Just Plain Networking Forum
  General Technical Forum
  Vocal pitch autotuner

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

UBBFriend: Email This Page to Someone! next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Vocal pitch autotuner
MR Bulk
Serious Contributor

Posts: 1147
From: Mililani, Hawaii, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 02-06-2002 13:23     Click Here to See the Profile for MR Bulk   Click Here to Email MR Bulk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello,

I am trying to learn about what type of device is necessary to automatically correct off-key singing. Am not sure if it is done after the vocal is recorded or if it can be done on the fly as the singer is performing. It is obviously a digital effects device. For an example, I believe Phil Vassar uses it in a couple of his songs (Another Day In Paradise / Carlene), especially as he reaches for the higher notes.

Any help or info is appreciated. I would like to get one of these things (for my own off-key singing!).

------------------
Best Regards and Aloha,

Charlie
http://artists2.iuma.com/IUMA/Bands/Wong_Songs/index-1.html

IP: Logged

Lwilliam
Lord of this Board

Posts: 918
From: Santa Clarita, CA USA
Registered: Aug 2001

posted 02-06-2002 13:57     Click Here to See the Profile for Lwilliam   Click Here to Email Lwilliam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The most famous of these is made by Antares and is called "Auto-tune". It can be purchased as a separate hardware box that you plug into the insert of a vocal channel on a live or recording board. It corrects pitch in real time (vs after it's recorded although it could be used that way, too). I think they just came out with a combination Mic Preamp, Auto-tune, and Mic Modeler for around $500 retail.

They also make a software version called a "plugin" for just about any audio recording software made (Protools, Logic Audio, Digital Performer, Cubase, Sonar, Cakewalk, Nuendo, etc.).

There's another company called Wave Mechanics that makes a somewhat competing product called "Pitch Doctor". Some people prefer it.

I use Auto-tune myself and have used it to fix notes here and there (even from excellent singers). I find it especially useful on background vocal parts. I've also used it to help with violin/fiddle parts, flute parts, and I even used it on a slide guitar part once. Sometimes you don't notice a pitch problem until after everyone's gone home and it's a LOT easier than adjusting the pitch of each note manually.

One word of caution: it can be painfully obvious in use if the settings are incorrect and it can take some tweaking to get the real-time version working without obvious artifacts.

It won't make a Celine Dion out of my 6 year-old niece, but I find it extremely useful - in moderation.

BTW, it has been used on well over half of the commercial CDs (pop music) you hear, and 95% of those coming out of Nashville. You can even see credits on some CDs like "Digital Editing by...". I've never seen "tuning" specifically listed (what artist would want to admit it was done), but a friend of mine has been working on Music Row for the past several years. His specialty was Auto-tuning some of the biggest country artists you've heard. He was usually credited for "Digital Editing".


------------------
Larry

[This message has been edited by Lwilliam (edited 02-06-2002).]

IP: Logged

MR Bulk
Serious Contributor

Posts: 1147
From: Mililani, Hawaii, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 02-06-2002 14:08     Click Here to See the Profile for MR Bulk   Click Here to Email MR Bulk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Larry,

Your information was immeasurably helpful, and I sincerely Thank You. Got a chuckle out of the anecdotes, too.

Wonder if they got any web pages...

Thanks again.

------------------
Best Regards and Aloha,

Charlie
http://artists2.iuma.com/IUMA/Bands/Wong_Songs/index-1.html

IP: Logged

Patrick Bryant
Lord of this Board

Posts: 349
From: Glendale, CA, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 02-06-2002 14:25     Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick Bryant   Click Here to Email Patrick Bryant     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MR Bulk:
...Wonder if they got any web pages...

Try http://www.antarestech.com .

------------------
Later,

Pat

IP: Logged

MR Bulk
Serious Contributor

Posts: 1147
From: Mililani, Hawaii, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 02-06-2002 23:08     Click Here to See the Profile for MR Bulk   Click Here to Email MR Bulk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for this most useful bit of information. I found a couple of vendors that sell these, and notice they have the new do-it-all rack that includes the pitch tuner, yet it is cheaper than just the tuner itself. Maybe the tuner itself has more detailed features relating just to the pitch tuning itself, with the all-in-one jobber offering only "lite" versions of the variety of functions...

But thanks again!

------------------
Best Regards and Aloha,

Charlie
http://artists2.iuma.com/IUMA/Bands/Wong_Songs/index-1.html

IP: Logged

Cpt.Analog
Serious Contributor

Posts: 70
From: Nashville
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 01-14-2004 15:55     Click Here to See the Profile for Cpt.Analog   Click Here to Email Cpt.Analog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know this is an old topic, but I couldn't resist.
Yeah, those AutoTune boxes work pretty well. One note: I have found the box to be more effective and transparent if one enters the key signature. This gives the box a reference for finding the 'correct' pitch. I don't know if the all-in-one boxes have this feature.
BTW: If you don't have one of these boxes available, a little bit of chorus effect goes a long way toward masking pitch problem.

------------------
We are professionals: do not attempt this at home.

IP: Logged

JL
Serious Contributor

Posts: 252
From: St. Louis, MO
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 01-20-2004 09:45     Click Here to See the Profile for JL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow! This thread really shocked me. I am amazed that somebody made a device to correct singing pitch, and that people actually use it. Doesn't it make more sense to take some voice lessons if you have pitch problems? I mean, if a person can't reach the high notes, he could sing in a key that is within his range, or do some vocal exercises to increase his range so those notes are not too high anymore, or make sure he gets enough extra breath to support his voice before he goes for those notes.

Don't we have built-in pitch correctors, called ears? They are amazing devices, built right into our heads. If a singer isn't in the habit of really paying attention to whether she's on pitch or not, wouldn't it make sense for her to practice that and get good at listening while she sings?

I'm just surprised at the lack of musicianship involved in using a machine to correct vocal pitch. I wonder if people would want to listen to someone play, for example, a saxophone, if the musician had to play through a machine in order to stay on pitch.

I personally would not want to use a machine instead of really learning to sing well.

I guess this all sounds pretty arrogant on my part. Charlie, Larry, and Pat, I apologize for that. I don't mean to be a jerk, I am just really shocked. Maybe I just don't understand how the device is used--I'm curious (and kind of nervous) to see what you say to this.

With respect--Jean

IP: Logged

cozmicslop
Serious Contributor

Posts: 125
From: Hammond
Registered: May 2003

posted 01-20-2004 13:46     Click Here to See the Profile for cozmicslop   Click Here to Email cozmicslop     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Jean,
You're not alone in your apparent contempt for err....digital editing (auto-tune). I frequent an online forum (prosoundweb.com) where audio engineers frequently lambaste what they call otto-tune, yet they all have gear or plug-ins that serve this function.

Many believe that all the new digital technology makes artists, singers and musicians lazy. All those great recordings and performances where Chuck Berry and Jimi hendrix played out of tune guitars? Wouldn't happen today. No sir!

Being a Noob and all, I hope I'm not speaking out of ignorance, but I've been in the studio several times and even the most talented singers and musicians will occaisionally frost a note. I've been to dozens of live shows and seen hundreds on video. Human beings make mistakes. Often those in the audience don't notice but other musiccians and singers do. It's one thing when you're playing live. I was taught once that bad note is out there it's gone, forget about it. A recording is something else. That frosted note sits there like a bad odor to be relived a thousand times.

IP: Logged

JL
Serious Contributor

Posts: 252
From: St. Louis, MO
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 01-20-2004 15:04     Click Here to See the Profile for JL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi cozmicslop!--

What's a Noob?

--Jean

IP: Logged

JL
Serious Contributor

Posts: 252
From: St. Louis, MO
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 01-20-2004 15:35     Click Here to See the Profile for JL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cozmicslop--

Thanks for your explanation. If I understand you right, it sounds like this is a tool that does the same thing as re-recording a blooper--only quicker, and only when the blooper consists of not being exactly on pitch for a note or two.

I can see why someone who has trouble really hitting the center of every note would want to correct it this way.

I still think that singing off-pitch or being content playing an out-of-tune guitar (assuming they don't have sound problems where they can't hear their own voice or their instrument) indicates the level of musicianship the performer has reached, and becoming a better musician is mostly a matter of effort and time spent practicing.

It seems a little like cheating to fix a pitch after it's recorded. If the singer sings off key, that's just how well they sing. If they want to sing better, they should practice and become a better musician, not just fix their pitch electronically. It just seems so basic to music to be able to hit the notes you want to sing without hanging off the bottom or screeching over the top of them.

But what do I know?! I am getting ready for my first recording studio experience, and at this point I know very little about what goes on in the studio. Chances are I'll be begging for the engineer to fix my sour notes! I don't usually have a problem with pitch, but maybe I'll be surprised when I listen to something that's going to be "out there to be relived a thousand times." Of course, my songs will probably only be listened to by me and my band, so the rest of the world won't have to suffer! --Jean

IP: Logged

John Scott
Serious Contributor

Posts: 201
From: Nashville, Tennessee
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 01-20-2004 18:35     Click Here to See the Profile for John Scott   Click Here to Email John Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jean,

Good luck with your session. I have started recording my voice relatively recently an was a bit surprised at some of the pitch issues I had. Not major mind you and not usually noticable to most. A lot of it is just that I don't sing as much as I used to. From listening to my recordings I have actually started to improve again.

Most of the recording engineers/producers that I have heard talk about autotune would just as soon not use it. They would rather punch in an offensive part. I guess you could call that cheating too (btw...I just started doing this on my own vocals recently as a time saving measure). However (and I am realizing this from my own experiences now) even the best ears are not going to catch everything. Espceially when fatigue sets in. At some point you just can't listen critically anymore as hard as you try. Autotune is a valuable tool for that engineer/producer to use when you can't get the performer back in the studio easily.

Plus...if you are an engineer/producer and you are given the flavor of the day artist that looks better than they sing...you still need to put out a superb product. Like it or not...autotune is here to stay I think .

If I could afford it, I would consider using it on my vocals in extreme moderation. I have a very limited amount of time to devote to my musical endevors. If I have to put together a vocal demo for someone (which I just started doing) I would consider cheating if I could save a little time. Sure...I could redo the vocal and maybe punch in over an offending part. In fact I usually do this now. But if a few days pass (or even a few hours) it's hard to get that exact mic position back and the voice may sound just a tad different that day...enough where the punch in is made more difficult. You might be able to fix it with some EQ, but that all takes a lot of time (for me anyway). The other option would be do a whole new take or multiple takes. In a situation like that where I had to get something out, I would not hesitate to use AT if I had it (which I don't )

Take care & good luck with your session!!!

------------------
John

http://www.nowhereradio.com/johnscott/singles

IP: Logged

JL
Serious Contributor

Posts: 252
From: St. Louis, MO
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 01-20-2004 19:02     Click Here to See the Profile for JL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi John!

Thanks for your reply. This all makes much more sense now.

When I read the original post here, I had just finished watching American Idol and heard some really disturbing examples of "singing." Then I read this post and I was picturing someone singing into a mic in public, with a corrected pitch coming out of the speaker. Out of morbid curiosity, I'm watching American Idol again tonight--maybe somebody good will audition.

Thanks for the good wishes about my upcoming recording session. If I'm happy with the CD we make, maybe I'll find a way for JPF people to hear some of it and get some opinions.

--Jean

IP: Logged

cozmicslop
Serious Contributor

Posts: 125
From: Hammond
Registered: May 2003

posted 01-21-2004 19:39     Click Here to See the Profile for cozmicslop   Click Here to Email cozmicslop     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Jean.
Noob=newbie at least to recording anyway. The first session i ever ran/produced, the singer hit it perfectly three times. Pitch perfect everyone. Blew everybodys mind because it was her first time in the studio. To be safe we had recorded what she thought would be a 'practice' run through. Some folks get all jittery when the red light comes on.

We were tracking once in a friends home studio. Singer has the most beautiful voice you ever heard. When we started recording he couldn't stay on pitch to save his life. After 4 takes producer/engineer gives up and goes line by line thru the wave file correcting pitch. Took nearly two hours. It was ridiculous. The songs sounds great. The kid sings his ass off on stage. In a studio he turns to jello.

Go figure.

IP: Logged

JL
Serious Contributor

Posts: 252
From: St. Louis, MO
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 01-21-2004 19:57     Click Here to See the Profile for JL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi cosmicslop-- Wow! Go figure is right! --Jean

IP: Logged

Lwilliam
Lord of this Board

Posts: 918
From: Santa Clarita, CA USA
Registered: Aug 2001

posted 01-21-2004 21:50     Click Here to See the Profile for Lwilliam   Click Here to Email Lwilliam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's amazing what you can hear under the studio "microscope". Something that had all the emotion and goose-bump-producing energy during the session can SOMETIMES hit you a little later with..."oh, oh, it sounded good then, but now I hear it's a tad sharp."

That stuff happens in the studio all the time.

Correcting pitch of recorded vocal tracks has been done for years using samplers. Now it's just easier with an "instant" auto-tune device.

Some (rather famous) performers have been known to use it live in concert - a pity...

There is a whole "auto-tune" thread in the Recording Studio and Gear forum (my "home base") where I admitted my mixed feelings about using it on artist demos - but still had to make the singer sound good.

------------------
Larry
www.audibleresponse.com

IP: Logged

Paul Radelat
Serious Contributor

Posts: 141
From: New York, New York
Registered: May 2003

posted 01-22-2004 10:41     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Radelat   Click Here to Email Paul Radelat     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Auto Tune, like anything else is a tool, and if it's not overused, it can be very helpful... When you're recording people, and it's easier to fix one note than have them do the whole performance again, people come back to you for more business...

But I agree, it's much better to get a whole performance down, even if it's in bits and pieces, that's in tune and usable, than to tweak the entire vocal cause the singer has never taken the time to learn to sing in pitch...

The most famous auto tune abuser is Cher... She uses it live...

------------------
www.soundclick.com/paulradelat

IP: Logged

Whitesides
Lord of this Board

Posts: 1080
From: Burbank, CA, USA
Registered: Dec 2001

posted 01-22-2004 14:38     Click Here to See the Profile for Whitesides   Click Here to Email Whitesides     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since I've been recording in OSX I haven't used any Autotuners mostly due to the fact that Antares has dropped the ball on going to the standard plug format of AU.

I haven't missed it one bit.

In the studio the other night, I heard a really interesting comment: "What a pleasure it is to work with a singer that can actually sing in tune and in time."

Feels pretty good to hear that.

Eventually I may look into Melodyne or another new Plug-in that is based on Melodyne. But for now. I pretty happy sans autotune.

Jody

IP: Logged

Patrick Bryant
Lord of this Board

Posts: 349
From: Glendale, CA, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 01-22-2004 21:06     Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick Bryant   Click Here to Email Patrick Bryant     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My name is Pat Bryant, and - I'm an Otto-Toon user. I think it's good for making a slightly sour vocal "sweeter", but it can't work miracles, by any means.
I think, if a person listening to a track for the first time can hear the Otto-Toon working, then the engineer has used too tight a setting.
It's good, too, for treating bass tracks that have slight intonation problems.

------------------
Later,

Pat

IP: Logged

Cpt.Analog
Serious Contributor

Posts: 70
From: Nashville
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 03-17-2004 06:20     Click Here to See the Profile for Cpt.Analog   Click Here to Email Cpt.Analog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don't matter. Play it right his first take!!!
I'm tired of being paid sub-minimum wages to fix crap that y'all couldn't nail on the first take.

IP: Logged

Melissa
Serious Contributor

Posts: 108
From: Cumberland County, South Jersey
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 03-17-2004 19:02     Click Here to See the Profile for Melissa   Click Here to Email Melissa     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Got one, like it ok, but it can't make the bad, good. Best thing for anyone to do would be to take some vocal lessons to correct pitch. Everyone makes a pitch mistake at times and it can improve those mistakes. But it should only be used in moderation...too much sounds like too much.

IP: Logged

Kenny Holcomb
Serious Contributor

Posts: 97
From: edgewater, MD 21037
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 04-03-2004 08:07     Click Here to See the Profile for Kenny Holcomb     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Doesn't the Anteres only use one temperment like equal temperment I guess that's why I never hear any other temperments like Stevie ray vaughn used? If someone were doing A piano/vocal recording and the Antares fixed the vocal pitch to equal temperment wouldn't it still sound out of tune since pianos' are not tune to equal temperment etc. And if a recording is done with the pitches fixed what would happen to their live performances.
sounds like I realy know my stuff don't it. Ha Ha well truth be known my ears are far better tuned than my voice so I got an Anteres and have been using it to train my voice. I have worked very hard with it as a trainer and I am tramendously better for it.
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/0/kennyholcomb.htm

IP: Logged

Patrick Bryant
Lord of this Board

Posts: 349
From: Glendale, CA, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 04-04-2004 16:20     Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick Bryant   Click Here to Email Patrick Bryant     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Way to go, Kenny. Looks like Otto-Toon is good for something worthwhile after all.

IP: Logged

Ryan Gunnin
Serious Contributor

Posts: 88
From: Fayetteville, Ga
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-06-2004 11:52     Click Here to See the Profile for Ryan Gunnin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is really a bummer topic ! I pride myself on having very good pitch. It's disheartening to find out just how common this AUTOTUNE thing is. Now I know why so many artists sound like cr@p live and so good on the CD! This business is making s much more sense now. 1) you have to be good looking and 2) you don't have to be able to sing...they just make you sound like it in the studio!
What happened to the music in the music industry?? Woa is me

IP: Logged

Cpt.Analog
Serious Contributor

Posts: 70
From: Nashville
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 04-21-2004 03:50     Click Here to See the Profile for Cpt.Analog   Click Here to Email Cpt.Analog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know the algorithims, but the thing definately works better if one sets the key on the Autotune. Without this setting, the box must decide whether to go up or down to find the "correct" note. It works much better if it "knows" what note belongs in the proper key of the song.
Live performances are up to the performer, and the best indication of real talent (but we can "fix" that too.)

------------------
We are professionals: do not attempt this at home.

IP: Logged

Kenny Holcomb
Serious Contributor

Posts: 97
From: edgewater, MD 21037
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 04-21-2004 11:57     Click Here to See the Profile for Kenny Holcomb     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
yeah I'll have to agree the outatune does sound like crap as a matter of fact I realy don't care for equal temperment all that much. It almost sounds as if it has no soul.and when you use vibrato the outatune thinks it's a mistake and flatens it out making a good singer sound lifeless.Why would anyone want to do that ? just my 2 cents.
http://www.soundclick.com/pro/?BandID=26500

IP: Logged

Cpt.Analog
Serious Contributor

Posts: 70
From: Nashville
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 05-05-2004 05:09     Click Here to See the Profile for Cpt.Analog   Click Here to Email Cpt.Analog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I still want to hook three of them in series with really fast settings. Talk about over-the-top chorusing and weird modulations!
Zappa would love it.

IP: Logged

Patrick Bryant
Lord of this Board

Posts: 349
From: Glendale, CA, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 05-08-2004 12:55     Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick Bryant   Click Here to Email Patrick Bryant     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've gotten to where I only use AutoTune in graphical mode. That way I can just correct the notes that really bother me, and it sounds more natural.

------------------
Later,

Pat

IP: Logged

TrumanCoyote
Serious Contributor

Posts: 664
From:
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 05-09-2004 00:01     Click Here to See the Profile for TrumanCoyote   Click Here to Email TrumanCoyote     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Autotune is a miracle wroker. Whether or not you like it depends on whether or not you need a miracle.

If Autotune takes the soul out of a vocal, you are using it wrong.

Autotune cannot make a lousy voice sound good. It does not change the character of a voice...only its pitch.

If one uses Autotune to correct a few notes in order to get a perfect take, is it cheating? If so, is doing 10 or 20 takes to get a perfect take cheating?

Lots of singers sing off-pitch, but they want good recordings of themselves. As a studio owner, you have the choice to say, "Sorry, I can't do that," and turn down the gig. Or you can say, "sure, I can fix you up," and take the gig. Most small studio owners cannot afford to turn away work.

IP: Logged

bob young
Serious Contributor

Posts: 3416
From: chicago il usa
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 05-09-2004 02:17     Click Here to See the Profile for bob young   Click Here to Email bob young     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yeah.....

When I first heard about this stuff I was all "Man...what a bunch of crap...learn to sing in tune for Crissakes !"...

Then I began to remember some of those vocal tracks where we were punching in every other word, and how excited we were when we learned we could clip the s's off background parts with digital editing..and...multing those backup vox a couple of times to thicken them up and...whoa.....

Look who's full of shit....it's me !

If auto tune makes your vocal sound the way you want it to sound.....GO BABY !

Bob

IP: Logged

Cpt.Analog
Serious Contributor

Posts: 70
From: Nashville
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 05-24-2004 05:54     Click Here to See the Profile for Cpt.Analog   Click Here to Email Cpt.Analog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TrumanCoyote:

Autotune cannot make a lousy voice sound good. It does not change the character of a voice...only its pitch.


Its pitch and all overtones (that which constitutes "character".)

quote:
If one uses Autotune to correct a few notes in order to get a perfect take, is it cheating? If so, is doing 10 or 20 takes cheating.

Yes to both questions!

------------------
"Take 276, you know this used to be fun."
John Entwistle

IP: Logged

JL
Serious Contributor

Posts: 252
From: St. Louis, MO
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 06-30-2004 03:43     Click Here to See the Profile for JL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
.

[This message has been edited by JL (edited 07-03-2004).]

IP: Logged

All times are ET (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | Just Plain Folks

Copyright Just Plain Folks Productions 2004

Powered by Infopop www.infopop.com © 2000
Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47c