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in_rainbows
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#1
14th February 2012
Old 14th February 2012
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If my band walks into a studio today...

Will the producers sneak in Autotune and/or Drumagog? I've heard a lot of bands that have Autotune on their records that really don't need it. The "human element" of music is slipping away and I hate it. I am just wondering since producers on this website have put it in without telling the musician(s).

Also, in regard to major record companies (like Warner Bros/Sony BMG), can the record companies add Autotune/Drumagog without your consent? Does this have to do with creative control in the contract or something?

Sorry if this a silly question or something, but thanks.
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14th February 2012
Old 14th February 2012
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I haven't used Autotune on an artist in over a year. I'm getting more selective about who I work with. If they can't do it they should have to live with it. I haven't had someone ask me to tune them for a long time.

That said, of course the engineer could do it without telling you. Obviously you need to find someone you trust, someone on the same wavelength, and you need to do your job as an artist and give him something that doesn't need tuning.
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14th February 2012
Old 14th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_rainbows View Post
Will the producers sneak in Autotune and/or Drumagog? I've heard a lot of bands that have Autotune on their records that really don't need it. The "human element" of music is slipping away and I hate it. I am just wondering since producers on this website have put it in without telling the musician(s).

Also, in regard to major record companies (like Warner Bros/Sony BMG), can the record companies add Autotune/Drumagog without your consent? Does this have to do with creative control in the contract or something?

Sorry if this a silly question or something, but thanks.
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#4
16th February 2012
Old 16th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_rainbows View Post
Will the producers sneak in Autotune and/or Drumagog? I've heard a lot of bands that have Autotune on their records that really don't need it. The "human element" of music is slipping away and I hate it. I am just wondering since producers on this website have put it in without telling the musician(s).
Depends on what you want to sound like, and who's doing it.

If you go in saying you want to sound like the strokes, then any producer worth their salt won't.

If you want to sound like My chemical romance, then you'll be disappointed unless they do - because the sound of that pop-metal is autotune, beat detective and drum samples.

Quote:
Originally Posted by in_rainbows View Post
Also, in regard to major record companies (like Warner Bros/Sony BMG), can the record companies add Autotune/Drumagog without your consent? Does this have to do with creative control in the contract or something?
They're paying for the record. They can do what they want. That's why many indie artists self-produce, then license.

again, if the band is pitching you as a pop/mainstream band, autotune/drum tightening is necessary to give you a competitively modern sound. It's nothing personal about how good or bad a band you are. It's like retouching photos in a glossy mag.
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#5
19th February 2012
Old 19th February 2012
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The human element isn't slipping away from all music though, it's just an integral part of commercial poppy stuff, where it "compliments" the sound and makes it even more commercial. The human element can't disappear from bands which are self-producing.
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19th February 2012
Old 19th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beat Poet View Post
The human element can't disappear from bands which are self-producing.
Took me half a second to think of bands who are "self-producing" and just quantising and autotuning like crazy, because they haven't got someone to go "no, I really think this could be better, you're selling yourselves short by going down this path". Bands I produce I try to talk out of any of that autotune/quantise nonsense. In fact these days I'm often opting for tracking the beds live, and if possible, with live vocal. CRAZY!

So don't overvalue "self-producing". And don't think that all producers are hit hungry monsters who can't enjoy great art.
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20th February 2012
Old 20th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTStudios View Post
Took me half a second to think of bands who are "self-producing" and just quantising and autotuning like crazy, because they haven't got someone to go "no, I really think this could be better, you're selling yourselves short by going down this path". Bands I produce I try to talk out of any of that autotune/quantise nonsense. In fact these days I'm often opting for tracking the beds live, and if possible, with live vocal. CRAZY!

So don't overvalue "self-producing". And don't think that all producers are hit hungry monsters who can't enjoy great art.
That surely depends on what sort of sounds the bands you're producing are going for though, doesn't it? Not a blanket rule for everyone....though if you're doing "live" sounding bands wo can play and sing, surely only a fool would start editing like crazy.....?
#8
20th February 2012
Old 20th February 2012
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You'd think so, but some people who can play still want to quantise because the grid lines tell them it's wrong!
#9
20th February 2012
Old 20th February 2012
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I never Autotune vocals. Actually, I did it once to save a take, but it was just corrective, not overdone and stupid sounding.

But if your drummer shows up with bad sounding drums and/or can't play correctly, you're gonna have sample replaced drums. Why? Because your drummers crappy drumset and inability to produce quality sounds from it are not going to reflect poorly on my studio.
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20th February 2012
Old 20th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTStudios View Post
You'd think so, but some people who can play still want to quantise because the grid lines tell them it's wrong!
Hmm...and some producers do it as a matter of course too!

Fools both of them!
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7th March 2012
Old 7th March 2012
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It's a bit of a double edged sword...

The client is paying. The client wants his work to reflect his artistic intentions.

The recording is my work too. I want it to reflect my capabilities and am not against using the tools at my disposal to make the music reflect that.

Sometimes the client needs to be saved from himself. Or at least pick the right guy for the project. Sometimes (read, often times) I am not the right guy for the project and I have no problem saying so. I want my work to sound good to MY ears (the ears they're paying for) and they want the work to sound good to THEIR ears. When a client says natural sounding, I approximate what that might mean to them by asking for an example because we all know just how natural a amp sounds like when you put your ear an inch from it (goes for everything else). A recording is not a natural thing but to some people natural is just not using pitch correction, drum replacement/enhancement, or beat detective. When this comes up I usually tell them that recorded music is a construct. It can be almost whatever you want except natural. Some people say electric guitars aren't natural, some people after too much Starbucks and David Suzuki think having things natural is very important (except for the TV, and the elaborate console that makes their 5$ coffee).

When I replace drums I go the Tom Lord Alge route and take an actual sample from the kit. I record these samples at various stages throughout sessions for an album, new heads, worn heads etc. Sometimes I use the samples for EQ, sends or bringing out different elements of the drum I couldn't without bring up bleed or ruining the dynamics. It's still the sound of the kit in the room and the sound is still cohesive unlike the disjointed mess of dropping random samples in.

Singers are a strange bunch, vocals aren't as black and white as a lot of the other instruments and there is a lot more to a great vocal than just pitch. Timing, dynamic and articulation are all equally if not more important than the pitch. Sometimes it's better to have these spot on and fix the odd note here or there. If you're worried about the sometimes unwanted effects say so. Sometimes it's nice to have the option of taking a performance that has more intensity and fixing the pitch then taking the pitch perfect one that falls flat emotionally.

I usually lay my thoughts and philosophies on the matter out prior to conflicting with an artist's view. They're the artist and their view is important but if it differs from mine then you need to find a guy to work with that is going to support that view cause I am not that guy. I'm not a music factory and am unwilling to go against what I think sounds good for the sake of the client. Some people will, good for them. Does it mean I'm going to use pitch correction on everything and replace drums on every project? No. I will use my ears to determine whether it's a suitable choice but it does mean that I will use them if I think it's necessary. If you're project would sound better with samples/correction to your ears (whatever better means to you) why wouldn't you go that route? Not saying it would necessarily, but if it did? Would you think your music has more integrity because you decided not to use a tool that made it sound better to your ears? I'd think the project lacked integrity for failing to make it sound the best you could given the tools you have. If it sounds good it is good. Whatever that may be to you, that's the goal. NOTHING else matters. Let the old cranks say whatever they want about integrity.
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7th March 2012
Old 7th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanvoth View Post
It's a bit of a double edged sword...

The client is paying. The client wants his work to reflect his artistic intentions.

The recording is my work too. I want it to reflect my capabilities and am not against using the tools at my disposal to make the music reflect that.

Sometimes the client needs to be saved from himself. Or at least pick the right guy for the project. Sometimes (read, often times) I am not the right guy for the project and I have no problem saying so. I want my work to sound good to MY ears (the ears they're paying for) and they want the work to sound good to THEIR ears. When a client says natural sounding, I approximate what that might mean to them by asking for an example because we all know just how natural a amp sounds like when you put your ear an inch from it (goes for everything else). A recording is not a natural thing but to some people natural is just not using pitch correction, drum replacement/enhancement, or beat detective. When this comes up I usually tell them that recorded music is a construct. It can be almost whatever you want except natural. Some people say electric guitars aren't natural, some people after too much Starbucks and David Suzuki think having things natural is very important (except for the TV, and the elaborate console that makes their 5$ coffee).

When I replace drums I go the Tom Lord Alge route and take an actual sample from the kit. I record these samples at various stages throughout sessions for an album, new heads, worn heads etc. Sometimes I use the samples for EQ, sends or bringing out different elements of the drum I couldn't without bring up bleed or ruining the dynamics. It's still the sound of the kit in the room and the sound is still cohesive unlike the disjointed mess of dropping random samples in.

Singers are a strange bunch, vocals aren't as black and white as a lot of the other instruments and there is a lot more to a great vocal than just pitch. Timing, dynamic and articulation are all equally if not more important than the pitch. Sometimes it's better to have these spot on and fix the odd note here or there. If you're worried about the sometimes unwanted effects say so. Sometimes it's nice to have the option of taking a performance that has more intensity and fixing the pitch then taking the pitch perfect one that falls flat emotionally.

I usually lay my thoughts and philosophies on the matter out prior to conflicting with an artist's view. They're the artist and their view is important but if it differs from mine then you need to find a guy to work with that is going to support that view cause I am not that guy. I'm not a music factory and am unwilling to go against what I think sounds good for the sake of the client. Some people will, good for them. Does it mean I'm going to use pitch correction on everything and replace drums on every project? No. I will use my ears to determine whether it's a suitable choice but it does mean that I will use them if I think it's necessary. If you're project would sound better with samples/correction to your ears (whatever better means to you) why wouldn't you go that route? Not saying it would necessarily, but if it did? Would you think your music has more integrity because you decided not to use a tool that made it sound better to your ears? I'd think the project lacked integrity for failing to make it sound the best you could given the tools you have. If it sounds good it is good. Whatever that may be to you, that's the goal. NOTHING else matters. Let the old cranks say whatever they want about integrity.
I won't be calling anytime soon....Just because you don't understand the clients vision doesn't mean you get to change it. Perfection is not always the point and better is is not a quantifiable term when it comes to artistic matters

On one hand you say "If it sounds good it is good. Whatever that may be to you, that's the goal."

But clearly that's not the case:

" I'm not a music factory and am unwilling to go against what I think sounds good for the sake of the client. "

"I will use my ears to determine whether it's a suitable choice but it does mean that I will use them if I think it's necessary. "

As the client I wouldn't and don't give a damn what my recording means to your reputation. I am paying the bill. If you want to decline the work up front then fine. I will go elsewhere. Once you take my money though I call the shots. Clients are not necessarily hiring your ears. They are hiring you to help them achieve their goals, not yours.
#13
7th March 2012
Old 7th March 2012
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I would say they're hiring you for your judgement too. That you'd let them know if you don't think the decision they're making will be an effective one or really achieve what they want.

I'd agree that once you're on board it's your job to ultimately give them the product they want.

I also try to avoid clients I know will ask me to do things I don't want to do, because my customer service/work/etc will go down hill. I just can't as seriously get involved in a project with a vocalist asking me to turn them into T-Pain. No.

If you're hating their work and putting on a grin either you're not working to your normal standard or your standards are pretty low anyway. Either way you're doing them an injustice and shouldn't be taking their time or money.
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7th March 2012
Old 7th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTStudios View Post
I would say they're hiring you for your judgement too. That you'd let them know if you don't think the decision they're making will be an effective one or really achieve what they want.
That's true, but if they ultimately opt to go another direction that is their choice as the people paying the bill. Its not my place to make or mandate decisions based on what I think is best or out of concern for my business reputation. If its played badly, that's on them. If its recorded badly that's on me. I realize a lot of cats come in expecting you to de-suck them and if that's what they want then so be it. But if its not, its not my place to impose it on them rather they want it or not
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7th March 2012
Old 7th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioWonderland View Post
I won't be calling anytime soon....Just because you don't understand the clients vision doesn't mean you get to change it. Perfection is not always the point and better is is not a quantifiable term when it comes to artistic matters

On one hand you say "If it sounds good it is good. Whatever that may be to you, that's the goal."

But clearly that's not the case:

" I'm not a music factory and am unwilling to go against what I think sounds good for the sake of the client. "

"I will use my ears to determine whether it's a suitable choice but it does mean that I will use them if I think it's necessary. "

As the client I wouldn't and don't give a damn what my recording means to your reputation. I am paying the bill. If you want to decline the work up front then fine. I will go elsewhere. Once you take my money though I call the shots. Clients are not necessarily hiring your ears. They are hiring you to help them achieve their goals, not yours.
Yes, it means I'm neither for or against using those tools. If it doesn't need it, I don't use it. If it does need it I do use it. I have no moral objection to using those tools and I don't think they're always required.

If you call the shots why don't you do it? Why would you pay big money for a producer when you're going to call all the shots anyway? If you're so entirely sure of your vision then why not just do it yourself? It's like asking for advice you don't plan on taking. Again, I'm not saying the project needs these things, maybe it does? I haven't heard it but to set an absolute rule without hearing anything seems ridiculous.
#16
8th March 2012
Old 8th March 2012
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So in a round-about way we realised we all agree. Aren't forums fun!
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8th March 2012
Old 8th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanvoth View Post
Yes, it means I'm neither for or against using those tools. If it doesn't need it, I don't use it. If it does need it I do use it. I have no moral objection to using those tools and I don't think they're always required.

If you call the shots why don't you do it? Why would you pay big money for a producer when you're going to call all the shots anyway? If you're so entirely sure of your vision then why not just do it yourself? It's like asking for advice you don't plan on taking. Again, I'm not saying the project needs these things, maybe it does? I haven't heard it but to set an absolute rule without hearing anything seems ridiculous.
Except that you made it clear you would do what you thought was best to protect the reputation of your studio. That does not seem consistent to me with your other comments.

I don't pay for a producer and I do make those decisions. I even use my own studio most of the time these days. Its very small time and I like it that way for just that reason. I can try crazy shit without dealing with an hourly rate or someone telling me it will never work. I rent a room if I need something I don't have like a grand piano or a huge room for drums but its really rare.

The confusion seems to be in what your role was/is. Studios around here don't come with producers. Its not exactly a music mecca. Its kind of the opposite of that actually. They come with an engineer to run the equipment. They will help with mic placement, that sort of thing and will do a basic mix or assist if you have specific ideas for a mix but your renting the room basically. If you want a producer that's a different guy you pay on your own. They do tend to have unique sonic signatures though because they are not purpose built rooms.
#18
8th March 2012
Old 8th March 2012
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I still havent used drumagog or auto tune.
I usally work with very talented clients that sing great and in tune and or drum very hard..
This has steered me clear of having to utilize these tools.
I interned in an era of screen free tape based recording and analog ourboard plug-ins, the tangiable stuff.
So even to this day Im still learning the art of computer based recording
as I suck with computer's.
I rely on my knowledge as a musician and
and an engineer to decifer if a take is good,
or a producer will dictate a take.
I have come across some suck ass drummers and out of tune vocalist's.
And in these rare case's Ill call it and send em home.
I dont care about the money.
Now these days to prevent crappy jobs
I will go see a band at their gig or at a rehearsal studio.
Its the best way to audition a sonic wall and think out whether or not a band will work with you or work for you and vice versa. And ultimatley then and there what tools you will need, what mics, drums, preamps, guitar amps, instruments, plugtins etc. to utilize.
im ranting in virtual space. whats going on?
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13th March 2012
Old 13th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioWonderland View Post
Except that you made it clear you would do what you thought was best to protect the reputation of your studio. That does not seem consistent to me with your other comments.

I don't pay for a producer and I do make those decisions. I even use my own studio most of the time these days. Its very small time and I like it that way for just that reason. I can try crazy shit without dealing with an hourly rate or someone telling me it will never work. I rent a room if I need something I don't have like a grand piano or a huge room for drums but its really rare.

The confusion seems to be in what your role was/is. Studios around here don't come with producers. Its not exactly a music mecca. Its kind of the opposite of that actually. They come with an engineer to run the equipment. They will help with mic placement, that sort of thing and will do a basic mix or assist if you have specific ideas for a mix but your renting the room basically. If you want a producer that's a different guy you pay on your own. They do tend to have unique sonic signatures though because they are not purpose built rooms.
This whole comment seems to be one mass of contradiction with my perception of you. Having read some of your posts in the past stating how you despise just about every technological crutch going (autotune/beat detective et al), you're now espousing the "client is always right" view?!

Very bizarre. You also assume (or ASSume as one twice-banned poster was wont to write it) that any given studio is NOT acting as producer. The original post was referring to a producer, and many smaller (and not so small studios) run as "one stop shops", owner/operator, or the situation that's becoming more and more common these days, you hire the producer and work at his studio.

And on a pedantic note, if I were hired to do the "engineer"'s role you describe above, I'd probably wonder why someone was paying me to engineer, but treating me as an assistant! You describe the assistant's role, which is what most commercial rooms will come with - the engineer is usually extra, or many clients bring their own, as well as a producer. Again, owner/operator rooms are different.
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14th March 2012
Old 14th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
This whole comment seems to be one mass of contradiction with my perception of you. Having read some of your posts in the past stating how you despise just about every technological crutch going (autotune/beat detective et al), you're now espousing the "client is always right" view?!

Very bizarre. You also assume (or ASSume as one twice-banned poster was wont to write it) that any given studio is NOT acting as producer. The original post was referring to a producer, and many smaller (and not so small studios) run as "one stop shops", owner/operator, or the situation that's becoming more and more common these days, you hire the producer and work at his studio.

And on a pedantic note, if I were hired to do the "engineer"'s role you describe above, I'd probably wonder why someone was paying me to engineer, but treating me as an assistant! You describe the assistant's role, which is what most commercial rooms will come with - the engineer is usually extra, or many clients bring their own, as well as a producer. Again, owner/operator rooms are different.
To be clear I do hate all of the crutches as you call them especially when used on major label artist that should in theory at least be competent musicians and not need that stuff. I further despise what I see as the copy cat disease where its blindly used because "everyone else does" / "that's how recording is done" / "thats what people want to hear" / "It makes it sound professional" / <insert reason here> they have for doing. Don;t get me started on how much I hate that its done without the knowledge of the artist.

All of that said I still understand people need to eat. If the artist/client understands the process and asks for it then fine but do no harm in the process. A lot of guys make their money on weekend warriors and demo tapes. I get it. But when its used to fabricate talent for someone selected to look good in the video, I have a major problem with that.
#21
19th March 2012
Old 19th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_rainbows View Post
Will the producers sneak in Autotune and/or Drumagog? I've heard a lot of bands that have Autotune on their records that really don't need it. The "human element" of music is slipping away and I hate it. I am just wondering since producers on this website have put it in without telling the musician(s).

Also, in regard to major record companies (like Warner Bros/Sony BMG), can the record companies add Autotune/Drumagog without your consent? Does this have to do with creative control in the contract or something?

Sorry if this a silly question or something, but thanks.
Here is a question, if they DON'T use auto tune will you be okay with paying for an extra hour or two of vocal sessions if the singer just can't hit it right that day? Will you 'settle' for that take where the singer got it about 90% right? Will you trash talk the producer or studio if they don't replace your old beat up snare with something that sounds good?

Just saying. I also feel that some of human element of good music is going away, but is that the fault of the producer or mixing engineer, or is that the fault of artists who haven't rehearsed enough or haven't invested in good equipment? I work with local bands on a budget and they can't afford studio time or decent equipment half the time. But they do have great artistic creations. If I replace the ringy old snare with a good sample and I can A/B it in the mix for them, they will agree that it sounds better. Drummers often request some timing correction in certain spots. As for auto tune, the real art is using it transparently, just to sort of 'tighten it up' a bit. You still won't get much better than the original performance anyways.

If you don't like these techniques your band needs to practice a lot and buy drums that sound good in the first place so that you won't even have to consider drumagog, time correction, or auto tune.
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#22
12th May 2012
Old 12th May 2012
  #22
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Sometimes low end engineers will. My band did a cheap EP a few years back, and I specifically asked the engineer NOT to replace the drums no matter how terrible they sounded. He definitely drumagogged them.
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