Tuning and Pitching Lead Rock Vocals

How to pitch and tune Rock vocals.

Dynamic Processors


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Without a doubt the most important aspect of any song is the vocals and with Rock music it is absolutely critical to get the vocals processed perfectly.

Lead Rock vocals suffer from all the usual associated problems of singers having to sing loud and dynamic and then dropping in volume for quiet passages and one of the side effects of this type of singing is that of tuning. The strange thing is that most producers believe that Rock vocals are always sung in tune simply because of the delivery for the genre. It’s actually the opposite. I find that Rock vocals suffer from poor tuning as much as any other genre and with the mic techniques used to drive a dynamic vocal take I find that the vocals drift out of tune even further.

Tuning Vocals

With all vocal tuning processes the key of the song has to be established first and that has to include all key changes. Additionally, it helps greatly if you know what the song’s tempo is and if there are any tempo changes in the song. This information is critical if you are going to perform time based processing. Micro editing requires high resolution. With this newly found knowledge we can now start to use all manner of pitching and tuning software to tune the vocals.

Autotune might be the industry standard tuning software for most genres but other manufacturers have caught up quite fast and are releasing seriously powerful tuning software. BUT I can honestly say that your DAW’s tuning tools will be more than adequate to perform any and all tuning tasks.

In the video I show you different ways to achieve the same result. I use both Cubase’s stock tuning feature which is called VariAudio and Waves RealTune a third party tuning plugin. I explain what the features of all the plugins are and show you how to use them when tuning and pitching vocal takes. I show you how to use VariAudio and Waves RealTune to correct tuning and pitching anomalies. I show you how to use a key detector plugin and how to use it for tuning tasks.

Plugins used in this video:

Cubase VariAudio

Waves RealTune

Hornet Songkey

Topics covered in this video are:

  • Real-time Pitch Correction
  • Determining Key
  • Vari Audio
  • RealTune
  • Best Practices