Melodyne is one of my favorite tools to use to edit the pitch of audio, plus as a tool to tighten up audio regions. What I really like is how Melodyne has been integrated into SONAR. This makes using Melodyne with your audio a seamless process. Let’s take a look at how to use Melodyne Essential, included in the SONAR Professional and Platinum versions.
You can add Melodyne as a Region FX to any audio region, or you can make a selection on an audio region and apply it only to that area. To add Melodyne as a Region FX, go to the Region FX tab and then to Melodyne. Select Create Region FX (or you can right-click on the region, launching the contextual menu where you can navigate to the Region FX). This opens up the Melodyne Essential User interface.
The user interface may look a little unfamiliar here, so let’s explain a bit how Melodyne works. Melodyne scans the audio for pitch changes and then relates these pitch changes in the user interface. On the left, you’ll notice the list of the different pitches. On the timeline are blobs that represent the different pitches at different points along the timeline.
After the first scan, Melodyne identifies where the blobs sit on the pitch scale. If you zoom in on these blobs, you may notice that some of them are sitting a bit higher (too sharp), or a bit lower (too flat) of a pitch. To correct these start by selecting the blobs—You can press Control-A to select all the blobs or with the Main Tool selected you can right-click and lasso around all the notes. If you want to correct only some notes, you can lasso around those notes specifically.
Once the notes you want to fix are selected, click on the Correct Pitch button, launching the Correct Pitch dialog box. Set the Correct Pitch Center to 100% for perfect pitch correction. Or if you’d like to pitch correct the audio only a little, then back off on this percentage, helping to retain a bit of the original audio take but improving the pitching. Take a listen through to hear how much of this you want to apply.
If you listen through and hear that a couple of blobs are still off, then select the Main Tool, select the offending note, and then simply drag it either up or down to the desired pitch.
Melodyne also works well as an audio quantizing tool. Select the blobs that you want to quantize, and then click on the Quantize Audio button. This will launch the Quantize Audio dialog box. Here you can choose an interval that you want to quantize your audio to. Let’s say you want to quantize it to 1/4 note triplets, then select 1/4T and set an intensity amount. Obviously the higher you set the intensity, the harder it will quantize the audio to the interval setting.
Melodyne uses high-end audio algorithms to detect audio pitch and timing. Make sure to use the right algorithm for the audio you are working with. You can easily change the algorithm by going to the Algorithm Menu. Here you can choose either Melodic or Percussive (if you have the Melodyne Editor version installed on your system, you’ll be able to use the Polyphonic algorithm). When you switch to the percussive algorithm, you’ll see it places all your blobs on the same line, and pitch information isn’t on the left anymore, as there is less pitch information in percussive sounds. So you could set the algorithm to percussive if you’re working with percussive audio and then use Melodyne to help tighten up the timing.
Once you’re happy with all your pitch and quantize tweaking with Melodyne, you can print this to the audio track. By doing this you render the audio as a new file, and in the process free up CPU resources as this removes the Melodyne instance on the region. To do this, go to the Region FX tab and select Render Region FX. You’ll see this renders the region as a new audio region.
That’s how to make use of the integrated Melodyne in SONAR to help you correct pitching and timing of audio regions. Try out Melodyne on the audio in your next music production and see and hear how it helps improve your songs.