You can use autotune on GarageBand by utilizing the Pitch Control or Enhanced Tuning features built within the app. The process for doing this is different on GarageBand for Mac and for iOS, so it’s good to know how to do both.
I’ve been writing and recording music for decades, and I have a bunch of experience working within GarageBand. I know how to use the tools and features within the app that are commonly known as autotune.
In this post, I’ll show you how to use the features that essentially give you the ability to autotune on GarageBand. I’ll also explain why you might want to use this feature and some other important information to keep in mind along the way.
Let’s get to it.
- Autotune isn’t called autotune in GarageBand. Instead, it’s called Pitch Correction, Pitch Control, or Enhanced Tuning.
- The process to enable these features is slightly different on the macOS and iOS versions of GarageBand.
- You shouldn’t rely on using autotune type of features to get perfect vocals all of the time, and you should still try to get good original vocal tracks that are in key.
Even though Autotune is the commonly used name for the feature in many different recording software and plugin options, you won’t actually find an Autotune button, setting, or knob within GarageBand.
Instead, you will use the Pitch Control, Pitch Correction, and Enhanced Tuning features built within the app. These are essentially different words for the same thing, and they automatically help correct the tuning of recorded vocals.
It’s also important to know that you don’t always want to rely on these features to get perfect vocals. The more on key you can sing, the better your track will be in the long run. But of course, there are certain styles of songs where heavy autotune is ideal.
How to Use Autotune on GarageBand Mac
Using autotune on GarageBand for Mac is pretty straightforward, and you can apply it to your vocal tracks quickly when you know where to access the setting and apply it to the track. Follow the steps below to utilize this feature.
1. Open the GarageBand file with the track you want to place an autotune effect on.
2. Select the vocal track with the cursor to highlight it and begin the editing process.
3. Click on the Editors button to access the editing window that will allow you to add Pitch Correction to the track. This button looks like a pair of scissors and is on the upper left side of the window.
4. After you click the Editors button, a new set of controls will appear at the bottom of the screen, alongside a closer-up view of the waveform of the audio track you are working with. You need to click on the Track button in this window to access pitch controls.
5. Once you click on Track, you’ll see the Pitch Correction slider appear.
6. To use the Pitch Correction feature on the track (which is essentially Autotune), move the slider to adjust the amount of pitch control on the track. You will see a number rise from 0 to 100 as you move the slider. 0 is no pitch correction, and 100 is complete pitch correction.
A good starting point is around 50-70 pitch correction for natural-sounding vocals. Any more than that, and things can start to sound electronic. But if that’s the sound you are going for, you might even want to crank things up to 100.
You also have the option here of checking the Limit to Key box. This will keep the autotuning within the established key of the song, which can help limit the chance of anything sounding overdone or weird.
7. Listen to the track before and after using the Pitch Correction feature a few times to ensure the effect is to your liking. You might need to make several adjustments on the slider to get things set up just right.
How to Use Autotune on GarageBand iPhone
There is also an autotune type of feature built into the iOS version of GarageBand, which applies for use on your iPhone and iPad. Using this is a bit different than the Mac version, so follow the steps below to get started.
1. Open the GarageBand app on your iPhone.
2. Select the project with the vocals you want to add autotune to.
3. Tap the track or region to which you want to add the feature.
4. Tap the Mixer button, which is located just to the left of the FX button on the left side of the screen.
5. Now tap Audio Recorder on the top of the slide-out window that appears when you tap the Mixer button.
(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my iPhone)
6. From the Audio Recorder window, tap Vocals and then tap either Lead Vocals or Radio Ready. Then tap Done.
7. Tap the Microphone icon. You’ll now see a pitch control knob that you can adjust to increase the amount of autotune-like effect on the track.
8. You can also use the Enhanced Tuning plugin by tapping the PLUG-INS & EQ button and then tapping the Enhanced Tuning option to turn it on in the track.
These two selections together can make for pretty heavy autotuning, so again listen to your track several times to make sure you have the amount of autotuning you want. You can always tweak things until they sound just right.
GarageBand Autotune Plugin (Free)
If you want to use a more advanced autotune plugin for GarageBand, there are some good options out there to explore. Make sure that whatever option you choose is in AU format because that is the only one compatible with GarageBand. VST plugins will not work.
If you are looking for a good free autotune plugin for GarageBand, take a look at Graillion 2 by Auburn Sounds. This popular autotuner has a free AU version that you can install into GarageBand and use instead of the built-in features of the app itself.
This plugin is more capable than the autotune features built into GarageBand, and you can get unique vocal effects with it that can add to your recordings. It features pitch-tracking modulation, a pitch shifter, and pitch correction, giving you a lot to work with.
You can use several different features in GarageBand to get an autotune effect. But remember that these tools aren’t actually called autotune; instead, you are looking for pitch correction and enhanced tuning.
Features like these are good to explore when you are first learning how to make and record music within GarageBand. They can give you interesting sounds and be a lot of fun to work with while also helping you get vocal tracks that are more in key.
Have you ever used autotune features on any of your music? Do you think the features in GarageBand are good for this, or would you rather use an external plugin? Let me know in the comments below.