The Best Pitch Shift VST Plugins in 2022 (Free & Paid)

by Alex.   Last Updated On September 5th, 2022.
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Pitch shifter vst plugins are a vital tool for music production. Many types are available, each with unique twists. If you’re hunting for pitch correction or creative pitch shifting plugins, this guide is for you!

As a mix engineer and producer, I’ve tried countless pitch-shifter plugins. I know what features to look and listen for to ensure a pitch shifter vst plugin offers a usable workflow and sound.

Read on for a selection of the best pitch shifter vst plugins!

Table of Contents
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Comparison of the Best Pitch Shift VST Plugins

Best for sound designers who need a creative effect in their production toolkit.See On Amazon
photo of the SoundToys Little Alter BoySoundToys
Little Alter Boy
Best for serious music producers who love to craft their sound and need advanced pitch correction and shifter tools.See On Amazon
photo of the Celemony Melodyne 5Celemony
Melodyne 5
Best for artists who need comprehensive vocal tuning software. See On Amazon
photo of the Antares Auto-Tune ProAntares
Auto-Tune Pro
Best for Pro Tools users seeking a powerful and clean-sounding pitch/time shifter or other DAW users who need a decent shifter.See On Amazon
photo of the Waves SoundShifterWaves
SoundShifter
Best for creative sound design uses and people looking for flexible pitch shifter VST plugins.See On Amazon
photo of the Eventide H3000 FactoryEventide
H3000 Factory
Best for people looking for an affordable and creative pitch-shifting effect.See On Amazon
photo of the AudioDamage Discord4AudioDamage
Discord4
Best for performance situations and use with instruments and different sounds in real-time. See On Amazon
photo of the Eventide MicropitchEventide
Micropitch

Reviews of the Best Pitch Shift VST Plugins

A simple but effective pitch shifting vst with plenty of saturated analog color and flexibility. It’s ideal for creative production and pitch manipulation – without breaking the bank.

See On Amazon

Soundtoys Little Alterboy is a stripped-back but highly functional pitch-shifting plugin. Its interface is inspired by old-school analog rack units, although it isn’t an emulation of any particular model. It has basic functionality, but what it does works well. For example, I often use it to pitch sounds down an octave to make a thicker bass or make a parallel channel for creating harmonies.

It offers pitch shifting of +/- 12 semitones with the same control being able to alter cents. The formant control adjusts the frequency makeup, essentially letting you change the timbre of the sound without moving the pitch; it also helps to create a more natural sounding pitch shift. (You can also link the formant shifting to the pitch knob).

It has three shifting algorithm modes (transpose, quantize, robot), each with unique textures. Transpose is the cleanest and most transparent sounding; the other modes have automatic features. Quantize works similarly to traditional autotuners, and ‘robot’ sounds like old-school vocoders.

The drive knob is a nice touch and adds a satisfying warmth and crunch to processed sounds. The final control is a mix knob, letting you blend the dry and wet signals.

I love this plugin, and if you are a creative music producer, you’ll find yourself using it on most projects.

It’s more for colorful/creative uses rather than correction, as it doesn’t quite have a detailed enough level of control or transparency. (Particularly in comparison to something like Melodyne). That said, it’s quick to use, fun, and inexpensive, so I recommend it to anybody needing a pitch shifter.

What We Like

Great value for money.

Excellent sound design with a range of textures.

Intuitive and fast.

Can achieve a range of creative pitch-shifting effects.

Know Before Buying

Limited level of detail (not ideal for corrective uses).

Sometimes goes on sale for $39 (still worth the full $99, in my opinion).

See On Amazon

Melodyne is a professional pitch-shifting plugin powerhouse. This comprehensive audio editor suite lets you tweak sounds in unprecedented detail and accuracy.

See On Amazon

Celemony Melodyne is arguably the most advanced pitch-shifting tool on the market. No other software comes close regarding the amount of control Melodyne provides users. The powerful interface lets you edit notes with incredible accuracy and ease and offers clean pitch correction and stabilization.

Melodyne lets you control each note’s pitch, timing, and duration, so you can completely resculpt recordings and performances.

The corrective functions are compelling and let you flatten out any inconsistencies in sustained notes. (Yes, now you can sing perfectly in tune… or at least that’s what your listeners will think.)

It’s also incredibly natural sounding and doesn’t leave sounds with that jarring robotic/tinny quality that many pitch shifters do.

There are four main versions of Melodyne, each at different price points. In all honesty, for most situations, the basic ‘Essential’ version has enough power and functionality. The more expensive versions aim at professionals like mixing engineers and career producers who need deeper control.

There are differences between each version. For example, Essential and Assistant only process monophonic sounds (a single note like trumpets and solo vocals), but Editor and Studio can edit polyphonically.

This means you can shift individual notes in harmonic sounds and mixed signals separately. For instance, one string in a guitar chord or each voice in a choir. This feels like a magical power and is game-changing for production and mixing.

The entire set of features is very long, so I’d suggest you browse the Melodyne website to get a complete idea of its powers. If you need to control your notes in detail, this has everything you need.

The workflow can be a little convoluted for basic shifting tasks, but if you need power and transparency, Melodyne is the best pitch shifter vst out there.

What We Like

Extensive pitch editing software.

Perfect for both creative and corrective use.

Impressive level of detail.

Highly transparent, natural-sounding processing and pitch correction.

Optimizes any sound with ease.

Know Before Buying

Slightly over-complex for fundamental pitch-shifting tasks.

Slightly time-consuming workflow.

See On Amazon

A vocal-geared pitch shifter that makes it sound like you can actually sing in tune! This is a powerful tool for vocal production and auto-tuning.

See On Amazon

Auto-Tune Pro is made by Antares, a leading name in the pitch shifter and auto-tune software scene.

It’s split into two modes – Auto mode is designed for real-time correction and effects. Graph mode lets you tweak the pitch and time in precise detail, using a traditional piano-roll style interface. The non-destructive editor lets you shift sounds precisely and accurately in pitch and time.

This plugin is perfect if you need vocal auto-tuning. Antares Auto-Tune Pro can do the job, whether you want something more subtle and transparent or the classic over-tuned T-Payne style vocal effect.

It has a comprehensive control set that lets you tweak the auto-tune processing as you see fit. The Flex-tune and Humanize controls create transparent and natural-sounding tuning.

The auto-tune feature isn’t what I’d call traditional ‘pitch shifting’ and is more, well, auto-tune. However, the graph mode gives the exact pitch shifting functionality you might need, letting you move each note to a new pitch (and change the timing).

Another neat feature is the real-time midi control, which lets you use a keyboard or midi clip to control the input pitch. The midi feature is excellent for live performance; paired with the low latency operation, it makes this a stageworthy tool. A chord mode lets you create interesting harmonies based on midi input.

Auto and graph modes are highly flexible and intuitive, letting you tweak your sounds to pitch perfection with ease. The interface has an immediate level of control that’s simple for beginners, but on further inspection, it has a high level of control that’s suitable for professionals.

Antares Auto-Tune Pro is an excellent pitch shifter vst plugin if you’re looking for something to quickly slap on a channel to process and correct vocal tracks, or you want to polish every last detail of a performance. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something more affordable, check out the simplified Antares Auto-Tune plugins likeAccess orEFX+.

What We Like

Fantastic sound quality

Intuitive interface

Auto mode for speed, graph mode for detail

Know Before Buying

Also available as a subscription ($15/month)

See On Amazon

Waves SoundShifter is a streamlined but powerful pitch shifting vst that gives you control over various critical technical elements. Change the tempo, key, pitch, and duration of sounds, independent of time-pitch relationships.

See On Amazon

Waves SoundShifter pitch offers real-time pitch processing in a simple VST and AudioSuite format. It has modes for Parametric and Graphic controls, offering a fine level of adjustment over your sounds. It’s worth noting that it runs in a simplified mode outside of Pro Tools, but more on that later.

The interface is intuitive and easy to use, albeit with slightly dated aesthetics. It provides simple controls for time, tempo, pitch, interval, and frequency shifting. It has a basic shifting range of +/- 12 semitones, with additional controls for cent-based fine-tuning. This modifier is affected by the Ratio controls, which is essentially a multiplier for the pitch shift change.

The processing can be switched between 4 algorithm modes (punchy, smooth, sync, and transient). Each of these has a distinctly different resulting sound. In mild pitch shift and time editing tasks, it doesn’t create any apparent glitches or artifacts, although the processing becomes more noticeable when pushed to the max.

The main criticism is that the Graphic and Parametric features are limited to use with Pro Tools. In other DAWs like Logic Pro, it’s only used as SoundShifter Pitch which has more limited functionality.

This basic mode has controls for Semitones, Cents, Intervals, Ratio, and the processing mode but does not allow for time shifting. However, it’s still helpful and a quick tool for shifting pitches.

It performs pitching shifting tasks with ease and speed. It’s an excellent choice for making fast pitch shifts on your projects without needing to re-record. It sounds great for both vocal processing and other instruments.

I wouldn’t pay full price if I wasn’t planning on using it in Pro Tools, but it’s a good deal on sale.

What We Like

Powerful, clean pitch shifting.

Quick and easy to use.

Multiple algorithms.

Know Before Buying

Limited functionality outside of Pro Tools.

Outdated interface.

Often on sale for $29

See On Amazon

A recreation of a classic piece of pitch-based hardware effects processor (H3000 Ultra-Harmonizer). This modular plugin offers routable pitch shifting, delay, and modulation, providing users with a highly creative and versatile tool.

See On Amazon

Initially released in 1980, the Eventide H3000 Ultra-Harmonizer was a revolutionary studio tool. It provided engineers and producers with a groundbreaking level of pitch processing.

This deep, colorful process can be reconfigured to produce pitch modulation-based effects. With a modular interface, it offers 18 effects blocks that can be patched together in nearly infinite ways. I love to use it for creative effects like vocal doubling and tape machine style ADT.

Sure, it can do basic pitch-shifting tasks like moving things up and down in semitones, cents, and octaves – but that is by no means the main attraction. The H3000 Ultra-Harmonizer was by far one of the most creative pitch and modulation units ever built, and having it captured into a pitch shifter vst plugin is truly a joy.

The plugin sounds nearly identical to the original, although now it’s reborn with all the efficiency and convenience of software plugins. This pitch shifter can create a vast array of sounds and textures from a single audio file.

Inside the faithful interface, you can find delays, high and low pass filter modules, pitch shifters, mixers, amplitude modulation, LFOs, wet and dry knobs, envelopes, and various other tools.

The UI is inspired by the original hardware, although it’s been updated to match a more modern workflow. The matrix-style patching interface lets you configure the units as you desire, offering tremendous flexibility, versatility, and customization.

This is clearly more suited to creative tasks than corrective. It’s overkill for basic functions like simple pitch shifting – eating up a lot of CPU and having a pretty overwhelming interface. However, if you love to experiment with pitch and modulation-based effects, then you will love this.

It’s a beautiful plugin regarding sound, features, and aesthetics. The preset library is another nice touch and gives you many templates to achieve classic 80’s style pitch shifter effects.

What We Like

Intensely flexible modular interface.

Authentic retro charm (sound and look).

Inspirational preset library.

Know Before Buying

Over-complex for simple tasks.

Mind-boggling and a bit clunky for beginners.

Often on sale for $79.

See On Amazon

Inspired by the Eventide H910 hardware unit, Discord4 is an affordable but comprehensive pitch-based audio effect. Don’t sleep on this analog modeled processor with midi compatibility and deep controls.

See On Amazon

AudioDamage Discord 4 is one of the more affordable plugins on this list but surprisingly offers many features and functions.

In the early days of Discord4’s design, it was closely inspired by the Eventide H910 from 1974 (the first commercial digital effects unit), although now it has evolved to become its own beast. It follows the same core concept – a pitch shifter/harmonizer revolving around keyboard input, although it’s been expanded to work more flexibly and functionally.

For starters, it features three different pitch algorithms (P1 Vintage, P2 Clean, and G2 Granular), each with fine tuning over elements like buffer size and granulation.

With a 6-octave shifting range, you can also feed it midi to use as the master pitch, making it work almost like a vocoder.

Extreme positions create artifacts, although they sound cool and can be used creatively for unique sound design tones.

Besides the core pitch functionality, it also features additional modulation opportunities, including filters and delays, which two independent LFOs (Low-Frequency Oscillators) can control. In addition, the LFOs feature pretty deep customization (shape, rate, skew, and warp), meaning you can get a range of pitch effects out of this device – they can also be BPM synced to your project’s tempo.

The plugin also provides extra spicy elements to your sonic palette, including a shimmering reverb and ‘Chaos Mode’, making for some whacky experimental effects.

Built-in saturation and limiting create a warm, vintage tone, and provide an extra layer of safety, so you can push the effect without clipping the channel. AudioDamage is one of the hidden gems of the plugin scene. Discord4 demonstrates how they can manufacture top-quality tools at very fair prices.

What We Like

In-depth features and vintage sound.

Solid value for money.

MIDI connectivity.

Intuitive interface and low CPU usage.

Know Before Buying

Limited preset library.

Over complex for basic uses

See On Amazon

Another recreation of classic hardware, this is the software version of Eventide’s renowned pitch-shifting guitar pedal. It’s more suited to live performance than technical pitch shifting.

See On Amazon

The Eventide Micropitch plugin is a strong pick If you’re looking for a creative pitch-shifting effect. Note that it’s not a traditional corrective pitch shifter like Melodyne or Auto-Tune.

It’s centered around two independent voices of pitch shifting, albeit limited to 50 cents each. It uses a mix of delays, stereo panning, and pitch shifting to create a range of modulating effects. As a result, you can achieve some excellent processing with significant depth and space.

Micopitch uses a familiar guitar pedal style interface to craft your pitch-shifting effect. It has a significant level of customization, and the tone, feedback, modulation, and tone controls let you craft unique effects.

It has many presets based on iconic patches from the MicroPitch guitar pedal and its inspirational predecessors.

This is designed to be played with – the interface is intuitive and doesn’t hide anything. . The configurable Ribbon makes it even more expressive, and you can blend between your chosen settings.

It’s not suitable for precise pitch-shifting tasks, and I’d call it more of an effect than a tool. So it’s going to be too limited for many use cases. However, it’s still a great plugin in your arsenal if you like sonic experimentation with pitch and modulation effects.

It has a classic sound and is ideal for performance and real-time automation.

What We Like

Highly creative guitar pedal style effect.

Sounds fantastic with a bunch of presets.

Deep, expansive sound with sweet modulation.

Excellent ‘playability’ and ideal for live performances.

Know Before Buying

Not suitable for standard pitch tasks.

Limited shifting range.

See On Amazon

Bonus Free Pitch Shift VST Plugins!

Here are some nifty free plugins if you’re on a tight budget or just want some extras to experiment with.

  1. Auburn Sounds Graillon 2 Free Edition
  2. Aegean Music Pitchproof
  3. GVST Gsnap

Best Pitch Shift VST Buyers Guide

There are many pitch-shifting plugins, so here are a few factors to consider to find the right style.

Types of pitch shifters

Think about how you plan on using your pitch-shifting tools. Are you looking for something to fine-tune performances until they are pitch perfect? Do you need a creative effects processor to enhance your sounds and give them a new dimension?

Thinking about the types of pitch shifters and the situations they’re strongest in will help you to get the right pick.

  • Auto-Tuners – Designed for vocal processing, these automatically change pitch to correct wrong notes in individual sounds. (e.g., Antares Auto-Tune, Little Alterboy.)
  • Audio Editors – These feature a familiar piano-roll interface and let you edit the pitch and time with detail. (Melodyne, Antares in Graph mode.)
  • Multi-Effects -Some plugins combine a mix of effects to maximize the creative potential. (Eventide H3000, Discord4)
  • Creative Effects – Basic but effective pitch-based tools for making cool sounds, although lacking traditional pitch shifters’ ‘serious’ elements. (Little AlterBoy, MicroShift.)

Creative VS Corrective Use

Some plugins are more for creative purposes, and others are more corrective. You can also find some that blend between the two.

Corrective plugins help fix performance and recording issues; these usually let you alter the pitch and time of sound. Some (like Melodyne) allowed you to reduce the amount of inconsistency in a note’s pitch.

For example, when a human sings, it’s unlikely they will hold the perfect frequency for the whole duration. Pitch correction software can reduce this and pin the note to the exact pitch.

Creative pitch-shifting algorithms are more suited to adding color and enriching a sound rather than fixing it.

Quality

The quality of a pitch shifter has a significant impact on its usability and value. Ultimately, it tends to be a trade-off tied to the price.

Having a transparent shifting algorithm is crucial as it means you can correct sounds without them being noticeable. On the other hand, cheaper, lower-quality algorithms leave artifacts (unwanted glitches and noises in the sound), especially when pushed to extremes.

If you plan on using the software in professional situations, it’s worth investing in a high-quality processor that gives natural-sounding results.

In addition, some offer a range of algorithms, so you choose the suitable type based on the source audio material.

FAQs

Which pitch correction is the best?

Arguably Melodyne is the most transparent pitch processor on this list. It’s renowned for its crystal clear algorithms that can shift sounds from huge distances without creating artifacts. Antares Autotune is a close second, although it doesn’t offer quite the same level of detail, control, or stabilization.

Does pitch shift-reduce quality?

Due to the way pitch shifters work, there is generally a loss of quality after processing. However, it can be relatively subtle at smaller values.

Is pitch shifting Autotune?

Not quite, although autotune does use pitch shifting. Shifting is the underlying process of altering the pitch of a sound. Autotune is a more complex procedure that automatically detects the right note for a sound and then shifts it to the right frequency.

Final thoughts!

Best for sound designers who need a creative effect in their production toolkit.
Best for serious music producers who love to craft their sound and need advanced pitch correction and shifter tools.
Best for artists who need comprehensive vocal tuning software. 

If you can afford to, I’d recommend investing in both creative and corrective pitch shifter vst plugins. Melodyne is phenomenal for fixing pitch and time issues, and I’ve seen it on pretty much every studio computer I’ve used.

That said, it’s also helpful to have something that can alter pitch with more color and spice! If you are also looking for the best hip hop VST plugins, we also made an article for that.