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Best pitch correction for Live Performance?
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TheLateNight
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Best pitch correction for Live Performance?

I know I'll be criticized for it, but I'm looking for the best device or software for Live pitch correction. Before I go any further, I know many are against and hate on live pitch correction. But truth be told, in my opinion it is no different than using a capo on a guitar, an effect on an instrument, or putting a reverb/ delay on a voice live. It is an effect technology has granted us that I chose to take advantage of, and it enhances the performance and makes it more enjoyable, especially in the electronic work I do. Therefore I simply want this discussion to be about what devices work best live, no about whether or not it should be used live.

In the studio, I use Melodyne mostly for correcting vocals. However Melodyne fails to have a mode for live performance. Right now I'm using a TC Helicon Vocal works pre amp. It works alright, but I'm getting the feeling its starting to become dated. It works as a pre amp to the mic and you can adjust multiple settings. I've been hearing the Vocalist Live 5 works pretty well, but I play piano live, and not guitar... I'd be concerned it would have a hard time figuring out the correct notes since I've read it reads the key you're in by the guitar chords. I've also heard auto-tune can be used live, but haven't had much success on whether its effective or not. Anyone know of anything out there that works best for natural sounding correction that has the option to go to hard tuning if need be? I'd be curious to see what the pros use... They all seem to use some sort of foot control pedals at the live shows I've been to that have used live pitch correction, but I do not know brand name or make.
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3rd February 2013
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Without getting into my opinions on this matter, the Antares AVP-1 is probably the unit in more pro sound systems than any other. The TC Helicon stuff is used by some major artists as well.

Since you did mention it... Auto tune as a live crutch is no where near using a capo. Capos change the timbre of a guitar as well as the tuning. Saying, I can't sing in tune so I'm going to fool people... nothing at all like delay on a guitar or a capo, or even delay on a voice live. Auto tune to fix a note or 2 on a take because the take was otherwise very exciting and you don't want to retake the whole thing for 2 notes is one thing, having the machine running while you track? Especially since there is no auto tune anywhere that if left on and the singer drops more than a 4 or 5 cents that doesn't sound OBVIOUS and terrible making the phenomenon even worse.

I could see the argument from a producer's perspective of having to do something with a singer who can't track, but to a certain extent, perhaps if producers didn't work with people who can't sing, we'd have a bunch of Freddie Mercuries out there again (a guy who sang so accurately, and overdubbed so accurately, that his overdubs would phase instead of sounding like a doubled track.) It can be done.

I do understand that there are budgets to consider, but as labels continue to lose influence, that is becoming even less of a problem anyway.
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3rd February 2013
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Originally Posted by mesavox View Post
we'd have a bunch of Freddie Mercuries out there again (a guy who sang so accurately, and overdubbed so accurately, that his overdubs would phase instead of sounding like a doubled track.).
I don't know where you get this idea, but I have the raw multi-track session of Bohemian Rhapsody and the vocal tracks are a complete mess. Many, many take after take that was unusable. At the end of the session you can hear Freddie just give up trying anymore.
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4th February 2013
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I don't know where you get this idea, but I have the raw multi-track session of Bohemian Rhapsody and the vocal tracks are a complete mess. Many, many take after take that was unusable. At the end of the session you can hear Freddie just give up trying anymore.
I got it from quotes from Brian, Roy T. Baker, Mike Stone, etc. Yes, it took work, but he was able to do it without auto tune. I never suggested that it didn't take work... in fact, working is my point. Put in the work. The best example I can think of is "Love Of My Life." Also, by 77 (after another album was under their belt), they had little problem cranking out vocal layers.
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Haha, maybe if the OP would've asked 3 or 4 more times this thread wouldn't have turned into an ethical debate.

Anyways, auto-tune is not a capo. Auto-tune is frets. With a violin you need skill and intonation. With a guitar you just need to get kinda close. As a result, every band has a guitarist. Not so much a violinist.

Auto-tune is frets for your voice. And the buying public has spoken. After 15 years it's not a trend. It's never going away. Although hopefully it will get better... thus the OP's quest.
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Wait... TheLateNight, I got it! You can Melodyne in the studio and lip sync live! That's how the pros do it. Ask Beyonce.
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Originally Posted by Rufuss Sewell View Post
Wait... TheLateNight, I got it! You can Melodyne in the studio and lip sync live! That's how the pros do it. Ask Beyonce.
Those aren't pros. Those are wannabe singers.
What's the point of being on the stage if you don't actually perform? Ego?

IMHO if someone thinks that he needs a pitch correction thare are only two ways:
practice and learn to sing or if you can't, don't sing outside of your bathroom.
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Originally Posted by Rufuss Sewell View Post
Haha, maybe if the OP would've asked 3 or 4 more times this thread wouldn't have turned into an ethical debate.

Anyways, auto-tune is not a capo. Auto-tune is frets. With a violin you need skill and intonation. With a guitar you just need to get kinda close. As a result, every band has a guitarist. Not so much a violinist.

Auto-tune is frets for your voice. And the buying public has spoken. After 15 years it's not a trend. It's never going away. Although hopefully it will get better... thus the OP's quest.
That's a pretty "spot on" analogy,you got there!
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4th February 2013
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Again, this wasn't supposed to turn into a debate about the use of auto tune or pitch correction live. The voice is an instrument, is it not? Nobody turns a head or makes a fuss if live instruments are run through pitch correction or auto tune (And in some cases they are!) So what's the issue when using it on a voice? The auto tune, pitch correction, whatever is being used, is a device in my opinion that aides one along to help improve the performance. Just like how some other things technology has granted us have become standard over time (The ability to amplify music, change tone of instruments electronically, run backing tracks, apply vocal effects) You want a performance without any technological advancements? Go see a symphony or opera performance then (Which is just as thrilling in my opinion) In some types of music, the pitch correction would sound horrible, yes. This is for use in electronic music, where it would be most fitting and where in most performances it has become standard. But again, this is meant to be a discussion for what devices work best for those who choose to use it. If you don't use it, then you really don't have any business posting in this topic.
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You don't get the point of music.
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Jetam, YOU don't get the point of music. It's not a sport. Nobody but ******s like you and Ynvie Malmsteen care about physical performance.

Although I'm sure Mozart was a shredder, what we care about is his composition. That's what lives on.

Like sheet music before them, frets and auto-tune and studio magic help the composer to take what's in their head and give it to the world as art.

Musicians and their audience agree that they love all sorts of evil wizardry. I think you should get into bicycle racing where people get real mad if you cheat.
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OK, I don't get it. Apparently it has to be soulless and mathematically perfect, it has to be the same as the shit that MTV and simmilar institutions are trying to sell, because it's easier and cheapper to sell big boobs and (half) naked girls, who can't sing, to mass public. Yes, it's just about being rich and famous and showing off in front of crowd to comfort your ego.
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No, music is between the artist and their audience.

DJs don't do jack sh*t as far as I'm concerned. Talentless hacks (except for the rare few) I don't respect the art whatsoever.

And I don't personally enjoy any use of auto-tune. Not because of ethics, or sports but because it sounds terrible to me. I'd rather hear it off pitch.

But almost everyone else does enjoy DJs and auto-tune. Therefore the artist and the audience are in love. That's what music is about. And that's why I hate seeing high and mighty w a n k e r s like you talk down to somebody whose expressing themselves in the way they see fit.

(Not that I haven't done it in the past, but I've grown up)

It's not a competition or a sport. There are no rules. The OP and his listeners will go on enjoying massive pitch correction while you and three other guys continue listening to old Queen albums. Neither of you is right or wrong.
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4th February 2013
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I didn't say anything about sports or ethics. I just hate pitch correction, because if nothing else, it sucks a lot of soul out of the performance and is someone can't sing without pitch correction, he should seriously think about his singing career.
What's funny is that I constantly listen to things like: "And I don't personally enjoy any use of auto-tune. But almost everyone else does enjoy DJs and auto-tune." I'm quite sure that if you give people to choose between two singers, most of them will choose the better one, but if you just serve them with autotune, many will simply eat it. It's about propaganda, not about preferences.

You're right, music is between the artist and the audience and the majority of audience still expects the artist to perform on the stage unless it's a DJ.

And still, to me, it seems quite sick, to go on stage and don't perform. To me it's just too great feeling to play live.
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5th February 2013
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I think the big issue here is one generation stuck to one way, and one generation stuck to the new way. The older generation feels it's wrong because in their time, there was no pitch correction. People who could sing sang and didn't need or make use of this kind of device. Their accustom to that raw and natural sound because that's what they grew up on and probably who influenced their own music. The younger generation has grown up on pitch corrected and auto tuned vocals. Their not going to see the problem the older generation has with this because if anyone from this younger generation is striving to be a musician, they'll have more modern influences... and there's a good chance their modern influences make heavy use of auto tune and pitch correction, live and in the studio. So obviously they are going to try to base their music off that sound and use the pitch correction and auto tune. So in my opinion, some of the older generation is simply "stuck in the old ways" and won't accept the pitch correction and auto almost an industry standard. I'm sure 90% of the music released every day has been run through some sort of pitch correction software before being put out!
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5th February 2013
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Originally Posted by TheLateNight View Post
I think the big issue here is one generation stuck to one way, and one generation stuck to the new way. The older generation feels it's wrong because in their time, there was no pitch correction. People who could sing sang and didn't need or make use of this kind of device. Their accustom to that raw and natural sound because that's what they grew up on and probably who influenced their own music. The younger generation has grown up on pitch corrected and auto tuned vocals. Their not going to see the problem the older generation has with this because if anyone from this younger generation is striving to be a musician, they'll have more modern influences... and there's a good chance their modern influences make heavy use of auto tune and pitch correction, live and in the studio. So obviously they are going to try to base their music off that sound and use the pitch correction and auto tune. So in my opinion, some of the older generation is simply "stuck in the old ways" and won't accept the pitch correction and auto almost an industry standard. I'm sure 90% of the music released every day has been run through some sort of pitch correction software before being put out!
I see your point but... mistakes are part of what makes live music exciting. And, even to some degree the studio. I don't mind tuning a note or two when the rest of the performance is awesome and you don't want to retake and end up with a more in tune, but less exciting performance. But, sometimes I have also found that I turn the effect back off on some of those notes because.. out of tune can really be a good thing. ESPECIALLY in the world of equal temperment. Sometimes we're so in tune we're out of tune.

As for an earlier post...
I like the frets analogy, except that I disagree that it doesn't take skill to play guitar. I assure you that I can play a fretless guitar. But, frets are very necessary for the chord work a guitar player does compared to the more melodic work a violin is primarily used for. It isn't very easy to get triads out of a violin. Double stops are common, triads aren't. Because I need my guitar to function in both the piano realm of rhythmic chordal comping, and in the violin world of melodic single note lines, I need frets for well more than half of anything I'll ever do on the guitar, and so does any other player. Otherwise, Steve Vai would play his fretless guitar a lot more often.

As for frets on the voice, the real cluprit here is that many singers have no clue, no clue whatsoever, how to use their ear, and couldn't audition their way into amateur off Broadway show let alone into Les Mis or a world class Opera. There are pop exceptions. And, I'm not even sure I'm convinced that Beyonce lip synced last night... the ensemble sections were out of tune, and she was often not in time with the music. In any case, she can probably record an album without auto tune, but I would be surprised if she could, as someone like Alicia Keys could very well indeed do, audition into a Broadway musical.

All I know is, thank God that Otis Redding didn't have auto tune when he recorded "Sittin On The Dock Of The Bay." If that performance were in perfect tune from start to finish, it would be a horribly ruined performance. As it is... its one of the finest vocal performances ever put to tape. Imagine Marvin Gaye singing "Whats Goin On" with auto tune... SHUTTER. LOL
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5th February 2013
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Originally Posted by TheLateNight View Post
I think the big issue here is one generation stuck to one way, and one generation stuck to the new way. The older generation feels it's wrong because in their time, there was no pitch correction. People who could sing sang and didn't need or make use of this kind of device. Their accustom to that raw and natural sound because that's what they grew up on and probably who influenced their own music. The younger generation has grown up on pitch corrected and auto tuned vocals. Their not going to see the problem the older generation has with this because if anyone from this younger generation is striving to be a musician, they'll have more modern influences... and there's a good chance their modern influences make heavy use of auto tune and pitch correction, live and in the studio. So obviously they are going to try to base their music off that sound and use the pitch correction and auto tune. So in my opinion, some of the older generation is simply "stuck in the old ways" and won't accept the pitch correction and auto almost an industry standard. I'm sure 90% of the music released every day has been run through some sort of pitch correction software befomusician, they'll have more modern influences... and there's a good chance their modern influences make heavy use of auto tune and pitch correction, live and in the studio. So obviously they are going to try to base their music off that sound and use the pitch correction and auto tune. So in my opinion, some of the older generation is simply "stuck in the old ways" and won't accept the pitch correction and auto almost an re being put out!
I wouldn't consider myself to be a part of the older generation.
Pitch correction became quite common in studios, but you have to understand that the top 10 you hear in most of the media, doesn't represent 90% of music being released and that it unfortunatly isn't the most quality music. It's too often not the music that people like that gets played on the radio, but the radio (other media even more) has a huge influence on what people like, because the majority doesn't search for music, but they simply listen to what you give them, therefore if the majority is listening to auto-tune, it doesn't mean that they like it, they just don't care about the music.
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6th February 2013
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Originally Posted by mesavox View Post
As for an earlier post...
I like the frets analogy, except that I disagree that it doesn't take skill to play guitar.
All I know is, thank God that Otis Redding didn't have auto tune when he recorded "Sittin On The Dock Of The Bay." If that performance were in perfect tune from start to finish, it would be a horribly ruined performance. As it is... its one of the finest vocal performances ever put to tape. Imagine Marvin Gaye singing "Whats Goin On" with auto tune... SHUTTER. LOL
Exactly,I liked the analogy about"frets",however I believe vibrato,when playing single notes,is,or can really tell,a lot about a players feel,and wether,they can play or just kinda can play,also the Otis Redding example,is a very interesting deal,to bring up.

I was under the possibly mistaken impression,that some sort of Auto Tune,has been used Live,with certain performers for years,and wondering which one,they and others have been using,is an interesting question.
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6th February 2013
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Every time that pitch correction comes up and turns into a big battle, part of the problem is that naysayers assume that pitch correction equals heavy massive correction or the T-Pain hard tune effect. There's a huge gray area where you can use softer pitch correction as a slight massage on the voice to smooth it out. It won't make a bad singer sound great, it'll just make a good singer sound better, and can be done without squashing the naturalness of the voice.

Also, it's really hard to maintain super accurate pitch in live environments when you can't hear yourself half the time. Terrible monitoring situations are common, and a touch of help doesn't hurt!

It's like any other effect, you just need to be tasteful about it.

And to answer the OP's question, the TC Helicon Voice Live 2 is awesome. I use it primarily for layering and doubling my voice, not auto-tune, but it's an awesome unit. It pays to have a box meant for specifically for live use. I used to try using my TC Helicon VoiceOne live, and it was an awful exercise in futility.
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Originally Posted by Keithtron View Post
Every time that pitch correction comes up and turns into a big battle, part of the problem is that naysayers assume that pitch correction equals heavy massive correction or the T-Pain hard tune effect. There's a huge gray area where you can use softer pitch correction as a slight massage on the voice to smooth it out. It won't make a bad singer sound great, it'll just make a good singer sound better, and can be done without squashing the naturalness of the voice.

Also, it's really hard to maintain super accurate pitch in live environments when you can't hear yourself half the time. Terrible monitoring situations are common, and a touch of help doesn't hurt!

It's like any other effect, you just need to be tasteful about it.

And to answer the OP's question, the TC Helicon Voice Live 2 is awesome. I use it primarily for layering and doubling my voice, not auto-tune, but it's an awesome unit. It pays to have a box meant for specifically for live use. I used to try using my TC Helicon VoiceOne live, and it was an awful exercise in futility.
No, it certainly won't make a great singer any better, but probably worse, because pitch changes are a part of the performance. I don't know of ANY great singers who would use pitch correction live.
At best it can make a bad singer sound like an OK one.

How can't you understand that (at least performing) music is not that much about being super accurate? This job is for computers.
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No, it certainly won't make a great singer any better, but probably worse, because pitch changes are a part of the performance. I don't know of ANY great singers who would use pitch correction live.
At best it can make a bad singer sound like an OK one.

How can't you understand that (at least performing) music is not that much about being super accurate? This job is for computers.

And why can't you understand that pitch correction doesn't have to be about being super accurate, and that it can be used as a slight massaging of the signal to taste?

I value a good organic performance, and some softly applied pitch massaging doesn't have to be at the expense of it being natural. In fact, the availability of this sort of pitch massaging makes me extra annoyed at singers that straight-up lip sync. Makes copping out at that level extra annoying!
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29th July 2013
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Too bad this site doesn't have moderators who keep threads on topic. I would like to have heard what experienced users of voice correction live pro gear would have said about how the correction sounds between different devices. Oh well, I guess it's more important that the community rides atop its high horse than to have ON TOPIC discussions.
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4th August 2013
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^ Gee, that's what I had in mind as well. Oh well, I've been working with two devices now that have their ups and downs.
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Coming in late on this, so it may already have been mentioned, but it can happen that using pitch correction can cause a significant degradation in the ability to discern pitch, thus making whatever initial problems being addressed actually worse.
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7th August 2013
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^ I've never had that issue as long as you're feeding the singer a good in ear monitor signal. Some prefer to hear the raw vocal in their ear, some the tuned. I personally like hearing a tuned vocal so I can adjust accordingly and know what's getting fed out. I've actually been using two devices in several live set ups recently. One with a band with a semi-ok singer, and one with an awful singer. The pitch correction has helped both significantly. If everything is midi synced, you can have a midi track that the device can follow so matter what the pitch is thats sung, it will be pulled to the correct note. Better make sure the lead vocals timing is pretty spot on though or things get real weird real fast. Without midi, the only issues you face is if the singer is way off on a note, you'll get a perfectly tuned note that's not what it's supposed to be- sometimes it works out if it hits a scale degree that's an adequate replacement for the original, sometimes, not so much.
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OP, good luck on finding a unit that fits your needs. Honestly though, what you might benefit from even more are something every singer needs. Get a good vocal mic for starters. I use a Shure Beta58 & I love it. There are other good ones though for consideration. If you're finding your voice is pitchy, practice & get lessons. An outside opinion is always helpful. Record yourself while you practice. Stand in front of the mirror and check your posture and make sure you're not straining. Most people with pitch trouble are straining. If you're playing with a band, don't let them bury you in the stage mix.
I hope I've been helpful, that is my intent.

The music business is in trouble and autotuned vocals imo, has alot to do with it. Saying that it's art isn't inaccurate. Problem is people with lower talent values are getting the deals. A baby smearing his/her own feces on a wall is an artist.
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15th September 2013
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^ I know my vocals are beyond the point where it'd be wise to invest in vocals lessons for myself; there simply wouldn't be a return on my investment. While I can stay in key very well actually and my intonation is fairly accurate, my technique is horrible and overall the tone of voice is not ideal for lead vocals.

I'm more into doing live sound now and finding ways to make the bands I work with sound better. Sometimes this involves awful singers or some that could use a little help. So unfortunately, because a lot of the people on here are far too old fashioned or big headed to use, or offer help, on what pitch correction devices work well for this, I had to basically do all the research myself and go on the wing. I guess you learn better this way though.
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15th September 2013
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Originally Posted by TheLateNight View Post
unfortunately, because a lot of the people on here are far too old fashioned or big headed to use, or offer help, on what pitch correction devices work well for this, I had to basically do all the research myself and go on the wing.
If you didn't want this thread to devolve into a debate about opinions on whether to use pitch correction, why did you start the thread by offering your opinion defending it? Just say "I don't want to debate whether it should be done, I just want recommendations on gear to do it."

I'm also curious, are the singers you're pitch correcting asking you to do that, or are you deciding on your own that they "need" it? As a performer, I'd be pissed if the sound guy added pitch correction to my vocals without telling me.

As a concertgoer, I go to live shows to see what a band really sounds like, especially on the vocals. I've much more often been impressed by how much better a singer sounds live, but either way, I want to deepen my experience with the band by seeing the difference between a studio recording and a live performance. The more a show sounds exactly like a recording, the less interested I am (unless it's also super SUPER loud, which is its own kind of experience).

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLateNight View Post
^ I know my vocals are beyond the point where it'd be wise to invest in vocals lessons for myself; there simply wouldn't be a return on my investment. While I can stay in key very well actually and my intonation is fairly accurate, my technique is horrible and overall the tone of voice is not ideal for lead vocals.
What kind of vocal lessons are you imagining that don't pay any attention to technique? As for tone, if you don't like it, fine, but since when has there ever been a single "ideal" for lead vocals?
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