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Autotune in live performance
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hollowsea
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#1
22nd December 2003
Old 22nd December 2003
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Thumbs down Autotune in live performance

Hey all,

I've been lurking here on and off for several months and was finally inspired enough to post tonight about something that disturbs me. Yes, that thing is Autotune used on singers in concert.

How many of you can actually "hear Autotune" in a voice? I haven't talked to anyone who hears it the way I do, so I'm curious if any of you hear it the same way. I'll try to explain it the best I can.

It's not just a matter of being on the correct pitch; the voice, through Autotune, actually oscillates at different frequencies and it no longer sounds like a true human voice to me but like some sort of synthetic representation. If it's set to too fast a speed, vibrato is either immediately exaggerated or squashed, the latter of which also sounds like a bizarre shift in oscillation while staying on the same note. If the singer doesn't get close enough to the desired note, the program sets it to the wrong note, so it sounds like the singer hit some odd note right on instead of wavering around the pitch, which also isn't natural sounding. Not to mention that a singer will naturally float around pitches, and when Autotuned they are restricted to singing each pitch exactly on throughout its endurance.

Sorry if this is all elementary, but I really haven't talked to anyone who hears the same oscillation issues that I do. But due to all these issues, Autotune has to be very carefully and manually set so that the voice still sounds as natural as it can. This of course makes it a bit sketchy for use in live performance.

I'm sure use of this is more widespread than I've noticed, but there are a couple shows I've seen where it's so blatant that it scares me that this passes as acceptable nowadays. The first time I heard it was in some of Ruben's later performances on American Idol. He has a wavering, slow vibrato and it suddenly started "clicking" into place rather than smoothly moving up and down.

The absolute worst was a recent ice skating special that featured live performances of Burt Bacharach songs, with singers. Just about everyone had the bad Autotune quality to their voices, even very experienced singers who I would've expected to sound fine without it or at least be respected enough to not have the Autotune lazily slapped on. I didn't see the entire show, but out of about 6 different singers that I did see, the only one who didn't sound Autotuned was Ronald Isley. His voice sounded natural. The other singers sounded like computers. I'm curious as to whether there was just a blanket usage of Autotune and singers had to request that it not be used, or if they really thought it was necessary on those particular singers.

Enough rambling. And if this has already been discussed into the ground here, would someone be kind enough to link me to the thread? I looked for some talk about it but didn't find much. I'm interested to read your thoughts about this.
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22nd December 2003
Old 22nd December 2003
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I hate this more than almost anything. I think it should be a law that to use autotune, you are required to have a licence, based on your ability to sing without it.

I believe that Autotune and beat detective and all of these things that digital has brought to recording is killing the art of good musicianship and if we do not do something to change this, then the next generation of music will have nothing to offer.

I also feel that the only way this is ever going to happen is changing the model of the music business. see this thread for further discussion: http://gearslutz.com/board/showthrea...&threadid=9313
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22nd December 2003
Old 22nd December 2003
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Yep, I think it was used heavily on the final show of the UK Pop Idol last weekend...

The winner sounded like she was a 'computer'!

Not good.



But the winner was clinically obease! This "grossed out" most of the judges and was a good slap in the face for the star creators. The winner wasnt a person that fitted into their model, she is extremely fat.

Serves them all right!

Throughout the competition the judges perverted the course of events by bringing back contestants that the public voted off cause they could see things going in a direction they didn't want to be part of..

One judge stormed off stage in fury when the winner was revealed saying he didnt understand the pop business any more! Perte Waterman, SHUT THE DOOR BEHIND YOU WILL YA?!

fuuck

OK, so I lost £20 on my bets, but I am not bitter!
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22nd December 2003
Old 22nd December 2003
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Ruben, the winner of the second American Idol (well, one of the winners, anyway) was also obese, but the judges were fully supportive of him the entire time to the point where I got the feeling they were going to make him win no matter what. Hence the Autotune and very biased judging.
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27th December 2003
Old 27th December 2003
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Angry

This is getting ridiculous. Autotune was used on the singers at the KENNEDY CENTER HONORS! What the heck is going on? Doesn't anyone realize it makes them sound awful? For God's sake, most of those singers don't need Autotune at all, live or in the studio, and especially not when it makes their voices sound worse!

What is the point of using it for these performances? Is it used as a safeguard or are people throwing it on because they think all singers are better with Autotune? Either way, whoever's in charge of engineering/mixing a live performance needs to realize that Autotune badly disfigures the voice and vocal delivery, particularly when it can't be tailored to each performance, as it obviously wasn't on this show.

I personally think an Autotuned live performance is just as bad as a lip-synched performance. And are the singers at these things in favor of having their performances so severely mutated?

Does anyone here have any opinion on this?
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27th December 2003
Old 27th December 2003
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
Yep, I think it was used heavily on the final show of the UK Pop Idol last weekend...

The winner sounded like she was a 'computer'!

Not good.



But the winner was clinically obease! This "grossed out" most of the judges and was a good slap in the face for the star creators. The winner wasnt a person that fitted into their model, she is extremely fat.

Serves them all right!

Throughout the competition the judges perverted the course of events by bringing back contestants that the public voted off cause they could see things going in a direction they didn't want to be part of..

One judge stormed off stage in fury when the winner was revealed saying he didnt understand the pop business any more! Perte Waterman, SHUT THE DOOR BEHIND YOU WILL YA?!

fuuck

OK, so I lost £20 on my bets, but I am not bitter!
Maybe I'm a cynic, but I think that they "set her up" to win! No one can accuse them of picking the thin pretty one. They all passed comments about "what a great singer" she was. I find this even more cynical than just picking yet another pretty, non-descipt, average vocalist. Indeed in spite of what they judges spent all their time telling the audience, IMHO her voice was far from special. Her tunning was average, no real emotion in the performances and no great tonal quality to her sound. In some way's I feel sorry for all those that take part in the show, however it is their choice.

Pop idols is another "goon show" alla Big Brother and Temptation Island. We all seem to be morbidly obsessed with this sort of entertainment at the moment, perhaps it is a sad reflection on modern society. Idols like all the other shows is not about the people who star in it, but the people who make the money from selling it. Ask yourself this. If they had picked another Will Young style singer, would it have attracted the same ratings?

Happy holidays to one and all!

Regards


Roland

P.S. I know the above is off topic, sorry for that, re Autotune, what I think is sad these days are the number of kids on show's like Pop Idols that when they are singing live, imitate the portmento effect that they are used to hearing on records treated with Autotune! Is this Art imitating life????
#7
28th December 2003
Old 28th December 2003
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Quote:
Originally posted by Roland
Maybe I'm a cynic, but I think that they "set her up" to win! No one can accuse them of picking the thin pretty one. They all passed comments about "what a great singer" she was. I find this even more cynical than just picking yet another pretty, non-descipt, average vocalist. Indeed in spite of what they judges spent all their time telling the audience, IMHO her voice was far from special. Her tunning was average, no real emotion in the performances and no great tonal quality to her sound. In some way's I feel sorry for all those that take part in the show, however it is their choice.

Pop idols is another "goon show" alla Big Brother and Temptation Island. We all seem to be morbidly obsessed with this sort of entertainment at the moment, perhaps it is a sad reflection on modern society. Idols like all the other shows is not about the people who star in it, but the people who make the money from selling it. Ask yourself this. If they had picked another Will Young style singer, would it have attracted the same ratings?

Happy holidays to one and all!

Regards


Roland

P.S. I know the above is off topic, sorry for that, re Autotune, what I think is sad these days are the number of kids on show's like Pop Idols that when they are singing live, imitate the portmento effect that they are used to hearing on records treated with Autotune! Is this Art imitating life????
I like so totally agree with you Roland, especially the "PS" statement. An extremely astute and wise observation. That is EXACTLY what most of the young singers are doing. Emulating autotune ITSELF! Fukkin A. I wish that fact can be shoved up the industry's ass. ---Lee
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28th December 2003
Old 28th December 2003
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LeAnne rhymes had it on her voice at the Super Bowl.
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31st December 2003
Old 31st December 2003
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Quote:
Originally posted by Roland


P.S. I know the above is off topic, sorry for that, re Autotune, what I think is sad these days are the number of kids on show's like Pop Idols that when they are singing live, imitate the portmento effect that they are used to hearing on records treated with Autotune! Is this Art imitating life????
Had a friend tell me that he was working on a record with a new band and brought them in to listen to the first mix. They said the vocals didn't sound right. He popped Autotune on the lead vocal and they all said "That's it!!!"

We were used to good singing. Kids today are getting used to "tuned" vocals...
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2nd January 2004
Old 2nd January 2004
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Just wait til a robot controlled by a telepathic monkey wins the World Idol. David
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27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
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Well, three years later, the Kennedy Center Honors are still tuning their performers as horribly as ever. Is anyone still upset about this or am I the only one majorly annoyed when I tune in to hear a great live performance and instead hear autotune? I watch the show every year because they have some excellent performers, but hearing famous and talented Broadway and pop singers tuned like that makes me want to cry.
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27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
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Autotune was created by the devil himself.
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27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules View Post
Yep, I think it was used heavily on the final show of the UK Pop Idol last weekend...

The winner sounded like she was a 'computer'!

Not good.



But the winner was clinically obease! This "grossed out" most of the judges and was a good slap in the face for the star creators. The winner wasnt a person that fitted into their model, she is extremely fat.

Serves them all right!

Throughout the competition the judges perverted the course of events by bringing back contestants that the public voted off cause they could see things going in a direction they didn't want to be part of..

One judge stormed off stage in fury when the winner was revealed saying he didnt understand the pop business any more! Perte Waterman, SHUT THE DOOR BEHIND YOU WILL YA?!

fuuck

OK, so I lost £20 on my bets, but I am not bitter!
Same thing happend in Australia 2 years ago. I love that the judge stormed off stage.
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27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Autotune was created by the devil himself.
pitch correction is just an effect box like reverb or delay. a great singer to me has soul. no plug can give you that, fortunatley it's not possible yet. the day someone invents a soul machine, i'm hanging my guitar and calling it quits.

I never used autotune by the way.. maybe i need it, I don't care to know... I would feel insulted if someone would compliment my " good pitch " screw that.

Good pitch is for wussies : ) happy new year!!
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27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
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I once produced a singer who sounded like she was 'on AutoTune' when it was just straight from mic>micpre>comp>PT.

FWIW, it was pretty amazing to see that happen! I first thought my assistant had accidently opened AT and the singer was singing thru that.. but no. nothing. no plugins open.

Her pitch was good but the thing that was really driving me crazy was the 'sliding' of notes a la AutoTune!

I think it's the new generation of singers that are 'emulating' what they hear on the radio.

And yes, I did use AutoTune on her vocals to 'UNTUNE' some of the stuff to give it some life...!
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27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
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About 6 or 7 years back, my friend was doing sound at a dirty little rock club in upstate NY. Warren Zevon was the "big" headlining act. He was such an asshole to everbody. He had typical shit in his contract that said employees of the club could not look him in the eye, or speak directly to him. So anyway, in the middle of him bitching at my friend about why the club's "stuff" wouldn't work with his "stuff" - Warren opened one of his rack's and his Antares Auto-tune unit fell out and smashed to the ground! Needless to say, "Werewolves of London" was a bit off that night.
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27th December 2006
Old 27th December 2006
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To clarify, I don't actually hate Autotune. I hate misguided applications of it. When hearing it applied to live performances in a "set it and forget it" type of way, it sounds horrible. I mean come on - the Kennedy Center Honors are not live; certainly they could've taken the time to only fix up notes that needed to be fixed, if they were going to do that at all. The performances instead were destroyed by putting it on a fast, strict setting that didn't allow for any artistry and made notes bizarrely click into place. I've heard Alison Krauss, Cee-Lo, and India Arie sing live plenty of times to know that they sound great without that kind of processing, and they sounded worse with it. And you know something's really wrong when they're putting it on Broadway and opera singers. tutt
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27th December 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Tyler View Post
I like so totally agree with you Roland, especially the "PS" statement. An extremely astute and wise observation. That is EXACTLY what most of the young singers are doing. Emulating autotune ITSELF! Fukkin A. I wish that fact can be shoved up the industry's ass. ---Lee
Woah - that is postmodern! Jean Baudrillard and all that sh-t! I think Daft Punk did a cool and arty "comment" on modern pop music with the Discovery album. Wicked auto-tune use on that one.
#19
8th July 2008
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Auto Tune

I would like to apologize to those posting about auto tune previously. However, you must understand that the guitar is my main instrument. I have taken up singing sort of as a fill in with my band until we find someone that can actually sing. My question is where do I get this so called auto tune for use during a live performance?
#20
9th July 2008
Old 9th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamespurdy2 View Post
I would like to apologize to those posting about auto tune previously. However, you must understand that the guitar is my main instrument. I have taken up singing sort of as a fill in with my band until we find someone that can actually sing. My question is where do I get this so called auto tune for use during a live performance?
It's called "practice" and "voice lessons"...

AutoTune used live is wonky at best...

Pitch shifting leakage?

That's nasty stuff...

As it moves the singers notes around it's also grabbing the cymbals and taking them & everything else like guitars along for the ride... got horns? That gets really ugly...

Anyway, if you really need to buy into that Antares makes a rack box... TC makes a little footpedal multi-FX for singers with tuning built-in... there's some options out there.
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10th July 2008
Old 10th July 2008
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What a suckfest.

Makes me think that having "backing tracks" for live performances isn't so bad after all. I'm having a hard time dealing with that thought popping into my head.

Ughh
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10th July 2008
Old 10th July 2008
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sorry to to the only a,,hole here but, i like autotune..
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10th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkman2 View Post
sorry to to the only a,,hole here but, i like autotune..

Why?


Regards



Roland
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10th July 2008
Old 10th July 2008
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Hey, what did the "ProTools" engineer say to the singer?












Sounds, like crap, come on in!
#25
6th November 2008
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Here's an idea for a sensible use of auto-tune... give the vocalist two channels, channel 1 without auto-tune, and 2 with it. 1 goes through front-of-house, and to all other musicians' monitors. Your vocalist gets a mix of 1 and 2 in their (in-ear) monitor. That way, they can really hear when they're singing out of tune, correct it, and their vocals will sound better. Don't set it too harshly or it'll distract them, and make sure they get some time to practise with it set like this. Above all, make sure your vocalist is comfortable with settings... reduce the auto-tune, and the level of 2 in their monitor until they are.

And I don't entirely agree with the thing about people copying "AT's portmento". Jumping straight from one note to another is something that sounds really good when it's done naturally, and it takes great skill. And AT didn't invent that sound. It's a very traditional vocal style... music from the middle-east comes to mind, but I expect it's been used elsewhere too.
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7th November 2008
Old 7th November 2008
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No offense intended... but if you've tried this it's a bad idea that doesn't work well, if at all.

I've certainly split signals coming off the multi-track in a recording environment, one straight and one through Otto... and if both are selected & audible at the same time there's a comb filter from the processing delay.

I can't imagine sending that to a vocalist...

Not only that, but generally I've found that sending the "live" Otto Toon signal to the vocalist, at least good vocalists... really screws them up. They fight it to a degree...

Sending a straight and the processed to the artist at the same time... oh man... I can't imagine that.

If the singer needs to practice hitting a note there's plenty of other ways to do that... like signing to a chromatic tuner or piano.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanMac View Post
Here's an idea for a sensible use of auto-tune... give the vocalist two channels, channel 1 without auto-tune, and 2 with it. 1 goes through front-of-house, and to all other musicians' monitors. Your vocalist gets a mix of 1 and 2 in their (in-ear) monitor. That way, they can really hear when they're singing out of tune, correct it, and their vocals will sound better. Don't set it too harshly or it'll distract them, and make sure they get some time to practise with it set like this. Above all, make sure your vocalist is comfortable with settings... reduce the auto-tune, and the level of 2 in their monitor until they are.
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7th November 2008
Old 7th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkman2 View Post
sorry to to the only a,,hole here but, i like autotune..
You need to know more real singers then. Seriously, get out there and meet some.

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7th November 2008
Old 7th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kahrs View Post
............
If the singer needs to practice hitting a note there's plenty of other ways to do that... like signing to a chromatic tuner or piano.
O MY GOODNESS YES.

If you're a singer and anyone has mentioned pitch to you, you need to be able to find your notes on the piano, and nail them. C'mon man! Act like a pro
#29
9th February 2009
Old 9th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamespurdy2 View Post
I would like to apologize to those posting about auto tune previously. However, you must understand that the guitar is my main instrument. I have taken up singing sort of as a fill in with my band until we find someone that can actually sing. My question is where do I get this so called auto tune for use during a live performance?
You could Bring your laptop and run it thru your DAW and just use the Auto tune plugin? I'm pretty sure that's what Hellogoodbye does on songs where they want the pitch quantization effect.
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25th April 2009
Old 25th April 2009
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wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by DigiGeek View Post
I hate this more than almost anything. I think it should be a law that to use autotune, you are required to have a licence, based on your ability to sing without it.

I believe that Autotune and beat detective and all of these things that digital has brought to recording is killing the art of good musicianship and if we do not do something to change this, then the next generation of music will have nothing to offer.

I also feel that the only way this is ever going to happen is changing the model of the music business. see this thread for further discussion: http://gearslutz.com/board/showthrea...&threadid=9313


That died a long time ago, dude. Where have you been? Progressives are very scarce in this day and age..
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