I'll describe Autotune as a pitch "discretiser", though I've been unsuccessful in my attempt to recreate a similar effect.

I want to create a bitstream effect from a water stream recording and I feel like it's the effect I need. First I tried Digi's Lo-Fi but this produces an old-sounding modem-like effect. I've played around with compressors and expanders to make an aliased (square) envelope but I can't find anything for the pitch.

Have you ever created a bitstream sound effect this way? I think I read about this on this board but can't seem to find it... About the DIY Autotune, do you know of any trick to get it done?

  • When you say "bitstream effect," @Justin, do you mean a hard sound effect to reinforce data transmission or some other kind of technology-related visual? Aug 13, 2010 at 13:46
  • @NoiseJockey It's exactly what I mean, when beeps go crazy. I'm trying to turn this water recording into a river of beeps. Aug 13, 2010 at 14:56
  • freemusicsoftware.org/category/free-vst-effects-2/bit-crusher Plug it through that. Even SLIGHTLY downsampling things can have a huge effect. Aug 15, 2010 at 5:06
  • And, by "that" I mean the bitcrusher -- first one in the stack. Aug 15, 2010 at 5:07
  • It downloads a DLL, although I found some bitcrushers for mac as AU's or VST's... @Dave, are you familiar with Digi's Lo-Fi? are they not equivalent with bitcrushers? They all seem to do the same downsampling and wordlength reduction. Thanks! Aug 15, 2010 at 9:40

5 Answers 5


I'm guessing you're on PT... If you have any of the extra packs you should have gotten Melodyne, which will do a similar trick to AutoTune (draw in random pitches on the grid)... Also if you have Waves, try the MondoMod - square wave, 100% mix, max Pitch and Amplitude values to start - adjust to taste.

  • I'm on Pro Tools indeed, and it seems like I'm hoping to do too much with the basic plugins... unfortunately I'm not looking to purchase anything but a pair of NT1-A's in the near future... I guess I'll just mouth my effects for now, the time for me to get recognized :D Aug 13, 2010 at 20:50

I made a folder full of data stream sounds and made most of them using granular processing - either with GRM Freeze (mess with the random pitch) or with Pluggo granular plugins... I tended to use sounds with some element of pitch/harmonics in them, but with the stream recording you should be able to get a burbling data stream if you play with the pitch & envelope of the granules...


You responded to my comment, "@NoiseJockey It's exactly what I mean, when beeps go crazy. I'm trying to turn this water recording into a river of beeps." Rad.

I can't recommend an Auto Tune clone, but have you tried the free AudioUnit plugin called Buffer Override? It can impart a vocoded sound to a sample that you can make clean or glitchy, and it can be fully automated, which can make the apparent pitch of the pseudo-vocoding change over time.

  • @NoiseJockey, thanks! now checking out this plugin! Aug 13, 2010 at 22:00
  • @NoiseJockey, what do use Audio Units (AU's) with? I'm running Pro Tools, and the only piece of software I own that is able to use AU's is GarageBand. It doesn't work in 48k, which Im unhappy about. What do you use? Aug 14, 2010 at 17:36
  • I use Logic Pro as my alternate DAW and BIAS Peak as my stereo editor. Aug 14, 2010 at 21:26

It won't sound like Autotune, but if you're trying to

"turn this water recording into a river of beeps"

have a look at the mda 'Tracker' AU from http://mda.smartelectronix.com/ - it tracks pitches in a sound, and can resynthesize them or reinforce using EQ or ringmod.

  • Cheers, I'll take look! Aug 15, 2010 at 21:59

Autotune has a very unique sound to it and it's become so recognizable that it will be hard to fake. One thing you could try is drawing a pitch envelope over the sound using Pitch 'n Time. Radical shifts in pitch may create a similar effect.

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(source: serato.com)

Secondly, if you are using Nuendo, I believe there is a function that allows you to draw real-time pitch envelopes over the track in the timeline. Any Nuendo users care to share more on this?


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