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Antares Auto-Tune: a 'requirement' for pro studios in 2013?
Old 28th January 2013
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
daddykev's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Antares Auto-Tune: a 'requirement' for pro studios in 2013?

So I had a session the other night at my studio with a relatively famous R&B singer. We have a decent selection of gear (Symphony I/O, Great River pres, Neumann mics, etc.) as well as treated rooms (GIK Acoustics).

When it came time to start tracking, the singer asked for Auto-Tune during tracking, to which I replied, "Sorry, I don't have Auto-Tune." The dude gave me an incredulous look, but we decided to try tracking without it. What a disaster! Every take was so whacked out-of-tune and pitchy I couldn't believe it. Then the manager started talking smack, "Every pro studio has Auto-Tune."

Any way, it made me think. Should we have Auto-Tune installed on all of the computers? Are we not a "pro" studio without Auto-Tune? Your thoughts please...
Old 28th January 2013
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Hammy Havoc's Avatar
It is what a lot of people have come to expect, you have to stay relevant and with or ahead of the curve. For all the stick Auto-Tune gets, it is a tool and you don't have to apply it across the whole track, you can literally pick out the odd note or so. I'm more of a Melodyne person though.
Old 28th January 2013
  #3
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brill bedroom's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I'm rather surprised he wanted it during tracking, to my mind it's almost always a post vocal comp tweak. I wouldn't necessarily assume that the Antares version is the best way to go; Melodyne, Waves tune, etc. I've been having pretty good results with just a gentle bit of tuning in Izotope's Nectar vocal suite.

I guess the bottom line is that, as a commercial studio, you have to be ready to track the way the client chooses.
Old 28th January 2013
  #4
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Nick Morris's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Never once tracked with auto tune. Mixing is where It has come into play.

How do you get a good take with it on? I am not sure I could.
Old 28th January 2013
  #5
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camerondye's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have used Auto Tune after somebody sang incorrectly to try and get them to sing in pitch but singing with Auto-Tune on while tracking is crazy. The only reason I could think of doing it that way is trying to get a certain "T-Pain" effect before leaving the studio...but not for singing in tune. I use melodyne way more often but always after the fact. I guess the comment earlier about accommodating the client is legitimate though and you've obviously just lost one so I guess it's a "your decision" type thing.
Old 28th January 2013
  #6
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IamJohnGalt's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I have the antares outboard and its the best peice of crap in the rack.

Sent from my SCH-I535
Old 28th January 2013
  #7
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agershon's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
During tracking??

The irony of this guy calling into question YOUR professionalism is rich.
Old 28th January 2013
  #8
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🎧 5 years
You have all that money invested in equipment and you didn't care to get autotune? Weird. I understand if he's pissed if he payed to use your place. Your already contracting out, its not like having autotune destroys the sanctity of your profession.

I've had experience with "singers" who perform better while using autotune because their own pitch mistakes wont throw them off their upcoming pitch and cadence. Now that might make them a bad singer but you work with what you have.

The reality is most vocalists (at least now a days) need to be babied in the studio. If they feel like the producer is the one messing them up it snowballs out of control.

I keep effects ready to go at a moments notice. Its really not difficult. Your purpose is to get out of the way and do whatever is possible to keep the vibe alive.

Why didn't you just buy autotune online right then and there? It would have taken less than five minutes.

It boggles my mind that in the current autotune craze you wouldn't have autotune.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I777
Old 28th January 2013
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
I've had autotune for years, I prefer melodyne for most of my stuff, but it gets used every now any then but always post tracking.

I had a singer ask for autotune whilst tracking for the first time a few months ago and it blew my mind! I'm running the standard native version in logic which has a considerable latency and isn't usable for live tracking. It turns out the last producer he'd worked with was a big name US pop/rock producers and he always tracked with autotune on. Seems pretty wack to me, but if it's what the client wants!!!
Old 28th January 2013 | Show parent
  #10
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daddykev's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by slick easy ➡️
It boggles my mind that in the current autotune craze you wouldn't have autotune.
It's real simple slick. 99% of the things I record are rap and rock projects. Up until last Thursday, I've NEVER had someone ask for Auto-Tune during tracking. Never ever never.

I had the pleasure of tracking Erykah Badu last year and of course no Auto-Tune needed there either.
Old 28th January 2013
  #11
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by daddykev ➡️
It's real simple slick. 99% of the things I record are rap and rock projects. Up until last Thursday, I've NEVER had someone ask for Auto-Tune during tracking. Never ever never.

I had the pleasure of tracking Erykah Badu last year and of course no Auto-Tune needed there either.
I deal with a lot of talentless talent. So sometimes tracking is like trying to land a burning plane in free fall which I imagine was what it felt like for you. Still, you couldn't download an autotune plug right when it was asked for (you obviously have the means)?

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I777
Old 28th January 2013 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by brill bedroom ➡️
I guess the bottom line is that, as a commercial studio, you have to be ready to track the way the client chooses.
Yep - nailed it.
Old 28th January 2013
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
bonestar's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Isn't the basic version of Autotune (enough to give that "Autotune sound" the kids all dig) only around $100? If a client wants that sound, I'd just go ahead and get it.

...tracking with it would be weird, though.
Old 28th January 2013
  #14
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🎧 10 years
You can buy the new Autotune Live version which is designed for low latency and would be perfect for tracking.
Old 28th January 2013
  #15
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steveswisher's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I agree tracking with it is weird. I always provide a gear/plug list ahead of time to the producer and ask if there's anything else that they normally use.
Old 28th January 2013
  #16
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🎧 10 years
I have found a lot of the younger singers are demoing with GarageBand, and singing thru a vocal preset with a tuning system built in and that's what they are accustomed to. I have one guy who does great untuned takes while singing THRU autotune, but otherwise is all over the place.
Old 28th January 2013
  #17
Moderator
 
psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by brill bedroom ➡️
I'm rather surprised he wanted it during tracking, to my mind it's almost always a post vocal comp tweak. I wouldn't necessarily assume that the Antares version is the best way to go; Melodyne, Waves tune, etc. I've been having pretty good results with just a gentle bit of tuning in Izotope's Nectar vocal suite.

I guess the bottom line is that, as a commercial studio, you have to be ready to track the way the client chooses.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Morris ➡️
Never once tracked with auto tune. Mixing is where It has come into play.

How do you get a good take with it on? I am not sure I could.
Quote:
Originally Posted by camerondye ➡️
I have used Auto Tune after somebody sang incorrectly to try and get them to sing in pitch but singing with Auto-Tune on while tracking is crazy. The only reason I could think of doing it that way is trying to get a certain "T-Pain" effect before leaving the studio...but not for singing in tune. I use melodyne way more often but always after the fact. I guess the comment earlier about accommodating the client is legitimate though and you've obviously just lost one so I guess it's a "your decision" type thing.
With respect to all you guys above, I know a lot of you are very experienced...it's REALLY common to track with autotune on for an R&B singer. The current style of pop/ R&B singing where you deliberately hear the autotune means that to get that effect, you need to hear it as tracking - so you can hit the notes in the right place to get the stepping in the right places, but not the flutter.

It sounds a bit weird if you're simply used to doing straight rock/"traditional" styles of music, but it works better doing things that way! I often comp pop vocals "through" autotune - monitoring with it on to see how things will manually tune up. It's just the current style of pop.

Think of it it like this - imagine Edge trying to do one of his clever syncopated delayed guitar parts. Chances are he could play it with a straight DI and apply the delay after - but it makes sense for him to play it with the final sound, his performance would almost certainly be better when he can hear and play off the delay. Singing a part into Autotune is the same thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by agershon ➡️
During tracking??

The irony of this guy calling into question YOUR professionalism is rich.
Mmm, I think you need to do a few more professional pop sessions before calling this one! Were it a rock session, I'd agree with you...

As to the OP, it's basically a breakdown in communication. Presumably your website has a spec list? If so - why are they asking for something on the day that you didn't advertise as having? At the very least, they should have requested it in advance.

But if your studio DOESN'T have a plugin list on the site, at the time of booking you should have asked if they needed anything in particular.

I would have thought that any studio doing pop sessions in the current day would have some form of autotune available. Maybe something to invest in if you are doing pop/R&B regularly?
Old 28th January 2013
  #18
Moderator
 
psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by petermiles ➡️
I had a singer ask for autotune whilst tracking for the first time a few months ago and it blew my mind! I'm running the standard native version in logic which has a considerable latency and isn't usable for live tracking. It turns out the last producer he'd worked with was a big name US pop/rock producers and he always tracked with autotune on. Seems pretty wack to me, but if it's what the client wants!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by nst7 ➡️
You can buy the new Autotune Live version which is designed for low latency and would be perfect for tracking.
Autotune 5 was low latency. That's what I'd use for real-time tracking - in fact, when I upgraded to 7 and they automatically removed my 5 license, I had to ask Antares to return it!

They've obviously wised up to this, hence the reason they've introduced AT Live. People moan about Waves and their policies...I think it's a joke that they're now charging for a product that used to be bundled! At the very least, anyone buying the 64bit update for AT7 (which is a memory hog at best) should get AT live free! Rant over
Old 29th January 2013
  #19
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Nick Morris's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey ➡️
With respect to all you guys above, I know a lot of you are very experienced...it's REALLY common to track with autotune on for an R&B singer. The current style of pop/ R&B singing where you deliberately hear the autotune means that to get that effect, you need to hear it as tracking - so you can hit the notes in the right place to get the stepping in the right places, but not the flutter.

It sounds a bit weird if you're simply used to doing straight rock/"traditional" styles of music, but it works better doing things that way! I often comp pop vocals "through" autotune - monitoring with it on to see how things will manually tune up. It's just the current style of pop.

Think of it it like this - imagine Edge trying to do one of his clever syncopated delayed guitar parts. Chances are he could play it with a straight DI and apply the delay after - but it makes sense for him to play it with the final sound, his performance would almost certainly be better when he can hear and play off the delay. Singing a part into Autotune is the same thing.



Mmm, I think you need to do a few more professional pop sessions before calling this one! Were it a rock session, I'd agree with you...

As to the OP, it's basically a breakdown in communication. Presumably your website has a spec list? If so - why are they asking for something on the day that you didn't advertise as having? At the very least, they should have requested it in advance.

But if your studio DOESN'T have a plugin list on the site, at the time of booking you should have asked if they needed anything in particular.

I would have thought that any studio doing pop sessions in the current day would have some form of autotune available. Maybe something to invest in if you are doing pop/R&B regularly?
Well that makes perfect sense. I never track R&B, so you guys would know the routine.
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #20
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chrisdee's Avatar
 
9 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by camerondye ➡️
The only reason I could think of doing it that way is trying to get a certain "T-Pain" effect before leaving the studio...but not for singing in tune.
And maby for singer confidence for artists that have the looks but not the talent.
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #21
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Stevil's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by agershon ➡️
The irony of this guy calling into question YOUR professionalism is rich.
+1
somebody might wanna think about learning to sing before booking some studio time. that said, i think it's pretty standard gear if yer open to the public & want to send people away happy & sounding like their favorite popstars.
Old 29th January 2013
  #22
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davet's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
You'd think anyone booking studio time for vocals would know how to sing. Sure, fix up a few cxlinkers with autotune: everybody does.

But autotune in real time? What a shame.
Old 29th January 2013
  #23
Moderator
 
psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevil ➡️
+1
somebody might wanna think about learning to sing before booking some studio time. that said, i think it's pretty standard gear if yer open to the public & want to send people away happy & sounding like their favorite popstars.
Quote:
Originally Posted by davet ➡️
You'd think anyone booking studio time for vocals would know how to sing. Sure, fix up a few cxlinkers with autotune: everybody does.

But autotune in real time? What a shame.
Did you guys read what I posted? it's an effect - plenty of great singers are using it in pop. I'm not saying I like it; but there's reason for tracking with it.

Let's not confuse taste with technique or aesthetic!
Old 29th January 2013
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
agershon's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I never thought about it in the context of getting the "t-pain" sound. I guess you would want to track with it to really nail that.

Golly ya learn something new every day!
Old 29th January 2013
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
I have the Antares hardware version in my vocal rack and use it all the time for tracking. I don't make r&b. I actually make more experimental types of electronic music and like the sound it gives while tracking with certain effects. I also track all my vocals with pretty heavy effects which is apparently a no no but if you want a certain stylized sound to your vocal I feel it's better to track with effects and tools like Antares.
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #26
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tedtan's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey ➡️
With respect to all you guys above, I know a lot of you are very experienced...it's REALLY common to track with autotune on for an R&B singer. The current style of pop/ R&B singing where you deliberately hear the autotune means that to get that effect, you need to hear it as tracking - so you can hit the notes in the right place to get the stepping in the right places, but not the flutter.
I get what you're saying, psycho_monkey, and you are correct in that context, but I'm not sure it applies in this case. You're talking about using Autotune as an effect whereas the OP said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by daddykev ➡️
...What a disaster! Every take was so whacked out-of-tune and pitchy I couldn't believe it...
Based upon the info provided in this case, it sounds like an inability to sing in tune on the singer's part, not just someone looking for the effect.
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #27
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Hardtoe's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tedtan ➡️
Based upon the info provided in this case, it sounds like an inability to sing in tune on the singer's part, not just someone looking for the effect.
Yes - exactly why they need it in the studio



We all know that with some gigs, half the effort is keeping terrible takes from taking their full emotional toll on the less talented artists

Part of being professional is making your clients feel good about what happens in the studio - even if you would never listen to their music on your own time

Of course it's much more fun and rewarding to work with real talent - but bad sessions happen, and it's in the interest of everyone to get through these as pain free as possible (but perhaps not T-Pain free, ha ha)

Also dig what psycho monkey is saying about getting the sound right in the tracking - if you are planning to do this anyway, it can only be better if you nail it from the start
Old 29th January 2013 | Show parent
  #28
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Stevil's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey ➡️
Did you guys read what I posted?
did you read the OP?
Old 29th January 2013
  #29
Gear Head
 
André E.'s Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks to all for this truly enlightening thread! Scary and somewhat sad that it's come to this but a job is a job and if the client asks for it ... so be it.
Old 29th January 2013
  #30
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
You gotta stay current: The profession of a sound engineer. - YouTube
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