beta 0.13.0 (August 25, 2023)

🎥see our video tutorials on YouTube.

questions? problems? suggestions?
use the send feedback button in the app to tell us..

getting started
  1. make sure you have everything you need.
    • a microphone
    • headphones (optional, but strongly recommended!)
    • a music-making app with midi support — also called a "DAW"
  2. open imitone.
    • enter your 16-digit key, if this is your first time.
  3. open your DAW (music-making app).
    • you may need to set imitone as the app's "midi input" or add it as an "external device".

    don't want to use another app?
    — pick one of imitone's built-in sounds.

  4. pick an instrument to play in your DAW.

    (you may need to enable recording!)

  5. sing into your mic.
    • you can also hum, whistle or play an instrument.
    • whistling or playing high notes?  pick the right range!

...having problems?  see troubleshooting.

hints & tips
sound clarity
  • wear headphones, so your speakers won't confuse imitone.
  • find a quiet place — away from TV, music, talking and electric hums.
    • avoid rooms with a strong echo.
  • imitone hears you better when you are close to the mic.
    • ...but try not to blow air on it!
"latency" is the time lag between your voice and notes playing.
if latency is high, the instrument can feel slow and hard to control.
on windows, use exclusive audio for much lower latency.
(this will usually prevent other apps from sharing the mic!)
our experimental technology reduces imitone's latency.
playing a song
  • pick a preset that matches the instrument you are playing.
  • find a scale and key that fit your song.
    (playing in chromatic is very hard!)
if the notes are messy, try tidier settings, like hold mode and classic tech.
singing into imitone
  • make clear sounds with an open mouth.
    • try "ooh", "aah" or "dah".
    • or imitate the instrument you're playing.
make sure imitone's pitch range is voice or full.
singing steady sounds like "ooh", "aah" or "mmm"?
try sustain mode.
singing more sudden sounds like "bah" or "dah"?
try attack mode.
whistling into imitone
make sure imitone's pitch range is whistle or full.
always set sustain mode for whistling.
playing real instruments into imitone
  • imitone only understands one note at a time.
    chords, strums and special effects will confuse it.
  • check your pitch range setting if imitone doesn't pick up.
  • deep instruments work best when the mic is close to them.
training your voice
  • you can train your voice by watching the tuner.
    choose the scale you want to practice, then try to keep the needle in the middle.
  • make sure you can hear both your voice and the instrument.
instrument presets
built-in sounds
a collection of built-in musical instruments.
you can play these without connecting imitone to another app.
midi presets
helpful settings for controlling other apps.
experiment to find the best preset for your midi instruments.
piano, bells, mallets; stricken instruments.
— try singing "daah".
guitar, bass, banjo; plucked instruments.
— try singing "dooh".
synth lead, organ, horns; steady instruments.
— try singing "baah".
saxophone, electric guitar; talkative instruments.
— try singing "aah". (or "biddly-diddly-deowww!")
violins, cellos, trombones; lilting instruments.
— try singing "haah".
flutes, oboes, horns; fluttery instruments.
— try singing "ooh".
trombone, theremin; loose instruments.
— try singing "waah".
— ideal for making strange noises.
remember that presets are only suggestions.
experiment with different settings as you learn.

the dark needle shows the pitch of your voice (or instrument).
it helps you keep in tune.

experimental technology
click the atom icon to switch between experimental and classic tech.
experimental tech improves tracking & latency, especially when singing quickly or in echoing spaces.
classic tech uses less CPU and is more reliable in noisy spaces or when using low-quality microphones.
pitch guide
a white tuning fork appears when pitch guide is working.
this is disabled when using exact pitch.
pitch bar
listen for voice.
(B2 to C6 — bass through soprano registers.)
listen for whistling.
(C5 to F7 — voice will be ignored!)
listen for voice and whistling.
(B2 to F7 — this will increase CPU usage.)
key & scale

(the key of C, in a major scale.)
picking the right key and scale makes playing your song much easier.
play with scales until you find one with the right mood.
then, try keys one by one until you find one that fits.
(at imitone HQ we love blues scales...)
chromatic lets you play in any key, but is very difficult!
octave shift also known as "transpose"
shifting lets you play notes that your voice can't reach.
shift up to make imitone play higher notes.
(great for flute, volin, and other bright notes.)
shift down to make it play lower notes.
(great for bass, brass and other deep notes.)
control-click to shift by semitones instead of octaves.
piano roll

the notes you play with imitone will appear here.

keys & tracks
this keyboard shows imitone playing notes as you sing.
you can shift+click on keys to change the scale.
the notes you sing will flow down imitone's note tracks.
(adjust zoom on the tracks by pressing shift+Z.)
control how notes play when your pitch slides around.
lock — like hold mode, but tries to avoid changing notes.
(tidiest notes, but adds some delay)
hold — play new notes when you stop sliding.
(tidier notes)
sweep — play new notes as you pass over them.
(more responsive)
legato — change pitch as you pass over new notes.
(some instruments don't support legato, and will sweep instead.)
portamento — glide between notes as you pass over them.
(some instruments don't support portamento.)
bend — pitch can change freely, moving between notes.
(if instruments bend incorrectly,  try changing the bend range with the small button that appears.)
exact pitch — pitch bend, with no pitch correction.
(useful for sound effects and free-form singing. also subject to bend range.)
hold the spacebar to temporarily change following:
  • lock & hold mode will become legato.
  • sweep, legato & portamento will become bend.
  • bend will become hold.
vibrato control
vibrato is the natural "wiggle" in your pitch.
this button lets you choose how to handle it.
off — no vibrato effect.
imitate — control instrument vibrato with your voice.
(vibrato is sent as midi CC 1, modulation wheel)
volume bar

the loudness of your voice is shown here, along with imitone's sensitivity.

trigger mode
how notes begin and where their power comes from.
sustain — for instruments that make steady sounds.
winds, horns, strings, etc — sing "aah"
attack — for instruments that make sudden sounds.
piano, guitar, bass, bells, etc — sing "daah"
if in doubt, choose sustain mode!
power control
turn this on to control how loud or soft notes are.
imitate expression — power changes with your voice.
(only available in sustain mode. midi cc 11, expression controller)
imitate velocity — power comes from the beginning of the note.
(only available in attack mode. midi key velocity.)
off — all notes play at the same power.
intelligently changes volume & gate.
it will blink when making changes.
turn it off to adjust volume yourself.
volume knob
its effect depends on whether power control is on.
off (blue): the knob controls note volume.
on (yellow): the knob boosts your voice.
gate volume
sounds quieter than this will not make notes.
this is helpful for blocking out background noise.

a few more general controls.

help & info
open the info screen.
open the manual included with your copy of imitone.
there is also an online manual here.
send us a message! it will include your settings and some other info to help us assist you.
shows how hard imitone is working.
if the meter is high, imitone may start making mistakes.
if it's flashing red, there is not enough CPU power.
this can also happen if there are audio sync problems.
if it's flashing blue, the audio is frozen.
resetting your audio input often fixes this.
listening on/off
use this to switch imitone on and off.
when sleeping, imitone saves power and sends no notes.
clicking twice will resets certain MIDI issues.
sound on/off
this lets you hear what imitone hears, including the volume gate.
use it to test your setup or listen to your voice.
always wear headphones when using sound check!

select your mic and midi devices here.

a drawing of your audio and midi setup appears at the top.
mouse-over any item for more information.
problems are marked with colored icons.

audio input
choose your microphone here.
you can pick a mic channel to control imitone.
usually channel 1 (or L) is fine.
windows users may choose from two audio modes:
shared high latency.  other apps may use the mic.
exclusive kernel mode or ASIO.  imitone will not share the mic.

ASIO is a low-latency pro audio technology that requires special drivers. ASIO4ALL is a free ASIO driver for lower latency on normal PCs.

🔁 use the rescan button to update the list of audio devices.
audio output
choose your speaker or headphones here.
audio output is used for sound check and built-in sounds.
midi output
you can use this to choose where imitone sends musical notes.
pick "imitone app-to-app" to connect with other apps.
you can pick from 16 midi channels.
usually channel 1 is fine.
using imitone studio?
you can make a new voice by right-clicking a midi channel.

click on your problem below to expand its section.

imitone won't start!

normally, an error report will appear if something goes wrong.
if you see one, please fill it out and choose "send to imitone HQ".

otherwise, you can e-mail us at

imitone is crashing!

fill the report and choose "send to imitone HQ".
include your e-mail address to get help from our team.

you can also use the feedback button to make a report.

nothing happens in imitone when I sing.

try picking a different mic or input channel in setup.
this might not work if another music app is using the mic.

imitone won't make sound unless it's switched to "instruments" mode.

my music app isn't playing any notes.

try turning on auto-adjust and check your audio input.

make sure that the midi output is set to "imitone app-to-app".

check the "other app" icon in setup for warnings.

check that your music app's midi input is set to imitone.
try restarting it.

set up an instrument for recording in your music app.

I can play notes, but they're very quiet...

try turning on auto-adjust and check your audio input.

try increasing volume or turning power control off.

sometimes instruments get stuck on quiet settings.
pressing the sleep button twice can un-stick them.
imitone is playing notes that aren't there.

see the tips in sound clarity.

move the gate volume up.
try tidier settings, like hold mode.
imitone is playing the wrong notes.
try changing octave shift to 0.
try a different key & scale.
try tidier settings, like hold mode.
imitone is playing notes when I'm not singing.

see the tips in sound clarity about finding a quiet place.
motors, electric hums, music and talking can confuse imitone.

if auto-adjust is off, try turning it on.
see if it blocks out the noise.
auto-adjust can mistake some noises for singing.
you can turn it off and set the volume gate yourself.
the response to my voice is delayed.  (latency)

on windows: switch to exclusive mode for audio input.

make sure your music app is also set up for low-latency audio.

try sweep mode or other following settings.
try our experimental tech.
I see a thermometer flashing RED or BLUE.
RED means imitone needs more CPU power,
or the audio is out of sync.

  • try closing other apps.
  • try plugging your laptop in.
  • try setting a smaller or lower range.

BLUE means the audio is frozen.
this can happen for various reasons.

  • try re-selecting your audio input.
  • try a different microphone.

my throat hurts.

singing is hard work!

take a 30-minute break and drink some tea or water.

this didn't help me solve the problem.

please get in touch with us.

  • if you see an error report, fill it out and click 'send'.

or use the feedback button in imitone.

you can always e-mail us for help:


use these key combinations to save time when using imitone.

hotkey function
F1 go to help & info.
tab go to setup.
+ rotate note tracks.
Z zoom note tracks.
F5 reset all audio & tracking.
ctrl+F5 reset just this voice.
save setup to a file.
restore setup from a file.
hold space temporarily toggle pitch bend.
M toggle mute.
V toggle vibrato control.
X toggle loudness control.
pitch shift by one octave.
pitch shift by one semitone.
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8
choose a preset (if there is only one tab).
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 0
switch to the tab for MIDI channel 1 ~ 10,
or channel 11 ~ 16 if holding shift.

experimental hotkeys

hotkey function
G toggle pitch guide.
(usually on except in exact pitch mode)
shift+B toggle brightness (CC74) control. (imitone studio)
hold C capture audio to re-track or send with feedback.
R re-track captured audio by listening to it again.
ctrl+R open imitone's app data folder.

using plug-ins

Plug-ins are available from our Windows installer. These provide more advanced control over the sound coming into imitone, and avoid conflicts when imitone and your DAW both need low-latency audio from your mic.

which plug-in should I install?

you may install 32-bit or 64-bit plug-ins, in VST2 or VST3 format. this means you can put up to four different variations of the imitone plug-in on your system.

  • 64-bit plug-ins are best for modern music software.
  • VST2 is an older plug-in format that is compatible with most DAWs and uses MIDI directly.
  • VST3 is a more modern plug-in with more features and better performance, if your DAW fully supports it.

Make sure to activate imitone's app with your 16-digit key.

Intalled plug-ins can be loaded into a track in your DAW. A plug-in track should usually be set to listen constantly to audio input.
Plug-in setup is different for every DAW — check your manual.

When viewing the imitone plug-in, our app will open and dock itself to your DAW. Click the 'pop-out' button in the upper-right corner to use imitone as a separate window. The imitone app can control every instance of the plugin on your computer, keeping them all in the same key & scale.

routing midi app-to-app

imitone app-to-app midi allows plug-ins to act like a MIDI controller, which is often easier than routing midi inside your daw.

To use this feature, keep imitone's GUI app open.Check the setup screen and make sure the plug-in is sending MIDI there.imitone studio can map multiple plug-ins to different channels.

The easiest way to use app-to-app MIDI is to open the imitone app before your DAW. That way, your DAW will recognize imitone's MIDI as soon as it opens. Then the plug-in can start sending notes when you load your project.

routing midi inside your daw

Alternatively, you may use your DAW's internal routing to send MIDI from our plug-in to other instruments & tracks in your project.

Routing setup is different for every DAW — check your manual.

If you are using VST3, make sure your DAW supports VST3 MIDI output!

evan balster
project lead, research & development, design
elizabeth kumaki
lead marketing, video, community management
ty underwood
project management, additional marketing
lou carroll
additional research & development
richard hogg
original graphic design
additional consulting
isaac schankler — music theory
khyam allami — musicology & cultural equity
adriane kuzminski — accessibility
jim crawford — synthesizer sound design