The Best Autotune Settings to Use in Your Mix

I recently did an overview of how to use autotune in your mix. I thought I’d share the best autotune settings which I use every time I drop an autotune on my vocals (or instruments). There may be some tweaking necessary every now and then to better suit the song, genre, or particular vocal, but these are the best autotune settings to start out with.

best autotune settings

Best Autotune Settings

I’ll be using Antares Auto-Tune Pro to demonstrate the best autotune settings. As I mentioned in the aforementioned article, Antares pioneered the technology of autotune in the late 90’s. They’re still the biggest and arguably best name in town when it comes to autotune processing.

All this to say that your autotune settings might vary slightly, even just in the terminology for each setting, but generally this is what you want to aim for to get the best results.

Input Type

We begin with the input type. In the latest version, you can choose between three vocal ranges in Low Male, Alto/Tenor, and Soprano. Matching this setting to suit the range the vocalist is singing in will help the plugin yield better results. Alternatively you have Instrument and Bass for tuning non-vocal audio.

Simply set this to suit your audio and move on.

Key of Song

To ensure that your vocal or audio is being tuned to the right or more obvious and natural nearby notes, make sure that you specify the key to the autotune plugin.

You can simply leave this as “Chromatic” without necessarily specifying a key in which case it will just tune to the nearest note regardless of key.

For the best results, be sure to identify the key of your song and set it accordingly here. Antares actually has a secondary plugin called Auto-Key which you can apply to the vocal and it determines the key of the song and can pass it along to Auto-Tune Pro if you like.

Retune Speed

The “Retune Speed” is the most important setting on your autotune as this determines how quickly a note is re-tuned. This is measured on a scale of 0-100 with 0 being instant. Setting this at a very fast or even instant speed completely erases the portamento in a vocal, or the natural sliding quality between notes. The result is an abrupt

40 is generally the best retune speed to use with your autotune settings as this generally is fast enough to tighten up notes which need it without the listener hearing the autotune working.

I always take into consideration the genre I’m mixing in when setting this speed. If I’m mixing a pop song, slightly palpable autotune is a hallmark of the genre and as such you can get away with a faster setting.

When I absolutely don’t want the listener to detect the autotune, 40 is generally a safe number, although sometimes I’ll back it up to 50.

I’ve found that if I go too much slower than 50 that the autotune won’t have too much of an impact, similar to setting a compressor’s attack too slow.

Flex Speed

The “Flex Speed” keeps the expression of the vocal intact. In practical terms, this setting allows for a little movement around the correct note.

Part of what makes a singer sound natural is that their vocal doesn’t hit and stay perfectly on every note they’re trying to hit.

The vocal may stray a few cents sharp or flat around that note, but if you turn flex speed down to 0, you’re ensuring that the vocal remains locked solidly on the note which removes the expressive or natural quality of the vocal.

In my experience, setting your autotune flex speed to 50 keeps some of that expressiveness in the vocal by allowing it to slightly meander around the exact note.


The last setting I like to call attention to is “Humanize”.

The humanize setting but it applies to sustained notes, meaning notes the vocalist holds for more than a split second.

This is similar to the “Flex Speed” in that it allows more movement around the note, but it’s again targeting those sustained notes. It also kind of operates like the compressor release but for the autotune; the higher you set this number, the more quickly the autotune eases up on sustained notes.

Admittedly it’s not a perfect metaphor, but suffice to say that, similar to the flex speed, you want to set this around the middle to keep a natural quality to your vocal (on held notes).

Similar to flex speed, I like to set “Humanize” to 50 to ensure that those sustained notes have a little give in the form of a few cents around the key to keep the vocal from sounding robotic.

Lastly, be sure to listen to your vocal all the way through with these settings to tweak accordingly, but more importantly to make sure there aren’t any notes being tuned where they shouldn’t.

99% of the time this won’t be an issue, but if a note is seriously off, the autotune may retune it to a note you didn’t intend in which case you should adjust that note manually.

The Best Autotune Settings Reviewed

  • The best autotune settings are walk a tightrope of keeping your vocal in tune without removing the natural human quality of the vocal (i.e. not robotic) or tipping to the listener that you’re using autotune.
  • For the best results with Antares Auto-Tune Pro (or any autotune with similar settings), specify the vocal range type and key of the song for the best results.
  • Set the Retune Speed to 40 so that notes are tightened up but not to the point that it removes the natural transition between notes or sounds noticeable.
  • Set the Flex Speed to 50 to keep the expressiveness in your vocal to allow for a few cents around the note.
  • Set the Humanize setting to 50 to ensure that longer held/sustained notes sound natural again with a little room for movement.
  • Review your entire vocal with the autotune on and manually adjust any notes if/as necessary.

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