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The Auto-Tune Syndrome
Old 20th April 2004
  #1
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ixnys's Avatar
 

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The Auto-Tune Syndrome

After I've sung vocals I always like to strap some auto-tune on them to give them that extra sparkle. For the most part I sing in tune, but after I start applying some auto tune, I realize parts where I was a little off.

I always use auto tune in graphical mode.

Once I begin auto tuning, sometimes I'll hear auto tune making my vocals a little too electronic. Sometimes I'll hear little artifacts. Nonetheless, I'll bypass the plugin and see what my vocals sound like without auto tune. Sometimes I realize there ARE little pops/noises in my vocals. Just the own inflections of my own voice. HOWEVER I never seem to notice these things until I start working with auto tune.

Sometimes I'll listen back to the auto tuned track and think certain parts sound a little electronic. Therefore I'll listen back to the original untuned vox. Well it ends up that yeah...my own voice maybe does soudn a little electronic on its own sometimes.

Anyways the point I'm trying to make or question that is, once you start the auto tuning process, do you notice all of the little imperfections in the vocal performance that you didn't notice before?

How do you guys like to auto tune your tracks so that they are up to "commercial standards?" Sometimes I feel I might be over doing it. Do you just like to draw a line accross the vowel section of a word, or the whole word including the beginning consanant? I think sometimes right after auto tuning the vocals I might be able to tell it's auto tuned, but then maybe a week later it sounds natural and in the end harmonically pleasent.

What if you have a double? Is best to just tune the lead vocal performance and not the double? Sometimes I notice a nice smooth chorus effect on Staind's singer Aaron Lewis. I'm guessing he doubles himself. Are all the doubles auto tuned, or is just the lead vox AT'd...or is it vice versa?
Old 20th April 2004
  #2
Gear maniac
 

I found that there were small artifacts added to the sound by autotune after processing. Little glitches in the sound if you listen in isolation. This was finally fixed with the 3.25 upgrade. Now it is the best it has ever been and I no longer get these problems. The 3.25 upgrade is available for both OS9 and OSX. Not sure about PCs. I tend to used auto mode with an audiosuite plugin to change the file. Process with the right key selected and a slowish retune it should be quite transparent. I set the retune to about 80 for lead vocals and maybe even higher for a natural tuning. For BVs and double tracking you could set the master tune slightly higher or lower for each part. If you try and tune every part exactly you will loose the good points of multi vocals. Sometimes it is better to just deal with the odd note using Pitch and Time for BVs.
Old 20th April 2004
  #3
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The MPCist's Avatar
 

I 'graphic mode' anything I want to change. I use the original track and only 'fix' certain areas.

Instead of drawing a line across --which makes it sound weird -- I follow the exact shape but sharper/flatter. This way, it keeps the performance like it should but tuned.

Auto-mode KILLS ME! It's just too awful no matter how little it works.. it messes up the performance for me. If I don't have enough time, I go thru and mark the parts I want fixed and have my assistant (a good singer by the way) do it for me.

But no auto mode for me!
Old 20th April 2004
  #4
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Graphical mode only!!!
Old 20th April 2004
  #5
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ixnys's Avatar
 

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Well I already established I only use graphical mode.
Old 20th April 2004
  #6
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That wasn't necessarily directed at you, just a loud proclamation. Didn't mean to offend.
Old 20th April 2004
  #7
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ixnys's Avatar
 

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Nah I wasn't Picksail

Thanks Karl for letting me know about the 3.25 upgrade. I'm downloading it right now
Old 20th April 2004
  #8
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Re: The Auto-Tune Syndrome

Quote:
Originally posted by ixnys
After I've sung vocals I always like to strap some auto-tune on them to give them that extra sparkle. For the most part I sing in tune, but after I start applying some auto tune, I realize parts where I was a little off.
How about using Auto-Tune for analysis and then re-singing those spots until they are on? I think one of the biggest problems with Auto-Tune is that the singer never gets to learn how it feels to sing it in tune. Also pay close attention to the track because out-of-tune instruments could be what's really throwing you off.

Most people naturally sing in tune. Things like headphones, headphone mixes and stage monitors can really throw people off. If you fix the problem rather than applying a band-aid, you'll kick your level of performance up substantially. This is important from the standpoint of being commercial too because a lot of it is how it feels for somebody else to sing along with you. If a track is hard for you to sing with, how easy will it be for a fan?
Old 20th April 2004
  #9
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This is somewhat relative to the topic.

My question:
(Assuming the system is ProTools HD)

If someone decides to make a new purchase of Auto-Tune and only has intentions of using it in graphical mode (AudioSuite), is it still necessary to purchase the TDM version or could you manage with just the RTAS version. This will not be used on an aux channel or master. Given that both versions function as AudioSuite plugs, it appears to be a better economical decision to buy the RTAS version, as it can be utilized in the same manner.
Old 21st April 2004
  #10
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Thread Starter
Re: Re: The Auto-Tune Syndrome

Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Olhsson
How about using Auto-Tune for analysis and then re-singing those spots until they are on? I think one of the biggest problems with Auto-Tune is that the singer never gets to learn how it feels to sing it in tune. Also pay close attention to the track because out-of-tune instruments could be what's really throwing you off.

Most people naturally sing in tune. Things like headphones, headphone mixes and stage monitors can really throw people off. If you fix the problem rather than applying a band-aid, you'll kick your level of performance up substantially. This is important from the standpoint of being commercial too because a lot of it is how it feels for somebody else to sing along with you. If a track is hard for you to sing with, how easy will it be for a fan?
I totally agree with what you say. I really think headphones can throw me off sometimes. I feel like my phrasing/timing and tuning sound better when the heaphones are off.

As I said, for the most part I'm definitely in tune but sometimes there are a few parts that are a little off in terms of cents.

So what are some tips to get a mix that allows me to sing my best. I already know that if vocals are too low a person might sing flat and if they are too high they might sing sharp. But what about relative volume of the mix? One headphone on the ear and the other one off? Should guitar (melody stuff) be louder?

Even if one does sing a good performance. Is auto tune still sometimes used to perfect word and add that extra shine that is sometimes inhumanly possible?
Old 21st April 2004
  #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by picksail
This is somewhat relative to the topic.

My question:
(Assuming the system is ProTools HD)

If someone decides to make a new purchase of Auto-Tune and only has intentions of using it in graphical mode (AudioSuite), is it still necessary to purchase the TDM version or could you manage with just the RTAS version. This will not be used on an aux channel or master. Given that both versions function as AudioSuite plugs, it appears to be a better economical decision to buy the RTAS version, as it can be utilized in the same manner.
Great point! Personally I use RTAS in graphic mode. Works great for me.

Shane
Old 21st April 2004
  #12
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Robotnik's Avatar
 

Tracking vox direct and with the AT hardware on another track seems to be the norm these days...at least with the mixes I've been getting lately. Graphical mode is a must...as much as I hate to use it's terrible interface...it's like playing connect-the-dots on a postage stamp.

Anybody here tried Melodyne yet?
Old 21st April 2004
  #13
Gear maniac
 

Bob's idea is the best way really. I know people who use AT as a crutch. It only gives a % increase in the performance to my ears - a bit like beat detective. Makes a bad singer acceptable and a good singer better. I guess I should give graphic mode another look, but I have never experienced any problems with the auto side. I will process small parts at a time in audio suite. Just looking at the graphic side makes me want to go out of the studio!
Old 21st April 2004
  #14
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strauss's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Robotnik

Anybody here tried Melodyne yet?
Lately I've been using Melodyne in Nuendo with the VST bridge. It's much more powerful compared to autotune, but the interface sure takes some time to get used to. Don't know how well in integrates with PT but there should be a RTAS version.

btw
lot's of times I prefer an out of tune vocal compared to a perfectly tuned one. Especially on very emotional songs.
Has anyone tried to use autotune to put certain parts of notes OUT of tune to enhance the emotions?
Old 21st April 2004
  #15
Motown legend
 
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Experiments I've done show most people sing better in tune with none of themselves in the cans. The problem is that lots of experienced people find this hard to believe and their doubts create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Old 21st April 2004
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Olhsson
Experiments I've done show most people sing better in tune with none of themselves in the cans.
how about (also) using only one can? many VO (radio) people do this, but it seems singers have rarely tried it. just kind of curious how much that's shown up in your experiences, and/or how successful at helping the singer(s)....
Old 21st April 2004
  #17
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juniorhifikit's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by picksail
This is somewhat relative to the topic.

My question:
(Assuming the system is ProTools HD)

If someone decides to make a new purchase of Auto-Tune and only has intentions of using it in graphical mode (AudioSuite), is it still necessary to purchase the TDM version or could you manage with just the RTAS version. This will not be used on an aux channel or master. Given that both versions function as AudioSuite plugs, it appears to be a better economical decision to buy the RTAS version, as it can be utilized in the same manner.
I've been building up my HD rig to replace my Mix rig, and just got AutoTune 3.0 TDM from Guitar Center Pro (gcpro.com) for $200! They were blowing it out. Maybe they still have a few left.
Old 22nd April 2004
  #18
Gear addict
 

Quote:
Originally posted by juniorhifikit
I've been building up my HD rig to replace my Mix rig, and just got AutoTune 3.0 TDM from Guitar Center Pro (gcpro.com) for $200! They were blowing it out. Maybe they still have a few left.
AutoTune 4 is now shipping.

Rail
Old 22nd April 2004
  #19
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Quote:
quote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by juniorhifikit
I've been building up my HD rig to replace my Mix rig, and just got AutoTune 3.0 TDM from Guitar Center Pro (gcpro.com) for $200! They were blowing it out. Maybe they still have a few left.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


AutoTune 4 is now shipping.

Rail



__________________
Recording Engineer[/B]
Upgrade is $149. That puts me at $350 - well below retail!heh
Old 23rd April 2004
  #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rail Jon Rogut
AutoTune 4 is now shipping.

Rail
How is it Rail? Have you checked it out?
Old 23rd April 2004
  #21
Gear addict
 

Quote:
Originally posted by drundall
How is it Rail? Have you checked it out?
It's good.. It seems to track better than 3 to me. I tried the MIDI tracking and it worked well.. although I had to reduce the speed of the retune so it wasn't too robotic.

I only use Graphic mode.. so I like being able to select the tool with the number keys on the main keyboard.. and the return of the cursor display.. and the Shift modifier to snap the line tool to the nearest semitone...

Things I'd like to see is a way to reset for the next line in a faster fashion.. possibly Command+Click on the Track Pitch button which clears the current graph and gets ready for tracking the next phrase... and a key input for tracking another track.

I think it's a good update.

Rail
Old 23rd April 2004
  #22
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Rader Ranch
how about (also) using only one can? many VO (radio) people do this, but it seems singers have rarely tried it.
This isn't true at all in my experience.
Old 23rd April 2004
  #23
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ixnys's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
I feel one can works better for when you go to double the vocals.
Old 6th May 2004
  #24
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Neale Eckstein's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Rail Jon Rogut
It's good.. It seems to track better than 3 to me. .....
Things I'd like to see is a way to reset for the next line in a faster fashion.. possibly Command+Click on the Track Pitch button which clears the current graph and gets ready for tracking the next phrase... and a key input for tracking another track.

I think it's a good update.

Rail
I got AT 4 TDM and immediately found that smart cursors did not work in Audiosuite graphic mode. It's better, but still a very clunky interface. I called to tell them the smart cursors didn't work and started telling the guy other things I wish they had done. He asked me to put in a letter and they would review the suggestions. It wasn't a blow-off. He really seemed interested.

If there is interest, I'll post the letter I sent.

Neale Eckstein
www.foxrun.org
Old 7th May 2004
  #25
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Thread Starter
What's new in AT4...does it actually work better than AT3?
Old 7th May 2004
  #26
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Neale Eckstein's Avatar
 

Well, the graphic display is larger, but it's still clunky in terms of workflow. The smart cursors are broken in audiosuite, and the shortcut keys for the different edit modes use the 1-5 keys, so you can't use zoom when AT is open. I told them they need to make an option to turn that off.

Here's the letter I sent them. It's long, but he replied that he'd like to recommend me for a Beta tester, so it's possible these suggestions and any this forum cares to add will not fall on deaf ears.
------

Dear Marty,
Per your suggestion, I'll give you my perspective as a long time user of Autotune, both in Pro Tools and in Digital Performer before that. I was delighted when AT 4 was announced because the product is indispensable, but the interface was certainly not user friendly in graphic mode. The larger screen certainly is a welcome feature and I can already see that this one change will make a lot of users happy. The expanded midi features look great and I'll want to explore them.

Here's how I typically work. I listen, stop where I hear a problem, highlight the section in question, preview it with tracking applied, make a curve, sometimes make an auto curve to see what that looks like, usually undo it, and then move the curves where I want it. Preview with Pitch correction, process and move on. Some of the changes that would make this process easier for me are as follows.

1. Make the manual moving of curves constrained vertically by default. If you want to give someone the option of moving a curve to the left of the right, then they could hold down the option key to release the constrain instead of having to press the option key to get it restrained. Either make it an option preference as to what the Option key does, or make it constrained as the default. I really can't figure out why anyone would want to move a curve horizontally anyway.

2. Make the new quickeys for the editing tool optionally or even better, user assignable like in Peak and Digital Performer. The new keys in AT 4 interfere with the zoom focus keys in Pro Tools and since zooming to fix the Audiosuite latency is essential if you have to apply AT to only part of a phrase, I don't to lose the ability to go from looking at the phrase I'm tuning to sample level with one keystroke. I haven't been over to the DUC on digi's site yet, but I expect we're going to see grousing.

The whole issue of latency is probably beyond your control, but I assume you know that when you process any plug-in with Audiosuite, it needs to be shifted to the left to make a seamless edit. Thus my concern about losing the user zoom keys.

I'd love to be able to assign my own Autotune shortcut keys. The one I go back and forth with is line and pointer. Now that's what I'd like to see the option key do. Move between those two functions. That would be huge timesaver.

3. Have an option to automatically clear any curves whenever you track pitch. Since I move from piece to piece having to select the old curves and cut them each time I track pitch on a new section is just another time-wasting step. I can understand why you don't want to this to be the default, but at least make it one of the preferences. I want a blank screen each time I track pitch.

4. I often want to break curve lines and only move pieces of a curve. I do this now with the line tool generally picking a spot that I don't want to effect and then deleting the short line I've just created. Then I've effectively split the curve into two pieces. However, it involves, selecting the line tool, drawing the line where I want the split, deleting the line I just created, remembering to then go back to the pointer before trying to move the newly created section, undoing the line I draw accidently because I forget to go back to the pointer, selecting the pointer and moving the new section where I want it. Seriously, this is what usually happens even though I've been using this plug-in for 6 years.

What I'd like to see is clicking on the line with the pointer while holding down the apple or control key will just break the curve.

As I said, this may now be possible with a double click or something, but since the graphic cursor function is currently broken with audiosuite, I'm having a little difficulty with the whole process.

5, Is there anything you can do to have the track pitch-preview function not loop or is this built into Pro Tools. If I'm not clear, you get the same section drawn in the graphic display over and over if you aren't quick about turning off preview when you track pitch under Audiosuite. I'd rather just see the section I'm tuning show up once on the display but again, I realize this may not be in your control and it's just an Audiosuite thing.

That's the wish list. I'd be happy to further explain this stuff on the phone if I haven't been clear. Again, be happy to test your software. I already own Tube RTAS as well, but that's a pretty easy one to use and it's not broken.

Neale Eckstein
www.foxrun.org
Old 7th May 2004
  #27
Gear addict
 

I use AT4 under XP in an HD 3 Accel system... and the key commands work fine to change tools. I never use AudioSuite mode since I like to hear my track in context (this has been discussed here before)... however, the looping in preview is a Pro Tools limitation and Antares can't change that.

I've requested that a Command click on the Track Pitch button clear the graph and track the pitch to make moving on to the next phrase faster... I've also requested a key input in the next version.

Rail
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