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Is vocal comping as bad as auto tuning?
Old 26th July 2005
  #31
Gear Head
 

Is a hammer worse than a screwdriver? These things are both just tools. They can be used well or not, there is nothing inherently good or bad about either of them. In both cases the ends justify the means. I could care less how many takes someone needed to get a part down, that's part of the recording processone take is really no better than 100 takes, if it sounds good. Just my 2 cents.

Bart
Old 26th July 2005
  #32
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norman_nomad's Avatar
The whole concept of "cheating" in music seems so bizarre to me. I hate it when people make music into a "sport".
Old 26th July 2005
  #33
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Fleaman's Avatar
 

Well, I used the term loosely...like a figure of speech.

Would I consider a couple punches on a bass part cheating today? No.

Would I consider someone needing to punch in their bass on practically every other note and edit on a grid to get the part to 'play' well a form of cheating?

Yes.

If that person that couldn't play the parts all the way through had a ghost player back stage playing his parts while he air guitar'd on stage....would that be cheating?

To me it would.

Autotune = cheating. Beatles didn't have it.

Steroids = cheating. Baseball players shouldn't get records while on steroids. Not to mention, shouldn't even play.



Fleaman
Old 26th July 2005
  #34
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trident fan's Avatar
 

[QUOTE=dokushoka]I almost always comp vocals. But, I get there by doing FULL takes. By that I mean ALWAYS having the singer sing the song from beginning to end. I don't like to do punch ins.
...[/QUOTE


who are u ? the prime minister of rock? i was recording a vocalist last week and she was nailing most of each song, but each one had a few clunkers or just parts she wanted to do better. so we tracked those sections on a different track each time so i could choose between the 2 later.
i had never worked with or even met this vocalist before, so before we started tracking, i asked her how she likes to work. whether she likes to do mulitple takes all the way thru etc. she felt respected. why would u want to disrespect a singer or other performer by "making them do something" . remember they are the artists, not you. tutt
Old 26th July 2005
  #35
Gear Head
 

It seems to me multitrack recording was inevnted to "cheat". Being an amazing recording aritst does not necesarliy have to have anything to do with being an amazing performing artist, although it couldn't hurt. I have never used autotune (although I could probably use it one my own voice), but I have no problem with someone else using it. Also we should avoid pointing out what the beatles didn't have. They also didn't have 24 tracks, would you consider that cheating? Like I said before, with things such as comping and autotune, the ends justify the means. I agree that a lot of stuff that relies on those two things can sound like a pile of puke, but if someone can use them and sound good, more power to them. They are two creative tools that, if used well are good things.

Bart
Old 26th July 2005
  #36
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

the beatles were among the most innovative pimpass 'cheaters' in musical history!

4 guys in that band. how many tracks am i hearing?


gregoire
del ubik
Old 26th July 2005
  #37
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chimpleton
Is it like someone who claims to be a guitar player but needs his solo to be comped?
Like David Gilmour maybe? Do you know that 'Another brick in the wall' for example (one of the all-time great guitar solos I guess not only in my book) was comped from something like 16 takes or so?

Do you care how many breaks Picasso took or how many edits F.F Coppola did on the 'Godfather'?

Andi

www.doorknocker.ch
Old 27th July 2005
  #38
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Fleaman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b i k
the beatles were among the most innovative pimpass 'cheaters' in musical history!

4 guys in that band. how many tracks am i hearing?


gregoire
del ubik
They used and invented many of those production techniques not because they couldn't play or sing the notes, but for artistic production value. You 1st had to be a talented musician/artist with some real skill. Only later were those tools they invented/used became a way for those with mediocre skills to achieve the same result.

Today you can have autotune accompany you from studio to stage, ala Ashley Simpson. Heck, autotune wasn't even enough for her, she had to lip sync to backing tracks.

I hope the day doesn't come where it's common that rock singers are lip syncing to backing tracks and those that are actually singing 'live', but with autotune are considered NON-cheaters

Fleaman
Old 27th July 2005
  #39
Gear Addict
 

Someone alluded to it above - performance and recording are two different art forms. I think we should do whatever it takes for the recording of the song to sound the best it can.

My backward guitar solos, for instance, are cool to listen to. I could care less if they can be performd live or not. The same applies to many many other techniques

And let baseball players take steroids if they want to destroy their bodies like that. I'd never do it, but if it helps them be more entertaining and come a little closer to earning their ridiculous paychecks then so be it.

Having said that, I guess it really depends on the purpose of the recording. I was talking about a typical recording for the purpose of entertaining the public. Now if it is a recording to demonstrate how good a particular vocalist is to someone, maybe for the purpose of securing a job singing live, then you might want to use the first take all the way through.

Thanks.
Old 27th July 2005
  #40
nek
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nek's Avatar
 

I once read that you should make the band sound how they would sound on a GOOD night playing live and nothing more.

I like that idea. If it sounds GOOD and REAL and the band can play the songs well live, who cares.

IMHO, Autotune sounds fake, so I don't really like it. At least when you comp a take, it still all really happened at some date and time in history and if it is only one or two it usually sounds pretty good too.

Nick


[Edit] Obviously, stuff that can't be played live, can't be played live like a backwards guitar solo and sound FX like clocks ticking.
Old 27th July 2005
  #41
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Fleaman's Avatar
 

If all the baseball players took steroids it would be an even playing field, but it seemed 'only' about 1/2 of them did it.

Obviously that makes it unfair to the other 1/2.

If I was too call 1/2 of them cheaters, I know which 1/2 I would point my finger at.

....and I'm not even into sports.

fleaman
Old 27th July 2005
  #42
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chimpleton's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker
Like David Gilmour maybe? Do you know that 'Another brick in the wall' for example (one of the all-time great guitar solos I guess not only in my book) was comped from something like 16 takes or so?

Do you care how many breaks Picasso took or how many edits F.F Coppola did on the 'Godfather'?

Andi

www.doorknocker.ch
that's why Dark side of the moon is better....
Old 27th July 2005
  #43
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DAWgEAR's Avatar
 

Multitrack recording and overdubbing are artificial and unnatural to begin with. If you can use a tool or a method to get a good recording, so be it.

If a singer or performer cannot pull it off during a LIVE performance and needs pitch correction or some other artifice, that is wrong, IMHO.
Old 27th July 2005
  #44
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Blunder Man's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b i k
the beatles were among the most innovative pimpass 'cheaters' in musical history!

4 guys in that band. how many tracks am i hearing?


gregoire
del ubik
That's called overdubbing you cock
Old 27th July 2005
  #45
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Comping often really helps a singer work out what they want to do for their performance. One of my favorite games for years has been "beat the comp." Many good singers can do it easily.
Old 27th July 2005
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GearGeek
I just wish we could go back to the days when artist were artists.


Shane
Old 27th July 2005
  #47
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5down1up's Avatar
 

Old 27th July 2005
  #48
418
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DirkB
No set method overhere. Every singer is different. Some do full takes, some do verse/chorus... Mostly though I do 2-4 takes and use the best one and replace/retrack some parts that can be better.
After that I have no problem doing a little autotune. If it is sung good enough, in a couple of minutes we have the tuning fixed and it is inaudible with most singers after that...
It's more of a safety net and by showing inexperienced singers early on what can be done with autotune, they relax a little bit on the "in tune singing" and lets them focus on there performance.

Nothing worse than a singer that is completely stressed about nothing else than pitch .

Greetings,
Dirk

Another thing to try when things just aren't working is to Autotune the best take so far, and then play it back and have them try to double it as they would a normal vocal. They usually loosen up some and go for it, and having the tuned guide helps them to pitch better in the trouble spots. Sometimes you get lucky and end up with a very natural vocal that's acceptably in pitch.

Of course, doesn't work on all singers, just another tool in the shed...
Old 27th July 2005
  #49
pan
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pan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson
Comping often really helps a singer work out what they want to do for their performance. One of my favorite games for years has been "beat the comp." Many good singers can do it easily.
That's a great game!!! Sometimes singers don't really know, how to perform a song. With a good comp, you can point them in the right direction. Often, they don't realize, that "imperfection" or a certain ATTITUDE is needed for the song.
"Hey - look here you did a great line: Can you do it like that through the whole song?"

...admitting, you need GOOD singers.

Bob - you're out of the discussion - do you have to deal with BAD singers at all?

Cheers, Niko
Old 27th July 2005
  #50
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catfish11's Avatar
 

a pop song is a canvas, one that lasts forever
it is a singular piece of art, get there how you can

talk of cheating is absurd, reverb is cheating, delays are cheating, compression is cheating, multi-tracking is
cheating

everyone talks about "the good old days"
you ever listen to some of the **** records they used to make

i, too, prefer performances, done well
we do alot of acoustic music, i like
to get whole performances

however, a record exists forever
and pop records by their vary nature are as much about
production as performance, not to mention
someones got to pay for all these toys
and i want them to like what they have
when they walk out the door,
however i get there,
autotune, vocalign (love it), comping

there are very, very few frank sinatras

by the way, maybe david gilmore likes
brick in the wall more than
dark side of the moon,
last time i checked it was he who was paying for the record
Old 27th July 2005
  #51
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doorknocker's Avatar
Well said, catfish!

the whole 'cheating' aspect is just ridiculous. I don't hate most radio pop these days because they use AutoTune, I hate it because the music is boring, flat, unexpressive. I'm sure it would be much worse without Autotune. A great singer won't 'suffer' when a few of his lines get AutoTuned, it might be uneccesary though because some people put 'precision' above all else.

The whole point of recordings to me is about creating something that DIFFERS from a live performance, it's like painting a picture or shooting a movie.

Read Bruce Swedien's book 'Make Mine Music', he talks at length about this.
George Martin's 'All you need is ears' also deals with the issue.

A recording can never be a true representation of a 'live event' because such a thing doesn't exist in the first place.

Your impression of that great gig is way different than mine because it got filtered thru our respective brains (should we posses such) and ears, and is affected by our mood/knowledge/health/position in the room/etc

A recording is a chance to create a new reality, something that doesn't necessarily exists in 'nature'.

Blame Les Paul if you want for starting all this, I love him for doing it.


Andi

www.doorknocker.ch
Old 27th July 2005
  #52
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Doublehelix's Avatar
 

Man...I amazed by some of the comments in this thread...

"Cheating"??? What the...???

Most of the records we record are never going to see the "light of day" anyway, and a lot of my paying customers are wannabe rock stars...so what? Who cares? They have something to show off to uncle Fred and Aunt Myrtle about how great they are when in reality, they are lame-ass musios...

SO WHAT???

My job is not to make judgement calls, just to make the best-sounding record I can with what I am given.

I am getting paid to do just this...who cares if they "cheat"? That's obsurd!

How many takes do they do in a movie? How many times have you sat on a park bench with your significant other and talked while violins played in the background like they do in the movies?

It is all about entertainment.

Sheesh! I'd better give up my car too since it is cheating not to walk.

Heck, why am I heating my food? That must be cheating too. I must eat things in their natural state..

This could go on and on...

Bottom line, it needs to sound good, whatever it takes, and sometimes, A-T does NOT sound good and is not the right solution...but it is not about "cheating".

Just my opinion...you do what you want.
Old 27th July 2005
  #53
When they make a movie do they shoot it from the begining to the end in one take? Of course not. If your making a live record that should be one take although sometimes its edited from night to night and these days, all kinds of stuff is fixed in the mixed or replayed. Eric Clapton's solo on crossroads, which is one of the great rock solos was edited down from a 16 minute version of that song.
If your doing a jazz record that would be better to do as a real take but even then
solos are edited and comped. When your making a pop recording anything goes, I'm not trying to accurately capture a performance, we are creating an illusion.
When I'm working on a vocal I'll do a few takes and then usually I'll punch line by line unless the singer can't deal with that. Most of the time they can. Then I'll check all the other tracks and get the best lines. Usually they're all on the track I punched. If the singer is up for it after all of that, then they can try to beat the comp. After that I'll police the track for tuning, I don't use autotune, instead I use the digital factory in logic and tune by ear, I'm pretty quick and when I'm done you
don't get any of that autotune artifact ****, not to mention that it's my musicality
that will determine how far I go with the tuning.
Old 27th July 2005
  #54
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norman_nomad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by entheon
... in relation to whoever said they hate it when music gets turned into a "sport" i couldn't agree more and i couldn't agree less. it all depends on the definition of sport. I think you mean "competition" and more specifically when it gets turned into a "bragging competition"
Yes... and also how the sports analogy alludes to an unfit concept of "winners" in music, of "rooting" (think American Idol), of a competition of 'better thans". I guess fundamentally I see sports as an undertaking of divisions to one, and music a nebulous multiplier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by entheon
Then again, a good emotional ear CAN make up for poor muscle training, but in the extreme it's no exchange.
Well said. thumbsup
Old 27th July 2005
  #55
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bunnerabb's Avatar
As an AE and a vocalist, I have no problem knitting the best parts of ~n amount of takes into one brilliant one.

It's up to the performer.. sometimes me.. to be able to pull it off live, though.

Beat the comp, indeed.
Old 27th July 2005
  #56
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

here're my centavos, digest or expel as needed.

it strikes me that the notion of 'cheating' with regards to musical recording, as opposed to cooking food or driving a car, is rooted in the idea that a recording is a showcase for the actual abilities of the artist, a reproduction of reality, and so any enhancements of that picture are a misrepresentation. essentially, it is as if an artist is making claims that they can't back up.

this is not an idea i personally subscribe to, but others do and that's their prerogative.

for me, a recording is a piece of art completely unto itself, and it is not beholden to any ego based concerns of authenticity, merit, ability, or skill. on some level it clearly does reflect the personality and abilities of the artist, but imo that's a very limited frame thru which to view it.

the bottom line is that i love music that moves me, and whatever was involved to create that landscape is fine by me. once you go beyond a singer and a guitar and drums in a room, all bets are off, everything is fabricated. the flavors of mics and tape and preamps, then compressors and eqs and faders and effects... autotune is but another tool to affect the color and texture of the pigments on a canvas that is, top to bottom, an artifice.

some people judge the singer who needs auto tune as a cheater. similarly, some classical guitarists maintain that any appearance of skill using an electric guitar with gain and distortion is inherently fraudulent. many rush fans view frenetic octopus drumming as a minimum entry requirement for "real" musicianship, effectively dismissing 99% of all other players out there as, i reckon, "not real".

how single individuals have come to believe that their preferences merit the labels "truth" or "better" or "authentic", leaving 5,000,000,000 others somehow wrong or inappropriate in the exercise of their tastes and choices, has always been a source of puzzlement for me. even more puzzling is how so many people allow themselves to get emotionally out of whack in the exercise of those judgments; disdain, animosity, and downright anger are not uncommon. what's the payoff?

i got no answers, just observations. i love the diversity, i love the madness and chaos of humanity. i also love coffee, and now i'm gonna make myself a rich, black cup.

because, as well all know, black is the only real way to drink coffee.

be well, ya freaks!


gregoire
del ubik
Old 27th July 2005
  #57
Gear Addict
 
trident fan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b i k
here're my centavos, digest or expel as needed.

it strikes me that the notion of 'cheating' with regards to musical recording, as opposed to cooking food or driving a car, is rooted in the idea that a recording is a showcase for the actual abilities of the artist, a reproduction of reality, and so any enhancements of that picture are a misrepresentation. essentially, it is as if an artist is making claims that they can't back up.

this is not an idea i personally subscribe to, but others do and that's their prerogative.

for me, a recording is a piece of art completely unto itself, and it is not beholden to any ego based concerns of authenticity, merit, ability, or skill. on some level it clearly does reflect the personality and abilities of the artist, but imo that's a very limited frame thru which to view it.

the bottom line is that i love music that moves me, and whatever was involved to create that landscape is fine by me. once you go beyond a singer and a guitar and drums in a room, all bets are off, everything is fabricated. the flavors of mics and tape and preamps, then compressors and eqs and faders and effects... autotune is but another tool to affect the color and texture of the pigments on a canvas that is, top to bottom, an artifice.

some people judge the singer who needs auto tune as a cheater. similarly, some classical guitarists maintain that any appearance of skill using an electric guitar with gain and distortion is inherently fraudulent. many rush fans view frenetic octopus drumming as a minimum entry requirement for "real" musicianship, effectively dismissing 99% of all other players out there as, i reckon, "not real".

how single individuals have come to believe that their preferences merit the labels "truth" or "better" or "authentic", leaving 5,000,000,000 others somehow wrong or inappropriate in the exercise of their tastes and choices, has always been a source of puzzlement for me. even more puzzling is how so many people allow themselves to get emotionally out of whack in the exercise of those judgments; disdain, animosity, and downright anger are not uncommon. what's the payoff?

i got no answers, just observations. i love the diversity, i love the madness and chaos of humanity. i also love coffee, and now i'm gonna make myself a rich, black cup.

because, as well all know, black is the only real way to drink coffee.

be well, ya freaks!


gregoire
del ubik
coffee sucks ya idiot!
Old 27th July 2005
  #58
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b i k
frenetic octopus drumming
Now that's a cool metaphor!


Andi

www.doorknocker.ch
Old 27th July 2005
  #59
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5down1up's Avatar
 

i would be very pleased to receive more information about " cheating " in music
heh

for me all those " lets try to safe the performance " are a lot more time intense , cost a lot more nervs and DONT have the same quality & deepness in the end compared to a nice " performance " .

if the artist´s not prepared to do a good take ... ? imho that just happens in fact of either wired circuimstances , LAZINESS (99,9% of the time ) or ... lack of talent .
if lack of talents the case and you get good $$$ ... we can stop the discussion right now. if its good for your wallet its good for you but will be dfegad a waste of time anyway .

nowadays the idea is to be QUICK ... means you get tons of stuff done by some " i never turn my brain on " guys & girls ... you can put all your time & energy in and in the end it will turn from CRAP to OK .

comapring it to some professional AEs , Film Directors , Artists etc. is simply Lame !

BUT i am more then OK to use ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL the tools required if the performers show a lil interrest @ least . otherwise ...

DONT STEAL MY TIME
Old 27th July 2005
  #60
If the end result is good -- and there's nothing on the album that says "this record was recorded in one take with no overdubs or edits" or such -- I'd say vocal comping or auto tuning are -- by themselves -- not inherently bad.

That said, I think they're both overused woefully and often sloppily. Sometimes there seems to be an attitude that music listeners are such simple, dumbassed beings that they'll never notice obvious technical flaws and processing artifacts. (The use of the artifacts as an 'effect' seems an indication that people, or at least DJs and remixers, very definitely do notice these sometimes not too subtle artifacts.)

And then, even when they're used with care so that a casual listener might think he's simply listening to a very careful singer with even-tempered self-pitch, I think the end result can be sterile and stiff (and in the case of tempered pitches can sound forced and canned, as opposed to many singer's tendancy to sing 'truer' intervals than even-temperament allows. The little-understood intersection of just pitch vs. tempered pitch and singing, both solo, and particularly in harmony, is clearly a subject big enough for many threads.)
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