Is vocal comping as bad as auto tuning?
Old 26th July 2005
  #1
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Is vocal comping as bad as auto tuning?

Been thinking about this for a few days now. Any thoughts?
Old 26th July 2005
  #2
pan
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If you break it down to syllables and you have to comp from 50 takes to make it happen it IS for shure!
Old 26th July 2005
  #3
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Hell no!

vocal comping can be used as an effect or to make something more powerful or thicker.


Is reverb/chorus as bad as auto tune????


Jason
Old 26th July 2005
  #4
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As long as it sounds natural, its fine. Auto tune sucks because it sounds like shit.

Editing can make a couple good performances sound like a great one.

Old 26th July 2005
  #5
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Just me....

Comping is a singer that can get it but is having a hard time. Auto tune is a singer that can't get it at all.

I hear that Miles used to punch 1 note in a 16th note solo line, almost the same thing right?? That does not make it right or wrong but I do know that this was an example of a performer that could get it but was looking for that one performance to take the piece over the edge.
Old 26th July 2005
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdog
As long as it sounds natural, its fine. Auto tune sucks because it sounds like shit.

Editing can make a couple good performances sound like a great one.

But what about the guys who can nail it in one (or two) takes? Surely then they need extra plaudits and credit.
Is it like someone who claims to be a guitar player but needs his solo to be comped?
Old 26th July 2005
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new
I hear that Miles used to punch 1 note in a 16th note solo line, almost the same thing right??
I think that's probably cause he knew he could so got lazy.....
Old 26th July 2005
  #8
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i read a great interview with frank sinatra at one point a couple of years ago, i don't remember where, but he was trying to explain a concept he had about breaths,
and he spoke about it in the same way that you're speaking about comps
his question was how many syllables or beats he could get out with one breath,
explaining to the interviewer, that if its one breath, then it is more of a whole
piece of a vibration................

i guess if it sounds good....................

i have days where i make singers do whole takes and only let them keep one.......
some days i let them keep 3...................

be well

- jack
Old 26th July 2005
  #9
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if the one & only take is great , lets keep it an we´re in heaven

if not ... ?

you either comp the vox or you tell the singer to go home & practice ( which usually is not a good idea ... trouble ! )

Old 26th July 2005
  #10
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I think if you have to comp more than two takes then it is equally as bad. I hate Auto Tune (even though I use it.) It sounds so artificial and crappy. But it's better than an out of tune vocal. I've litteraly comped a vocal take WORD for WORD and Auto Tuned it and it still sounded like crap. Why is it that the worst singers have the most budget? I guarantee you if I tell a singer to go home and practice they won't come back. Oh well, they all can't be Frank Sinatra. By the way, didn't he record only one take and that was it?
Old 26th July 2005
  #11
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i think he was known for being quick, but there were some occasions where there
were several takes - others will know more about this than me, but i think for
a certain period when sound on sound recording was first invented - overdubs
were not permitted by the musician's union - if the singer was going to do
another hour, why shouldn't the band go into overtime?

- jack
Old 26th July 2005
  #12
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if you HAVE to use auto tune, use melodyne, it's far easier to come up with superior results with the latter.

of course, in defense of auto-tune, it can produce exceptional results as well, but you gotta earn it, because a fraction either way and it sounds bad.

people think auto tune is obvious because you can hear it all over the pop world. but the truth is, there are just as many times when you're *not* hearing it even though it's there. it was just done by someone who gets that tool.

comping numbs my brain. at most, i'll pull whole sections from one take and put them into another, but when it's an option the organic quality of using a single take is a beautiful thing. as a singer i always do my best to make that an option. as people have noted, practice is the key.


gregoire
del ubik
Old 26th July 2005
  #13
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Maybe it's all cheating
Mutitracking, overdubing, pre-producion, stereo, surround sound, using more than one microphone, using outboard pre's/eq's/comps. Hell digital reverbs and delays are not the real thing!
Remember when they freaked out at Dylan when he used and electric guitar!
It's all an evolution get used to it.
Old 26th July 2005
  #14
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Hmmmm...in Ye Olde Days, we called "comping" "punch-ins". Standard fare.

But, there wasn't an undo, either....

Bri
Old 26th July 2005
  #15
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I almost always comp vocals. But, I get there by doing FULL takes. By that I mean ALWAYS having the singer sing the song from beginning to end. I don't like to do punch ins.

This is not "cheating" like autotune because its still a performance, or, editing together multiple performances where as autotune is just manipulating the performance.

Very different things to me...
Old 26th July 2005
  #16
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I use to think punching-in was a form of cheating. Comping is the same thing to me (up to a point). -----excluding artistic production techniques.

But when I thought that (oh, about 16 years ago), they didn't have auto-tune.

Oh how I yearn for those days again.

Then again, a good 24 trk 2" was $50,000.

Hmmm.

I guess I should be careful what I yearn for.



Fleaman
Old 26th July 2005
  #17
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How do you guys track vocals? I have a few different methods. If it's a good singer I like to let them sing from beginning to end. Do a few tracks of that and then comp. If it's a lousy singer then I usually take it section by section. Like verse by verse, chorus by chorus. You don't get the same feel as you do with a whole take, but it's easier for the vocalist to focus on a small part rather than a whole song. I've never had to punch-in phrase by phrase or word by word. If I had to do that I think I rather just kill myself. Or better yet, tell the client "It sounds great" and then just autotune the sh*t out of it. Does anyone have any different methods?
Old 26th July 2005
  #18
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I normally comp to one take that is pretty much on the money

I have had to do the sylabul thing where a client is far less than stellar! drives me nuts to say the least.
Old 26th July 2005
  #19
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the amount of comping is totally dependent on the project/artist. I've spent blocks of 19 hours comping the living shit outta a load of awesome takes...cos the artist wanted it that way. This was syllable by syllable and every piece of articulation/breath etc.....
That was wrong..but it was also exactly right for how the artist wanted to sound, they could hear all the differences and it kinda makes up the sound they are known for. I dont like that sound personally, but hey, it's their party

If its something I'm producing, I love to just get one, first, keeper take and then patch it from maybe one other take if theres a major problem somewhere. The reality is that there are hardly any singers who can do that, so I usually try to get three good takes and if it isnt happening by then, take a break and maybe return to the vocal the next day..You know its gonna be a mission if after three takes you haven't got anything... I try to avoid loop recording as much as possible as I would rather fix a performance, than try and create one from disjointed sections. If the singer is really poor and theres no hope of a performance or anything really cool even with the best vibes and encouragement, then its time to break out auto-tune or melodyne, hacking and slicing, ghost singers and finally spending a goodly while in comp-city.
Old 26th July 2005
  #20
pan
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I usually go through the song as a whole a few times. If the singer has not nailed it already, usually do the chorus(ses) next and then work out the verses.

If the singer has a consistent groove/feel, I usually mark the second/third best bits to go as doubletracks (if needed of course)

There's nothing inferior to a singer doubling a line he/she never got right in the first place

<br>
Old 26th July 2005
  #21
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I like to do full takes then get the best bits off playlists.
A lot of singers I work with like to do all the verses or chorus only. Then move on to bridges etc.
A few like to do lines only so if 4 lines in the chorus one at a time. Or every second one so it give thems more time to breathe.
A few like only a line at a time.
Personally I hear the cut ups more if they do lines or a couple of words at a time.
I also try to get singers to sing into the drop in.
A lot do not want to.

It's not as bad as auto-tuning.
Although normally guys you comp a lot for you autotune as well
Old 26th July 2005
  #22
pan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davemc
Although normally guys you comp a lot for you autotune as well
nahh....
Old 26th July 2005
  #23
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And how many times does the guide vocal have a better vibe (albeit not always bang on tune) than the comped one....
Old 26th July 2005
  #24
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I think comp-ing is totally fine and fair...
but, the main thing I try to do is do entire takes of the song... that way I can try and maintain the emotional arc of the song.
However, if there is a section that still seems to be out, I'm not above comping just that section.
However, the less crazy comping that is done, the more natural (read: believable) it usually sounds.

Cheers... back to the comp.
-CJ
Old 26th July 2005
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chimpleton
But what about the guys who can nail it in one (or two) takes? Surely then they need extra plaudits and credit.
Is it like someone who claims to be a guitar player but needs his solo to be comped?

I suppose, but it seems that with recording, what really matters is the final result no matter how it was achieved.
Old 26th July 2005
  #26
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No set method overhere. Every singer is different. Some do full takes, some do verse/chorus... Mostly though I do 2-4 takes and use the best one and replace/retrack some parts that can be better.
After that I have no problem doing a little autotune. If it is sung good enough, in a couple of minutes we have the tuning fixed and it is inaudible with most singers after that...
It's more of a safety net and by showing inexperienced singers early on what can be done with autotune, they relax a little bit on the "in tune singing" and lets them focus on there performance.

Nothing worse than a singer that is completely stressed about nothing else than pitch .

Greetings,
Dirk
Old 26th July 2005
  #27
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Billster's Avatar
 

IMO nothing´s wrong with comping. As long as the endresults sounds natural where´s the problem ? Of course it´s always better to have someone sing it, who only needs three takes. Last week I had a rapper in my studio, who recorded the whole song including doubles, BIG chorus, adlips etc. in 40 minutes (soundcheck also included). Now this was a real delight !

Cheers,
Bill
Old 26th July 2005
  #28
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My job as an engineer is to help create the best product I can within the limits of my talent, the tools available, the talent and money available to pay for my time!!!

Yeah, I can take the "high road" and say that it is "not really him/her singing", but who cares??? I am doing a job, and getting paid to do it. I am not going to get on my moral high-horse and refuse on moral grounds.

I use Auto-tune, Melodyne, Drumagog (sample replacement), I line up out of time drum hits and bass notes, I EQ crappy-sounding guitars (although we try to get them right at the source first)...and I COMP VOCALS!!!

Whatever it takes to give the client what they are looking for.
Old 26th July 2005
  #29
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I often comp vocals, and other times, I Autotune them. I first go for the overall performance, oftentimes comping my way to get there. Then, if I hear any real(and I mean serious) pitch problems in that comped vocal, I'll draw it in Autotune. That way, it doesn't sound crappy like Autotune usually does, and I'm not suffering from a great verse but crappy chorus, etc. Anything that makes the final product sound better.
Old 26th July 2005
  #30
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I just think you have to be careful how much you edit. I hate records that sound "Pro Tooled". Espescialy in rock. You can hear how much editing is done in records by Linkin Park, Disturbed, etc. It sounds stale and artificial. It will never have the warmth of a classic Aerosmith or AC/DC record.

That being said I understand that we work for clients and we have to do what pleases them. I just wish we could go back to the days when artist were artists.
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