Luckily for you though, there is a way to get Melodyne for cheaper.
Generally speaking, Melodyne goes on sale in June of every year and also during the holiday season like most plugin companies. However, because Melodyne is on a tiered system, it’s worthwhile to get the Essential or Assistant version and slowly start upgrading as your needs progress.
As a matter of fact, this is exactly what I did. I first started out with the Studio version of Melodyne via their free trial and then when it ran out, I bought the Essential version. I then upgraded to Assistant, and at the time of writing this article, I’m using the Editor version with plans of upgrading to Studio.
Not only is it on a tiered system, but it’s not uncommon for Celemony to offer incentives to get you to upgrade at a particular time.
Melodyne Essential, Assistant, Editor, and Studio – [A Price Comparison]
In my view, Melodyne Essential isn’t worth getting simply because most major DAWs, including Logic Pro X, FL Studio, Ableton, Cubase, etc, have some kind of pitch correction and quantization. Even GarageBand has pitch correction (my guide) and the ability to flex time.
In terms of overall features, I can’t really think of a reason to get Melodyne Essential when most DAWs have the same features built right into it, with just a few exceptions, although, Melodyne Essential probably sounds better than your DAWs stock pitch-correction and audio editing.
Although, one thing that is nice about Melodyne Essential is that you can get used to the Melodyne interface right away. And I think there is definitely some value in that.
Additionally, and perhaps even more importantly, once you get into Celemony’s marketing ecosystem, they send you information on sales and let you know when you can upgrade for a slightly cheaper price.
This is part of the reason why I don’t say exactly when it goes on sale, is because it may go on sale sporadically if you’re already in their marketing ecosystem.
The same thing can’t be said for Melodyne Assistant which I consider where the perks of owning and using the software start. The Assistant version gives you a few things that I like, including all of the tools for pitch, formants, volume, timing, as well as the awesome sibilant tool.
And you also get the ability to export the audio as MIDI files which is definitely an underrated feature (my guide on that). With full disclosure though, many DAWs also come with this capability, and they too, have features for volume, pitch, timing, etc.
My favorite part of Melodyne Assistant is the sibilant balance tool, which in my opinion, almost completely eliminates the need for a de-esser, volume automation, and EQ. Because you can edit the sibilants right out of the audio file, rather than apply a de-esser across the board or with automation.
Additionally, I really appreciate using the amplitude tool because you can get the exact volume of a note way down if you need to, rather than using volume automation, a ducker, a compressor, or some other dynamics processor. Both of these features make Melodyne Assistant, the best way to start if you were to ask me.
As I was saying before, one of the benefits of owning Melodyne Essential is that once you’re on their email list, they’ll send you advertising copy recommending you to upgrade at times of the year when it’s on sale. So you may be able to grab it when the price has been reduced.
Moreover, because you’ve already purchased Melodyne Essential, If I recall correctly, you don’t have to pay the full price for the upgrade. You’ll pay a slightly reduced price with close to the original value (maybe slightly less) deducted from the upgrade’s sale price.
Melodyne Editor, the version that I have, is really where you have most of the features that make Melodyne special, rather than just a few of them.
What separates Melodyne Editor and Melodyne Assistant is that you can edit polyphonic audio, you can figure out the scales of audio or make your own, and the quantization tool becomes more advanced.
In layman’s terms, you can record someone playing the guitar, transfer it into Melodyne, and Melodyne will be able to decipher each note of the chords. From there, you can actually edit each note of the chord on its own, rather than the entire chord as a whole, using all of the standard tools, ie, pitch, formant, timing, amplitude, etc.
I made the upgrade to Melodyne Editor after having used the Assistant version for the longest time. Celemony sent me an email to let me know that I could get it at a slightly reduced price, and so I went for it. My advice to you would be to do a similar thing, but it’s up to you.
And finally, we have Melodyne 5 – Studio which is the most expensive rendition of the software, but it includes the whole package of features and functionality.
As I said in my guide on the differences between the Editor and Studio versions, what separates them is the multi-tracking capability as well as the inclusion of the stand-alone sound editor.
In simple terms, the multi-tracking capability allows you to load up many recordings all in one window, so you don’t have to switch between window to window anymore. This means you can use other tracks for informing your editing decisions.
This is especially useful if you have many vocal takes or background vocals because you can actually match everything up. This is how you get that professional vocal quality sound that makes people like Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, etc, stand out in the way they do.
If you’re waiting for this version of Melodyne to go on sale, I would say not to bother because the price is going to be steep regardless.
A much better option is to start lower in the tiered system and then upgrade to Studio for a slightly reduced price either in June or during the Holiday season. That said, it depends on the situation which I’ll discuss with you a little more now.
Should I Wait Until It Goes On Sale To Get Melodyne?
If you don’t any edition of Melodyne yet, it’s best not to wait for it to go on sale because once you’ve purchased the Essential or Assistant Version to start, you’ll be informed when you can get the upgrades at a slightly reduced price.
Additionally, the Essential version of the plugin is only $99USD so it’s not like it breaks the bank to get started with it. On the other hand, I am currently waiting for the holiday season to scoop up the Studio version because the price differential between the Editor and Studio versions is $300 at the time of writing.
If you’re on a budget, I would recommend starting with the Essential version to start. Get used to the interface, play around with the plugin, and then make the jump from Essential to Assistant as soon as you get an email about it going on sale or when it’s on sale on a website like Plugin Boutique, Plugin Fox, or Thomann.
If you have a bit more money to work with, grab the Assistant version at the very least because it has the tools like the sibilant balance and amplitude tool that separate it from the functions and features of some of the most popular DAWs.
My fear is that the features of Essential won’t be enough to impress most people considering many of its tools are included in basic form in DAWs like Logic Pro X.
Do You Even Need the Full Version – Melodyne Studio?
A good question to ask yourself is whether you even need the full version of Melodyne because not everyone does. If you’re just making trap beats in your bedroom (my guide on trap beats by the way), you probably won’t need to get it because you’re not recording many different tracks.
But if you plan on getting super serious about vocal recording, creating a lot of tracks, and filling out your mixes as much as possible to get them to sound professional, then Melodyne is a great tool to have. It’s especially good at getting vocals and background vocals to sound exactly the way that you want.
More Melodyne Articles
- Can Melodyne Fix Bad Vocals? [ANSWERED]
- How to Add Vibrato in Melodyne [SUPER SIMPLE]
- How to Change Key in Melodyne [SIMPLE]
- Where to Put Melodyne In Your Plugin Signal Chain [EASY]
Important Things to Note About About Melodyne Versions and Sales
1) There May Be Other Features That I Missed
I’m only speaking from experience, so it’s possible that you could get your hands on Melodyne for a reduced price at a different time in the year. Additionally, I think it’s worth your time to try out the Free Trial here and see what you think for yourself.
1) Melodyne 5 – Assistant
2) Melodyne 5 – Editor
3) Melodyne 5 – Studio