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Vocal fixing / auto-tuning...
Old 2nd September 2002
  #1
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Vocal fixing / auto-tuning...

What do you guys think...

Is fixing and auto-tuning vocals a tracking job or a mixing job?

Do you feel it's your job as a mixer to auto-tune bad notes or lines...or make the best of it while respecting the performance that's been laid down?
Old 2nd September 2002
  #2
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

fixing vox parts is the job of the tracking engineer/producer... sometimes it requires a lead pipe.

if its extremely horrendous, i cant say i wouldnt use autotune in the mix.... or bury it. or leave it out all together
Old 2nd September 2002
  #3
Often, while I am mixing my assitant is in the next room taking care of last minuite editing and tuning tasks that I set on a 2nd PT rig. (either an MBox on a Ibook or a 2nd PT Mix+ rig)

I mix with the origional vocals then towards the end of the mix I import the tidy new tracks, some are tuned vocals. If the tuned ones arent better than the origionals, they dont get used.

Transfer between the two rigs is via "sneaker net" on either CDR (Ibook) or SCSI hotswap drive (Mix+ rig)

Any tuning is done on a concidered selective per song, per part basis.

Old 2nd September 2002
  #4
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

definately a tracking / editing job .... although it has happened more then once that people come in with PT sessions ... "edited and ready to mix" and I find myself autotuning and Vocaligning all the same ....

But I think it is supposed to be done in the editing / tracking process ....
Old 2nd September 2002
  #5
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e-cue's Avatar
 

Pre mix. Nothing worse than turd polishing in the mix process.
Old 2nd September 2002
  #6
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Steve Smith's Avatar
 

This is def the job of the produce... ( as long as they aren't chicken.. wow was that pathetic..) I am not the guy to be tuning vox, one of my fav singers is Keith Richards... I allways make the producer make tuning decisions if at all possible, I mix the tracks, they should be giving me what they want in the condition it will be on the record as far as performances go. ( I feel the same way about drum editing)

As far as doing it in tracking.. it is a must that it happens before tracking is done, just so that you dont end up getting stuck with something that simplly doesn't cut it tuning wise.. you can at least attempt a re-take if you are still traking.

As a side note, I do try to tune as little as possible, but in the world i live in, it can prove to be essiential ( ask Steve Remote about this) I do a ton of live "gospel" ( not allways black gospel, just church stuff) that is performed by people that I am convinced could not even spell music... guess I could move that to the " things i have done for money" thread....
Old 2nd September 2002
  #7
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by C.Lambrechts
definately a tracking / editing job .... although it has happened more then once that people come in with PT sessions ... "edited and ready to mix" and I find myself autotuning and Vocaligning all the same ....
Yeah, this is my beef. I've had R&B mixes lately where the producer felt that fixing the vocals was my job, not one he should do at home on his PT rig.

Finishing the arrangement, re-editing the song, fixing the vocals...all stuff that IMO seriously messes with the momentum while mixing.




How often does it happen that you guys get to mix totally alone? Is this rare?
Old 2nd September 2002
  #8
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Steve Smith's Avatar
 

pretty rare to be alone, but very common to be given a ton of space.. the producer I generally work with is real cool about giving me pretty much as much time as i need on the front end of a mix before saying anything unless I ask him. It is the best of both worlds, because I am essentally alone, but I have 2 advantages as I see it, 1) instant access to feedback 2) some one I trust is there to help me aviod that pedantic naval gazing" I have been listening to the hats in solo for an hour moments" ( massive exaggaration, but youu get the idea...
Old 2nd September 2002
  #9
High End Moderator
 
mwagener's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by jon

Yeah, this is my beef. I've had R&B mixes lately where the producer felt that fixing the vocals was my job, not one he should do at home on his PT rig.

Finishing the arrangement, re-editing the song, fixing the vocals...all stuff that IMO seriously messes with the momentum while mixing.
Charge them double your mixing rate for "fixing", it works wonders.



Quote:
[
How often does it happen that you guys get to mix totally alone? Is this rare?
I always try to mix alone and have the band/artist come in at the end of the mixing day to hear the mix with "fresh" ears. Too many distractions (questions) when the band is around during the mix. I go into the zone when I start writing automation for a few hours, otherwise I forget things. Sometimes they even leave after everything is recorded and just send me a fix-it list after they heard the mixes, which is easy to do with total reset nowadays.
Old 2nd September 2002
  #10
Here for the gear
 
stevepow's Avatar
 

I feel it is my job to do what make everyone happy with the end result - I usually don't suggest autotune though - I let the artist suggest it and sometimes they do. My response is we can try that as sometimes it works, or we can do a retake. For background vox, I think it is fine if it works and I may even suggest this if the background vocalists are not around for retakes.
Old 2nd September 2002
  #11
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C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by jon

Finishing the arrangement, re-editing the song, fixing the vocals...all stuff that IMO seriously messes with the momentum while mixing.
Completely agree unless it is one of my own productions / compositions .... then I will arrange untill the very last second ... as in add a little twinkle bell or fool around with audiosuite stuff like reverse etc etc ....

Quote:
Originally posted by jon

How often does it happen that you guys get to mix totally alone? Is this rare?
I'd say 1 out of 3 client mixes I do completely alone .... some clients will drop in during the process ... stay like an hour or so ... they'll call uprfront to see where I'm at and drop in early evening .... that I can live with .... they give remarks ... we discuss it a bit and they leave .... and I finish the job.

Up till now I've been able to mix with one guy ... and one guy only ... a session guitar player who also produces now and then ... nice guy ... good friend ... and usually we have very similar ideas and agree after very little and healthy discussion ....

There are also clients where I go like ... oh boy .... this is going to be a LOOOOONG day .... in that case I just think about the money. And those are the clients that don't get favours either .... like working over time for free etc etc .... but those are rather rare ... usually they "sence" my vibe and go somewhere else the next time .... which is fine by me realy ....

I just cannot be productive with someone I don't like sitting next to me ... I know guys who can .... they do it all the time .... I kinda admire them because even then they are able to do a good job.
Old 2nd September 2002
  #12
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e-cue's Avatar
 

I always have the "Will I be mixing, or fixing?" convo before even agreeing to a mix.
Old 2nd September 2002
  #13
I've been mixing alone for years once i got my own personal mixing studio setup. The artist can never hang with hearing their vocals over and over and over. I understand though, I've been to other peoples mixing sessions and its the worst, most boring experience possible. As to your first question, it depends. If i get a project to mix and there are tuning problems to be fixed, i usually just send the project to one of my friends and have them do it. That way they get work and i don't have to waste my time doing it. I feel the same with artists who at the last minute in a mix, decide they want to add musical parts or vocals to their mixes. Ugh!!! I always make sure they understand that once the mix process has begun, it is not good practise to break the flow by adding more and more tracks. Maybe there should be a mixing clients ettiquette/guide book or something. "Things you don't do while mixing".heh
Old 2nd September 2002
  #14
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drundall's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by jon


Yeah, this is my beef. I've had R&B mixes lately where the producer felt that fixing the vocals was my job, not one he should do at home on his PT rig.
Not very considerate, but maybe he thought you were better suited to make the call re: pitch. I've had a few gigs where the producer said "you keep track of the tuning, you hear it better than me" or "I want to concentrate on the feel."
Old 2nd September 2002
  #15
Jon, you have enough interns to delegate tuning duties while you are mixing. Pick one with a musical ear and let em get on with your instuctions on a 2nd PT rig (have you got one yet? tut ) An $400 Mbox and a Laptop IBook will do just fine.

BTW a laptop with an AirPort card would double as a cool client email / web browsing station that can be carried ANWHERE in you facility with cordless operation.
Old 2nd September 2002
  #16
High End Moderator
 
mwagener's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by drundall
"I want to concentrate on the feel."
I've used that excuse a few times too heh
Old 2nd September 2002
  #17
Gear Head
 

I will do anything I have to to make ther sound better. I lay in drum machine/keyboard/ebow parts all the time/tune vocals. Switch notes. 75% of my work is mixing/Tracking vocals. I keep all the orginal versions on a diffrent playlist in opro tools and if the client doesnt like it i dont cvharge them for the time. As much as I dont care for CLAs stuff 90% of the time one of the best thing I ever heard him talki about is you sh0ould do whatever your gut says and then if it doesnt match what the band wants be open to them. I trust my gut untill I am totally happy with the song and then see if my gut is of a diffrent opinion. That said I always make 3 versions Tuned/less tuned and flat and everytime I go between em all.
Jesse
Old 3rd September 2002
  #18
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 

Just curious, how many so-called "singers" can REALLY sing well of the
various ones you guys record. 25%? 50%?
Sing well = minimum of good relative pitch and minor (if any) autotune?

Chris
Old 3rd September 2002
  #19
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

In pop? 10% if that...
R&B? 60%


give or take 30%.
Old 3rd September 2002
  #20
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

In Belgium 0.0000001 %


Old 3rd September 2002
  #21
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 

The whole autotune thing seems very strange to me as I belong to two
very strong acapella singing chapters where about 70%+ of the members
meet or exceed this performance level.
The other 30% are not allowed to sing in public as quartets, however,
they can sing as a small chorus style group with the rest of us.

The top singers in both chapters think it's very amusing that pitch
correction devices are being used and generally would feel most insulted
if anyone offered to "fix" their mistakes instead of just doing another take.
It's very easy to record them and I do that occasionally.
It's kind of sad that there are so many aspiring singers with real talent
out there that must "compete" with those of the synthetic kind.

Wonder if a more constructive use of autotune would be for it to be used by
vocalists as a training device until they learn via coaching how to do what
they want. Although some singers try to sing tenor when they're really
baritones, etc., etc.

Chris
Old 3rd September 2002
  #22
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e-cue's Avatar
 

One of the things that really gets my goat about auto tune is that you lose your chorusing effect. Babyface was a master at this. He'd keep a take of an artist singing a little flat, then make it up by having them sing another pass slightly sharp. Hell, I've been known to pitch shift one vocal up a little, and one down to GET this effect while mixing, as do a ton of other engineer's.
Old 3rd September 2002
  #23
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 

Very true, excellent point.

You can't mix two auto-tuned vocal doubles together if they were tuned the same. The comb-filtering sounds terrible. I usually take one of them in this case and send the direct signal to the Orville for the old up/down several cents treatment and use the 100% effect against the other original auto-tune vocal.
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