Reatune: Reaper’s Free, Stock Pitch-Correction Plugin

ReaTune is Reaper's stock pitch correction plugin and it's quite good. Check it out.

ReaTune In 5 Minutes

ReaTune Basic Functions

ReaTune Manual Correction

The heart of ReaTune for pitch correction, is the 'Manual Correction' tab. To use ReaTune in manual correction mode . . .

  • Add ReaTune to a track
  • Click on the 'Manual Correction' tab.
  • Click 'Manual Correction' and then 'Update'
  • Draw the line where you want the pitch to be by left-clicking and dragging
  • Collect your Grammy (optional)
ReaTune Manual Correction Window

ReaTune Manual Correction Tab

The ReaTune Correction Tab

This tab is where you select your algorithm, attack time, key (if you want to specify a key), parameter, and if you want to autocorrect. Soloist or Pro algorithms sound pretty good. Other algorithms may use less CPU.

A slower attack may sound more natural. Remember, 100ms is only 1/10th of a second. For artificial sounding pitch correction, set the attack time very fast. 

ReaTune Correction Tab

ReaTune Correction Tab

ReaTune As A Tuner

ReaTune can be used as a tuner. Just . . .

  • Add ReaTune to a track
  • Arm the track for recording
  • Select the proper input for recording (the correct channel from your audio interface)
  • Make sure you have the monitoring mode set for 'Auto' or 'On'.
  • Play and tune.

Reaper will give you a green light in the center when you're in tune. To the left is flat and to the right is sharp. The note is shown top-center and the amount sharp or flat in the lower-right.

Reaper Tuner Window

Reaper Tuner Window

ReaTune vs Celemony's Melodyne

Celemony's Melodyne, perhaps along with Antares Auto-Tune, are the industry standard for tuning vocals. Auto-Tune is the name of an Antares plugin suite, but people tend to use the word/phrase 'autotune" generically when they talk about pitch correction.

I don't have Auto-Tune, so I'll leave it to others to comment on it.

Melodyne currently has 4 versions, running from Essential, to Studio. I have Melodyne Assistant, which is up one level from Essential, but below Editor and Studio. As I write this, the prices on these editions run from $99, to $699.

Melodyne Assistant

Melodyne Assistant

Keep in mind, ReaTune is free with Reaper, and the studio version of Melodyne costs 10x what a Reaper license costs!

There's no question Melodyne does more than ReaTune (although you can do most of what Melodyne does with Reaper, you can't do it all from the ReaTune interface). Editor and Studio editions of Melodyne offer polyphonic pitch editing, meaning you can correct the pitch of several notes in a chord. That's something you can't do in Reaper.

Pitch-Correction: What Is Important?

There are three important considerations with pitch correction software. There's the algorithm (the code that works behind the scenes to alter the pitch), the features, an the workflow aspects.

  • The Melodyne algorithm sounds very good and natural, in my opinion. Reaper has several different algorithms to choose from, and most of them sound pretty natural, to me. I'll give Melodyne the slight edge here, though.
  • Melodyne wins on features compared to ReaTune. While you can do most of what Melodyne does in Reaper (with the notable exception of polyphonic pitch correction), you can't do most of it in ReaTune itself.
  • Melodyne (especially the more expensive versions) allows you do do a lot of things in one plugin. For instance, you can correct pitch, correct timing, and de-ess, all from within Melodyne. With Reaper, you'd have to use different tools and different windows to do these things. Melodyne is the clear winner in the workflow area -- sort of.

So Why Do I Use ReaTune Much More Often Than Melodyne?

Simplicity and stability. ReaTune is super easy to use. I open it up, left-click and drag a few times, and I'm done. In heavy session, running Melodyne will crash Reaper if I try to run it on multiple tracks.

Zooming in and out in Melodyne is not intuitive for me, so I often get lost. Even though I've used it several times, I still have to look things up. Spending some time in the manual would probably clear the usage problems up, but I'd rather make music and ReaTune works!

Melodyne Is A Good Choice When . . .

Melodyne is definitely high-quality pitch correction software. If you need polyphonic pitch correction, grab it for sure. If you're a pro and have a computer with lots of oomph, it's the industry standard and you should probably have it.

If you're on a budget, ReaTune will do you just fine, and it's free with Reaper. And make no mistake, it's quality pitch correction. I have no qualms about using it on critical vocals.

ReaTune Conclusion

ReaTune is fully functional, good-quality pitch correction software, and it comes with Reaper. If what you need to do is tune lead or backup vocals, or other monophonic instruments, it's the obvious choice.


Celemony's Melodyne can be found here.

ReaTune comes with Reaper. You can download a fully-functional 60-day trial here.

About the author

Keith Livingston

Keith Livingston started recording his own music in the late '70s, on a 4-track. He worked his way into live sound and studio work as an engineer -- mixing in arenas, working on projects in many major studios as a producer/engineer, and working in conjunction with an independent label.

He taught audio engineering at the Art Institute of Seattle, from 1990-1993, and in '96, contributing to authoring several college-level courses there.

He was General Manager of Радио один (Radio 1) in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Now he spends his time recording his own songs wherever he roams, and teaching others to do the same.

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