This article will discuss the best and highest-quality pitch shifter and manipulation plugins in 2023.
Pitch shifting can be done in most DAWs and DJ software. However, the quality differs! Many basic pitch shifters and stock plugins use algorithms that aren’t as high in quality and result in artifacts. Many algorithms that result in good-resolution pitch-shifting have expensive licenses that the plugin manufacturers have to pay for.
For example, Zplane is the company behind the “Elastique” algorithm that is also used in FL Studio. This is why good third-party plugins for pitch shifting are paid and highly recommended! However, sometimes, the manufacturers are also the developers of these algorithms.
For example, Zplane also manufactures its own plugins. Good pitch shifters are really important for various applications in music production, especially sample manipulation!
How To Use Pitch Shifter Plugins?
To use pitch shifter plugins, simply apply the plugin on your sound, select the pitch amount, which could be in cents or semi-tones, by which you want to change your pitch, and then let the plugin do its job.
Alternatively, you can also adjust the pitch shift amount until you get the required tone. You can also try changing other parameters, such as formant preservation/shift, mix levels, or additional controls the plug-in gives to adjust the tone.
Listen to the audio live and tweak all the controls so that you can hear the result of your pitched shift. Make your alterations, and once convinced, render the adjusted audio clip to implement the pitch shift.
Overall, these pitch-shifting plugins can also be very useful and flexible for creative purposes, like creating harmonies, thickening vocals and instruments, unique textures, and various special effects. Now, let’s look at the list.
8 Best Pitch Shifter Plugins To Alter Pitch 2023
1. Waves Vocal Bender (Simple & Effective)
Waves Vocal Bender is a user-friendly pitch and formant manipulation tool designed for tweaking vocal tracks.
The plugin stands out because of its linked formant and shift control and four modulators by which you can modulate different parameters in the plugin. However, it is primarily designed for monophonic vocals and may not work as well with tracks consisting of more than one voice.
Sonically, it’s regarded as one of the cleanest tools for quick and modern pitch manipulation. Regarding effects, it is ideal for creating robotic vocal effects, artificial harmonies, vibratos, and more. You can also use it to achieve the “vocal dropped” effect in rap vocals or add low or high layers to voices.
Features & Benefits:
- The Pitch Shift control in the plugin instantly adjusts the fundamental frequency and harmonics of the input signal without altering its duration. Real-time harmonic offsetting allows for seamless doubling effects, avoiding sync loss. It spans a wide -12 to +12 semitones range in Regular view and finer -1200 to +1200 cents in Fine view, facilitating precise tonal adjustments.
- Vocal Bender’s Formant Shift control modifies a voice’s tonal character without changing the actual notes. Moreover, a small knob between the Pitch Shift and Formant Shift controls synchronizes both parameters while maintaining any offset. This linkage provides simultaneous adjustments, ensuring cohesive tonal shifts within the permissible pitch and formant ranges.
- The Flatten feature in the plugin locks the entire vocal to a selected pitch, inducing a monotonic, robotic effect. Combined with pitch modulation, this effect facilitates the creation of musical sequences. The range spans from C2 to B3, allowing controlled monotonic alterations.
- Waves Vocal Bender consists of four modulators: M1, M2, AM (amplitude), and PT (pitch). MOD 1 and MOD 2 support LFO or Sequencer modes, allowing customizable Rate, Shape, and triggering options. Organic modulators, on the other hand, such as AM (Amplitude) and PT (Pitch), utilize the input signal to manipulate plugin control. You can create interesting pitch modulations and edit (draw, erase, and browse) the shapes of these modulators.
This Waves plugin is compatible with macOS Catalina 10.15, Big Sur 11, Monterey 12, Ventura 13, Sonoma 14, and Windows 10/11 and is available in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
For more information on Waves Vocal Bender, you can check out its manual.
2. Eventide MicroPitch Immersive
Eventide MicroPitch Immersive is a powerful plugin known for its versatile pitch-shifting capabilities, ranging from subtle chorusing to extreme pitch manipulation.
It offers wider, thicker, and more immersive vocal effects, expanding your vocals’ overall sonic depth and texture. This tool is tailored for immersive Dolby Atmos and surround workflows and is designed to create expansive and spatial audio experiences.
Its effects span from echo-like textures to chorus and even metallic, aggressive pitch shifts, providing a broad spectrum of sonic manipulation. This can greatly help you if you’re into film, game scoring, or sound design. However, even for your stereo projects, you can use it to add more depth and spatial ear candies to your sounds!
Features & Benefits:
- Micropitch Immersive consists of spatial (4.1) controls for the front, surround side, rear, top side, and LFE, each with Left, Center, and Right Volume and Pitch controls wherever necessary.
- It accommodates a wide range of channel configurations, including LCR, Quadraphonic, and setups like 5.0 – 5.1.4 and 7.0 – 7.1.4, ensuring compatibility with various immersive audio setups.
- The plugin allows you to add different pitch-shifting values to different channels. For example, the L/R dual-knob lets you change the pitch on your left and right channels by certain semitones. Similarly, there are Front/Rear and Top/Main dual knobs.
- With the plugin, you can also create different effects by feeding/cross-feeding different channels into one another, adding modulation effects, and more.
- Micropitch Immersive also consists of an EQ with different curves for Front, Top, Rear, and All channels, by which you can manipulate the frequencies of all channels separately.
The plugin is available in AAX, VST2, VST3, and AU plugin formats and is compatible with Windows 8+ and macOS 10.9+.
3. Devious Machines Pitch Monster
PitchMonster is a pitch-based effects processor.
This plugin is capable of a lot! But let’s talk about pitch-shifting first. The pitch knob has a switch called SNAP which you can turn off to pitch-shift in cents and turn on pitch-shift in semi-tones. You can do this on a single voice or multiple voices using MIDI and CHORD modes.
PitchMonster also lets you unlock expansive harmonic possibilities with the capability to harmonize using up to 8 voices of polyphony within an extensive 6-octave range. Additionally, fine-tune your audio by dialing in 8 voices in unison, creating a powerful 64-voice stack.
Features & Benefits:
- The Pitch Mode Selector in Pitch Monster offers three modes: Normal, MIDI, and CHORD. In Normal mode, it behaves like a classic pitch shifter. MIDI and Chord modes offer different choices, granting access to 8-voices of polyphony. Check out the Pitch Modes section for detailed guidance on utilizing these distinct modes.
- PitchMonster has multiple engine types, one of which is the Granular Engine. This engine is capable of generating subtle shifts, thickening, or complete audio transformation. It dissects the input into smaller grains, adjusting playback speed based on pitch settings to reconstruct the output.
- Next, the Formant Engine is specifically designed for altering solo vocals and monophonic sounds’ pitch while preserving their resonant characteristics (formants). It enables gender modulation without distortion and unique pitch alterations without typical voice distortions.
- The third engine type, called Vocode Engine, produces a robotic tonality by remapping input pitch to musical tones, allowing manipulation of chords and patterns via MIDI or Chord mode. That also offers independent control over the sound’s formants, akin to the Formant mode, for distinctive sound sculpting and musical exploration.
- Further, you get parameters like Grain Rate and Jitter. By the Grain Rate knob, you can adjust the speed at which the engine slices input audio into grains, influencing the character of the signal. Higher rates create a noisy or buzzy effect, while lower rates make individual grains more distinct.
- The Jitter switch introduces random variations in grain size, offering smoother and more natural tones at lower grain rates or a noisier texture at higher rates. Lastly, for Formant and Vocode engines, the Grain Rate knob turns to Formant Shift, and the Jitter switch turns to the FIX switch.
The plugin is compatible with Mac OSX 10.9 or later (Intel / M1 Apple Silicon supported) and Windows 10/11 operating systems and is available in VST, AAX, and AU formats.
For more information, check out the Devious Machine Pitch Monster’s manual.
4. Boz Digital Labs ProVocative
ProVocative is a simple and easy-to-use pitch shift plugin and effects processor.
It has a simple interface with the main Pitch knob, a Width knob, and a Delay controller. In addition, you can also filter your frequency information by using the high pass and low pass filters in the plugin. Lastly, you get Wet and Dry knobs and switches and an Output volume controller.
Features & Benefits:
- ProVocative simplifies preset handling with its built-in menu. You can easily save presets by clicking the ‘Save’ icon, naming the preset, and confirming. You can also organize them into subfolders within your file explorer, allowing for efficient categorization.
- The plugin’s A/B Bank feature enables swift comparison between different plugin settings without losing current knob configurations.
- ProVocative’s Width parameter adjusts how wide the pitch-shifted tracks sound. At 100%, the higher pitch goes to the right, and the lower pitch goes to the left. At -100%, it’s the other way around, and at 0%, both pitches stay in the center.
- Next, you get a Pitch knob that lets you change the pitch from 1 to 20 cents. ProVocative creates two tracks with different pitches—one higher by this amount and the other lower.
- The plugin also consists of a Delay knob that controls the delay between the original track and the pitch-shifted tracks, ranging from 20ms to 150ms.
ProVocative is available in AAX, VST, AU, and RTAS plugin formats and is compatible with the following operating systems: Windows XP or greater and OS X 10.5 or greater.
For more information, check out the Boz Digital Labs ProVocative’s manual.
5. zplane ElastiquePitch V2
ElastiquePitch V2 is an X/Y pad-style pitch and timbre shifter plugin with real-time conversion.
The main section of the Elastique Pitch interface centers on an X/Y Pitch and Timbre Field, offering simultaneous manipulation of pitch and timbre. Encircling this field are supplementary controls for precise adjustments to the pitch-shifting algorithm, alongside options to incorporate intriguing Delay and Freeze effects.
Features & Benefits:
- Elastique has a scalable interface that can be compressed into windows of different sizes by using the Simple view, Normal view, and Advanced view of the plugin.
- Presets in Elastique consist of various sample rate conversions, ranging from 23.98 to 48 kHz. This caters to those scenarios that demand precise pitch conversions, especially when original content is played back at incorrect speeds due to conversions between varying frame rates.
- You can use the Voicing Slider for tailored Timbre-Shifting and customize the dominant frequency range of input signals using the [Voicing] slider for superior timbre-shifting quality across various input types.
- The plugin has a Link Switch for Pitch-Timbre Relationship. Activate the [Link] switch to establish a fixed pitch-timbre relationship. When adjusting the pitch, the formants also shift accordingly, mimicking the natural effect of speeding up a vinyl record or analog tape. Applied to vocals, it alters the pitch and imbues a distinctive “Mickey Mouse” tone.
- Elastique Pitch incorporates a unique Delay Effect similar to a standard delay. It creates a time-delayed copy of the audio, which feeds into itself. You can customize it to get a better delay effect.
- The plugin supports multi-channel pitching capability for up to 8 audio channels, ensuring synchronous alterations across multiple audio streams.
- This plugin gives you high-quality pitch-shifting across diverse audio types, including speech, monophonic instruments, and complete mixes.
- When you press the Freeze button on the plugin, it turns on the infiniStretch feature of the élastiquePRO tool. This makes the signal that’s in the élastiquePRO input buffer keep going endlessly or stretched out infinitely.
ElastiquePitch V2 is available in VST/AU/AAX & RTAS plugin formats and is compatible with macOS 10.15 Catalina – macOS12 Monterey (Intel & M1 Apple Silicon supported) and Windows 10-11.
For more information, check out the ElastiquePitch V2 manual.
6. Audiority Octaver 82 (Cheapest)
Octaver 82 is a digital version of the classic BOSS® OC-2™, an old-school octaver from the ’80s.
It beefs up your instrument sound by adding two lower tones (1 and 2 octaves down) to the original. Just like the old pedal, this plugin works with one note at a time. Playing chords into it can get messy!
Features & Benefits:
- Octaver 82 features Dual Octave Controls, meaning you can access two octave-down controls for expansive sound manipulation, influencing synthetic octave signals independently based on the selected circuit type for diverse tonal variation.
- The plugin’s Pre and Post Gain parameters allow you to fine-tune the input and output levels pre and post-effect, ensuring precise signal shaping and volume control tailored to your preferences.
- You get a Versatile Mix Control that lets you blend dry and wet signals seamlessly using the mix control, allowing customizable levels of original and processed audio for a balanced output.
- Octaver 82 consists of a Dynamic Detector Tracking that adjusts detector tracking to modulate response behavior, enhancing precision in signal detection and processing based on input characteristics.
- With the plugin, you can access 7 distinct pedal circuits offering unique tonal characters, from the original circuit emulation to funkier versions and raw, aggressive tones, allowing diverse sonic explorations.
- You can also resize the plugin interface effortlessly using the Audiority logo menu, offering small, default, or larger sizes for optimal visibility and usability, resizable from the bottom right corner for convenience.
Octaver 82 is available in AAX, AU, CLAP, VST2, and VST3 plugin formats and is compatible with Windows 7 or later, OSX 10.13 or later (Intel), and macOS 11.0 or later (Silicon).
For more information, check out the Audiority Octaver 82 manual.
7. Polyverse Manipulator (For Sound Design)
Manipulator is a great plugin for creative pitch and time effects and modulations.
You can use it way beyond your simple pitch and formant shifting, as it has various functionalities like a Harmonics shifter, Frequency Modulation knob, and four modulation effects, including Detune, Smear, and Stereo. It also has a great range of presets to inspire you with crazy effects.
Features & Benefits:
- The plugin allows you to adjust the gaps between pitch-shifted grains for smoother transitions by using the Smooth Grains effect. That gives you a wide range of tonality. For example, at 100%, it provides natural sound; lower values create metallic, robotic tones. Note that this is applicable only when you are pitch-shifting down.
- You also get a Harmonic Shifter for Timbre Transformation, which shifts harmonics without altering pitch, offering diverse timbral changes. This feature morphs vocals into various characters like robots or monsters, useful for balancing dominant harmonics.
- The plugin gives you Effects Section Enhancements, which include Smear for granular looping, Stereo for widening, and Detune for slow granular pitch shifts, offering versatile sound manipulations.
- With the Global Parameters in the plugin, you can tailor pitch detection range (Low, Mid, High) for different audio sources. The MIDI function re-pitches vocals to MIDI notes, allowing melody alterations or harmonizing in five modes: Off, Mono, Poly, and more.
Manipulator is available in AAX, VST, and AU plugin formats and is compatible with Windows 7 SP1 or later and Mac OS X 10.9 or later (Intel / M1 Apple Silicon supported) operating systems.
For more information on Polyverse Manipulator, check out its manual here.
8. Zynaptiq PITCHMAP (Unique)
PITCHMAP is a polyphonic pitch shifting and mapping plugin.
It can fix instrument pitch issues in mixed music, loops, samples, and other complex recordings. Using the MAP technology, Pitchmap breaks down music into parts, including their tones and unique qualities.
You can fix or freely change each sound’s pitch individually using custom pitch maps or real-time MIDI data while maintaining high quality.
Features & Benefits:
- PITCHMAP is one of a kind and a really advanced pitch corrector. It requires deep manual diving and tweaking to get it right, but once you do, the possibilities you can explore with it are endless! It has a huge potential.
- The plugin allows you to literally map different notes in real-time to a pitch or note on the piano. It has a “Feel” parameter that you can apply if the corrections seem too obvious. You can also use the “strict” parameter when correction isn’t enough. Decreasing “Feel” or checking “Strict” can enhance the pitch correction, especially in rare cases.
- There’s an “Input Ref. Tuning” slider if you hear unexpected pitch changes, especially if the signal isn’t tuned to A=440Hz. You can use that to resolve artifacts!
- PITCHMAP has a “Threshold” control that determines the degree of detuning required for processing. At the lowest setting, all sounds undergo processing. Increasing the value skips already accurately tuned notes. For creative purposes, keep it low; for precise tuning fixes in delicate material, set it higher.
- Overall, the plugin has a huge range of applications, like correcting tuning issues in mixed signals, getting rid of wrong notes, changing the key/scale/melody of any audio, and more.
- A powerful macro feature that’s there in the plugin is “Key Transform.” That generates a Pitch Map by adjusting all Pitch Mapping Sliders to predefined values based on a chosen destination key/scale.
PITCHMAP is available in VST 2.4, VST 3, AU, RTAS, and AAX plugin versions and is compatible with Windows 7 or newer and macOS 10.12 or newer operating systems.
Find out more about Zynaptiq PITCHMAP in its manual.
2 Best Free Pitch Shifter Plugins 2023
1. Auburn Sounds Inner Pitch (Instant Gratification)
Inner Pitch is a free pitch shifting and effects plugin.
Regarding pitch shifting, the plugin allows you to increase or decrease the pitch of your audio by upto 24 semitones. You can also adjust the left and right channels separately, creating a difference in timing to expand the stereo image. In addition, you also get formant correction for upto 24 semi-tones below and above.
Features & Benefits:
- Apart from Pitch and format effects, you can also make tonal or characterful changes to your sounds. You can tailor tonal shifts with Tonal Boost, favoring either transients, non-transients, or balanced sounds, which you can select based on the source materials.
- The plugin allows you to maintain phase alignment in left and right channels during pitch-shifting, for which it offers the Stereo Link knob. 100% link retains the original stereo image, while 0% link offers a cleaner yet ghostly sound devoid of a “center.”
- You get Diverse Distortion Effects, allowing you to enhance audio with 3 distortion options – RATE simulates a lower sampling rate, GAME mimics an ADPCM game codec for subtle video game sounds, and TUBE provides versatile waveshaping suitable for various audio types.
- There’s a Spectrum Panel at the bottom of the plugin interface that allows you to modify the EQ shape of the Wet signal using the 3 Band Gain and 2 Band Crossovers in the Spectrum Panel, dramatically affecting delay feedback via the internal limiter threshold adjustment.
Inner Pitch is available in VST3/VST2/AAX/AU/LV2 plugin formats and is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems.
For more information on Auburn PitchShift, access its user guide/manual here.
2. Baby Audio Pitch Drift
If your only purpose is to introduce more natural pitch effects in a monophonic sound source, go for the free Pitch Drift by BABY Audio.
Pitch drift adds pitch irregularities to your track, whether gentle disturbances or major shifting, introducing a subtle or out-of-tune sound. It is designed after the imperfections of acoustic instruments that add natural nuances in live performances and add a lot of meat to music mixes.
Features & Benefits:
- Pitch Drift, with just two parameters: an “Amount” slider/controller and “Speed,” is simple and quite easy to use.
- The plugin sounds quite organic! It doesn’t add any artificial artifacts to your sounds and renders them clean. Tonally, it’s great for adding analog-like depth, more width, and Lofi’sh pitch-drifting effects on your sounds.
You can use the Baby Audio Pitch Drift plugin on both Windows and Mac systems, and is available in VST, AU, or AAX formats.
Pitch Innovations Fluid Chords
Fluid Chords is a pitch-bending plugin that allows you to bend chords.
You must have worked with a pitch-bend wheel on your MIDI controller. This plugin takes that effect to the next level and applies it to chords! It has an internal synth and can also work with external virtual synths like Omnisphere, Vital, Pigments, Serum, etc., that support MPE.
Features & Benefits:
- The plugin allows you to create bends between different chords. So, for example, let’s say you want to create transitions between an EMaj7 and an EMaj chord. You can simply program those chords. So, in the image below, as you can see, the EMaj chord is programmed in the center octave, and next to it the EMaj7 chord.
- Fluid Chords has a good range of CHORD presets, including Pop, Lofi, R&B, hip-hop, and other presets, that give you a good place to start and understand the plugin.
- You get three different styles of working modes that let you do different types of pitch bending from the target to the destination chords. These modes are AUTO, FIXED, FLUID, and REAL-TIME. “Fixed” maintains a fixed point for bending. “Fluid” enables selecting the next chord on the fly without slot entry. “Real Time” facilitates real-time chord bending while using the sustain pedal.
- The plugin allows you to input chords into Fluid Chords by clicking the “Learn” button in the top-right corner. You get eight squares where you can save your chords and then trigger them instantly using the keys C1 to C2.
- There are additional options for your workflow that you can access. For example, if you toggle the “Show Transpose” switch, it displays transposition steps. You can also use “Global Transpose” to transpose all chords simultaneously and activate “Show Help Tray” for interface guidance.
Fluid Chords is available in VST, VST3, and AU plugin formats and is compatible with Windows 10 and above and macOS 10.12 Sierra and above (Intel / M1 Apple Silicon supported) operating systems.
We have covered almost every style of pitch shifting and creative pitch effects. Now, to round up, I would say that knowing your purpose is important. Do you want a creative pitch effect or a simple pitch shifter?
If you want something for both, the Waves Vocal Bender can be quite versatile, as it can do clean and clear pitch and formant shifting but can also add modulations to them. However, this plugin is more vocal-focused and is good for only monophonic tracks.
For polyphonic pitch effects, consider PITCHMAP, Pitch Monster, and Elastique PitchV2. PITCHMAP is quite unique as it can change the pitch of not just polyphonic audio but also the entire mixes. It’s a great plugin for sound designers and producers who work with samples a lot!
For clean polyphonic pitch changes, you can also consider Melodyne, which is not mentioned in the list but is a great plugin for that! If you want to create pitch effects on your polyphonic instruments or synths, go for the Fluid Chords.
Manipulator by Polyvers is the ideal option for extensive pitch animations and modulations. Next, ProVacative and Inner Pitch are also great options for a simple workflow. Lastly, Pitch Drift is a great free plugin for creating simple vocal bending effects.
I hope in this article you found what you’re looking for! Thank you for reading.