I work hard to reach the right note. I've discovered that by de-selecting adjacent notes on the Autotune Pre's front panel keyboard and deliberately =not= pushing hard for the right note, my pitch is corrected but the note doesn't sound strained. This is a much better result all round.
One thing: it's important to remember to set the scale correctly, otherwise you do get some odd results on long notes. I've forgotten this a couple of times while recording songs which modulate between keys, and scratched my head wondering why everything's suddenly gone bad.
How could it be better? Two things: a de-esser and a noise gate. I see the TASCAM unit that incorporates the same Autotune chip does have these as well, so I'm pondering whether that might be a useful upgrade.
Vic, 4 October 2016