Last updated on August 19th, 2017 at 09:56 pm
Auto-tuned vocals are heard everywhere nowadays, from singles and live performances to demo tracks from indie artists. What was once exclusive to Antares Auto-Tune ($349) plugin users is now available to everyone, thanks to the variety of cheap and free auto-tune alternatives on the market. In this article, we’re listing the best free auto-tune VST and AU plugins for PC and Mac, helping you keep your vocals pitch-perfect.
Pitch correction can be used to subtly correct the pitch imperfections in a vocal performance, or go extreme with what is known as the “T-Pain effect.” Regardless of your pitch correction requirements, the tools listed below will be more than capable of substituting the original Antares Auto-Tune plugin.
#1 Graillon 2 by Auburn Sounds (VST/AU)
The highest-ranked plugin on the list is also the most recently released one. In fact, Graillon 2 is more than just an auto-tune plugin, but its pitch correction module is so well-made and easy to use that we simply had to place it in the number one spot on this list. It is also compatible with all digital audio workstations capable of loading VST and AU plugins, both on PC and Mac computers.
Auto-tuning vocals with Graillon 2 couldn’t be any easier. Simply place it as an insert effect in your vocal mix channel (or you live vocal processing chain), turn on the Correction module, and you’re good to go. Those who want more control over the pitch correction process can limit the note range to a particular scale, adjust the pitch correction speed, and define the pitch correction algorithm’s note detection range.
Thanks to its intuitive and efficient control scheme, Graillon 2 can be fine-tuned to sound more or less artificial, depending on the stylistic requirements of your project. The mix knob on the right-hand side of the user interface can be used to further reduce the impact of the pitch correction module where needed.
On the other end of the realism spectrum, you can use Graillon 2’s excellent pitch shifter module in tandem with its pitch correction algorithm, opening some pretty cool vocal processing capabilities. For example, you can mix the dry vocal with the auto-tuned vocal, but also add some pitch shifting with preserved formants to the mix. This will effectively thicken the vocals, adding depth and slightly correcting the pitch.
Download: Graillon 2 (32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows & Mac OS)
#2 MAutoPitch by MeldaProduction (VST/VST3/AU/AAX)
MAutoPitch is in no way a less capable auto-tune alternative than Graillon 2. Whereas the pitch correction features are roughly the same between the two plugins, MeldaProduction’s product adds a few interesting bonus tools like stereo width adjustment, automatic gain control, and a limiter. The pitch correction algorithm is very effective, with adjustable speed, range, scale, and depth. The added stereo widening feature can be a neat bonus in a vocal processing chain, although do make sure to double-check your mix in mono when using it.
That said, the main reason why MAutoPitch isn’t the highest ranked auto-tune plugin on this list is the fact that it comes with a rather large and cumbersome installer. Being that it’s a part of MeldaProduction’s freeware bundle, the developer decided to pack all of their plugins in a single installer, which some users find annoying. I also found the interface to be slightly less intuitive than the one in Graillon 2, but your mileage may vary, of course.
Those few drawbacks aside, MAutoPitch is a brilliant free auto-tune effect that could easily become your go-to pitch correction tool. Just as Graillon 2, it is compatible with all VST and AU plugin hosts on PC and Mac.
Download: MAutoPitch (32-bit & 64-bit VST/VST3/AU/AAX plugin format for Windows & Mac OS)
#3 GSnap by Graham Yeadon (VST)
GSnap is the OG of free auto-tune alternatives. It was the first freeware VST plugin one could use to achieve the classic auto-tune effect, back in the day when it was still somewhat of a rarity.
In terms of features and design, GSnap is still a fantastic choice. At first look, it looks very similar to Graillon 2 and MAutoPitch. One excellent feature that sets it apart, though, is KeroVee’s ability to tune the processed audio signal to the MIDI notes on the input. In other words, you don’t have to rely on the plugin’s automatic pitch detection capabilities. Instead of that, you could send it the correct notes for, say, a vocal performance, and let the plugin take care of the rest. The plugin’s automatic pitch correction algorithm does a great job as well, although without the formant shifting features found in Graillon 2 and MAutoPitch.
However, unlike Graillon 2 and MAutoPitch, GSnap will only work on Windows-based systems. It does come with a very well-written manual, though, which is worth a read if you decide to use GSnap as your go-to pitch correction tool.
Download: GSnap (32-bit & 64-bit VST plugin format for Windows)
#4 KeroVee by g200kg (VST)
KeroVee is another old pitch correction tool, released way back in 2010. Although it looks somewhat less slick than the previous three plugins on this list, its feature set is right on par. In fact, it also features the MIDI input mode seen in GSnap.
Whereas this feature isn’t all that useful if you’re going for the classic T-Pain effect, it can be quite convenient if you want absolute control over the pitch of the vocals in your track, somewhat similar to what you’d get with Melodyne. But apart from that, KeroVee can also operate in full auto mode, just like the previously mentioned Graillon 2 and MAutoPitch.
One area in which KeroVee doesn’t shine, though, is system compatibility. It will only work as a VST plugin in Windows-based digital audio workstations, so Mac users are out of luck here.
Download: KeroVee (32-bit VST plugin format for Windows)
For more freeware plugins and instruments, return to our Free VST Plugins page.