Unpacking Waves Audio Key Detector: Does AI Key Detection Hit the Right Note?

Waves Audio Key Detector

Unpacking Waves Audio Key Detector: Does AI Key Detection Hit the Right Note?

Portrait of musicmanta author Christof Baer with blue tint in circular shape
Christof Baer
last updated this article on 
June 27, 2023
 and first floated it on 
June 27, 2023
Waves Audio Key Detector

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Unpacking Waves' Key Detector: Does AI Key Detection Hit the Right Note?

Waves Audio announces its latest tool, the Key Detector, promising AI-powered key detection for any music sample. We delve into the features, system requirements, and how it integrates with other Waves plugins.

Recently, Waves Audio unveiled the Key Detector, a tool they claim can pinpoint the key of any music sample, track, or full mix using artificial intelligence. With the promise of time-saving processes, the product has sparked interest in the music production industry.

According to Waves, the Key Detector leverages their Neural Networks engine to identify the root note, provide a scale (major or minor), and offer two alternative keys. The AI engine purportedly scans the track, suggesting the key in a matter of seconds. However, it's unclear how the system verifies this initial detection or how accurate this prediction might be.

The Key Detector is also promoted as a companion to Waves' vocal tuning and harmonizing plugins: Waves Tune Real-Time, Waves Tune, Waves Harmony, and OVox. The "Transmit" button sends the detected key to all active instances of these plugins, which should, in theory, streamline the music creation process.

Examining the Process

Waves claims using the Key Detector is as simple as playing the track and allowing the AI to analyze it. They suggest this leads to a more efficient workflow and reduces manual labor. However, it remains to be seen how the Key Detector handles complex compositions, including full mixes and multi-instrument samples.

The system requirements for the Key Detector are similar to most audio software, compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems.

Looking at the Competition

The Key Detector isn't the only AI key detection tool in the market. Antares Tech's Auto-Key also offers automated key and scale detection with a resizable UI. Unlike the Key Detector, the Auto-Key can also process audio files like MP3, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, and directly send key and scale changes to Auto-Tune.

The Key Detector's unique selling proposition is its integration with Waves' suite of vocal plugins and Neural Networks engine. Yet, it's yet to be proven how effective and efficient these innovations are in real-world usage.

Our View

The Waves Key Detector promises to use its AI-powered key detection to good effect, and has built-in integration with vocal plugins. While it's an intriguing premise, it's worth noting that the Key Detector's effectiveness in the context of complex compositions is yet to be thoroughly tested and reviewed by us or other independent reviewers.

For those curious about the Key Detector, it's possible to try it for free with a Waves Essential subscription trial*.

To learn more about 8 free autotune-like pitch correction plugins you can read our comprehensive guide.


Waves Key Detector*:

  • Full Price: $64.99
  • Introductory Price: $24.99

The Waves Key Detector is included in the following bundles:

Or you can get the plugin included in the following Waves subscriptions:



Waves Key Detector: Introduction

Waves Key Detector: Overview

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