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Producer/Eng decision to never autotune; Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 3rd April 2018
  #121
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeneHall View Post
I've never really asked anyone making major releases how they go about using AT or Melodyne, when I can hear it, I figure that it was intended to be heard and part of the production design. Maybe not. When I do hear it and it does not feel as though it was meant to be a creative decision, it's because the vocal arrangement is well outside the range of the singer, or so it seems.

I use Melodyne and AT a great deal - more so as I'm assembling a guide/demo vocal track to build an arrangement around.
With so many synths and samples being an integral part of production choices [I and other make], it's really hard to completely stay away from tuning tools.
I think really good singers know this and are ok with some sauce added.
But I find if present my tuned guide, almost immediately I get the response I was fishing for in the first place, " I can do that better".
And that is exactly what I want to hear! ( kinda manipulative, guilty as charged)
So as a tool to develop a track, I find tuning really helpful.
Then when I get to a final vocal, I find I'll use much less vocal tuning because I have a vocal performance that is much closer to what the song calls for.
I don't know how most major release producers do it all but I do know that choosing to use synths and samples in a song production does often mean that even a great singer is gonna need a little nudging around and it does not mean they can't cut as singer or suck, it just is what it is. For this and more I'm glad to have AT and Melodyne available to me!
Like Brent said earlier, one kind of gets the sense that those moaning about using tuning tools sound as if they have not ever tuned a vocal or don't have the ear for transparently using tuning software.
The gripes with the AT effect seem valid to an extent, it's a taste thing. Change the station. If, underneath all the AT I can still hear the song and I like it, I'll keep listening.
The folks that make those types of records are as passionate about what they have made as anyone else is about their own stuff and if for that reason alone, hats off to them for getting it to market or their audience.
Gentle massaging a great performance to blend with synths and samples is really not that much different than a vintage singer pitching themselves to instruments in the room on a given day, where maybe those instruments weren't in exact tune, or in perfect tune with each other.
Modern singers and modern producers are faced with a whole different playing field, imho. And even so, at the end of the day it still all seems about taste, artistic decisions made within an allotted amount of time, to the best of their ability and as close a reflection to the vision they started out with or evolved into along the way.
Yep!

For more "pure" styles I feel would benefit from tuning, I'm not averse to tuning the vocal, then going back to the raw vocal and only cutting in the bits that bug me repeatedly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
my impression on reading Bob's post was that he was saying that IF the person was singing 'in tune' he would have sung it slightly differently - so when you tune it, some aspect of it sounds 'wrong' after the fact.


If that's indeed what he was saying, an analogy would be if you played a guitar solo with a clean amp sound and then reamped it with a heavy distortion. The note selection and improvisational choices "would have been" different - so there might be an awkwardness there musically, even if sonically it was transparent. In fact, singing with the tuning processor in place might actually serve to remove some of that awkwardness, because at least the singer is monitoring the 'final product' as he sings it.

I have worked with a few singers who are capable of deliberately applying nuanced 'shading' of their pitches for emotional effect, but to me those are the only instances in which this would be an issue. And certainly I never noticed any significant physical time shifting of the waveform.
Interesting, and maybe Bob can clarify!

I haven't found it an issue personally, but it may be a singer by singer issue.
Old 3rd April 2018
  #122
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I haven't found [phrasing "displacement"] an issue personally, but it may be a singer by singer issue.
After my show wrapped last night, I went back and took another shot at it.

I tried my own vocal. Then I tried another one, an earnest young lady mangling a classic from the Great American Songbook. Something with lots of zig and zags where autotune was doing a whole lot.

I simply could not get the displacement to happen. Part of me didn't want the problem to be there, of course. But in the interest of quality and science, if there's an issue that can be demonstrated, I think we all want to identify it so it can be addressed.

But honestly, I don't think there's anything to be found.
Old 3rd April 2018
  #123
[bold added for clarity/emphasis below]
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Very definitely liked not, speaking for myself.

I am not against cheating/fixing/etc. I've never been particularly shy about doing what I have to do to improve the listenability of my work.

It's literally the sound of tuning artifacts that makes my ears go nuts.

That applies to both tuning-for-effect a la modern pop 'tune gloss' -- which is at least aesthetically consistent -- but especially to those ear-grinding monkey-wrench in the works sore-thumb artifacts resulting from clumsy tuning of glissandi and vocal melisma in performance contexts where we were clearly supposed to think it was natural singing, yet the track is littered with artifacts.

The whole field and the tools used have definitely improved. Yet we still hear performances marred by those sore-thumb artifacts of misapplied tuning, even twenty years later.
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
As a pretty terrible singer myself (the songwriter's curse), I've found using a tuned vocal as a guide track can be helpful. In the past I tried various MIDI instruments but for some reason, a vocal apparently cuts down on the mental processing I have to do. Or something. I've also mixed tuned vocals with the untuned original, which can be interesting as well, giving a sort of doubled vocal vibe.
Quote:
Originally Posted by carlosdanger View Post
And they never will because it's another scapegoat they like to have in their back-pocket to justify themselves with when their friends/family/internet says they dont really like their music. "Well of course YOU dont like it, its not autotuned katy perry crap! This is real art meant for highly refined ears!"
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post



If one can't hear problem tuning that is obvious to others, maybe he needs a new career.
Quote:
Originally Posted by carlosdanger View Post
Except in this case one man's tuning "problem" is another man's (world's?) platinum record. Fighting tuning in this day and age is as ridiculous as fighting reverb in the 80s. Its an amazingly useful musical tool and it is here to stay. The technology and worldwide taste of music is constantly moving and you can either play along and have fun or fight it the entire time while scratching your head wondering why nobody likes your music
Of course, you can't necessarily be expected to know what I wrote earlier in the thread (quoted above) but I think you rather clearly misunderstood the thrust of my response to your post.

As I noted, I'm all too happy to 'cheat' -- I just don't want the obvious tells of cheating I still too often hear in contemporary music, even that which is clearly supposed to sound like a human.

I wouldn't release a track with a pop or click from a bad tape splice or a poorly performed digital edit either.


No, what got on my decidedly bad side was the presumption that anyone who complains about bad tuning is some kind of incompetent, anti-technology Luddite trying to force 'impossible standards' (like decent singing or artifact-free vocal correction? ) on the pop music machine.

On the contrary, I complain about bad tuning because I have ears.
Old 3rd April 2018
  #124
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A effective way to use automation is to turn it on and off as needed just for very small sections of a track where your ears tell you there is a problem. That way you leave it off for the good stuff without destroying it.
Old 3rd April 2018
  #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
...I think Bob is talking about singing with a tuning processor in place - but as I said, I try to avoid that!
Not at all! I dumped Out-A-Tuna for Melodyne and Waves Tune ten years ago and finally moved on to ReVoice-Pro five years ago.

I'm old school in that I listen very carefully for what editing and signal processing screws up in addition to what it may improve.
Old 3rd April 2018
  #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
I'm old school in that I listen very carefully for what editing and signal processing screws up in addition to what it may improve.
What's old school about that?
Old 7th April 2018
  #127
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Glad this thread has inspired frank discussion of the issue as peer pressure is the first step to reigning in it's overuse especially on those who don't need it. I think it only brings value to an artist who actually has the chops to be in a category above the rest of the pack of wannabe overnight stars. It's really not about never using a tool ever again, it's about judicial use of a tool for the betterment of raising vocal standards that have fallen to the level of now being able to "sing" by speaking in a monotone into a mic. Judicial fighting against the lowering of ALL vocals via the autotune effect for the sake of the industry better being able to slip past throw away artists is worth the effort. Just as with the loudness war, the little steps from everyone matter.
Old 7th April 2018
  #128
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cjogo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr View Post
Glad this thread has inspired frank discussion of the issue as peer pressure is the first step to reigning in it's overuse especially on those who don't need it. I think it only brings value to an artist who actually has the chops to be in a category above the rest of the pack of wannabe overnight stars. It's really not about never using a tool ever again, it's about judicial use of a tool for the betterment of raising vocal standards that have fallen to the level of now being able to "sing" by speaking in a monotone into a mic. Judicial fighting against the lowering of ALL vocals via the autotune effect for the sake of the industry better being able to slip past throw away artists is worth the effort. Just as with the loudness war, the little steps from everyone matter.
No problem in this studio ---we don't have the plugin --- old school DAW >> they just weren't producing a quality plugin back in 2000 .. No peer pressure here.... We are doing the steps we can >> You just sing the best you can > that goes on the track for your final.
Old 7th April 2018
  #129
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What is lost by locking vocals to the grid?

Well here's what I think...

Old 8th April 2018
  #130
Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
What is lost by locking vocals to the grid?

Well here's what I think...

indeed....
Old 8th April 2018
  #131
Gear Head
I’ve actually found at times that a singer who I’ve tuned, will return at a later date and having learned to sing to their tuned vocal, sings way more in tune. I think it can be a great learning tool for singers as well as a tool in the studio.
Old 8th April 2018
  #132
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hhamilton's question deserves a serious answer; Today we not only permit but in many quarters expect pitch correction at some level and quantizing leads to a time grid. Contemporary music is pursuing clinical purification that removes much of the vitally important "tension & release dynamics" that have been a hall mark of American music since 1890. The roots of Ragtime,1890-1910, and Stride Piano, 1920, come from the Polyphony/Counterpoint renaissance period in classical music. Ragtime and particularly Stride Piano feature a rock solid left hand meter with right hand improvisation that were the benchmark of James Johnson,Will Smith, Fats Waller & Art Tatum. Later versions of the style were featured by Duke Ellington, Erroll Garner, Count Basie & Thelonious Monk. Many of the best lead singers over the past 100 years have pulled against meter: Frank Sinatra liked to stay behind it and Willy Nelson phrased well on top of the beat but in either case the tension created in the differential produced an energy that embodied their style. It is ludicrous to assume placing Frank, Willy or Count Basie on a grid would improve their performance. The same should be said for pitch correcting blue note pulls but the important thing about this whole discussion is that there clearly can be a need for using either or both pitch correction and the grid to clean up a bad performance however sanitizing every one and every thing is a very destructive bad idea.
Hugh
Old 8th April 2018
  #133
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I'm not sure that quantizing vocals to a grid is actually a thing. And when it comes to stride and its stylistic offspring, well, they're combinations of a right hand that's able to roam free with a left hand that isn't. That seems pretty grid-like to me.

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 8th April 2018 at 04:54 PM..
Old 8th April 2018
  #134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gurkin View Post
I’ve actually found at times that a singer who I’ve tuned, will return at a later date and having learned to sing to their tuned vocal, sings way more in tune. I think it can be a great learning tool for singers as well as a tool in the studio.
In recent years I have noticed a number of younger singers who "sing like Autotune". I will be recording them and think "man, that's glitchy, I have to back off the Autotune", and then I realize it's live, there's no effect on their voice, they are simply deliberately putting that 'snapping' to the note, and the overshoot and so on.

All these years of efforts to get rid of the tuning artifacts and now here is someone who sings mimicking the artifacts. In fact the only part of Autotune they don't seem to mimic very well is the singing-on-pitch part! So it might still end up getting tuned!
Old 8th April 2018
  #135
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
In recent years I have noticed a number of younger singers who "sing like Autotune". I will be recording them and think "man, that's glitchy, I have to back off the Autotune", and then I realize it's live, there's no effect on their voice, they are simply deliberately putting that 'snapping' to the note, and the overshoot and so on.

All these years of efforts to get rid of the tuning artifacts and now here is someone who sings mimicking the artifacts. In fact the only part of Autotune they don't seem to mimic very well is the singing-on-pitch part! So it might still end up getting tuned!
Old 8th April 2018
  #136
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
If we are confronted with a singer that has significant pitch problems a decision to apply Auto Tune, Celemony Melodyne or any other digital pitch bending is a band aid that does not render long term benefits. I have been working in both producing and console management for almost 50 years and every singer will have an "occasional clinker" that can be easily addressed with a punch in or, my preference...


A recent reference to Chris Stapleton's omnipresent need for auto tuning is ridiculous.

I have witnessed too many of his live Bluegrass performances from a few years ago that were dead on the money.
Hugh
Be careful in saying that you have been in the biz for 50 years and that adjusting MASSIVE.....significant..... pitch problems.......... by ANY method (you choose digital app processing for this thread)...... do not render long term results.

You failed to ...... well.... you failed to acknowledge the bazillions of hit/non-hit tracks ..... from the past 50 years....... that are made completely of MASSIVE fixes.

Meaning your entire post requires a final line, stating "imo".

Be that as it may, a huge mindnumbing chunk of HIT TRACKS (and even non-charting stuff) that came out of Criteria by numerous artists from 1971-1978 (just to chunk down a time frame) consist of vocals that are TRACKED ONE WORD AT A TIME, OVERDUBBED ONE SYLLABLE AT A TIME, SOMETIMES ONE OR TWO WORDS OVERDUBBED ON AN ENTIRE TRACK OF THE second synchronized 24trk. Microscoped to get a pitch-perfect or in-the-pocket, or emotion-ladened "word" Or less! Regardless of if it could/couldn't be sung that way during a longer pass.

Even guys like Arif, who had great arrangements, was completely open to massive massive massive overdubbing of one line, syllable, breath, etc at a time to get a performance....... not even necessarily where needed..... but where control was wanted.

And don't even get me into the Beegees multitracks out of Criteria.

And lets go to the east coast scene circa 1966-1979. Same thing. And comps...... let's not even get into lead guitar overdubs done three notes at a time.

And then, in moving to 1981-1988, let's not even try to dive into the massive topic of overdubbing one word on a "particularly good take at F#....and then flying that around to replace EVERY instance of that word.

And then you go into that time frame for say, a George Michael "Faith" track.... let's say "Hand To Mouth"..... where...... even with the sound of George Michael's great voice live..... in the studio, there is a...another.... George Michael voice. Ever notice that? Ever notice why?

Because he was overdubbing two words... one line.... one syllable at a time! Changed his entire tonality. Still got hits, right? And in Hand to Mouth... which is one of the most simple sounding yet MASSIVELY overdubbed track I've ever heard multis on..... GM is overdubbing single words.... doubles of single words....... WHISPERS of single words........ In/Out Breaths between words......... on and on. Massive!!!

Did he HAVE to do this? Hell no, he certainly could've just sung stuff in basic Frank Sinatra one-takes and left it that way.... which hey.... you the op would've related to.

But he DIDN'T do things this way. I GET why he didn't and get what the mindset is for an artist/engineer who microscopes.

It's a fully valid artistic decision and approach.

Would you have really tried to get a gm gig by telling him you weren't gonna accept doing the session in microscope mode?

You wouldn't have gotten the gig.... like it sounds like you wouldn't get a gig like that now.

And that's 1987 or whatever.

"Manual" fixing of vocals and anything else in the land before daw.

While "you" are okay with your 50yr-trip..... you may want to concede that if you really have held that approach all this time........ you wouldn't have gotten a gig at Criteria.... at least for certain projects that required serious microscoping.

Pitch correction, comps, bounces, automated tails on overdubbed crash cymbals, hours spent on getting just-the-right-artistic-decisioned "whisper" of an uh-huh between two words in line 1 of verse 2.

And then.... don't even get me started on 1967 stuff like the Classics iV.

Talk about tapes wearing out.

I see absolutely nothing different today in auto-tuning every other thing in a session compared to........... filling up 4 reels of 2" tape with nothing but perfected snips of vocal this and vocal that in 1976.

Every approach is valid. Every tool is valid.

I've been around for the past 50 years too.

This type of thread always riles me because it presents a FALSE picture to young kids that...... somehow.......... old records are better (when the opinion of a kid is that a particular record is great) because "oh, we were so poor, we didn't have tracks or tools and had to rely on pure musicianship....."

BS
BS

The only lost art is how some of the workarounds were used. Sometimes, because an artist/engineer didn't really want to detail it out... in say R-E-P, because competition was fierce.

While I have no gripe with guys who track live with no overdubs and like it that way, I DO have a gripe with guys who present it as "more like the old days".

Maybe for some approaches, such as Motown are more in your area of expertise approaches. Fine. Although even the 16trk Motown multis I listen to have "their overdub moments"

And I'm not talking just "overdubs" (moving away from Motown or mobile fidelity and so forth). I'm talking surgical overdubs to pitch-perfect or pocket-hit something. Surgical to the point that you'd never attempt to punch-in. No way would that work. I'm talking surgical perfection attempts that were so routine with synchronized multitrack machines. Circa 1971 onward.

In fact, let me tell you about Chip Moman's session for perfecting elements of the old Cymarron minor charter, "Rings" My gawd!......... overdubbing one hi-hat hit. Overdubbing a set of ahhs, one voice at a time until all three in the 3pt ahh were in the exact same tremelo speed for a 6second ahh. The single-word overdubs, then doubled then tripled, then done over.... and that is 1971.

If Sly Stone had gotten wind of the approach two years earlier instead of a year later.... who knows what his approach would've been........ although I'm fine with his entire output any old way he did it.

But to criticize someone who is currently using a lot of Autotune.... as maybe... a lot of guys do.... just as they stacked up all those one-syllable-sung-with-a-peterson-strobe-tuner-set-up next to the mic to be absolutely sure the pitch going on tape for this one word was absolutely pitch perfect....... well.......... you are either purposely putting up a smoke screen for kids about the past...... or you didn't have a taste for that kind of work when it was routine for many of us.

"oh, yeah, but doing the fixes the old way in microscope mindset isn't the same thing as dialing in autotune or melodyne now....."

bs
bs
bs

imo

Last edited by thenoodle; 8th April 2018 at 08:54 PM..
Old 8th April 2018
  #137
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cjogo's Avatar
Never liked the sound of auto~tuning --- so will never introduce it into a production ... Just after that rawer-realistic sound of the artist... Not everyone has that perfect vocal > and why embarrass them with suggesting such a application ...

ie ::: You bring a band in and listen to them for a few songs and suggest that they need a Wrecking Crew>> to play all their parts to make the it presentable ...

Last edited by cjogo; 9th April 2018 at 02:40 AM..
Old 8th April 2018
  #138
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

If you were being interviewed by RE/P, it was because you worked on a well-known record. Talking about fixes would mean shining a less than flattering light on the artist. Which you would not do.
Old 8th April 2018
  #139
Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
hhamilton's question deserves a serious answer; Today we not only permit but in many quarters expect pitch correction at some level and quantizing leads to a time grid. Contemporary music is pursuing clinical purification that removes much of the vitally important "tension & release dynamics" that have been a hall mark of American music since 1890. The roots of Ragtime,1890-1910, and Stride Piano, 1920, come from the Polyphony/Counterpoint renaissance period in classical music. Ragtime and particularly Stride Piano feature a rock solid left hand meter with right hand improvisation that were the benchmark of James Johnson,Will Smith, Fats Waller & Art Tatum. Later versions of the style were featured by Duke Ellington, Erroll Garner, Count Basie & Thelonious Monk. Many of the best lead singers over the past 100 years have pulled against meter: Frank Sinatra liked to stay behind it and Willy Nelson phrased well on top of the beat but in either case the tension created in the differential produced an energy that embodied their style. It is ludicrous to assume placing Frank, Willy or Count Basie on a grid would improve their performance. The same should be said for pitch correcting blue note pulls but the important thing about this whole discussion is that there clearly can be a need for using either or both pitch correction and the grid to clean up a bad performance however sanitizing every one and every thing is a very destructive bad idea.
Hugh
You clearly didn’t read his contributions to the “what is lost by locking drums to a grid” thread...and thus missed the joke/point of the comment!
Old 8th April 2018
  #140
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I'm not sure that quantizing vocals to a grid is actually a thing.
Autotune has a grid...pitch quantization.

From wiki:

The phrase "pitch quantization" can refer to pitch correction used in audio production, such as using Auto-Tune.

Plus, you can stretch takes of vocals to match them to others for perfect doubles, or alter or "improve" the groove.

Vocals perfectly quantized on the beat...I'm sure it's been done...stuttering vocals.
Old 8th April 2018
  #141
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post
Be that as it may, a huge mindnumbing chunk of HIT TRACKS (and even non-charting stuff) that came out of Criteria by numerous artists from 1971-1978 (just to chunk down a time frame) consist of vocals that are TRACKED ONE WORD AT A TIME, OVERDUBBED ONE SYLLABLE AT A TIME, SOMETIMES ONE OR TWO WORDS OVERDUBBED ON AN ENTIRE TRACK OF THE second synchronized 24trk. Microscoped to get a pitch-perfect or in-the-pocket, or emotion-ladened "word" Or less! Regardless of if it could/couldn't be sung that way during a longer pass.
Syllables? How was that done, that seems sort of impossible? I can't imagine an entire vocal being done that way.

Quote:
And don't even get me into the Beegees multitracks out of Criteria.
They were good singers, no?

Quote:
And then.... don't even get me started on 1967 stuff like the Classics iV.
Start! Never heard of them, what did they do?

Quote:
In fact, let me tell you about Chip Moman's session for perfecting elements of the old Cymarron minor charter, "Rings" My gawd!......... overdubbing one hi-hat hit. Overdubbing a set of ahhs, one voice at a time until all three in the 3pt ahh were in the exact same tremelo speed for a 6second ahh. The single-word overdubs, then doubled then tripled, then done over.... and that is 1971.
Never heard this before either. Tremolo part at 2:10!

Old 8th April 2018
  #142
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Auto-tune is like compression, EQ or any other tool. Use as much as needed—no more. To decide not to use pitch correction out of spite seems silly to me, personally.
Old 9th April 2018
  #143
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
Autotune has a grid...pitch quantization.

From wiki:

The phrase "pitch quantization" can refer to pitch correction used in audio production, such as using Auto-Tune.

Plus, you can stretch takes of vocals to match them to others for perfect doubles, or alter or "improve" the groove.

Vocals perfectly quantized on the beat...I'm sure it's been done...stuttering vocals.
Yeah, but I'm pretty sure Hugh's talking about taking the timing of perfectly acceptable and musical vocal phrasing, and mangling it so it conforms to a grid. A time grid, not a pitch grid. He's talking about this as if it's something that actually happens; I'm pretty sure it doesn't.
Old 9th April 2018
  #144
I once mixed a track for a GS member as it happens, very much in the vibe of GM’s “Outside”. Well recorded but the vocal sound was very much the thing - I ended up using loads of micro editing to tighten and pocket the vocals so they had that similar flow.

Which is exactly what GM would have done in his later years - he spent hours editing his own vocals (I know several guys who helped him with the rest of the production).

Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post
Be careful in saying that you have been in the biz for 50 years and that adjusting MASSIVE.....significant..... pitch problems.......... by ANY method (you choose digital app processing for this thread)...... do not render long term results.

You failed to ...... well.... you failed to acknowledge the bazillions of hit/non-hit tracks ..... from the past 50 years....... that are made completely of MASSIVE fixes.

Meaning your entire post requires a final line, stating "imo".

Be that as it may, a huge mindnumbing chunk of HIT TRACKS (and even non-charting stuff) that came out of Criteria by numerous artists from 1971-1978 (just to chunk down a time frame) consist of vocals that are TRACKED ONE WORD AT A TIME, OVERDUBBED ONE SYLLABLE AT A TIME, SOMETIMES ONE OR TWO WORDS OVERDUBBED ON AN ENTIRE TRACK OF THE second synchronized 24trk. Microscoped to get a pitch-perfect or in-the-pocket, or emotion-ladened "word" Or less! Regardless of if it could/couldn't be sung that way during a longer pass.

Even guys like Arif, who had great arrangements, was completely open to massive massive massive overdubbing of one line, syllable, breath, etc at a time to get a performance....... not even necessarily where needed..... but where control was wanted.

And don't even get me into the Beegees multitracks out of Criteria.

And lets go to the east coast scene circa 1966-1979. Same thing. And comps...... let's not even get into lead guitar overdubs done three notes at a time.

And then, in moving to 1981-1988, let's not even try to dive into the massive topic of overdubbing one word on a "particularly good take at F#....and then flying that around to replace EVERY instance of that word.

And then you go into that time frame for say, a George Michael "Faith" track.... let's say "Hand To Mouth"..... where...... even with the sound of George Michael's great voice live..... in the studio, there is a...another.... George Michael voice. Ever notice that? Ever notice why?

Because he was overdubbing two words... one line.... one syllable at a time! Changed his entire tonality. Still got hits, right? And in Hand to Mouth... which is one of the most simple sounding yet MASSIVELY overdubbed track I've ever heard multis on..... GM is overdubbing single words.... doubles of single words....... WHISPERS of single words........ In/Out Breaths between words......... on and on. Massive!!!

Did he HAVE to do this? Hell no, he certainly could've just sung stuff in basic Frank Sinatra one-takes and left it that way.... which hey.... you the op would've related to.

But he DIDN'T do things this way. I GET why he didn't and get what the mindset is for an artist/engineer who microscopes.

It's a fully valid artistic decision and approach.

Would you have really tried to get a gm gig by telling him you weren't gonna accept doing the session in microscope mode?

You wouldn't have gotten the gig.... like it sounds like you wouldn't get a gig like that now.

And that's 1987 or whatever.

"Manual" fixing of vocals and anything else in the land before daw.

While "you" are okay with your 50yr-trip..... you may want to concede that if you really have held that approach all this time........ you wouldn't have gotten a gig at Criteria.... at least for certain projects that required serious microscoping.

Pitch correction, comps, bounces, automated tails on overdubbed crash cymbals, hours spent on getting just-the-right-artistic-decisioned "whisper" of an uh-huh between two words in line 1 of verse 2.

And then.... don't even get me started on 1967 stuff like the Classics iV.

Talk about tapes wearing out.

I see absolutely nothing different today in auto-tuning every other thing in a session compared to........... filling up 4 reels of 2" tape with nothing but perfected snips of vocal this and vocal that in 1976.

Every approach is valid. Every tool is valid.

I've been around for the past 50 years too.

This type of thread always riles me because it presents a FALSE picture to young kids that...... somehow.......... old records are better (when the opinion of a kid is that a particular record is great) because "oh, we were so poor, we didn't have tracks or tools and had to rely on pure musicianship....."

BS
BS

The only lost art is how some of the workarounds were used. Sometimes, because an artist/engineer didn't really want to detail it out... in say R-E-P, because competition was fierce.

While I have no gripe with guys who track live with no overdubs and like it that way, I DO have a gripe with guys who present it as "more like the old days".

Maybe for some approaches, such as Motown are more in your area of expertise approaches. Fine. Although even the 16trk Motown multis I listen to have "their overdub moments"

And I'm not talking just "overdubs" (moving away from Motown or mobile fidelity and so forth). I'm talking surgical overdubs to pitch-perfect or pocket-hit something. Surgical to the point that you'd never attempt to punch-in. No way would that work. I'm talking surgical perfection attempts that were so routine with synchronized multitrack machines. Circa 1971 onward.

In fact, let me tell you about Chip Moman's session for perfecting elements of the old Cymarron minor charter, "Rings" My gawd!......... overdubbing one hi-hat hit. Overdubbing a set of ahhs, one voice at a time until all three in the 3pt ahh were in the exact same tremelo speed for a 6second ahh. The single-word overdubs, then doubled then tripled, then done over.... and that is 1971.

If Sly Stone had gotten wind of the approach two years earlier instead of a year later.... who knows what his approach would've been........ although I'm fine with his entire output any old way he did it.

But to criticize someone who is currently using a lot of Autotune.... as maybe... a lot of guys do.... just as they stacked up all those one-syllable-sung-with-a-peterson-strobe-tuner-set-up next to the mic to be absolutely sure the pitch going on tape for this one word was absolutely pitch perfect....... well.......... you are either purposely putting up a smoke screen for kids about the past...... or you didn't have a taste for that kind of work when it was routine for many of us.

"oh, yeah, but doing the fixes the old way in microscope mindset isn't the same thing as dialing in autotune or melodyne now....."

bs
bs
bs

imo
Old 9th April 2018
  #145
Lives for gear
 

Honestly, I haven't had much time to read "the whole thread".

But...

I'm definitely biased towards "Old Skool" on this one. I really feel that a singer "owes it", to their listening public, to put out a realistic recording.

If they're more on the "feel" end of the spectrum, ala Classic Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, even James Brown-IMHO the more lenient standards of yesteryear are fine. (who ever returned a Dylan album because he wasn't spot on pitch?).

It wasn't a recording, but a few weeks ago I was leading/singing "Drift Away" as a group singalong at a Laguna venue... And there were around 20+ singers participating (some quite strong singers).

Anyway... I got a bit "carried away", and decided to throw a few advanced (for me) Gospel style runs in it . Result-The loudest one had a definite "clam" in it, and (of course) a very advanced musician walked in, at that exact moment!

Boy, was I (temporarily) embarrassed.

Point being that's going to make me go back and "do my" agility exercises better. I'd rather sing that song without further embellishment, without resorting to any artificial help. I am aware that some live performers, do use Autotune for performing live. (Al Jolson must be turning in his grave!)

Chris
Old 9th April 2018
  #146
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Yeah, but I'm pretty sure Hugh's talking about taking the timing of perfectly acceptable and musical vocal phrasing, and mangling it so it conforms to a grid. A time grid, not a pitch grid. He's talking about this as if it's something that actually happens; I'm pretty sure it doesn't.
Maybe that's his point? Nobody would (generally) put vocals on the grid time-wise, so why do it pitch-wise.

but maybe it should happen...perfectly timed vocals right on the grid from now on!

Old 9th April 2018
  #147
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
I am aware that some live performers, do use Autotune for performing live.
The Bob Dylan of now:








Dylan, by comparison:

Old 9th April 2018
  #148
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badmark's Avatar
Bob Dylan had OutaTune
Old 9th April 2018
  #149
Deleted 6ccb844
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
my impression on reading Bob's post was that he was saying that IF the person was singing 'in tune' he would have sung it slightly differently - so when you tune it, some aspect of it sounds 'wrong' after the fact.


If that's indeed what he was saying, an analogy would be if you played a guitar solo with a clean amp sound and then reamped it with a heavy distortion. The note selection and improvisational choices "would have been" different - so there might be an awkwardness there musically, even if sonically it was transparent. In fact, singing with the tuning processor in place might actually serve to remove some of that awkwardness, because at least the singer is monitoring the 'final product' as he sings it.

I have worked with a few singers who are capable of deliberately applying nuanced 'shading' of their pitches for emotional effect, but to me those are the only instances in which this would be an issue. And certainly I never noticed any significant physical time shifting of the waveform.
I'd be interested to know how many vocalists you've come across that can hit it on the head of a pin consistently? Even from a pre 90's popular / world selling record from what I've heard it's extremely rare.

There's plenty of "close" enough to the point it doesn't irk although growing up in the autotune era pretty much every older track I have to re-adjust my ears. Although in context it can definitely sound better..
Old 9th April 2018
  #150
Lives for gear
 

Didn't the Stones have a hit with that song "Baby, Baby, Baby, You're Outa Tune?

Chris
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