Review: Auto-Tune Access & Auto-Key

These two new additions to Antares' auto tune family bring the power of vocal tuning to new, affordable price points. Matt Vanacoro plugged in...  

As time goes by, Auto-Tune is becoming more of an environment than a single plugin. With pitch correction included in many modern DAWs, Antares had to adapt and bring more to Auto-Tune in order to continue to offer value. Lucky for all of us, over the last few years Auto-Tune has grown immensely in functionality, performance, and creativity. The two latest additions to the ever-growing product line are Auto-Tune Access and Auto-Key. I downloaded both to take a look and a listen.

Auto-Tune Access

Auto-Tune Access is a simple and budget-friendly way to get into the Auto-Tune environment. Access includes pitch correction with a selection of key and activation/deactivation of notes at the bottom of the window. The user can adjust retune speed as well as the amount of ‘humanization’ allowed in the track. The knobs are three position knobs and not continuous, so you’ve basically got slow/medium/fast for the speed control and off/min/max for humanization. This simplified interface lets you dial in subtle or extreme pitch correction within seconds.

As for the controls, that’s all you’ve got to deal with. One of the benefits of this ‘stripping down’ of the plugin is its extremely low CPU overhead and its responsiveness. The interface feels very snappy, and truth be told, you can probably take care of about 75% of the intonation problems you’ll encounter with this plugin. If you’re looking to purchase a version of Auto-Tune to just ‘tighten things up a bit’, this is really all you need. If you’re looking for graphical control or more precise control over the algorithm, you’re going to want to invest in EFX or Pro.


Auto-Key was an interesting addition to the lineup. A single utility plugin separated from the main plugin, Auto-Key can communicate with all instances of Auto-Tune in your project at once. This is a godsend for those of us tracking large amounts of background vocals, double tracked lead vocals, and more. You can instantiate this plugin in a single place, and it will instantly analyze the song, let you know what key it thinks it should use, and push the updated key information out to all of the instances of Auto-Tune in your project. I tried it out with both Access and Pro in a Logic session and it worked perfectly.

Another cool feature of this is that it can analyze your entire song in faster than realtime by opening up an audio file. This is handy if you have a bounce of the tune and you don’t want to turn it on and let it listen to a whole song. All in all, for 50 bucks, Auto Key seems like a no-brainer if you’re going to be using multiple instances of Auto-Tune or aren’t confident in your theory skills enough to determine the key of a song.


These two plugins work quite well hand-in-hand. I bought Auto-Key for keeps immediately after my review. I already owned Auto-Tune Pro so I didn’t really have a need for Auto-Tune Access, but if you haven’t jumped into the Auto-Tune product line yet, Access is most definitely worth a look if you don’t have graphical editing or precise control needs. I wished Auto-Key could continually analyze the song as it progressed and offer a stream of updated key data to the Auto-Tune instances, but hopefully that’s a feature coming down the line!

Price: Auto-Key - $49 / Auto-Tune Access - $99

Pros: Simple interface, light on the CPU, easy to install, no documentation really needed, it’s autotune for under a hundred bucks.

Cons: Three position knobs don’t offer as much control as I’d like, fingers crossed for an Auto-Key live that updates the key information continuously!


Learn more about vocal production:

Matt Vanacoro is one of New York's premier musicans. Matt has collaborated as a keyboardist in studio and on stage with artists such as Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Mark Wood (Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Mark Rivera (Billy Joel Band), Aaron Carter, Amy Regan, Jay Azzolina, Marcus Ratzenboeck (Tantric), KeKe Palmer, C-Note, Jordan Knig... Read More


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