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Old 02-23-2008, 03:18 AM   #1
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Default Autotune rant

I've just had the misfortune to hear a truly ghastly desecration of Let's Dance in the contemporary R 'n' B style. Beyond the obvious distaste that such a crime engenders I couldn't stop hearing the Autotune whacked all over the vocal. It seems to be the first thing R 'n' B producers patch in on a vocal track and the sound of it is driving me up the wall. It's everywhere! Argh!

Dear R 'n' B producers, please stop polishing turds. If they can't sing they don't deserve the bling. Do us all a favour: punch 'em in the larynx* and work with someone with a bit of talent.

/rant ends

*not a genuine suggestion as it can lead to arrest, though I suppose you would be safe in the knowledge that you're a prisoner of conscience.
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Old 02-23-2008, 11:32 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Socket View Post
punch 'em in the larynx*
Hilarious!

Im starting to get confused by autotune stuff..
Sometimes folks use it as an obvious "effect", like on that Cher song from a few years ago... But then theres producers trying to pull some kind of tune out of what must have been a miserable pile of vocal takes, and only getting it ALMOST there, and with pretty obvious artifacts.

The thing for me is, 99% of the commercial "R&B" stuff is so completely manipulated and synthetic that the weird autotune artifacts really dont sound strange at all in context.

Anyway, YEAH! Howabout some real performers!
Fuck autotune! Fuck me!
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Old 02-24-2008, 07:37 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by jakerock View Post
Hilarious!

Im starting to get confused by autotune stuff..
Sometimes folks use it as an obvious "effect", like on that Cher song from a few years ago... But then theres producers trying to pull some kind of tune out of what must have been a miserable pile of vocal takes, and only getting it ALMOST there, and with pretty obvious artifacts.

The thing for me is, 99% of the commercial "R&B" stuff is so completely manipulated and synthetic that the weird autotune artifacts really dont sound strange at all in context.

Anyway, YEAH! Howabout some real performers!
Fuck autotune! Fuck me!
Haha! Actually contrary to popular belief, the Cher song didn't use autotune at all.

I feel sorry for producers trying to autotune and comp out of a pile of shitake.

I recorded easily over 100 "commercial RnB" songs back in my 'recording engineering as a career' daze and I'm proud to say, pitch correction was never used. Not even once.

The singer stayed in the booth until every syllable and nuance was perfect. Line by line, word by word, whatever it took. The results were always very good, but I think that was largely because of the songwriter/vocal arranger.

I went into that job as a close-minded hater of 'urban' music, but I learned to really respect it after a while. There's a tonne of talent, but its mostly behind the scenes the artists are interchangeable and disposable for the most part.

I'd say commercial RnB and the Nashville country music scene have a lot in common, its a different world and not as artist-centric. I'd say there's more pitch-correction in country these days than RnB, but its pretty ubiquitous everywhere. If you notice it, it wasn't done right, unless being used as an effect.

Auto-tune blows anyway, everybody uses Melodyne now.


Also for those who haven't seen it here's Billy Joel using autotune at the Superbowl. The problem is, I don't think he has the key set right. Oops! Its not like anyone's watching. HAHAHHA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYIMmi7JtHc
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Old 02-25-2008, 05:34 AM   #4
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Ooh 'eck, that Billy Joel clip is tragic. He's not the greatest singer in the world but he'd definitely have been better off without it! Mind you, at least it takes one's mind of the mawkish sentimentality of the whole affair.

Urban isn't my bag at all, but there's no denying that some of it sounds absolutely fantastic, even if the songs aren't up to much. I find that when there is a truly good singer they tend to show off too much with the warbling 'how many different notes can I hit on this one word before I run out of breath' sort of way. Still, a lot of people like it that way so it can't be all bad. I don't think I'll be happy until everyone can sing like Aretha Franklin used to.
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Old 02-26-2008, 12:38 AM   #5
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WTF was Billy thinking? Listen to Billy, the man has one of the best voices and is one of the greatest songwriters ever, and this is coming from me, a metal fan.

Autotune is a f@cking epidemic that is being used on people like Billy Joel??? He doesn't need it, so why use it? What happened to real performances?

My ears are tired of perfect, autotuned performances. Give me some expression and character any day over linkin fucking parks "shadow of a day".

That feels better.
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Old 02-26-2008, 06:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakerock View Post
like on that Cher song from a few years ago...

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Originally Posted by PitchSlap View Post
Haha! Actually contrary to popular belief, the Cher song didn't use autotune at all.

As fot the Cher song you can find some additional info about it here > http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb9.../tracks661.htm


regards,

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Old 02-26-2008, 08:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cbenci View Post

Autotune is a f@cking epidemic that is being used on people like Billy Joel??? He doesn't need it, so why use it? What happened to real performances?
If you watch the beginning of the video closely you can see him adjust some knob. My guess is he is using an autotune hardware box and its set to the wrong key/mode for the song. The only logical reason I can think of is some type of monitoring issue or something and he can't hear himself properly so relied on the box. The thing is, Billy Joel can sing, the bulk of his career was well before the pitch correction daze. Regardless I feel bad for him. If you read the GooTube comments even 'Joe Public' could notice something was off...


Personally, I'm indifferent to pitch correction. There's nothing intrinsically evil about it. Its just another tool although its definitely being overused at the moment and records with that use it in excess won't age well in my opinion. 95% of the time, when done right it shouldn't be noticeable at all.

When it becomes disingenuous in my opinion is when you have a person with no musical or production talent (but T&A) manufactured by committee. If your claim to fame is singing, you should be able to sing. Or when you have bands that have been edited to death on the CD and are a total flop live.

The sad thing is that many engineers default to using autotune with every singer. Often when gives a singer character is that they aren't in tune. I wonder what Bob Dylan or J Mascis would sound like with pitch/intonation perfect vocals? Probably quite strange in my opinion
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Old 02-27-2008, 02:53 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by PitchSlap View Post
Also for those who haven't seen it here's Billy Joel using autotune at the Superbowl. The problem is, I don't think he has the key set right. Oops! Its not like anyone's watching. HAHAHHA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYIMmi7JtHc
Wow, thats horrible!
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Old 02-27-2008, 06:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PitchSlap View Post
I recorded easily over 100 "commercial RnB" songs back in my 'recording engineering as a career' daze and I'm proud to say, pitch correction was never used. Not even once.

The singer stayed in the booth until every syllable and nuance was perfect. Line by line, word by word, whatever it took. The results were always very good, but I think that was largely because of the songwriter/vocal arranger.
how is using pitch correction different from recording the vocals word by word or line by line? they seem rather equal in terms of being proud to say.
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Old 02-28-2008, 01:25 PM   #10
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how is using pitch correction different from recording the vocals word by word or line by line? they seem rather equal in terms of being proud to say.
Because it forces one to have correct pitch, and practicing that helps one become a better vocalist?
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Old 02-29-2008, 02:28 PM   #11
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thats why I dont get all hung up on missing beat detective/ auto tune, pitch correction type things in reaper...I watched a protools demo where a guy quantized an out of time guitar and it seemed to take longer than actually rehearsing and nailing the part would have taken.... plus grid editing every hit on drums is tedious and sucks any character out of a tune...

I couldn't imagine comping a vocal take word by word....
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Old 02-29-2008, 09:57 PM   #12
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Because it forces one to have correct pitch, and practicing that helps one become a better vocalist?
Yes exactly. There's also a lot more to to a great vocal than pitch...

This is also quite interesting...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiYCWdzm404

The Power of Photoshop
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4IQNcHGSXQ
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:33 AM   #13
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Melodynes great for not wasting hours on takes. I can't sing for shit, and i don't want to waste hours of time trying to get a that great take every time i've written a song.

We live in an age were there is alot of competition in an overbloated market, yet i here indie bands in the uk (where i live) that can't sing at all but their song was well written, original and interesting and thats why they get the air play. So i think the song is much more important then an amazing singer.
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Old 07-11-2008, 11:08 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by PitchSlap View Post


Also for those who haven't seen it here's Billy Joel using autotune at the Superbowl. The problem is, I don't think he has the key set right. Oops! Its not like anyone's watching. HAHAHHA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYIMmi7JtHc
Nah, they just have the detection and correction speed cranked too high... it is picking up every little bit of vibrato, slur etc as a "mistake" and trying to fix it.
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Old 07-11-2008, 12:23 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by PitchSlap View Post
Personally, I'm indifferent to pitch correction. There's nothing intrinsically evil about it. Its just another tool although its definitely being overused at the moment and records with that use it in excess won't age well in my opinion. 95% of the time, when done right it shouldn't be noticeable at all.
absolutely agree
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Old 07-12-2008, 04:44 PM   #16
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the thing i find so amusing is that you can hear it everywhere. to me the biggest place it's used the most is American country music especially noticable in MP3 format since you can hear the digital artifact holding the note in place or occasionally you'll get a forgotten formant thats completley wrong and makes them sound breifly that their voice has broken.
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Old 08-06-2008, 10:41 AM   #17
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how is using pitch correction different from recording the vocals word by word or line by line? they seem rather equal in terms of being proud to say.
The difference is that pitch correction sounds bad.
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Old 08-11-2008, 03:09 PM   #18
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i had someone the other day, when i was done recording and we were previewing the vocals, he asks me if i know how to "tune" his vocals, the funny thing was is that they sounded fine and better than most male singers, i still used it a lil bit for him, i don't think he would have got any sleep that night if i hadn't lol
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Old 08-11-2008, 04:18 PM   #19
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Quote:
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how is using pitch correction different from recording the vocals word by word or line by line? they seem rather equal in terms of being proud to say.
Well chopping up vocals can't go bad, plus there is no chopping live but autotune on the other hand can cause this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuqIgTfmPr8
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Old 08-16-2008, 06:18 PM   #20
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This is an interesting thread - glad there was so many good contributions. I definitely hear more Autotune bashing that Melodyne bashing- any example of Melodyne-abuse or is AutoTune really being used as a generic term?

I'm wondering what the Melodyne DNA will lead to in "producers playing with plugins for their next cool effect" terms. If I'm not mistaken it'll open the door for classic solo performances to be turned into different melodies (if anyone has the patience) but would anyone risk taking Lennon's Imagine piano melody and changing it - and if they did, how would the royalties claim go considering it's suddenly a different tune??
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