Autotune

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RockerRocker Frets: 3825
@ICBM mentioned Autotune in a post recently.  Curiosity got the better of me and I looked Autotune up on the internet.  Most of what I read or watched on videos went way over my head.  I have no idea what they are talking about.

What I hoped to find is a primer, a simple 'how it works' article.  How does the system know that the singer needs to hit C whereas he/she hits B or somewhere in between B and C?  What 'tells' the software that it is a C that is needed there at that spot?  Does it only work with pre-recorded backing tracks?  Can it be used at a live event?  Even thinking of what questions to ask you guys fuzzes up my brain.

What I understand is that Autotune manages to make average singer sing in tune.  I am not planning on getting the system for myself but if anyone can point me to the simplest of 'how it works' explanations, I would be very thankful.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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Comments

  • MusicwolfMusicwolf Frets: 1265
    Rocker said:
      How does the system know that the singer needs to hit C whereas he/she hits B or somewhere in between B and C?  What 'tells' the software that it is a C that is needed there at that spot? 
    You tell the software what key you are in (including whether it's a major or minor key etc).  The software will correct the incomimg signal to the closest 'allowed' note in that key.

    There are effects usints which can generate harmonies (I have a TC Helecon VoiceLive 2) by analysing the signal from your guitar to ascertain the key.

    Things like Autotune work best when you are reasonably close to the right note to begin with.

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 48626
    Basically it pulls out-of-tune notes into tune. From how far away and how much correction is up to how you set it - it can be very subtle, just to catch something that sounds obviously 'off' while leaving things that just sound 'naturally expressive', or at the other extreme you can use it in a completely brick-wall manner which turns you into Cher on 'Believe' where the notes jump from one pitch to the next in a very obviously artificial 'effect' kind of way, a bit like a Vocoder.

    It can be used both in real time on a live mic channel, or retrospectively in a digital recording setup. It certainly can be used to make incapable singers sound in tune - albeit quite robotic - but it's more often used to correct small parts of recordings where you've got a particularly great take from a performance point of view, but one note is just not quite 'on' - it's often better (and certainly quicker and more convenient) to correct it subtly than to try to repeat the take or drop-in on the bad note.

    It's a tool, and like most powerful ones it can be used well and creatively, or lazily and badly. It's probably on more records than you'll ever know, as well as the blatant ones... my opinion is that if you can tell it's being used - and it does have quite a distinctive sound, when you're familiar with it - and it's not obviously being used as a deliberate effect, then it's being over-used.

    Other tuning software is also available...

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 5173
    I had the actual Antares rack unit once, the Vocal Producer. Our bass player brought it thinking it would help him sing in tune. It didn't :) ....... you had to be very close to the intended pitch for it to work and not sound like a demented robot. 

    Your best weapons to help your vocals in a live scenario is choose your keys to match your voice. Don't pick songs that are hard to sing ... ie wide intervals, long sustained notes .... large variation in pitch.  Get another band member to add some simple third harmonies .... 2 very average vocals in harmony can sound better than one single great vocal. 

    Start simple, like a talked vocal .... Sultans of Swing, Money for nothing etc. Then try a low more tuneful vocal like Folsom Prison Blues .... and just keep working your way up 

    But yes sadly there are no hardware or software that can put a badly out of tune vocal in tune without it being noticeable. In pop music nobody cares if the autotune is noticeable, it's a valid effect but for live music performed by people our age it probably wouldn't be quite as welcome. 

    Good to see you progressing though Rocker and hope your feeling better
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 13220
    It’s basically steroids for shitty singers. 



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  • maltingsaudiomaltingsaudio Frets: 1388
    This is a quite useful Insight https://www.sweetwater.com/sweetcare/articles/auto-tune-quickstart-guide/

    The bottom line is the software hears what your singing and based on it knowing the key your singing in will sample your vocal analyse your sample against what it is programmed to think it should sound like  and  reharmonise it to what it thinks is correct . This obviously takes time so depends on how quick your processor is depends on how human the result is.  

    From my experience live it depends on how sophisticated your kit is for it to work properly, I’ve herd some great results and some really crap ones. In the studio takes fucking ages to get a good result! 
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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