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Make bad singers sound good w/o autotune
Old 4 weeks ago
  #61
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^^^^^
We definitely share the same kind of philosophy~

My vocal master was so strict with his recordings, he'd never allow them to be "processed"-even EQ'd. (well he was a Grand Opera Singer after all!)

He helped a lot of advanced Pop singers-including Earth, Wind and Fire,
who even used microphones (gasp!)

Privately, he expressed concern about singers who rely on a microphone as a crutch. He felt primary vocal practice ought to be "au natural"/acoustic.

This kind of thing "only matters" if a singer is committed to learning their craft.
Dismissal of a good training manner, leads us to the current state of musical affairs.

I "get" your recent posts on this thread, in the sense like when I bought a Ricky Nelson CD of Hits...
They were actually 80's "re-recordings" of his 50's/60's stuff =somewhat misleading to the buying public.

I prefer someone like Jackie Wilson, who always was EVEN BETTER live, vs. his wonderful studio recordings.
Just say'in. Not many of him nowadays-to say the least!

Chris
Old 4 weeks ago
  #62
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjogo View Post
I meant with the application towards AUTO TUNING -- Yes, always try everything to make a great recording ...

A perfect tuned singer on the CD -- maybe hours of a plugin tweaked ..

Then, on stage __ they have no where near = that same recorded vocal.
that's simply not my problem as a record producer! Recordings are an illusion anyway - why use anything other than a binaural head otherwise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjogo View Post
I guess it they have a label across the CD -- Warning :: Auto-tuned vocals .... Or is that just standard affair -- these days.
It's just expected that a recording sounds as good as it can. Not "oh, but I don't use tuning so it's a bit pitchy (in a bad way) in places".

But yes - Most recordings would use tuning in places, just as most performances will have comps and edits, overdubs and so on. After all - if you're not going to tune, why are you doing overdubs? if they can't play all those parts live...and so on!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #63
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cjogo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
^^^^^
We definitely share the same kind of philosophy~
like Jackie Wilson, who always was EVEN BETTER live, vs. his wonderful studio recordings.
Just say'in. Not many of him nowadays-to say the least!

Chris
Great master at singin' a song -- wonderful delivery ...


I remember that CHER tune ( I BELIEVE ) with extra-heavily applied Auto- tuning stuff ... just disastrously oozing song -- broadcasting across the air.

That was it for me ...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #64
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As PM knows, I'm very anti-pitch correction, from my perspective.

On the other hand I respect and understand what his role in record production is.
(and PM is one of the best out there!)

But I still want you kids off my lawn!

Chris
Old 4 weeks ago
  #65
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cjogo's Avatar
We have a total different clientele than most -- especially PM ..

Most its their first time in a studio -- average age 55-75 ... They just want to capture a dozen or so songs >share a CD with friends. Hopefully able to afford a second one . Sing and play the best they can ... And have us produce arrangements behind them -- BGV -- percussion -- etc. Sure you have heard lots of our finals uploaded .. Been sitting behind some kind of desk/deck since the 70's
Old 4 weeks ago
  #66
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Very cool!
Chris
Old 4 weeks ago
  #67
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
Back on topic: I’m squarely in the school of detailed comping, then tuning and doing so as transparently as possible. The bar I set myself is to make it so even an audio engineer like myself who can easily tell specifically if Autotune or Melodyne was used on a track can’t tell I did. Not always achievable, but I try.

However, when I comp, my primary set of criteria are: if it’s compelling, emotion and tone/texture. I will never pick a take simply because it’s the most in tune or rhythmically correct, since putch and rhythm can be easily adjusted. But I can’t adjust the aforementioned criteria. That’s all from the source. If you comp a vocal just based on pitch it will probably not sound or feel good and it certainly won’t be the best that it could be.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #68
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
My vocal master was so strict with his recordings, he'd never allow them to be "processed"-even EQ'd. (well he was a Grand Opera Singer after all!)
Very valid for opera, not so much for other styles (after all "crooning" was only possibly because of the microphone - can't be heard over the orchestra without it!).

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjogo View Post
I remember that CHER tune ( I BELIEVE ) with extra-heavily applied Auto- tuning stuff ... just disastrously oozing song -- broadcasting across the air.

That was it for me ...
But that's another thing entirely - the "AT effect" - it's not meant to be transparent tuning, it's meant to be processing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
On the other hand I respect and understand what his role in record production is.
(and PM is one of the best out there!)
I'm not but thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjogo View Post
We have a total different clientele than most -- especially PM ..

Most its their first time in a studio -- average age 55-75 ... They just want to capture a dozen or so songs >share a CD with friends. Hopefully able to afford a second one . Sing and play the best they can ... And have us produce arrangements behind them -- BGV -- percussion -- etc. Sure you have heard lots of our finals uploaded .. Been sitting behind some kind of desk/deck since the 70's
Sure - but here, the experience is as important as the end production in a way - you want to entertain and them to have fun. Now - of course that's the same for me up to a point, but I'm less concerned with "honesty" and more concerned with a listenable product, and that's true of pretty much the entire "industry" of record production.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thismercifulfate View Post
Back on topic: I’m squarely in the school of detailed comping, then tuning and doing so as transparently as possible. The bar I set myself is to make it so even an audio engineer like myself who can easily tell specifically if Autotune or Melodyne was used on a track can’t tell I did. Not always achievable, but I try.

However, when I comp, my primary set of criteria are: if it’s compelling, emotion and tone/texture. I will never pick a take simply because it’s the most in tune or rhythmically correct, since putch and rhythm can be easily adjusted. But I can’t adjust the aforementioned criteria. That’s all from the source. If you comp a vocal just based on pitch it will probably not sound or feel good and it certainly won’t be the best that it could be.
Amen to all of that. The absolute best thing about autotune is that you can comp for emotion and feel, and fix the pitch, rather than having to abandon a pitchy but great feeling take. And I'd bet that for some of those maybe less than stunning singers who made a career of it pre-autotune, their recordings would have been even better if that had been an option then!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #69
Gear Nut
 

I feel like I'm on crazy pills any time auto tune gets mentioned here on GS. For a forum dedicated to the tools and craft related to making music it seems like hardly anybody actually listens to what music is around them. Have you guys heard current radio/streaming playlists? I'd say about 99% of music that is consumed today contains some kind of pitch correction. I just can't take anybody here seriously that brags about running a studio without auto tune
Old 4 weeks ago
  #70
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Whereas I can't take 99% of the music consumed today, tuned or not!
Chris
Old 4 weeks ago
  #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlosdanger View Post
I feel like I'm on crazy pills any time auto tune gets mentioned here on GS. For a forum dedicated to the tools and craft related to making music it seems like hardly anybody actually listens to what music is around them. Have you guys heard current radio/streaming playlists? I'd say about 99% of music that is consumed today contains some kind of pitch correction. I just can't take anybody here seriously that brags about running a studio without auto tune
It reminds me of the people who say they "don't watch TV- except for PBS". People who used to say they read Playboy ...but only "for the articles". "I never boost with EQ, I only cut".

Everybody knows what you are supposed to say, what the 'correct' position on everything is, and while some studio owners my be dictating to their clients what is "allowed" in their studio, I suspect a good chunk of the others are merely paying lip service to these attitudes. Just like the Playboy article-reader, their reality may differ slightly.

Many other posters of course, are in the largest Gearslutz demographic, which is the self-recording musician. Individual artists can decide for themselves whether they want to impose their "principled objections" to any given technology upon their own music. How much these people aspire to 'commercial' success is anyone's guess.

The idea that I, as a recording engineer, can impose my "principles" on my clients is just plain wacky to me. The idea that I get to pat myself on the back for doing so is even nuttier. "Crazy Pills" indeed!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjogo View Post
( the artist certainly doesn't want to be selling CD's, at the stage door & sound nothing like the live performance )
Speak for yourself. I have recorded many bands, and even played in some of them, where this was consciously addressed and the opposite conclusion was drawn. If you are going to make an album that sounds exactly like you sound live at the club, the argument goes, you might as well just record it live at the club. Why even go to the studio? And then you have to ask, well, they just saw us do that. To get them to spring for an album, maybe we want to have a 'value added' product.

I was never "disappointed" seeing The Who, or Jimi Hendrix where their album has tons of guitar and other overdubs and their live show had only the "one" guitar. But I think I would have been disappointed if the albums Tommy or Electric Ladyland sounded just like a live power trio - and did not have at least some studio wizardry.


Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I don't really aim for the "selling CDs at the stage door" target market.
Many bands have ambitions beyond the their local scene. Even many bands that do sell CDs at the table want their CD to stand up to commercial records. To sound “like a record”.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #73
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cjogo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
Whereas I can't take 99% of the music consumed today, tuned or not!
Chris
Exactly why I gave up on mainstream music -- back in the 80/90's ..Amazing how Nashville made it a "standard " application .. Come on people just sing


It didn't come with our DAW -- so it doesn't make it on our productions

We have TC Helicon -- but, I don't think it could really pitch a sick hyena > available if a client just has to have Auto Tuning -- I hand them the manual .. :-)

Last edited by cjogo; 3 weeks ago at 06:53 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #74
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cjogo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
If you are going to make an album that sounds exactly like you sound live at the club, the argument goes, you might as well just record it live at the club. .
Which we do a lot of ~~ around here -- we have a nice portable 24 track Roland VS 2480 == serves us well ..

Last edited by cjogo; 3 weeks ago at 03:57 AM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #75
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I'm starting a companion thread.
Chris
Old 3 weeks ago
  #76
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cjogo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
I'm starting a companion thread.
Chris
Old 3 weeks ago
  #77
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cjogo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by carlosdanger View Post
? I'd say about 99% of music that is consumed today contains some kind of pitch correction. I just can't take anybody here seriously that brags about running a studio without auto tune
Not bragging per se....just don't have a DAW with the software on hand ...... So never ventured to offer .... And never had a client, in 35 years, request their voices be subject to the software.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #78
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjogo View Post
.... And never had a client, in 35 years, request their voices be subject to the software.
I'm sure that by this time in a community the size of yours, word of your capabilities has gotten around.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #79
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toledo3's Avatar
 

When people say they don’t like auto tune, what they usually mean is that they don’t like spell breakers.

You can do a million things to manipulate something and the listener will have suspension of disbelief as long as they don’t see the man behind the curtain.

For modern aesthetic music it can be a lot easier to use auto tune and not have it pop out to the ear as wrong.

For something like the Cher tune, it wasn’t trying to be “real” anyway...it was basically like the old keyboard vocoder sound. Someone bothered by that probably doesn’t like the music anyway.

Tons of “back in the day” classic rock, soul, etc, was comped so heavily it is amazing. I wish more producers and engineers from that era would speak on that.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #80
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toledo3's Avatar
 

One reason auto tune/melodyne/logic/whatever can sound wrong sometimes, aside from hearing the pitch correction envelope with bad settings or bad automation...is that a singer will sometimes sing a note to “just temperament”, while autotune wants to shift it to “even temperament” so it matches keyboard notes.

If someone is singing along to an open tuned guitar, and hearing the “perfect intervals”, that’s what they’re going to be targeting, NOT a piano type even temperament. That can happen sometimes even without that kind of context, where even with synths and such, the “just temperament “ choice of a singer, can sound right. They’re singing a perfect third, not a well tempered third.

But you tune it by rote because you SEE it’s not “perfect” and then it sounds a little flat or sharp. If you find yourself in that situation, it may be that’s what you are running into.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #81
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by toledo3 View Post
Tons of “back in the day” classic rock, soul, etc, was comped so heavily it is amazing. I wish more producers and engineers from that era would speak on that.
When I first moved to LA in the late 80's I did a ton of graveyard shifts in locked-out rooms tracking vocals and guitars to slave tapes. Fill up the 20 or so open tracks and head home at 9am as the producer and main engineer were showing up after a good night's sleep. It's a glamour business.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #82
You know what strikes me as really pathetic -- really sad?

How many people here who very much seem to think it's all but impossible for talent to turn in a well-sung, emotionally effective vocal without running it through software that substantially changes a key aspect of their singing.

But, you can check me on this, even before 1998, many heartbreakingly great vocal performances were captured. Even without tuning.

Did some out of tune performances slip through?

Sure. For more or less the same reason that so many sadly clumsy, artifact-marred, pitch-corrected vocals have come out in the last twenty years: production personnel who very much appear to have little idea of what good singing sounds like, and in the latter case, who don't have the ear or the skill to use correction tools 'transparently.'
Old 3 weeks ago
  #83
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cjogo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I'm sure that by this time in a community the size of yours, word of your capabilities has gotten around.

Yes, its a selling point for sure.. We make it very uncomplicated for the artist. Sit down and play. Sing away -- libre auto tune
Old 3 weeks ago
  #84
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjogo View Post
Yes, its a selling point for sure...
Glass half full, man.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #85
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Bob Dylan will be the last to do not use the autotune.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #86
FWIW, despite my observations about the often miserable record of our industry in delivering decently pitch-corrected vocals, I largely find myself in agreement with psycho_monkey and joeq on the 'accepted' -- and often expected role of tuning in today's studio/production scene.

If one is at auteur status, if he is the producer of record or otherwise the designated project-runner, he might make his own rules in the studio.

Otherwise, he'd be well-advised to know how to work within the 'accepted' paradigm -- and these days, that's probably going to mean clients will expect correction of less-than-ideal singing through punches, comping, and/or tuning correction.

Like I've said/implied before: I don't have any problem with studio magic -- as long as it actually works to deliver vocals that sound like a human singing. Not kind of like a human singing. Not reminiscent of a human singing. At the point where tuning artifacts interrupt otherwise natural-sounding vocals, I really WOULD rather hear a singing robot.


A simple direct analogy: I don't have a problem with edits. I've done a lot myself, hundreds on tape and even more digitally. What I DO have a problem with are edits that are marred by poor execution, whether it's a click, a dropout, or bad timing. That's NOT a good edit. And you don't have to be 'anti-editing' to call lout such a problem, seems to me.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #87
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dinococcus View Post
Bob Dylan will be the last to do not use the autotune.
My new sig! Thx!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #88
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norfolk martin's Avatar
 

If the singer has taken no lessons at all, two really simple principles can help.

[1] sing from the pit of the stomach, not just the throat

[2] Try and sustain vowels when singing a sustained note. i.e. "yesterdaaaaaaaaaay" not "yesterdayyyyyyyyyyyyy"

I've also found that bad singers ( myself included) can be helped by varying what parts of the track you play them. If the keyboard player is doing a lot of odd extended chords, pull that part down. A few people, myself included, find guitars quite difficult to sing too, because they never seem to be quite in tune. If its the common "two guitar players playing exactly the same bloody chords" situation, cut one of them out. I often cut tracks with just drums bass and simple organ chords in the phones

The first note is often a problem for bad singers. In extreme cases,I put a piano or an organ note on a scratch track that gives the singer the pitch before they actually have to sing the note. If they like, the can even sing along with it, and I edit that out later.

Also making them learn the pitch of a phrase by rote sometimes works - many hours spent in the studio playing the same five notes on an acoustic guitar and making the singer repetitively sing them until they can do it by rote.

With backup "Ooohhs and Ahhhhs," sometimes autotuning a prior take to proper pitch, and letting them sing against it as a reference works

Finally, eq can help. A lot of bad singers have something of a low-mid "honk" in their voice that gives it a "one note" quality. Scooping it can help.

AND: if you are stuck whth a bad vocal, the worst thing you can do IMO, is to put it low in the mix, as if this will somehow disguise the problem. It doesn't.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #89
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norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
You know what strikes me as really pathetic -- really sad?

How many people here who very much seem to think it's all but impossible for talent to turn in a well-sung, emotionally effective vocal without running it through software that substantially changes a key aspect of their singing.
You should also bring that up in one of the frequent "how I use five different 'color" compressors in a series parallel arrangement to get a good vocal sound" threads.

Then duck.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #90
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cjogo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Glass half full, man.
And mine has a slow leak
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