When Autotune doesn't quite work...

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Gnobuddy, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I used autotune to fix a vocal clam in an otherwise good take.
    Great tool.
    If I though I could get a record deal or get on TV by using it all the time, I would.
     
  2. Thighbanez

    Thighbanez Tele-Afflicted

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    YES YES YES!!!
    OMG! This is what I need!!
    Until I can buy a quality guitar I guess...
    If it comes in other colors than that ugly red I'm sooooo buying one of these next year and ditching my built '51!!!

    I will finally sound right!!

    :D
    Hope lives!
     
  3. jmiles

    jmiles Friend of Leo's

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    "I do think Traci was prettier, though..."

    And,,, uh,, much more "talented!"

    What does it sound like if you just talk thru an autotuner? First time I became aware of autotune was on an album by the late great Vern Gosdin. He was known as "The Voice," but late in his career, he was "pitch-y." The album/cd was wonderful, but live was rough without the autotuner, which at that time was new to studios, and not yet used on stage (I believe).
     
  4. Tdub

    Tdub Friend of Leo's

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    Why not just punch in the part in question?

    .
     
  5. colorado

    colorado Tele-Holic

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    Gnoboby, enjoyed you post. Here is my response.

    I completely sympathize with your position. Unfortunately, that train left the station around 1900 with the introduction of recordings, microphones, amps and loudspeakers.

    Humans listening to other humans, acoustically with no sound reinforcement, just playing instruments and singing together, has at least a 5,000 year history (probably more like 150,000 year history). Electronic music and recordings are a little over 100 years old.

    As soon as someone wanted to sound like “that record” instead of Uncle Joe, we were robbed of a piece of traditional humanity. Songs are no longer passed down as gifts - they are purchased. Performance is no longer about people gathering in their homes to entertain each other – it takes place in stadiums (by strangers – performed at us, not with us). All the subtleties and sweetness of hearing your friends and relatives playing music together (even out of tune) is gone.

    As a result of these trends over the last century, we have almost totally abandoned making acoustic folk music. Even “acoustic” groups typically play in amplified settings. Contrast bluegrass “parking lot jams” (human) with the “professionals on stage” (electronic).

    I hope we can agree that an amplified guitar (acoustic or electric) sounds only vaguely like an acoustic guitar. Kind of a harsh, noisy version with no subtlety or warmth. But it is significantly louder. We then EQ and effect and reverb it to approximate some type of musical sound that is pleasing to the human ear even though it bears little relation to acoustic sounds.

    I also hope we can agree that an amplified human voice sounds nothing like an acoustic human voice. Kind of a harsh, noisy version with no subtlety or warmth. But it is significantly louder. We then EQ and effect and reverb it to approximate some type of musical sound that is pleasing to the human ear even though it bears little relation to actual singing.

    Amplified acoustic music (guitar, vocal, fiddle, etc.) is a just a facsimile of actual acoustic music. As a result, we tend to think acoustic music is “authentic and human” whereas amplified acoustic music is more “fake and commercial”.

    (BTW we ALL enjoy fake and commercial – this is a Telecaster forum after all not a barbershop quartet forum).

    At least electronic music (amplified vocals and electric guitars) doesn’t pretend to purity (except on this thread) and revels in its “fakeness” and commercialism.

    So let’s walk through this. We turn an acoustic sound (voice, acoustic guitar, amplifier speaker (which is already not acoustic)) into an electronic signal (usually with a mic) or generate an electronic signal directly (playing a guitar directly into the board or using a “synth”). We then manipulate that signal in countless ways.

    To say one of the manipulations - “Autotune” - is bad and cheating is IMO ridiculous. If that is the case, which of the following is not “cheating”:

    Recording on multiple tracks: The musicians are not even performing together. Then we simulate them performing together through mixing.

    Multiple takes: Taking multiple performances and through editing making it seem like one performance.

    Punching in: See multiple takes.

    “Guest” performers: Having people who aren’t even in the band perform parts. Sometimes even an entire orchestra.

    Speeding up the tape to give it an extra kick.

    Compressing the mix to give it an oomph.

    EQing a ”sheen” on top of the mix.

    Making a nylon string guitar sound louder than a drumkit.

    Adding effects: Both “natural” and “not natural”.

    So lets talk “effects”. The claim that “other effects” are different than autotuning because you can’t get THAT effect naturally is AT BEST half true (and even then is still a crazy argument). Most effects simulate real acoustic (natural) effects, for instance:

    Want reverb – play in a church.

    Want chorus – get three other guitarists to play the same thing.

    Want vibe – develop a vibrato

    What tremolo – play loud and soft

    Want slapback – double pick notes

    Etc.

    That the electronic simulations of these natural effects can be more extreme is the result of them being electronic simulations. Turns out we humans like electronic simulations (and they are commercially convenient).

    Then there are the “not natural” effects – distortion, compression, wah, etc. But we are OK with them because they “sound cool”. (If you grew up with them. Some effects such as dubstep synths, etc. don’t “sound cool” to the geezers who then think these particular effects lack humanity and soul. But kids like em.)

    Autotuning is a way to simplify doing multiple takes/punch-ins. People (as they always do) then want to take it to extremes because they think it “sounds cool” (just like you might think a distorted guitar through a wah wah “sounds cool”). And given the way we create music now (by “now” I mean the last 50 years), the “we are losing our humanity to Autotune!” argument is laughable.

    We torture ALL these electronic signals that we use to make our music, but this thread claims one electronic signal is supposed to be privileged – the vocal take. We can do some things to it – but one thing isn’t allowed (autotuning) because it will strip this particular electronic signal of its humanity.

    So we end up with the absurd proposition that one type of processed electronic signal (voice with reverb, eq, chorus, compression and delay on it) is human. But another processed electronic signal (voice with reverb, eq, chorus, compression, delay and autotuning on it) is an abomination against humanity. Come on, you got to admit, we humans are funny creatures.

    Side note: I’d probably rather listen to Taylor Swift than Sarah Brightman.
    But I’d really rather listen to the captured electronic signal that is supposed to simulate Muddy Waters or Bob Dylan (50 years ago) because those electronic signals simulate sounding human better to me than the electronic signal that simulates Taylor Swift simulates sounding human.

    A 14 year old girl might not agree.
     
  6. Breen

    Breen Friend of Leo's

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    I think you misread me. I didnt say she had autotuned on that 2nd, the live clip, that I posted.
     
  7. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Nick, we're back! YAY!
     
  8. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    It was one note.
     
  9. motwang

    motwang Tele-Afflicted

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    Thinking of Bob Dylan and the Beatles.What would they have sounded like with autotune? John or Paul trying to reach that note would have been so much simpler, and Dylan? He sang the way he did (and does) for a reason, and people liked that sound . Cash didn't always sing in perfect pitch, nor does Willy Nelson, but we think of them as great musicians also. Their "mistakes " made them who they were, and distinguished them from others. Now it all sounds the same. As I have said before the " Talent" now is in the equiptment and the sound guy, Not the entertainer. When someone's voice cracked in a live performance it was a trademark sound, now that would never be heard and if it were it would in itself be "faked". Sorry, the masses say different, but todays vocals are just no talent with lots of sex appeal. Most will be has beens in a few years because todays masses consist mainly of preteen girls and they will grow up and be replaced by more teens!!! It will all be techno pop in a few years. I even heard a new "country" song on the local radio from some kids trying to get heard, it sounds like a Beiber and Swift duet. Nothing country about it either. I really don't care what the kids listen to, really. In a nut shell I just miss hearing Music, real Music, Rock, Country, Blues ( think of all those old blues guys playing cheap sounding guitars being autotuned, ha!) all of it done with a believeable sound, raw but honest and real.
     
  10. colorado

    colorado Tele-Holic

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    So let me get this straight. When Johnny and Willie sing off key - that's character. When Taylor Swift sings off key - it is because she is a no talent tramp.

    Did I miss anything?
     
  11. colorado

    colorado Tele-Holic

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    So no one is willing to even engage my argument? :p

    I guess that means I win and you anti-autotune folk are all wrong. Impeccable logic takes the day. :D

    Its about time there was some sense on this forum. :cool:

    Carry on making noise with your electric gizmos.

    What should we talk about next? :confused:
     
  12. ROADMAN

    ROADMAN Poster Extraordinaire

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    [​IMG]

    this is an internet site where opinions differ and the worlds worst advice is given freely .....it is what it is ....let it be
     
  13. beach bob

    beach bob Friend of Leo's

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    Grist for the mill... this was 1979. 1979! :eek:

    And for you whippersnappers who don't know, Godley / Creme were half of 10cc, who were easily one of the most vocally proficient and capable 70s groups. This example, was of course done on purpose. It was a time when the artists themselves, after some success, could make such calls pretty much on their own. Wouldn't fly in Nashville these days tho' :D



    Could it be that one of my fave bands of yore, is at least partially responsible for that dreaded roboto-voice pop annoyzic heard so frequently nowadays? :eek: :neutral:
     
  14. Westerly Sunn

    Westerly Sunn Poster Extraordinaire

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    What are you her uncle or sumpthin? I didn't think this thread was ever intended to be about her.
     
  15. Boubou

    Boubou Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    I though this thread was about people hating new technology, the advancement of science, wanting to keep living in the Stone Age .
    Hey I did half of my school without a calculator, they did not exist, I learned how to calculate, now you can just "ask" your iPhone and you get the answer

    Sent from my iPad using TDPRI
     
  16. Westerly Sunn

    Westerly Sunn Poster Extraordinaire

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    New tech...? No prob... H311; I hate hammers when you mis-use them and put holes through the dry wall! :lol:

    Of course, every once in a while, that may be what you want... But generally... It ain't a good thing.
     
  17. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    This is what in-built autotune sounds like.

     
  18. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I have been watching the festivities in this thread with bemusement, but until now I have been avoiding jumping into the melee...

    This appears to be your typical internet "discussion" where people are arguing two different subjects, but treating them as the same one.

    Autotune? I have no problem with it if it's used subtly and judiciously. What I do have a problem with is using technology to replace talent.

    The very first video that aired on MTV was Video Killed The Radio Star, and that song has been more prophetic than we ever could have imagined at the time. Prior to the mainstream pop music music video, our primary media source for music was audio only. We didn't know what the artists looked like, so the music was the main focus.

    With video becoming the dominating media for commercial music, suddenly the image became just as important as the music. Through the years, the whole thing has flip-flopped to where the image is now more important than the music. People who can't sing, but look good, are now what we have to deal with in popular music. Autotune is what made this possible, and I think that many people are more frustrated by the lack of natural singing ability in these "artists" than they are with the technology that allows them to become such big stars.

    Colorado, autotune (as it was designed) is not an effect, it is an editing tool. As such its intended purpose is to fix errors, not to enhance a basic tone.

    When you have a "singer" who can't hit one correct note in a phrase, then autotune is working so hard that it becomes an effect, and the current generation is used to hearing it in this manner because there are so damn many people out there that simply can't sing, but are dominating the music industry. And that is really sad.
     
  19. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    this is really a cult of personality thread. It isn't really about a technology.

    in the end, it comes down to some people have become somebodys and in some cases the somebodies aren't buddies with the gnobodies and because of that we get to experience that they are clever enough to create something that people want to hear but shouldn't want to hear because gnobody doesn't like them.

    It is all just a popularity contest. perceived cool kids vs. jocks vs. nerds vs. brains vs. whoever....

    The autotune part is just along for the ride... if the perceived 'good guys' use it, it is 'tasteful' and when the unfavorable, gross people use it, they are hacks... There is power and money in being somebody, there is the moral high ground of not using autotune in being gnobody... we each get to pick... If we are lucky and made of enough cult of personality we can both be somebody AND use autotune and even the gnobodies will look the other way.

    Would the Beatles have used it? Of course... they probably would have use the TPain setting!
    Would Linda Ronstadt have used it? Absolutely (I use her as an example of someone who had amazing pitch and control but who also embraced technology for enhancing performances)
    Stevie Wonder? c'mon! of course!

    There is talent in putting butts in the seats of arenas. That doesn't mean if you decide your integrity limits you to small houses and limited release you lack talent, you just make choices. I asked one of my somewhat famous friends once "hey, if you decided to completely 'sell out' could you be a huge star" and he looked at me and said, "no, I don't think so or I would already be one."

    That was followed by extended silence.
     
  20. Slow Reflexes

    Slow Reflexes Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yep, that's the one.
     
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