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Discussion in 'Recording' started by rasputin7095, Dec 31, 2003.

  1. rasputin7095

    rasputin7095 Guest

    Hi, my first post here :) I'm a music production student in NY; I use Pro Tools and Reason.

    What do you think about Autotune? I hate how it sounds, but when I record someone that can't sing, I can't help but use it. Is it going out of style, or do you think it'll be around for a while? Most non-musicians I know can't detect autotune artifacts, so does that mean the trend will continue until all people know what it sounds like, so we can no longer get away with using it?
  2. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    I actually do like the way it sounds in an otherwise tuned performance- to me it adds "body" to the track- I do not like the artifacts it adds to an out of tune performance- It is a tool, like other audio tools we have. It can also becomes "cheesy" :cool:
  3. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    I would argue for and suggest that if a person can not sing, they are not ready to be recorded in the first place and to come back if and when they are able. Autotune problem solved...
  4. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    I use it as expertly and covertly as possible when I'm confronted with no other choice. To sound current it is sometimes impossible not to use it, especially if you're not in the position to do anything other than make the singer in question sound as good as possible.
    This has never been more true than today. Everything is relative, and relatively speaking the current listening audience has been trained to like extremely intonated productions. If began as a quest for perfection. In the past that meant a few degrees. Today it may mean a complete change of hemispheres.
    Either way, it allows me when I need to to move on to more satisfying things than the task at hand ... and get past beating a dead horse.
  5. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    I think people need to get over it. Why is using autotune any different than putting the vocal through an LA-2A with 6 dB of peak reduction? That singer did not have all that grit. That singer was not able to naturally limit their peak volume while still giving an intimate softly sung first chorus.

    I use autotune in graphic mode to fix the end of an occaissional long note. You cannot tell it was used, when it is employed this way. For good singers I might tune one or maybe 2 note segments. For a poor singer it might be a half dozen notes or so.

    While we are at it why not fire all those engineers that need too much EQ on the vocal track because they didn't use or have the right mic/pre combo.

  6. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    I'm surprised to hear this as I believe there is a very big night and day difference. With the first you are using a tool to simulate and correct for lack of talent. Or to save time instead of taking the time to get it right. The second is using tools to enhance the talent and beauty that already exists and would still be there if you used those tools or not.

    Eq is not just to enhance a specific source or to correct for what you should have done, it also is way to get things to fit together, or to give a type of dynamics to make certain notes stick out more or pull back, but they are always the exact same notes that the were there before or after the eq was used.

    I'm not saying that I have not used my Eventide's to do autotune, but it is always as the last resort and with the person it gets used on being well aware that we are cheating. I'd rather give an hour of my free time to coax and get the best vocal performance I can then to have resort to using autotune tactics because everyone now believes that it is the normal way of recording and is so much easier.

    If your using autotune so subtle and so sparingly throughout that no one can tell you are using it, that is a very much different thing than relying on it to give you acceptable results.
  7. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :) I have heard it used in excess, I have also heard it used for 2 notes in an entire song. We are picky about this stuff because we CAN hear it. I don't think the listening public will detect it as much as they would a sour note. My wife was listening to some concerts with me on DSS. She picked out plenty of sour notes.

    It is a judgment call for sure, If I could not get satisfactory on key performance, I would not hesitate to use it. It would seem that the designers would make it sound more natural instead of a that keyed midi note fill sound.

  8. Paladyne

    Paladyne Guest

    no one should notice a good autotuning job. What kills me is the people simply do not know how to use autotune and they just use the automatic setting... its all about the slickness with the graphic mode.
  9. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member

    G'day all,

    I think Autotune is cool, however i think there is a bad side to it as well. How is a singer supposed to learn or correct themselves if the guy behind the console says (or has the mentality of)..."well, it was good enough, I'll fix it later with autotune". I think it lowers the standard for who we can call "a vocalist".

    I know that when I have to go in and record keys, I have to break my balls practicing for a long time prior to make sure the performance is going to be satisfactory. This alows the player to improve, learn and develop. With autotune, im scared that some vocalist think their average performances are good enough. These days we let an average performance slide because we have the tools to correct them. How did singers do it 30 years ago?.....hmmm...whats it called again, thats right, practicing!

    well, just an opinion!

  10. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Autotune is just another tool in the tool box.

    I also can hear a note here or there on some commercial stuff, but I always wonder who the engineer was that obviously did not know how to use it (unless it was used as an effect in which case I change the station).

    Autotune used properly is not detectable even by all you golden ears types in the audiance. If a relaxed enough and slow enough tuning rate is used. And the you graphically spot tune segments of a note, there is no MIDI style voxing going on so you cannot hear it.

    Choosing to use autotune can also be a matter of managing the talent's time and energy. If the performance they gave was absolutely stunnning but one note which was held out for a long time drifted ever so slightly flat, I usually choose to tune it rather than punch it in.

    Very very very talented singers still use autotune because they are also very very very picky about their pitch and will generally ask to have a note or 2 corrected.

    Singing is the single hardest thing there is to do on a pop tune. You can record all the basics and all the guitar ODs in a very few hours for an entire CD . It takes multiple sessions and many more hours to get all the vocals done. On top of that you want to capture the vocalist at their very best so you may need more than one session to get there.

    The very greatest vocalists will get you closer sooner and in fewer takes. But there are not many of them.

  11. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :) I apologize for generalizing my statement about a midi type sound, I learned the sound from Cher, ever since, it sticks out if improperly, excessively, or creatively used. If most of the time it is fooling me, then I have no beef of any kind, and the engineer's magic touch and the tools are doing their jobs as intended.

  12. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Well, that's just it. Many, many of those who use it, don't know or take the time to use the tool very well. All of the real talented singers I have worked with seem to know how and take more pride in their performance and would rather try to punch in as the first option before relying on that effect. And let's be straight, IT IS an effect.

    As far as time saved, I don't buy into it. The singers time is best spent singing and getting it right, mine is best spent capturing that performance and not using the bulk of my time trying to edit mistakes and sour notes. Autotune and the like are the kind of things I hate most about DAW's, because you spend more time being an audio editor than you do as a recording/mixing engineer. There are still very many of us that prefer to not to mix soley via a DAW, use a decent mixing console and make each mix a semi-automated, semi-live, in the moment event just like the musicians did that performed live while recording. Of course this is much harder and takes much more skill to get great results but makes it that much a sweeter experience.

    I guess I'm just of the old school and prefer more of the natural purity of sound and performance even if it includes a few instances of non-perfect pitch to match non-pefect humans. I can appreciate and even enjoy when I hear other non-perfect artifacts like foot taps, hand to knee slaps, guitar string squeaks, foot pedal of the kick drum, pick hitting the pick guard ect...
  13. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    I hate it!

    I use it!

    Gets the bozos out of my studio fast!

  14. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Like most everyone these days I do vocal comps- on bad singers I do up to 8 or more, comp it (by Myself) and then autotune it- with real bad singers it is a lost cause and it is better but not that good overall-

    On good singers I do up to 4 tracks and then I go phrase by phrase (with the singer) and we pick the most expressive phrases and build a work of art- If I have to auto tune a few bad notes I do, but most times there is no need- For the purist out there who like to do just one take I say, hey this is recording, not live performance- it is a different animal and you work on your art and come up with something unique- look at Sargent pepper, that would have never happened without overdubs!

    One of my friends and co-writers used to be a light opera singer. She won many awards in her time and has a super soprano type voice (she can also sing jazz in the lower registers but that is another story) Her pitch is impeccable and I don't think I ever used auto-tune on her but I do comp her vocal, 2, 3 tracks at most- I'm sure she could do it in one take but that is not the point- There are ever so slight changes in her phrasing in her singing and sometimes some of her lines come out extra magical- that's why i comp her vocal-

    When she sing live, the force of her voice and personality blows you away but when you listen to a recording you don't have that so you have to get your art as close to the vision as possible-

    With singers that are still good and "have it" but sometimes hit the ocasional bad note, auto tune is needed in small amount to build up the magic of the track- When they sing live it does not matter, they will still blow you away- ocassional bad note or not-

    I know that some of you are very frustrated working with amateurs who don't have any chops just so you can make the $$$ to pay the bills. I've been there and that's one of the main reasons I sold my studio. They took all my creative energy and I had no time or juice left for my art- Now I have a day job and work on my art with the people I want to work with in my studio at home- It is not the perfect solution as I wish I could work on my art full time but hey, since I sold my studio last august I've finished 3 big projects that I had no time for when I was hustling any s**t can jobs so I could pay the rent in the studio- people with no chops drain you because you feel responsible to make them sound better than they are-

    I don't miss doing 8 vocal tracks on bad singers, comping it and then autotuning it but I will use auto tune in small amounts with the talented people I'm now orking with -

    Sometimes I will use auto tune in a very relaxed mode on a otherwise tuned vocal track and I find I like what it does to the track- It tightens eveything up and gives me a sound that is pleasing to the ear (to my ear, anyway)It only works in very low settings with a straight ahead type of vocal- If you record a singer who slides up to the tone a lot, forget it!

    But anyway, that's my rambling 2 cents- I don't hate auto tune and I like it sometimes for what it does- What I do hate is working with people who can't sing and think they can- and I quit doing that, Thankyoulord!!!!

    Happy New Year!!!!!!! :c: :c:
  15. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Excellent post maintiger! :c:

    The way I look at it, I work for my clients not myself. I have tuned a note here or there for some incredible singers. It helps minimize their time in the studio. And from what I can tell, most artists, especially singers don't exactly love being the studio. Their brains are wired for live audience feedback. Not singing to a pop filter in a dark room.

    I pride myself in providing as homey and comfortable an experience as possible, I work pretty hard on getting a good vibe for the performer. Part of that means not drowning them in technology or working a track to death.

    With good singers its 2 or 3 passes, some phrase by phrase punch ins, then a comp and maybe some autotune.

    Especially if the client requests it.


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