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Direct Note Access with Melodyne

Discussion in 'Recording' started by jammster, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Listed in the M.I.P.A. awards for most innovative product of 2009:

    Now, I never, ever thought this would be possible.

    A very powerful new tool.

    The question that comes to mind: Is this plugin going to get abused? My guess would be an overwhelming yes.

    Scary!

    EDIT: Changed the subject for future reference.
     
  2. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Why would it be scary?
     
  3. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Hey Space, this technology always strikes me when I first see it. I thought it was awesome, but then it hit me.

    Can't help but think it would sound funny, but then again it may be the coolest thing since sliced bread.

    One things for sure, plugins have changed the course of music today.
     
  4. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Re: Is this cool or the end of an era? You be the judge.

    Scary?.....ya probably
    I think its very kool, technically....musically and talent wise, don't think so..I guess we will see...my guess is new music will be done this way and like most things nowadays it will all be nicely scrubbed, brushed, polished and perfect with not a lot of feeling....maybe it will inspire someone...who knows..but then I wonder if this isn't the direction music is headed...of course I'm probably thinking popular music....No doubt there will always be people who will continue to use real musicians, vintage tape and maybe that's a good thing...this software kinda takes all the fun out of multiple takes doesn't it?...I have to admit I tweak notes and tracks for people in Cubase if warranted and they love it....it beats having to punch in/out sometimes or listen to the same mistake over and over until they hit it...
    Something like this would certainly make that easier...
    I'm sure the gamer music people will love it!
    I'm still using Cubase 4.5 but I think Cubase 5 might have something similar to this in their new pitch correction plugin...
     
  5. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    How long have plug ins been around?
     
  6. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Well, I guess this is really no different than sampling. Only this is way more elaborate.

    Amazing there able to isolate notes in a chord and map the notes out to be altered.

    The only thing that makes me wonder about how well this would work is that say you have artifacts in the background that get recorded, that may start sounding odd.
     
  7. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    yeah... that's called otto-toon

    Celemony's been around awhile, and yes, it IS getting abused.

    Essentially, you only need one or two notes and you can just about sound like a complete orchestra in a couple of hours.

    e.g., you definitely don't have to be a musician to make music any more.
     
  8. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    yeah but... yeah but, yeah but!

    Direct Note Access:

    It is a brand new feature in otto tune, its about to be released. I've never heard of such a thing. I guess its been news for quite a while, funny how I never pay attention to this stuff.

    Very cool for a note or two out of a phrase, or when used to fix a flub up in that great take you just did or just being creative with it. But what the hell are you going to do when you play that song live?

    Can you say Milli Vanilli?

    But abuse? Go figure.

    Hell, you don't even have to have tempo either. And that can go for the entire band!

    Link removed

    In Logic Pro 9 you can even take an entire song and quantize the audio with it.

    Its like all the sudden, all this is happening.

    Yeah MadMax, you nailed it:

    IMHO Thats what is Scary! Really scary!

    All you need is money, and not even that much! Forget talent.

    I keep thinking of that lyric in that song by Don Henley:
    [youtube:04e4178554]http://www.youtube.com/v/FLgUuHl2xJo[/youtube:04e4178554]
     
  9. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    i like that!
    imagine you've just recorded the greatest rhythm guitar track of your life but that one chord always sounds weird. just tune that one wacky note in that chord and you'll have a perfect track.
    or you record background vocals with all the singers into one mic. everybody sang perfect but the guy in the back didn't hit the high note. now either you let them redo the whole track (and everybody will hate that guy), punch in (which might sound unnatural), or just tune that guy and make everybody happy.
     
  10. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    Maybe, but I think you still need to be a musician to make good music.
     
  11. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    double that. but things like that just make it easier...
     
  12. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Celemony is the WalMart mentality of audio... fix it in the mix, indeed. Why not figure out/learn your part and PERFORM it the way it should be? If you can't do that, you really have no business coming to me or my studio or employing my mobile rig.

    Since when the heck did EVERY note of EVERY song become dictated to be "perfect"?

    Where is this all coming from? It's NOT what music is.

    If you're gonna use the argument that the major's and commercial content provider's are spending millions of dollars, and they want a perfect advertisement, then you have a valid point... but the commercial content creator is SELLING A PRODUCT. Music performance for entertainment should not be a commodity that is bought, sold and traded like pork belly commodities. But unfortunately it is.

    A real musician would just do the take over, and maybe do it better than the last take, or maybe do it worse. Such is what music being played by a human is. That is, if we're talking about a "studio" recording.

    In live tracking, you really don't get a chance to do that. You must continue the performance.

    If you can't get it right, then maybe you aren't that good, or maybe, just maybe, you're a human being with frailties and imperfections. LIVE WITH IT!

    Ottotoon is the No Child Left Behind of the music industry. This isn't the playground. This is the real world where amateur and "professional" players both reside and the best of the best rise to the top to be recognized.

    I seriously doubt that one would have ever considered using otto on Caruso, Pavarotti, Eartha Kit, Segovia, Fats Waller, Muddy Waters, Frank Sinatra, Frank Zappa or any of the classic performers. THEY DIDN'T NEED IT. They were dedicated to the idea of getting it right. Even when they didn't nail it absolutely perfect, it was far and above the performance as it happened LIVE. It WAS the moment... it was a PERFORMANCE.

    I doubt if Bach, Brahms, Beethoven or even Tchaikovsky would have used the tool much past the composition mode of their work.

    Yes, it IS an amazing bit of technology, but it takes the life out of a performance and makes it sterile and false when it's used to make an end product something that it isn't. It's cheating the public into thinking the "performer" is something that they are not. Ethically, it's a form of "bait and switch."

    As a creative tool for composition, sure... it has a relevant place in the creative tool arsenal... but as a performance based musician... it's not a replacement or substitute for for a real human being expressing their soul, humor, passions, pains and desires in a way and manner that is shared with others through the recording medium.

    IMO, there is a big difference between altering music through the use of compressors, gates and effects and using otto.

    Using otto, its primary function is to alter the actual performance through the EDITING of the performance. Inserts and FX are editing the tonality and environment of the performance.

    So, editing the performance is what I primarily object to... and yes, I do object to punching a word, a syllable and the like. A phrase, maybe. I don't care to hear punches. A complete verse or chorus... well, at least that's a completed thought within the realm of a performance.

    I dunno... call me old fashioned, but if you call yourself a musician... then damnit, BE A MUSICIAN and PERFORM YOUR MUSIC.
     
  13. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member

    The old technologies have always remained available.

    I can go out to the woods, and harvest wood, to make a drum, or I can go to a music WalMart, and buy a djembe, or even go online to purchase one.

    Just another tool to be used and abused. It's been the way of man for tens of thousands of years.

    I am a technologist, though, so I may be biased.
     
  14. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    I just finished mastering a project.

    It was a solo guitar.

    The person playing used a direct box into his computer. After it was recorded he ran a noise reduction program on the resulting file then he went in and took out all the noise in between each note so it sounds like a midi track soloed.

    Then he went in and individually edited or replaced note by note what did not sound good or was not well played. Then as part of the mastering had me raise or lower the volume of individual notes.

    We added artificial reverb and widening to the material to make it sound more "real".

    This is as far away from "music" as I can imagine. There is nothing left of the feeling of the pieces and it is so sterile and perfect that it lacks anything that would excite me as a listener. It is perfect but SO WHAT that is NOT what music is all about but it seems that with the advent of ProTools and other software that is all people care about anymore.

    I don't know how this person plays live but I cannot imagine it is anything like the CD I just mastered for him.

    FWIW.
     
  15. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    in my experience most singers (even the good ones) sing completely different when they're in a studio situation. I've heard singers, which nail a performance note-wise and feeling-wise live, totally screw up in the studio because they think too much about hitting the note than performing with feeling. i tell them to concentrate on the feeling and not on the notes. i can fix wrong notes but there's no auto-feeling plugin yet (THAT would be a big seller).
    personally i prefer fixing one or two notes afterwards than having to listen to a part over and over and over again...
    btw, melodyne is not auto tune, it affects only the notes you want to edit. if a note is "wavey" (in lack of a better word) it won't flatten the curve. although you could do it manually.

    i think there's nothing wrong with fixing things in the studio to save time. if the artist can't do it live it's his problem. nowadays a studio recording usually isn't about capturing a live performance but making a product which sounds as good as it gets.

    if this technology had been around back in the days of zappa and the likes i'm sure they would have used it too. perhaps in a more creative way than just fixing a few notes. peter gabriel uses melodye too. now tell me that he is not a creative and skillfull artist...


    now this IS ridiculous.
     
  16. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    And about twice as time consuming as just playing the part again...
     
  17. natural

    natural Active Member

    That Direct Note Access feature has been 'Coming Soon' for over a year now.
    In my book, it's no more or less of a cheat than punching in ,using a tuner, comping a track, using headphones, or all the other tools we use in the studio.
     
  18. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    BTW, I apologize for wanting to make this into a rant.

    I'm a bit of a purist, call me old fashioned.

    EDIT: I'm going to change the topic to Direct Note Access for future reference on the site.

    Its really great to here everyone's thoughts, it just proves how cool this forum really is.
     
  19. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    In my experience, the majority of the singers nail it or they don't. When they do, we keep it... when they don't, we still keep it... if nothing else, as a reference, until we get the keeper track. Same for any other muso's.

    Maybe you're just dealing with lesser quality musicians when you MUST use otto to get a decent performance. Personally, I don't deal with that type of artist. You actually have to be a performance based musician to get me to work with you. I simply don't deal with the type of client that can't perform... as in my not so humble opinion... you have to be worthy of me giving up of the limited time I have on this planet to track and mix your music. There are far too many musicians/artists who can, and DO perform their music at a level of skill and passion that does communicate some connection and emotion to a listener, for me to waste my limited time of this life on telentless hacks.

    If you are incapable of playing your instrument, singing with feeling, or in some manner, prove yourself to be not capable of actually performing music... you will not like what I will return to you as tracks or as a mix. I, as an engineer and musician, have adopted the philosophy that I do not have to compromise, nor does an artist who comes to me for tracking or mixing of music as entertainment.

    Probably the biggest part of your job as a tracking engineer, is to create the type of comfortable environment that IS conducive to a performance. You should be able to get that artist past the point of worrying about hitting every note perfect above delivering the music within their soul. If you aren't creating that type of situation, then that is the fault of the engineer... NOT the artist.

    I happen to think that there IS something wrong with fixing things in the studio, IF the artist can't deliver the goods live.

    I didn't say that I would not under any circumstances use something like Melodyne. I would, and I will. However, I will guarantee you that it will be the tool of last resort for a music as entertainment based audio track.

    Again, I see the problem with these pseudo AI packages, is that they are essentially a tool to help less than skilled people become fraudulent artists. I find it a major vulgarity to perpetrate a false performance for financial gain. In the banking industry, this is called fraud. In the general business community this is called fraud. In law enforcement, this is called bait and switch, a confidence scheme and fraud. In Washington, DC... it's called politics as usual in the two party system.... however, in my little corner of the world, I call it unacceptable.

    If this technology had been around back in the days of Zappa and the like, I'm sure they would have NOT used it to fake their performances. As a creative tool for composition... probably to most definitely. But I'm also pretty sure that they would have taken it out on the road and used it as part of their performances... and it would most likely be used as an effect and NOT to substitute a player's skill or abilities.

    When you move out of the music as entertainment arena, then this cannot apply. The music performance is a secondary aspect of a product that you are being asked to deliver... I'll chop, hack, otto, comp, foley or whatever else has to be done to achieve what the client is paying for.

    I know I'm a small voice in my opinion, but you know what? My clients get it... and we're not alone. We're just not the majority anymore. Maybe someday we'll actually see a return to artists who can actually perform music being in the majority. Probably not in my lifetime, so until that time, I will continue to preach the purity message and try to hold the flame vigilant so others can see the way.

    I just hope that orchestra's, choral's and groups of that nature can survive until that time returns.
     
  20. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    well, i'm not a pro. i do this in my past time. so i do have to be picky who i work with. i choose to record good music, not good musicians. if he or she is a good songwriter and has great songs i don't care if he/she is a perfect singer/player. i will do anything to make the music sound as good as possible.

    that's what i'm saying. don't worry about the notes, just get the feeling right. and this has worked for me well, because the singers and musicians are comfortable with me recording them. i know that because they tell me all the time. and they come back to me even though they could record in a bigger studio with better equipment.

    don't get me wrong, i don't use auto tune. i don't like how it sounds and it feels not real. i don't want to hear every note on the exact 440 Hz, because that's not natural. but if i can fix a note that's wrong without having the singer sing the part over and over i will do that. his performance won't get better after the 10th or 20th take.
    if the feeling is right then fixing a few notes is legitimate.

    "cheating" has been a big part of music recording ever since multitrack recording came up. whether it's doubling guitar tracks or creating big background vocals, you can't do that live. but it always has been done in recording. just think of freddie mercury's doubling, tripling and quadrupling vocals. he couldn't do that live either.
     

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