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Which software to use for recording and mixing vocals

Hi dudes and divas!

I recently got a fairly decent microphone and I want to record my vocals properly.
Currently I am using Ableton, but it doesn't have any pitch correction. (I actually prefer no autotune in my recordings, but it would be nice to see where my pitch isn't correct.)
Next to recording my vocals, I'd also like to write my own music with it. I'm not into Dj-ing or EDM or something. I do like New wave, so some nice synthesisers would be nice.
What software would be perfect for me?

-My cousin used Q-base in my first recording and it doesn't seem to be too complicated.
-Melodyne would be the best for vocals, but I want to keep my vocals quite natural. (It feels like cheating to me, if I add vibrato and such.)
-My music teacher told me that Studio One would be the best for arranging and recording music.

I have a windows computer btw. :)


  • Klaus_TKlaus_T Moderator, 2.0 PRO Posts: 2,362
    edited October 2020
    you can download free plugins and integrate them into ableton, so you could just get a tuner/pitch recognition plugin and install that. ableton comes with a few synthesizers, unless it is the really small entry bundle. you can always install plugins, there are lots of free synths and other goodies, so you can customize your software. i think ableton can deal with AU and VST plugins, just google "free synth ableton" "free VST synth" etc and pick a few that you like.

    i heard cubase was popular for what you want to do. i use protools for recording, and ableton for midi editing and programming. midi is a pain in protools, and the editor in ableton is quite easy to use i find. cubase might be more flexible but i guess for a start you won't notice the difference.

    studio one is also an upcoming program that i heard good things about but haven't used it so far.

    melodyne is not a recording software it is a plugin as far as i know

    i'd say customize ableton, it won't cost anything extra and i think you will actually achieve what you want to. if not, you can always spend money later...
  • NinaSTNinaST 2.0 PRO Posts: 91
    I had no idea that I could install this kind of plugin. That's some really useful advice, thanks! You probably saved me some money. XD

  • Klaus_TKlaus_T Moderator, 2.0 PRO Posts: 2,362
    sure no problem. you can also download some free stuff on the ableton page

  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,421
    edited November 2020
    I have been using Cubase for about a year, and it does absolutely everything I need it to do, and even more importantly, it doesn't redline my computer's processor or memory. Its pretty intuitive and there are lots of great youtube tutorials as well as user groups on FB etc.

    I also never use pitch correction or auto-tune, it’s all done the old fashioned way... practice and training :-p
  • KarenSingsKarenSings 2.0 PRO Posts: 80
    Yes, Melodyne is a pitch correction and vocal editing plugin that you can use within Ableton, or on the side. If you want pitch correction, this program allows you to individually adjust notes just as much as you want to, allowing you to control how much you change. It doesn't automatically change vibrato, tho you can adjust that as well, and volume, and pitch drift, and timing. It also offers macros where you can more or less automatically tune a vocal if you wish. Pitch correction software is not the same thing as full-on autotune effects, and if you use it to make subtle changes, it can sound quite natural.

    So if your desire is to pitch correct just a little bit the worst notes, Melodyne would be a good choice.

    The other option, of course, is to record several takes, so that you get those problem notes in pitch. But you might prefer to select your takes for expression and tone, and do a little light pitch correction.
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,421
    edited November 2020
    With Cubase Artist there is something called "Comping". This allows you to sing a passage over multiple times, and you can pick your best take. This is exceptionally helpful if you are improvising a melody and want to capture (hopefully) a magic moment.

    IMHO, This is a far better option to auto-tune/ pitch correction.
  • NinaSTNinaST 2.0 PRO Posts: 91
    @ KarenSings
    Yeah. I have recorded something recently and the pitch is not 100% correct, but I do like the tone in those places. So it's a bit of a dilemma.. XD
    Generally I feel like it's a bit difficult to modify my vocals by myself, because I am such a perfectionist and I probably notice tiny mistakes more easily then the average listener. But if I modify it too much it won't sound natural anymore. (And it also feels like cheating to me.. I feel kind of guilty when I use pitch correction.)

    I have discussed it a bit with Ken himself and he advised me not to use melodyne at all.
    Apparently it's not good for you if you want to train your ears.

    I've been thinking about using melodyne until my trial period ends. (So at least I can release something in the meantime). And practice really hard on some other songs, so I will be able to record those without pitch correction.

    Oh that's cool!
    Yeah, Cubase might be really nice to have in the future. :)
    Currently I can manage with Ableton, but perhaps Cubase might be an interesting purchase if I have some money to spare.. :)
  • KarenSingsKarenSings 2.0 PRO Posts: 80
    That's a choice you will have to make based on your own values. However if Ken is advising against it, he probably has experiences to back it up.

    Maybe the answer is to become more accepting of where you currently are in your training. Make your best effort, choose your best take, and be generous and loving to yourself on your journey.
  • DogMeatDogMeat 2.0 PRO Posts: 437
    edited November 2020
    Melodyne, Antares Auto-Tune.
    For a cheap option check out Reaper, that has also free pitch correction plugin. Also if you get Melodyne, it's much nicer with Reaper compared to Ableton or any other daw without ARA support. That means that you need to record the Melodyne before editing. With Ara support everything just works without that part.
  • DogMeatDogMeat 2.0 PRO Posts: 437
    My contribution to discussion about using tuning or not (when producing professional sounding music):

    Sure you can take 10 or 100 takes, and then choose try to pick the perfect pieces. But what is the difference when compared to correnting with a good tool? Both are not flawless performances. If you produce a record (in 2020), those tools are used in every professional studio. There is so many things you can do with them besides adjust pitch. You can for example correct formants, adjust sibilant, adjust volume of individual words, phrases or even letters. Adjust vibrato, change notes etc. These are not things you know when you record. When you produce the track in studio you notice what would make it better, and most of the time there is no change to record them again nor it makes any sense.
    Also outside of these tuning tools, there is so many thing that are done to improve the tone. How much you apply anything depends on the style and genre you are after.

    These tools does not turn bad singers great. They make good singers sound great on record.
  • DogMeatDogMeat 2.0 PRO Posts: 437

    With Cubase Artist there is something called "Comping". This allows you to sing a passage over multiple times, and you can pick your best take. This is exceptionally helpful if you are improvising a melody and want to capture (hopefully) a magic moment.

    IMHO, This is a far better option to auto-tune/ pitch correction.

    Some versions of Cubase have "VariAudio", which is considereb good alternative to Melodyne
  • TheBommelTheBommel Member Posts: 15
    I would just go with cubase, i know it is expensive but vari audio is amazing, both for practise and for finalizing recordings
  • NeilKenSingerNeilKenSinger 2.0 PRO Posts: 122
    Which DAW you decide to go for is personal choice, as they're all pretty top notch these days. I personally use Cubase 11, and really like it because I can do professional recordings at home and there are also many fantastic tutorials out there. With Cubase, you can start with the Elements version which can do pretty much everything you need, and then you can upgrade to Artist or Pro later if you don't want to spend all that money at once. Still, it's not massively expensive for what you get. We are so lucky these days that recording technology is so cheap and so amazing. What would've cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even millions of dollars, 30 years ago we can now do at home, and better, for a fraction of the cost (even on a shoestring budget).
  • syntheticsynthetic 2.0 PRO Posts: 5
    edited February 2021
    Just a note that pitch correction is built into most DAWs, like Cubase and Logic. Melodyne can be added later if you want better quality. You need DAW software first (Cubase, Pro Tools, etc) then you can install plug-ins like Melodyne.
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