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Old 06-17-2019, 10:37 AM
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Is ALL contemporary popular music Autotuned®?


If it is, so be it, but at what point do we just dispense with a human voice and have computers fill the top ten list?
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:55 AM
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:56 AM
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:14 AM
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I'd bet that an awful lot of it is though. It should be noted that there's a difference between using autotune specifically for effect, like Cher or Kanye and people that are using it to clean up imperfections where you don't even know it's being used.

Like using photoshop to alter yourself so much that you look like an instagram filter vs using it to remove a few freckles that you don't like.
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:18 AM
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I can't speak for others and this girl is only marginally pop but she absolutely refuses to use autotune and her sound engineers admit that there is nothing they have to do to improve her and autotune is completely redundant where she is concerned

Concertgoers confirm this and say her live performances are generally better than recorded versions.
Her many live YouTube videos agree with them though of course the sound quality is compromised by the medium.

Debut

An odd title as it is her seventh or eighth album but she has gone independent, hence the title.
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:21 AM
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The tuning isn't limited to the studio. Even real time performances can be pitch-corrected (if what you're hearing is actually live in the first place.)
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:34 AM
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The tuning isn't limited to the studio. Even real time performances can be pitch-corrected (if what you're hearing is actually live in the first place.)
There have been many sceptics but she has demonstrated on many occasions that she is genuine, starting on AGT at age 10.
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:58 AM
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There have been many sceptics but she has demonstrated on many occasions that she is genuine, starting on AGT at age 10.
Sorry about that. My post wasn't commenting on yours...I was distracted for a minute or two before I clicked submit.
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Old 06-17-2019, 01:27 PM
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If it is, so be it, but at what point do we just dispense with a human voice and have computers fill the top ten list?

The tools are getting there.
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Old 06-17-2019, 02:52 PM
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My understanding is that Auto-Tune is less common than manual pitch correction. If a take is great, except for one part of one note, it often makes sense to fix that one note rather than rerecord. I also understand that, even for people who don't use Auto-Tune in production, using it as a safety net in live performances is not uncommon.

How common it is is hard to say, because it's gotten better and better over time, and people have gotten better at hiding what artifacts remain--though manual tuning can sound even better. It's not like my little attempt when I had one flat note, and I could obviously hear the mechanical slide up to the right pitch.

Well, that and I just don't listen to a lot of modern stuff.
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Old 06-17-2019, 03:21 PM
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Define "contemporary popular music". The way I'd define that term, there's no way even a fraction are getting autotuned regularly. Most popular music being made today is hardly paying the bills, let alone paying for hours of an engineer's time to professionally touch up their recordings. If you're just talking about the big top 40 hits though, then you're probably right.
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Old 06-17-2019, 04:04 PM
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Like using photoshop to alter yourself so much that you look like an instagram filter vs using it to remove a few freckles that you don't like.
This analogy is spot on. You could use Photoshop or other software to generate a completely artificial image of a fictional person that is almost indistinguishable from a real photo or a real person. We don't for lots of reasons. You could use the same tools to make a 70 year old look like a 30 year old or to make a ugly person look like a supermodel. We do that rarely when the situation calls for it, but it's usually easier to just cast a young attractive person when needed.

Autotune works the same way. Could we hire Gilbert Gottfried and autotune him to sound like a savant, probably. Makes more sense to simply record Adele though.
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Old 06-17-2019, 04:22 PM
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A side question: Can you all hear Autotune when used? It makes me sort of cringe when I detect that robot sounding tone. But then I wonder if I'm not hearing them all. How would I know? How detectable is it to the average listener?

I generally listen to analog classic rock, so there's that.
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Old 06-17-2019, 05:15 PM
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Pitchfork did a fantastic article on autotune and how it's and pitch correction is increasingly used to the max to create new, interesting sounds:

https://pitchfork.com/features/artic...popular-music/
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Old 06-17-2019, 05:32 PM
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A side question: Can you all hear Autotune when used? It makes me sort of cringe when I detect that robot sounding tone. But then I wonder if I'm not hearing them all. How would I know? How detectable is it to the average listener?

I generally listen to analog classic rock, so there's that.
That robotic/digital sound, where the singers voice rapidly changes from one note to the next (think Cher in believe) is what, I think, a lot of people are talking about when they say they don't like it. In those cases, it's supposed to sound like that. They're not hiding the fact that they're using autotune. It's fine if people don't like it, but again, I think what they don't like is that robotic sound. Autotune even states that you get that effect from turning it up to it's most aggressive setting(s).

I'd be surprised if most people could hear it when it's just used to fix a note here and there.
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Old 06-17-2019, 05:51 PM
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I generally listen to analog classic rock, so there's that.
Most of those studio vocals were manipulated in some way too though, and I've no problem with that.
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:00 PM
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Again, the Photoshop analogy works. Sharpen a photo just a touch and no one will notice. Sharpen it too much and it looks fakey.
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:09 PM
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That robotic/digital sound, where the singers voice rapidly changes from one note to the next (think Cher in believe) is what, I think, a lot of people are talking about when they say they don't like it. . . .I'd be surprised if most people could hear it when it's just used to fix a note here and there.
There's a whole slew of shitty music that all has Autotuned vocals, and not for the extreme effect as in Believe. It's blatantly obvious this is just because the the singer is shitty, just like the rest of the production.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:28 PM
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If it is, so be it, but at what point do we just dispense with a human voice and have computers fill the top ten list?
I hate toupees. They all look so fake.

You know what sound you cannot get with honest instruments? What sound that is absolutely definitive when it comes to making pop music as we've known it for decades? Distortion, in particular distorted guitar. Impossible to achieve with an honest recording of an acoustic instrument. It absolutely requires electric amplifiers turned up to the breaking point, and possibly damaged in other ways, and/or hardware designed to make that noise deliberately. Do you consider that sound to be robotic? You'd be a fool to say yes.

Well, the difference between guitar distortion and autotoune is points on a scale, degree and not kind, and to imagine that autotune is displacing the human voice is akin to imagining the guitar fuzz could displace the guitar itself.
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:18 PM
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Are you aware of Quantization? Especially of drums?

It's worse than autotune and is used on every modern recording.

Rick Beato is an award winning producer.

He explains Quantization and how it would have changed legendary John Bonham's drumming.

I won't try to explain it because I'd screw it up. Watch the first 10 mins and you'll see how a great drummer becomes Robotic sounding thanks to a commonly used production tool called Beat Detective.

https://youtu.be/hT4fFolyZYU

Last edited by aceplace57; 06-17-2019 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:58 PM
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I should say this is an extreme example. Bonham and other drummers back then played by their own internal feel of rhythm.

Modern music is played to a click track. Beat Detective makes small adjustments to Quantize. Some people say it's fixing the drumming. Others say it removes the human factor in drumming.

Unfortunately modern listeners grow up hearing this very structured beat and expect it.

Last edited by aceplace57; 06-17-2019 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:39 PM
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Most of those studio vocals were manipulated in some way too though, and I've no problem with that.
Yeah, I've said it before, and I'll say it again: All studio recordings are a fiction. The only question is how much? Even on my band's current record (which isn't yet in the can), where the drummer and I recorded our tracks together pretty much all on the first take, there's a studio trick or two employed. I actually did overdub half a track due to a clam when the drummer's track was too perfect to replace. On top of that, my bass has varying amounts of compression added, which is normal in the studio.

That said, not everything is manipulated to hell and back, even these days. There's lots of slickly-produced songs out there, but there's also quite a few who aren't afraid to show a few warts. Autotune does seem like more of a cheat than most effects such as reverb, which also makes you sound better and can get annoying when overused. But, once you get to processing vocals, it's hard to say when you're overusing it. It's more of a matter of taste than anything.
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Old 06-19-2019, 03:10 PM
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There's a whole slew of shitty music that all has Autotuned vocals, and not for the extreme effect as in Believe. It's blatantly obvious this is just because the the singer is shitty, just like the rest of the production.
My go-to recommendation on this topic is to check out Ali Lohan's Christmas Album. Lindsay Lohan's little sister recorded it when she was, I think, 13. And she just plain didn't have the pipes to be recording an album. You can hear the artifacts of pitch correction all over the place.
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