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View Full Version : Would you suggest using Autotune to a client?



Jeff_C
March 19th, 2007, 05:34 PM
I'm working with a self-produced singer/songwriter type artist to produce a demo disk. He just finished a BA in music composition, has a great voice and has been great to work with. There are some spots in a couple of songs, though, where his vocals are flat. I kept hoping he'd notice and ask to punch in & fix 'em but he never did.

So now we're mixing. I tried Waves Tune (while the client wasn't around) on the bad spots and it cleans them right up. I didn't save the repaired tracks, though.

The guy has been very open to little suggestions ("try the djembe instead of the cajon" etc.) but this seems more personal ("you were off key here").

Would you suggest using auto tune? Would you do it without asking? Would you just finish the mix without saying anything? He is both artist and producer, after all.

Mixerman's "Willy Show" would solve this with a conversation while sharing a fatty, but that's not an option in my case. I'm anxious to hear other opinions or experiences.

Thanks!

Johnny
March 19th, 2007, 05:43 PM
I would, for the same reason I might correct one bad bass drum hit in an otherwise good drum take. That's using those tools properly. It's not about making a poor musician passable; it's about correcting the mistakes even a virtuoso could occasionally make.

Suggest it and maybe he'll offer to punch in instead.



Of course, this in no way condones the use of beat correcting software on the Team Res mix. :)

Azraphael
March 19th, 2007, 05:51 PM
Coming at it more from the musican's angle, I'd say you have to tell him.

I wouldn't use autotune without his knowledge, that's for sure. In fact, I wouldn't even necessarily suggest it, unless he asks for options.

I'd just tell him, politely, that there's a couple of spots that are off-key. It's not like you're telling him he sings like Paris Hilton, after all.

Then he has the choice as to whether he wants to autotune it, punch in, leave it, or retrack altogether.

It's his demo, it should be his call how he presents himself.

Cheers,

Dave

Jeff_C
March 19th, 2007, 05:54 PM
Of course, this in no way condones the use of beat correcting software on the Team Res mix. :)

Ha! I've got a metronome that doesn't keep time as well as your rough drum parts. Of course, you didn't say anything about using Sound Replacer in the mix. I think Captain Hook was planning to replace with some sounds from an old 1980s Simmons kit. :Razz:

Goes211
March 19th, 2007, 06:13 PM
Hey Jeff,

It's perfectly fine to tell him 'listen, your vox is a tad flat in a couple spots'.
In fact, I feel it's YOUR JOB to tell him.
Then he has two options : either he sings it again and fixes the problem, either you fix it with Autotune in graphical mode (and who else can I recommend but our own Kenny Gioia's (http://womb.mixerman.net/showthread.php?t=1491) tutorial as to how to achieve just that - look for the "Autotune Graphic Mode" tutorial).
Look into it and I think you may find out that it's a minor issue and can be fixed easily.

However, you OWE him to tell him, if only because fixing the problem with Autotune isn't going to make the problem go away. He's going to keep having the problem in a 'live' situation, and he may want to work on it.
If he can't/won't cope with you telling him that, then that's too bad for him.

As a singer (and musician in general) I expect the AE to tell me about stuff I didn't hear because I was trying to make a performance happen.

pounce
March 19th, 2007, 06:38 PM
seems like good advice, and i'm with goes on this 100%.

and kudo's to recognizing this must be the intended use for those autotune type products, tweak a note here or there, not manufacture a performance. done with honesty and tact there will be no issue in pointing out a couple of little flat areas in the performance. i wouldn't think you have a thing to worry about.

lebouche
March 19th, 2007, 10:22 PM
I find people tend to go off key on specific parts...certain notes they find hard to hit or the ending or beggining of phrases.
I ask them to visualize the notes they are having problems with. Mostly I find people are more flat than sharp and I ask them to aim a little higher.
The problem is it's hard to get people to give convincing performances and worry about pitching and mic techinque on certain words at the same time. Still some singers like Ella are just always in the zone...Otis too. If they are out of tune they seem to somehow recue it...sliding in or away from the note.
Another thing to consider is what style is the music...cos if it is anything like The Cure or The Clash you really shouldnt worry or try and tune it as it is so stylistic.
I'd try and get this singer to give a better performance...you can normally get people to improve vastly if you approach it in the right manner and keep them positive. If you cant get it to happen..then tune individual notes and use auto tune. I often use these tools cos some people are just rubbish live and too lazy to get their game on and practise. But I'll normally tune when mixing if I've decided that I cant get the takes in the session, play it back to them and if they like it tell them what I've done...and if they don't...tell them what I've done but offer to get rid of it. Wow....I'm bushed now!! Almost as tiring as recording an out of tune singer!

mousdrvr
March 19th, 2007, 10:29 PM
Jeff, I gotta weigh in with Goes here too.

Pitch with singers, assuming they have even a modest amount of talent, is almost always a technical issue. Something went funny with their breath or they got a little tight. So, as singer, it's pretty easy to miss small clams even if your ears are pretty good. I, like Goes, certainly have the expectation that an AE will make me aware of that when it happens.

I have a pretty good chunk of natural vibrato in my voice. So, on a less than good day, I'm already half way to sounding like bad autotune anyway. If an AE assumes they can go back and fix stuff on me, and I think they are even a little green, It makes me nervous, it's almost always better if I can manage to get it together my own self. I really love musically demanding AE's, provided they're not mean. Like Goes pointed out, they make me feel like I don't have to divert mental or emotional energy to monitoring technical considerations.


-mous

CaptainHook
March 20th, 2007, 09:56 AM
Of course, this in no way condones the use of beat correcting software on the Team Res mix. :)

At the risk of a repost, are you telling me there's something
wrong with this type of editing?:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzqumbhfxRo

:lol:

Jeff_C
March 20th, 2007, 02:46 PM
I appreciate the replies.

I played the client my starter mix for one of the songs last night. As you guys suggested, I mentioned the troublesome area and he agreed it should be fixed. He wasn't offended.

He preferred punching in to autotune correction, and had it nailed on the second try. I'm sure we'll be able to deal with the spots in the other songs the same way.

Thanks for the encouragement to "do the right thing," everybody.

Jeff_C

ckerian
March 20th, 2007, 02:53 PM
There's a few type of people you have to deal with with autotune...

1. they dont hear it and dont care. You use it.
2. client hears it and hates it. Dont use it, maybe graphically repair a few notes.
3. client hears it and loves using it on harmonies but would rather not use it on lead vox.

The people that can hear are 9 times out of 10 willing to fix the note.

CaptainHook
March 20th, 2007, 04:23 PM
And there's also the use for it when the delivery was stellar and
unrepeatable.. but the pitching was not quite on.
Sometimes it doesn't matter about the pitching.. but when it
does..

J.G.
March 20th, 2007, 04:40 PM
I appreciate the replies.

I played the client my starter mix for one of the songs last night. As you guys suggested, I mentioned the troublesome area and he agreed it should be fixed. He wasn't offended.

He preferred punching in to autotune correction, and had it nailed on the second try. I'm sure we'll be able to deal with the spots in the other songs the same way.

Thanks for the encouragement to "do the right thing," everybody.

Jeff_C

Right ON, glad to hear that the problem was fixable naturally.

Granted, certain genres call for a certain sound; "angelic robot", is a phrase I've heard to describe it, :Razz: but in the situation as you described it there Jeff, I reckon it couldn't have been handled more appropriately.

Kudos to the man for his nailing it and kudos to you for obviously broaching the whole thing zen-like.

: J

dwoz
March 20th, 2007, 05:15 PM
The way to approach the discussion with the talent/producer is not one of fixing a mistake....its better to put it into terms of intent and interpretation

By this, I mean, don't say "did you just hear that clam?".


Instead say, "In that spot, if you were going for straight up, you weren't good enough, but if you were going for 'interpretation', you weren't bad enough."


dwoz

ggunn
March 20th, 2007, 05:15 PM
And there's also the use for it when the delivery was stellar and
unrepeatable.. but the pitching was not quite on.
Sometimes it doesn't matter about the pitching.. but when it
does..

Good pitching will beat good hitting every time, and vice versa. ~Bob Veale, 1966

CaptainHook
March 21st, 2007, 01:04 AM
Good pitching will beat good hitting every time

You HIT the singer?

I'll have to try that...
We have a golf club in the control room for such occasions
but i was unsure until now, whether to use it...

"Fouuuurrrrr"

dikledoux
March 21st, 2007, 03:15 AM
...Instead say, "In that spot, if you were going for straight up, you weren't good enough, but if you were going for 'interpretation', you weren't bad enough."
:lol: :lol: :lol:

Thanks for that chuckle.

dik