Recording - August 2016 - 42

...where we bring you follow-up articles
with application hints and upgrade news
about gear already reviewed in Recording

&
Celemony Melodyne 4

The famed intonation and timing correction
program takes another leap forward
by Sven-Erik Seaholm

When German company
1
Celemony first dropped
Melodyne on an unsuspecting
audio recording industry in the
early 2000s, the question on
everyone's lips was, "What is it?"
Now, after a decade and a half
spent reinventing the very way
we look at audio and its editing,
the question remains the same,
yet the answer becomes more
complex, as Melodyne matures
from its origins as an ingenious
vocal fixing tool into a potential
powerhouse of sound design.
Melodyne is still all of the
things it always was. It's an
excellent tool for correcting
pitch and timing issues, albeit
with a tweaker's bent towards
fine control. Most of its competitors have by and large taken a "set it and leave it" approach:
throw the plug-in on a vocal track's insert and it will play back in
tune. All the different artifacts that might also occur as a result of
shortcomings in the pitch correction algorithm (often referred to as
the "Cher" or "T-Pain" effect) are not only accepted, but highlighted and even reveled in.
Although many of its features can be automatically executed with
a double-click of a mouse, users of Melodyne have tended to go
deeper 'under the hood', poring through their audio's finer details in
search of a more realistic and better-sounding result. With the introduction of this latest release, Celemony sets its sights upon the unexplored panoramas of the unreal as well.
Choose your weapon
Melodyne 4 comes in four basic flavors, all four of which come in
both plug-in and standalone versions:
Essential ($99) is a 'basic' version that strips the program down to
its well, essence. Offering basic editing of pitch and timing,
Melodyne Essential is a bit of a 'gateway drug'... once you get a
taste for what it can do, you'll probably hunger to do more, eventually upgrading to a more fuller-featured version.
Assistant ($249) works only with monophonic and rhythmic audio
material like Essential does, but provides further editing capability,
via an expanded toolset.
Editor ($499) is, aside from some changes in the editing environment, pretty much everything that was in the full Version 3-or Version
2, for that matter, as 3 was mostly centered around Melodyne's evolution into plug-in format. This may be of particular note to those considering upgrading to Version 4 for its newer features.
Studio ($849) is the whole enchilada. It combines all of
Melodyne's functions for polyphonic pitch and timing correction,
including new multitrack editing and tempo detection, as well as
some innovative 'creative' tools, all on an unlimited number of
tracks.
42

RECORDING AUGUST 2016

Nuts, bolts, and blobs
With regard to pitch correction and editing, Melodyne
pretty much operates in the same way it always has: It
analyses your audio, then visually represents it for you as
rubbery "blobs" rather than waveforms. Once detected
by Melodyne's DNA (Direct Note Access) technology,
recordings of even polyphonic instruments such as the
piano or guitar are overlaid onto a pitch grid, where
users can plainly see and edit every note's relationship to
the actual pitch.
Double-clicking a blob 'snaps' that note's center to perfect pitch, or one can click and drag it manually to where
the ear desires. Overlaid onto the blobs themselves are
editable red lines that illustrate the note's finer points, like
pitch variances due to modulation, intonation and pitch
drift. By allowing users selective control over any or all of
these subtle characteristics, one can address only the
offending aspects, while leaving the rest of the signal
untouched, in all of its beautiful human imperfection.
Pitches can also be transposed by dragging blobs up
and down in larger intervals, allowing you to fix wrong
notes, reinvent melodies, or even develop harmonies.
This extends into the role of timing as well, thanks to
"handles" at each end of the blob that can push or pull
the audio like taffy, backward or forward in time, until
you achieve the desired phrasing.
The Note Separation tool allows further control over
both pitch and timing by allowing users to "decouple" elements within legato phrases and smooth out pesky pitch
and timing issues with even more accuracy and finesse.
While changing the pitch of audio beyond a certain range
can result in a peculiar-sounding "Mickey Mouse" effect,
adjusting the Formants tool can help edited tracks retain a
more natural character. With vocals, editing formants can



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - August 2016

 Contents
Recording - August 2016 - Intro
Recording - August 2016 - Cover1
Recording - August 2016 - Cover2
Recording - August 2016 - 1
Recording - August 2016 - 2
Recording - August 2016 - 3
Recording - August 2016 - 4
Recording - August 2016 - 5
Recording - August 2016 -  Contents
Recording - August 2016 - 7
Recording - August 2016 - 8
Recording - August 2016 - 9
Recording - August 2016 - 10
Recording - August 2016 - 11
Recording - August 2016 - 12
Recording - August 2016 - 13
Recording - August 2016 - 14
Recording - August 2016 - 15
Recording - August 2016 - 16
Recording - August 2016 - 17
Recording - August 2016 - 18
Recording - August 2016 - 19
Recording - August 2016 - 20
Recording - August 2016 - 21
Recording - August 2016 - 22
Recording - August 2016 - 23
Recording - August 2016 - 24
Recording - August 2016 - 25
Recording - August 2016 - 26
Recording - August 2016 - 27
Recording - August 2016 - 28
Recording - August 2016 - 29
Recording - August 2016 - 30
Recording - August 2016 - 31
Recording - August 2016 - 32
Recording - August 2016 - 33
Recording - August 2016 - 34
Recording - August 2016 - 35
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Recording - August 2016 - 40
Recording - August 2016 - 41
Recording - August 2016 - 42
Recording - August 2016 - 43
Recording - August 2016 - 44
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Recording - August 2016 - Cover3
Recording - August 2016 - Cover4
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