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Bad Singer, Autotune and Melodyne doesn't help! Pitch & Harmony Plugins
Old 14th September 2011
  #1
Bad Singer, Autotune and Melodyne doesn't help!

Ok, so I made a beat for a new client. Client comes in and wants to record it.

Everything is ready, hit record, and holy crap...guy can't sing for his life.

I'm sitting at my desk already planning out in my head what I'll have to do to make it sound listenable.

He's really shaky and cant hold one note. Has no presence and is just bad.

Come mixing, autotune is too jumpy. Melodyne makes it sound a little better, but its still a trainwreck. Nectar doesnt help much either.

I get really anxious when I have to mix peoples music who suck. Because, at least in mind, if they had any perception of what was bad..they wouldn't sing, or atleast try to make a career out of it. So when they listen to the final product and they dont sound like yada yada on the radio....for sure im getting blamed.

Anybody have similar experiences?
Old 15th September 2011
  #2
Yes, my advice to you, don't put up with stuff like that. Tell them what they need to hear, the truth hurts.
Old 15th September 2011
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

A recording is just a recording.
Old 15th September 2011
  #4
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Igotsoul4u's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lago View Post
Yes, my advice to you, don't put up with stuff like that. Tell them what they need to hear, the truth hurts.
i disagree. smash the mix buss with L2 and say it sounds amazing. People cannot take any criticism and will think you are some music snob. It's not worth the effort and will not help you. You can create a monster when u turn people on to their problems. Endless mix changes can occur. If its not your personal projects, smiles and yessing results in the most money. If they don't know they suck they won't know the difference between a good mix or a bad one and if they play it for someone, that someone will be focused on how terrible the artist is and won't even pay attention to the sound of the record.
Old 15th September 2011
  #5
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narcoman's Avatar
 

Just get in there and tune it all a bit at a time. Auto-settings are crap anyway.


Do your job, earn your money and get him out of there smiling and happy.
Old 17th September 2011
  #6
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Traditionally, it's not really the mix engineer's job to make a person who cannot sing at all sound like they can sing well.

You should not even try it unless you are being paid WELL.

It's silly to spend your career polishing turds and protecting poeple from the truth about their lack of talent.
Old 17th September 2011
  #7
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302efi's Avatar
 

Turn the Retune up all the way and tell'em they got a radio ready vocal !
Old 17th September 2011
  #8
It's not your job to polish his performance - you are a mix engineer, not a bleeding magician!

Mix the track, send it to him. If he has a problem with the vocal because it sounds bad, say that his singing is bad and that's why it sounds bad. I mean really, unless this guy is incredibly dumb it won't be hard for him to figure out it's his fault it sounds crap - and if he can't hear that it sucks you won't have any problems heh

To be honest it annoys me this attitude that fixing performances is an engineers job. If anything was your job then I would say it was more your job to try and get the best out him whilst recording, not after (did you get several takes? Help him to feel relaxed? etc) - but even that is debatable.
Old 17th September 2011
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by marcreeves View Post
To be honest it annoys me this attitude that fixing performances is an engineers job. If anything was your job then I would say it was more your job to try and get the best out him whilst recording, not after (did you get several takes? Help him to feel relaxed? etc) - but even that is debatable.
You're right. But after he starting singing his first take I knew that he couldn't sing any better. With singers who CAN sing but are missing something I work with them until they figure it out. There was no hope here. What I think is sad is that nowadays everybody thinks autotuning is just a part of music and the recording/mixing process. (People who can't sing expect it as a give-in).

Well, I didn't tune his vocals. I tried, but he was so damn shaky it almost sounded worse. He came by yesterday and I played it for him. He made a couple comments of why he didn't hear "that effect" but he didn't seem to care that he sounded like a cat being strangled.
Old 18th September 2011
  #10
Sometimes clients need the truth. It doesn't have to be mean. Explain they can achieve what they want but they need more work on their performance. Also, let them know they can keep chugging along but they will probably get more bang for their buck if they practice and then return.

It sucks sending money out the door but when they realize they spent all that money for a polished turd I can't imagine them being happy with you. If you explain properly they will come back, hopefully better prepared or a better performer.

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Old 23rd September 2011
  #11
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kennybro's Avatar
Get it done, get paid, tell them it's great and move on. Who knows. There are a lot of huge stars who can't sing well enough, in any traditional sense, to save their lives.
Old 23rd September 2011
  #12
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Lvismydad's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
Just get in there and tune it all a bit at a time. Auto-settings are crap anyway.
Yes,

once, I had to "manually" tune almost every syllable of a vocal, just with plain pitch shifting. Even parts of long sustained notes and weird fluctuations in vibrato. Mostly it was 20 to 25 cents up or down. Crazy stuff...
The guy was superhappy and couldn't believe his ears, and also his eyes when I showed him the waveforms. Couldn't resist .

Take many breaks, but do work quickly.
Old 23rd September 2011
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

Id love to have a listen...
Old 24th September 2011
  #14
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guid0's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob131313 View Post
Id love to have a listen...
Ditto.
Old 24th September 2011
  #15
'nuff said.
Attached Files
File Type: aif Nuff Said.aif (1.46 MB, 1120 views)
Old 29th September 2011
  #16
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 

Have you tried "graphic" mode? That's why it's there - to fix singers like your client.
Old 29th September 2011
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Get it done, get paid, tell them it's great and move on. Who knows. There are a lot of huge stars who can't sing well enough, in any traditional sense, to save their lives.
As in who? Most of the "stars" that I've heard in the studio were superb!
Old 29th September 2011
  #18
Deleted 6ccb844
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lago View Post
As in who? Most of the "stars" that I've heard in the studio were superb!
Let me think, David Lee roth... and from hearing most "Stars" Sing live like the types of Katy Perry, you can hear they have had some careful treatment on that CD of theirs

There are a few that well, just do it and do it well.. That's what there paid for but others like Katy Perry do well because she has a beautiful rack..

I do mainly metal and there are some very good talent out there, it seems a bit more black and white.. They are either **** hot or they suck, not seen much in between.
Old 29th September 2011
  #19
I tried putting him in melodyne, which correct me if im wrong, is essentially graphic mode, right? I never tried graphic mode in autotune. He didn't sound right no matter what.


As for stars who can't sing....try 97% of what you hear on the radio.

Britney used to sing, she used to have a voice....now she doesnt, and thats blatantly obvious. Katy, listen to her performance at the recent music awards...
t pain, lil wayne. drake, kesha. kayne, selena gomez, fergie (bep's for that matter) the whole cast of glee...
just to name a couple..
Old 29th September 2011
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dannyvect View Post
Let me think, David Lee roth... and from hearing most "Stars" Sing live like the types of Katy Perry, you can hear they have had some careful treatment on that CD of theirs

There are a few that well, just do it and do it well.. That's what there paid for but others like Katy Perry do well because she has a beautiful rack..

I do mainly metal and there are some very good talent out there, it seems a bit more black and white.. They are either **** hot or they suck, not seen much in between.
Actually, if you youtube Katy perry, you'll hear acoustic performances where she sounds great. Monitoring at awards shows is notoriously ****e, and even when someone can sing, they can't "sound" like their over-processed records.
Old 30th September 2011
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dannyvect View Post
Let me think, David Lee roth... and from hearing most "Stars" Sing live like the types of Katy Perry, you can hear they have had some careful treatment on that CD of theirs

There are a few that well, just do it and do it well.. That's what there paid for but others like Katy Perry do well because she has a beautiful rack..
I've been to a Katy Perry concert and I've also heard her sing one on one and she is an incredible singer. I really don't know where you got that thought, youtube perhaps? She also writes incredible hooks, did you hear the new song Hummingbird heartbeat? Incredible lyrics and melody.

Adam Levine can sing, Bruno Mars, Beyonce... etc etc.
Old 30th September 2011
  #22
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Can't be done.
Old 30th September 2011
  #23
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AposL View Post
I tried putting him in melodyne, which correct me if im wrong, is essentially graphic mode, right? I never tried graphic mode in autotune. He didn't sound right no matter what...
When I had autotune 3, graphic mode was a process where the pitch of the vocal is displayed on a graph. To fix it, you drag the graph line up or down to move a note closer to the pitch line on the graph, breaking the line where you have to in order to drag a section of a word, rather than the entire word. You can also draw a new line with the pencil tool. Obviously, it takes time to pitch correct a vocal - perhaps a half hour per song, or more if the singer is totally out to lunch. The advantage to using graphic mode is the fact that it's totally transparent. You don't "hear" the pitch correction the way you do with "auto" mode, you only hear the vocal without any out of tune notes. The singer's inflection is not affected (unless you redraw a perfectly flat line with the pencil tool, which would sound the same as "auto" mode after it clamps down on the pitch.)

These days I use the graphic pitch correction window that comes with DP. It sounds much better than the version of autotune I had years ago. It's also easier to use. It's not a separate plugin, it's just part of the tracks window. You toggle between soundbite view, volume, pan, and pitch. The only hassle is expanding the pitch window so it fills the entire screen. When you're done, you have to un-expand it if you want to see more than that one single track.
Old 4th October 2011
  #24
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BillSimpkins's Avatar
Make interns do those sessions. I'm not kidding. They really can't mess it up and they will learn a lot. Give them a few pointers, set them free and take a day off!
Old 21st October 2011
  #25
Gear Nut
 

To be honest for me Melodyne is a god-send. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was a reluctant performer (my partner had visions of me being a pop star, which was slightly barmy as I had Social Anxiety Disorder). I gigged for around three years - and I could sing, before contemporary singing I sang in a choir. Then my "stage career" ended after a stroke. I also had another in 2005. No probs, after physiotherapy, all is more or less back to normal, a little weakness in my upper right arm, but that's it.

One thing that did change, particularly after my last stroke was my voice. I have had around 20 sessions with a friend who is also a voice coach, but there was only so much she could do. The problem I have is not in my intonation, but my pitch. I hit the right notes, and short notes are not an issue, but whenever I sing a long note I have can't hold it at steady pitch - especially as the note progresses, when it has a habit of falling at least a quarter tone. My brain is telling my voice-box and larynx to pull it up, but they don't respond.

If someone asks me to sing a fast arpeggio no one would even notice it, but as it is, I can't leave my recordings "unadulterated" with every long note drooping from about half-way through. At one time I would have baulked at the idea of using Melodyne or Autotune, but it's become a necessity for me now. At least I'm glad my intonation is intact, although having said that, Melodyne can do a pretty good job at correcting some aspects of intonation too, in a limited sense.

Long live Melodyne!
Old 29th October 2011
  #26
Gear Nut
 
charliemizza's Avatar
 

Lol I hear ya. I had to use Melodyne on a client for nearly every note, timing at times as well. Natures wasn't cutting it. But like somebody said, get paid, smile and commend them, then move on.

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Old 1st November 2011
  #27
Gear Addict
 
Alex_HS's Avatar
Waves Tune is my "secret weapon" for crappy singers (amateurs with money). It allows me to make a stronger correction without audible artifacts. Naturally, only manually mode, no automation at all.
Old 25th October 2012
  #28
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uncle muscles's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lago View Post
I've been to a Katy Perry concert and I've also heard her sing one on one and she is an incredible singer. I really don't know where you got that thought, youtube perhaps? She also writes incredible hooks, did you hear the new song Hummingbird heartbeat? Incredible lyrics and melody.

Adam Levine can sing, Bruno Mars, Beyonce... etc etc.
Uhh.. Old thread. But I just had to input - I'm pretty sure with a rack and budget like hers she can afford live pitch correction.. C'mon man. Even I got the desired effect I was looking for at one of my shows back in 09 with an old blue mbox two and autotune running out of input monitoring on a crappy dell laptop.

ps, Katy, will you marry me? Seriously..
Old 25th October 2012
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle muscles View Post
Uhh.. Old thread. But I just had to input - I'm pretty sure with a rack and budget like hers she can afford live pitch correction.. C'mon man. Even I got the desired effect I was looking for at one of my shows back in 09 with an old blue mbox two and autotune running out of input monitoring on a crappy dell laptop.

ps, Katy, will you marry me? Seriously..
If she'd be using it live, then why didn't it sound autotuned everytime she was talking to the crowd while playing a song? I don't get it? You think everything she says that isn't auto-tuned is calculated? I have a hard time believing that.
Old 11th November 2012
  #30
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chrisdee's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lago View Post
If she'd be using it live, then why didn't it sound autotuned everytime she was talking to the crowd while playing a song? I don't get it? You think everything she says that isn't auto-tuned is calculated? I have a hard time believing that.
Not saying she is autotuned, but it's possible to have a slow retune speed wich might sound more natural. Besides, i would imagine its not impossible for a engineer to switch off autotune for talking parts in a live concert.
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