Death by Auto Tune

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by stevo, Jul 22, 2021.

  1. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    Rick's at it again. I tend to agree with his opinion. He doesn't hate auto tune, just thinks it's over used:

     
    Floo, Ando, Waxhead and 2 others like this.
  2. Jerzey Bob

    Jerzey Bob Gretschie

    416
    Apr 3, 2021
    North Jersey
    me, I hate it enough for 10 people.
     
    gazzie, NJDevil, Bob Perrone and 8 others like this.
  3. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    For the most part, so do I. If it's really obvious and being used as an effect, I get it but don't like it. And a couple of pitch fixes here and there doesn't bother me.

    But it generally sucks the humanity out of a person's voice. I'd rather hear most of the flaws in most cases.
     
    gazzie, Frank_NH, Robbie and 2 others like this.
  4. AZBrahma

    AZBrahma Gretschie

    281
    Dec 18, 2020
    Arizona
    One of my favorite bands, who is deeply talented including a great vocalist who certainly doesn't need it, used auto-tune with pretty aggressive and abrupt correction as a unique effect for the chorus of one single song. This band could almost do no wrong in my eyes.

    Until they did that. I hate that song with the fiery passion of a thousand volcanoes.
     
    MrWookiee and blueruins like this.
  5. BuddyHollywood

    BuddyHollywood Gretschie

    201
    Sep 11, 2009
    Venice, CA
    If you have a brilliant engineer they can take a great vocal performance and turn it into a timeless vocal performance with just a few small tweaks. I recently experienced this with a singer I am working with. Her performance blew my mind and I know both of us would have been more than happy to release it as is. During mixing the engineer smoothed out almost unnoticeable minute details and just raised the bar that much higher. Like John Mayer said in his PRS Silver Sky introduction video, "It's a game of inches". In the right hands vocal tuning is an asset. The problem to me with any technology is when the engineer uses the tools to create the music instead of to enhance the performances.
     
  6. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I can’t stand it. Processed vocals are off-putting.

    A few years ago, I was in a music store that seemed to be well stocked with guitars that had built-in synths. There were a couple of customers, enthusiastically trying these out, and I had to leave the store. The latency of these synths robbed the music of its humanity. The sound was phony was artificial and had an unnatural attack and decay. I found it to make for painful listening.

    All of the above also applies to processed vocals and auto-tune. I can spot auto-tuned vocals, pretty much instantly. I heard a commercially produced recording a while back which seemed to have auto-tune slathered on quite thickly. Obviously, the vocals were all over the map and duct-taped to pitch via software. What occurred to me was that auto-tune had been used, in this case, to salvage a track that should never have been used.

    When I do a vocal track, it’s not uncommon for me to do several takes, before I find one that I like. I don’t do punch ins, nor do I graft takes together. I can hear that in a recording, and I would rather use a slightly less than perfect take than synthesize a perfect take by grafting two takes together. However, in a commercial studio, additional takes require additional time, and time is money, so there is a significant economic pressure to break out the duct tape and patch together a vocal track, by grafting takes and using auto-tune to bring it all to proper pitch.

    I can’t imagine Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, or any of the great singers of the past using such things. I would venture that they would be ashamed to put out something that was so severely flawed.
     
    gazzie and Robbie like this.
  7. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa Cruz
    You need to learn to not hold back; you know, let’s know how you really feel..:D
     
    new6659 likes this.
  8. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I’m with you.

    The great singers of the past could create a great performance with their voice, that’s why they were stars. Ella Fitzgerald wasn’t up there because of her camera appeal or as a singing, dancing sex symbol. She was there because when she opened her mouth, amazing sounds came out. Her pitch was flawless and her phrasing was impeccable. She was every bit the virtuoso as any master of a musical instrument. It was as precise as any classical pianist, and as sensitive as any virtuoso violinist. She used her voice, and just her voice. She was one of the greatest vocalists in memory, and she could replicate her recorded output at will, in a live situation.

    Today, vocalists are thought of as a whole package. They have to have the right right attitude and the right moves. Vocal ability alone is no longer considered adequate. Ella would not likely have been produced in our day, and the world would be poorer for it. Meanwhile, we get mediocre vocal performances, propped up with all sorts of effects and if you go to a live performance, there’s a fair chance that you will be hearing a prerecorded track.
     
    gazzie, new6659 and MrWookiee like this.
  9. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    I'm not sure why it's happening the way it is - it's almost like overly ambitious people with meager talent stomping on people with the real talent. So when you book people into the studio who can't sing, you're obligated to tune them up. I want to tune them up. I want to tune up their managers and promoters too. I want to hear real music, real voices. It doesn't tax the ears. It's human. Bruce Springsteen - does anyone feel like he would sound better if auto tuned?
     
    gazzie likes this.
  10. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    Sandy Eggo
    ALL vocals are processed in todays market to some degree (this aint the Andrew Sisters world) and when its used as a tool to tweak imperfections or to enhance what is already wonderful.. it is priceless.
    We arent talking Cher here or rap singer remixes..
    I had to record choir singers for a year during covid and if I didnt use waves app, those songs would have sucked bad and all the time spent in studio getting mics right, people spaced out far from eachother, etc.. I'd have to call them all back in individually to re-record their parts. Thats absolutely stupid, it doesnt happen.. so as an engineer/editor I thank God we have such wonderful tech from the likes of Antares and Waves. Apple Logic+ is my pal.
     
    Henry likes this.
  11. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    That was pretty much the point of Rick's video.
     
  12. TubeLife

    TubeLife Synchromatic

    Age:
    45
    504
    Jan 23, 2020
    Chicagoland
    I agree with @TV the Wired Turtle. Also, for it to work AND sound natural, the originally recorded vocal track’s pitch should be as ‘in tune’ as possible. If it’s only a few cents below/above pitch, Autotune really comes in handy. If it’s waaaaay off…retake please!!
     
    TV the Wired Turtle likes this.
  13. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    For me it’s like kissing a woman who smokes! Yuck!
     
    DennisC and Robbie like this.
  14. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    Exactly. I am not a perfect singer, but I have no desire to use auto-tune, in fact I would forbid it.

    Music is not perfect. The debate between Equal Temperament and Just Temperament has gone on for a very long time. Neither is flawless. Advocates of both systems have valid points, yet music is usually played in 12 TET, and we listen to it and enjoy it.

    Frankly, I don’t believe that auto tune improves anything, and anything that moves the voice away from its natural state strikes me as detracting from the overall effect.
    Well stated.
     
    hogrider16 likes this.
  15. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    What about bad temperament? Isn’t that what we use for angry rock?
     
    MrWookiee likes this.
  16. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    Sounds like a good name for a Death Metal band.
     
    MrWookiee likes this.
  17. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    Sandy Eggo
    You are totally kidding yourself if you dont think that in production, they are'nt processing Bruce's voice.. that naive guys c'mon!

    Bob Clearmountain mixes Springsteins albums and runs protools and apogee gear (although uses an SSL console not DAW for mixing) AND WAVES!! here's a quote from
    him on vocals for Bruce album, understanding that he's not using auto-tune (an Antares company software) but he's still relying on Waves software (yes I love it and cant do without):
    "I tune vocals using the Waves SoundShifter plug‑in. It’s a manual pitch shifter, and I use it the same way I used the Eventide H3000. I just listen and dial it in. I also do this completely by ear. Some things may not be perfect, and that’s fine, because you don’t want to completely suck the life out of a voice. Today, the vocalists in country music in particular sound like machines. They all sound like the same person, with the soul sucked out.”"

    this is freak'n epic sounding..



    Even LIVE has processing.. I dont wish to condescend in anyway but if you think musicians at this level are plugged from a mic to an xlr cable to a board straight to a speaker.. you are living in a cave.

    FOH engineer John Cooper gives a breakdown of his plugin chains and shares his approach to mixing Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band live on the Wrecking Ball tour. (pay attention at 15:00 and a bit backat 6:00)
    FOH engineer John Cooper gives a breakdown of his plugin chains and shares his approach to mixing Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band live on the Wrecking Ball tour.
     
    Henry and TubeLife like this.
  18. doc538

    doc538 Electromatic

    59
    Sep 20, 2017
    Massachusetts
    Autotune is the laugh track of the music industry. It is fake and annoying. I personally pretty much suck but I can produce a perfect sounding recording all by myself that I could never do in real life. Add in filtered video and I might win an award. That is SICK. People wonder why live performances can be so bad
     
  19. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    This reminds me of the South Park episode where the kids get famous in a band then their heads get to big and they shut off auto tune.
     
    MrWookiee likes this.
  20. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    71
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    It shouldn't be "Death BY Autotune", but "Death TO Autotune".

    I started playing in bands long before monitors were a thing. That's one of the reasons that The Beatles stopped touring---they couldn't hear themselves. The greats we all know and love got by without autotune. I feel it's used as a crutch by many. It's even worse when used as an effect.
     
    gazzie and MrWookiee like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.