Automatic tuning is one of the most recognisable effects used in modern music production, and in recent years can be heard popping up in everything from hip-hop and trap to pop and indie rock. It’s everywhere.
There’s no shortage of automatic tuning plugins out there, but very few that can produce the impactful, dynamic sound producers are looking for. Thanks to its advanced and powerful automatic tuning algorithm, Slate Digital’s MetaTune can do just that.
Slate Digital have dubbed MetaTune, their new automatic tuning plugin, “the best automatic tuner in the world” - a bold claim, but one that’s backed up by a host of innovative features, an intuitive interface and a stunning sound. MetaTune does everything a modern automatic tuner should do, and then some, giving producers and musicians more control than ever before over how they pitch their vocals, and making pitch editing fast, effective and hassle-free.
Let’s take a look at MetaTune’s GUI, and survey some of its unique features in the process. The keyboard, at the bottom of the window, is where we determine the notes, scales and keys that MetaTune will pitch our source material to. We can choose from a broad range of available scales, or create custom scales by clicking directly on the keyboard.
The keyboard area also displays what Slate are calling Heat Maps, which are visual representations of the notes MetaTune detects in an incoming audio signal. The horizontal bar above the keyboard lights up above the notes detected in time with the music, giving the user accurate, real-time information on the pitch of a vocal take.
There are two Heat Maps visible on the GUI, one for the dry input signal and one for the output once processing has been applied. Above the Heat Maps we can see the controls for another handy feature, which is MetaTune’s Note Stabilizer. This enables us to avoid the extraneous “flutter” effect that can often plague other automatic tuners, making graphic editors a thing of the past.
On the left hand side of MetaTune’s interface we can see a set of numbers. These allow us to control Groups, one of the most ingenious features built into this plugin. Groups gives us a way to group numerous instances of MetaTune across separate tracks. When the plugin’s loaded up across multiple tracks of vocals, any changes that are made to one instance of MetaTune will be picked up across every instance in your DAW that’s assigned to the same group. This is a game-changing feature that makes working across complex vocal arrangements far easier than before.
The space above the keyboard contains four circles that allow us to control a number of MetaTune’s parameters. The Speed knob controls how fast the notes are going to be corrected, and lets us use another of MetaTune’s unique features, Negative Speed. Dialling in a speed below 0ms, we can achieve the distinctive, robotic sound that automatic tuners are known for.
Next to Speed, we have Sustain, which adjusts the Speed setting that will be applied while notes are held, and will tune the sustained part of notes quicker when it’s turned up. This allows us to preserve a singer’s vibrato, for example, by decreasing the Speed during sustained notes. Below this, we have a simple Amount knob, which controls how much tuning is applied to the incoming signal.
Finally, on the left we can see what Slate have termed The Orb - this visualises the effect of the plugin, while providing a way to control the built-in Doubler effect - dragging the circle along the X axis determines the Doubler’s width, while the Y axis dials in the mix of the Doubler. This is useful for giving vocals a richer, more vibrant sound without having to leave MetaTune and apply a Chorus or manually double-track your vocal.
MetaTune’s innovative feature set makes it one of the most powerful automatic tuners we’ve come across. Tuning vocals precisely and accurately couldn’t be easier with the intuitive interface, built-in Note Stabilizer and Groups function, while features such as the Negative Speed control and Doubler effect mean this plugin produces an unforgettable sound. Capable of precisely dialling in subtle pitch correction or creating the bold, vibrant effect producers love, MetaTune can do it all.