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Auto-tune - how do you hear it ?? Books
Old 11th April 2009
  #61
Don't sweat rethinking that too much...

Just see how much warbling, chirping and pitch glitching you hear on your old recordings released before the vocal retuning era.

I hear a lot of A-T all around me (even a touch or two in the Sweeney Todd soundtrack; the horror! heh Depp does a pretty good Bowie, though, overall ) -- but I can count the old recordings that tickled my A-T detector on one hand.*

* At least if you count out the supernaturally steady tones produced by Kurt Elling back in the 90s. But he doesn't chirp or warble or pitch glich... he just has that crazy pitch control. And one thing that sets him apart from A-T: he knows where the real notes are. He's not singing to the equal temperament grid.


PS... Of course, none of that is to say that kids (and others) today aren't consciously or unconsciously adopting vocal mannerisms that reflect the influence of vocal retuning and the AT effect in general. Heck... last fall I found myself seeming to fall into something in my own singing that made me think of AT. I dunno... maybe I finally accidentally stumled on the right pitch for a change. heh
Old 11th April 2009
  #62
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pitch and time comparison

Quote:
Originally Posted by teo View Post
I had that so many time it's not even funny...I'm tuning some vocals, and when I tune a note or a phrase I hear AT working, so I undo and change the setting, and keep doing this a few times, until I go back and listen more carefully to the original....and the unnatural "step" when the note changes is already there! Makes me reconsider all the times I hear AT working hard on a commercial release and think "why the [email protected]#k don't they learn to do it properly!!!". Well, sometimes (just sometimes!) it might be nobody's fault...

Yeah, that is common. I have heard passes that sounded like they were tuned while mixing, but I know there were not because I tracked them.

I love it for an effect or if used properly it can be a good friend. I don't agree with pop/indie/crap rock etc... it has become somewhat of a monster in my opinion, but at the same time I don't care because I never listen to that stuff anyway so whatever.

I do think it is needed these days though on many things and if used right it can really make things shine. We have to think that everything through the years has gotten better, cleaner, etc...like guitar strings when my grandfather was alive. They are way better than they used to be, they stay in tune better and are easier on the fingers, the instruments across the board are great, drums heads are a wonderful and are easier to tune and keep in tune, etc.. etc...Now couple that with decent mics and converters and you have an audio capture that is very clear and in speaking about pitch, even more in tune at times. Now you put a human voice over it that has no modifications or upgrades. It now sounds weird when put with the near perfect music track. The making for vocal correction becomes a nice addition.

For a similar comparison, I also think of it in the days of old drum machines and keyboards. There was a time when they were really bad, by that I mean not only the sounds, but the time options one had to work with. Very little editing for time and feel. It was either sterile and dead on the click or it was some horrible computer made swing that never worked. Makers of these products have been working for years trying to do the opposite of what vocal correction is doing now-days. The instrument sounds (drum machines, keys etc..) are trying to become more "real" with sound and feel/timing, while the human voice products are trying to become more on point and less real.

So when you hear a voice with perfect vsti string arrangements and drums programmed right on point, then you do a vocal pass over it, you become the odd ball in the mix. So I can see a use for it now-days, either way, bad or good, it is our musical evolution, this is where we are. For an engineer that is working and paying the bills, he or she will find this helpful. For an engineer recording a jazz band with everyone tracking at the same time, probably no need. Singing while the band is playing is way easier to do when you can feel the frequencies of the all the instruments, now take another situation: you are stuck in a soundproof booth with a set of headphones and the engineer says "ready?" Been there, no fun at all. I usually don't do that these days unless it is a really quiet part or something easy to sing. I prefer to setup a pair of monitors out of phase and sing with the music in the room, way easier to stay on pitch.

this is where we are with music whether we like it or not.
Old 12th April 2009
  #63
teo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SANDS View Post
I prefer to setup a pair of monitors out of phase and sing with the music in the room, way easier to stay on pitch.
Never tried that, but always wondered: to what degree does it work?
Old 12th April 2009
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Yes to the latter... but with regard to the former...

No... I respectfully submit that you guys are hearing something else that your ear unconsciously reinterprets from a post-Autotune perspective. I'm not saying there aren't similarities that make one think of AT. I know that once or twice I've heard compression artifacts in my own vocal tracks that, combined with the underlying perhaps odd vocal technique make me think of some of the AT tells...

Hmm... I guess it's gonna come down to something spitting-close to semantics... Never mind. heh
heh - that's actually what i meant.... I've been on sessions where someone goes "hey did you autotune that?" - and the tracks going down live with no plugins or anything !! I've "heard" autotune in old Aretha records !!heh
Old 12th April 2009
  #65
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I hear my bank manager laughing...

xcx
Old 12th April 2009
  #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
Perhaps kids are growing up jamming to their favorite Auto-Tuned pop stars and simply repeating the sound they've learned listening to their idols. It's a really bizarre phenomenon.
That's because they don't know it's being done, it's snuck in like a rufie to them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
Man, that's the least of the worries in Chads vocals. Awful singer - so much processing to hide his weak voice.
How would anyone know the truth, including Chad, without it being played back as done?
Quote:
Originally Posted by oshearer View Post
It seems that a lot of this overuse of autotune is related to young singers being fooled into thinking that they're ready to perform far too soon. Most women's voices don't finish maturing until they're in their mid to late 20's, and for men it's even later. During this time, most singers are "faking it 'til they make it," because their technique is having to change every year or so to adjust for their changing voice. With some exceptions, this makes it very hard for young singers to perform on a commercial level. Hence, autotune. At least these are my thoughts as a (still young) singer.
I think that's a bunch of horse puckey, that and a nickel will buy you a nickel.heh A professional vocal coach, and not a **** one, will get you up to speed in no time flat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnicula View Post
Most of the current hits were drenched in Autotune. The earlier songs were a welcome relief.

I agree with the word "unlistenable." it causes me to experience listener fatigue, it's repetitive and boring. It also just doesn't really sound human enough, I don't get the sense of the singer's physicality. In the worst of these singles, no matter how front and center the vocals are mixed, it's like the singer is buried.
That's a good description.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chucho View Post
Have you never had that thing where after a bit of radio auto robot nonsense you hear Frank or Ella and you think ' Oh thank God for that ' and the muscles in the back of your neck relax.
Yes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SANDS View Post
Yeah, that is common. I have heard passes that sounded like they were tuned while mixing, but I know there were not because I tracked them.
Is it that hard to believe in this day that a singer could sing in pitch?
Quote:
I love it for an effect or if used properly it can be a good friend. I don't agree with pop/indie/crap rock etc... it has become somewhat of a monster in my opinion, but at the same time I don't care because I never listen to that stuff anyway so whatever.
More like a cheap way out of using time, isn't it really?
Quote:
I do think it is needed these days though on many things and if used right it can really make things shine. We have to think that everything through the years has gotten better, cleaner, etc...like guitar strings when my grandfather was alive. They are way better than they used to be, they stay in tune better and are easier on the fingers, the instruments across the board are great, drums heads are a wonderful and are easier to tune and keep in tune, etc.. etc...Now couple that with decent mics and converters and you have an audio capture that is very clear and in speaking about pitch, even more in tune at times. Now you put a human voice over it that has no modifications or upgrades. It now sounds weird when put with the near perfect music track. The making for vocal correction becomes a nice addition.
If your vocalist is a hack or can't be bothered to do it right, or, your engineer or producer is sick of looking at the person behind the glass, or, your person in charge is watching the clock closer than quality demands.
Instruments and string have not gotten so good that singers can't keep up, that is utter nonsense.
Quote:
For a similar comparison, I also think of it in the days of old drum machines and keyboards. There was a time when they were really bad, by that I mean not only the sounds, but the time options one had to work with. Very little editing for time and feel. It was either sterile and dead on the click or it was some horrible computer made swing that never worked. Makers of these products have been working for years trying to do the opposite of what vocal correction is doing now-days. The instrument sounds (drum machines, keys etc..) are trying to become more "real" with sound and feel/timing, while the human voice products are trying to become more on point and less real.
It's like a bad joke.
Quote:
So when you hear a voice with perfect vsti string arrangements and drums programmed right on point, then you do a vocal pass over it, you become the odd ball in the mix.
If you suck.
Quote:
So I can see a use for it now-days, either way, bad or good, it is our musical evolution, this is where we are. For an engineer that is working and paying the bills, he or she will find this helpful.
In an age where ad execs are A&R and producers and want to make records in two hours.
Quote:
For an engineer recording a jazz band with everyone tracking at the same time, probably no need. Singing while the band is playing is way easier to do when you can feel the frequencies of the all the instruments, now take another situation: you are stuck in a soundproof booth with a set of headphones and the engineer says "ready?" Been there, no fun at all. I usually don't do that these days unless it is a really quiet part or something easy to sing. I prefer to setup a pair of monitors out of phase and sing with the music in the room, way easier to stay on pitch.

this is where we are with music whether we like it or not.
I don't buy that one bit. I've worked with better talent than that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by equallyscrewed View Post
I hear my bank manager laughing...

xcx
We all hear him.

Last edited by memphisindie; 12th April 2009 at 01:51 AM.. Reason: My shoe told me to do it.
Old 12th April 2009
  #67
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I love how kids sing like autotune is already on their voices... Adults for that matter...
Old 12th April 2009
  #68
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voicegenius's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto View Post
Yep...just listen to Al Jarreau.
Al Jarreau is the shiz...
Old 12th April 2009
  #69
Gear Maniac
 

I hear it on my own vocal tracks for a home recording CD project that has been dragging on for a couple of years now. I didn't like the pitchy vocals so I used a trial period demo of Autotune set to auto to correct my vocals. I hear a strange flutter or artificial sounding vibrato going on with sustained notes and I know I don't sing with that inflection. I am ditching all of those tracks now, going back and resinging them multiple times to be comped later, maybe use Melodyne plugin as a last resort. I hear it sometimes when someone is singing something like a descending chromatic scale, just to perfect, too much like a fretted instrument or keyboard to be natural.

Listening back to Sinatra, the Beatles, just about anything from the '60s and '70s, there are a lot of notes that are really close, but not right on the money that would be autotuned today. I don't wince when I hear those notes; they sound human and full of emotion. There are songs I think genuinely qualify for Autotune though, Chicago's "Color My World", the flute solo on "California Dreamin'", but I don't mind them the way they are. Being off pitch still gives them....... character.

bilco
Old 12th April 2009
  #70
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I'll tell you what, knowing what AT sounds like has become a curse though, today my sister was watching a Barbie movie, and it's quite painful to hear how perfect the harmonies are - autotune sounds OK on it's own, but in harmony it's sounds so... metallic?
Old 12th April 2009
  #71
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I use tuning software to fix the odd note here and there, and sometimes it's probably super obvious to those who listen for it. I guess the issue with me was, until this thread, I couldn't really hear it in popular music unless it was an obvious fix.

Thanks for posting this!
Old 12th April 2009
  #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fooman View Post
I use tuning software to fix the odd note here and there, and sometimes it's probably super obvious to those who listen for it. I guess the issue with me was, until this thread, I couldn't really hear it in popular music unless it was an obvious fix.

Thanks for posting this!
Don't feel bad, there were a few of guys that have been using it for years who would swear you "couldn't tell" it was in use. Much more embarrassing IMHO.

It's the "no talking about stuff" thing that makes it easy for ad exec producers/software companies, (lobbyists), cubicle ethos workers, to get away with reducing budgets and instituting policies and changes to "how things are ethically done" to make them instead "convenient over proper", that makes it easy for them. Sometimes its time to ride the gravy train and sometimes its time to notice and say when we've run amok with any policy or technology.
To me, autotune is "cubicle work", not a studio job. Multiple takes, calling a human coach, those are studio processes that forward talent. "Hiding that the talent used was substandard" isn't an ethical studio job. Blaming "a necessity of it" on "better instruments" is ridiculous.
Using it like a date rape drug is disgusting, on kids it's child molestation, and if you add all these lame reasons to use it up you crate the next "antichrist" or whatever, a formula of pure indefensible evil for sure, what would anyone expect of such designs and methods?
Maybe the fact that there are no universal best practices in this industry and finally with the advent of a piece of tech to run amok with is a wake up call to get some!
I know it seems innocuous at first when you are using this junk, but, it causes an effect, "cheapening", and the final effect is on your wallet and that there will be no business to hand down.

That said, I think it would be great in electronica.
But not all music needs to evolve into "cheap" electronica. So, why is that the strategy?
That is what's happening.
Make no mistake about what direction music is being shoved into, cuz, this isn't a natural evolution of the craft, this is forced!
Old 12th April 2009
  #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memphisindie View Post
Don't feel bad, there were a few of guys that have been using it for years who would swear you "couldn't tell" it was in use. Much more embarrassing IMHO.

It's the "no talking about stuff" thing that makes it easy for ad exec producers/software companies, (lobbyists), cubicle ethos workers, to get away with reducing budgets and instituting policies and changes to "how things are ethically done" to make them instead "convenient over proper", that makes it easy for them. Sometimes its time to ride the gravy train and sometimes its time to notice and say when we've run amok with any policy or technology.
To me, autotune is "cubicle work", not a studio job. Multiple takes, calling a human coach, those are studio processes that forward talent. "Hiding that the talent used was substandard" isn't an ethical studio job. Blaming "a necessity of it" on "better instruments" is ridiculous.
Using it like a date rape drug is disgusting, on kids it's child molestation, and if you add all these lame reasons to use it up you crate the next "antichrist" or whatever, a formula of pure indefensible evil for sure, what would anyone expect of such designs and methods?
Maybe the fact that there are no universal best practices in this industry and finally with the advent of a piece of tech to run amok with is a wake up call to get some!
I know it seems innocuous at first when you are using this junk, but, it causes an effect, "cheapening", and the final effect is on your wallet and that there will be no business to hand down.

That said, I think it would be great in electronica.
But not all music needs to evolve into "cheap" electronica. So, why is that the strategy?
That is what's happening.
Make no mistake about what direction music is being shoved into, cuz, this isn't a natural evolution of the craft, this is forced!
+ 1

Sometimes the warts are the very part that makes the music real. Believability is important to me... I want to believe that the music was made by real people. Like David Byrne said in the self interview on Stop Making Sense... When asked why do you sing the way you do? He said something like "I can't believe what the singer is saying when they sing too well.." I think auto-tune works like that in most instances. Where do you draw the line... auto-guitar, auto-bass, auto-everything... till it's not music.
Old 12th April 2009
  #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pryzefighter View Post
+ 1

Sometimes the warts are the very part that makes the music real. Believability is important to me... I want to believe that the music was made by real people. Like David Byrne said in the self interview on Stop Making Sense... When asked why do you sing the way you do? He said something like "I can't believe what the singer is saying when they sing too well.." I think auto-tune works like that in most instances. Where do you draw the line... auto-guitar, auto-bass, auto-everything... till it's not music.
Well, you make a very good point!
It's already to the point where my kids don't listen to the lyrics. They will download them to know what they are, but, only to sing them, but, they don't bother to know what they mean on many pop tunes for kids their age with TOTAL ABUSE done to them.
My son says "I HATE that tune" on some pop tunes where there is only a little of it on there, he says the writing isn't very mature and the theme sucks, the melody is too simple and it must be made for idiots to listen to. He's 13. He's probly not the norm, but, other kids his age agree. Their parents probably fill their kids shelves with the crap and don't even know they are party to the musical date rape of their own kids.
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