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The Over-Use of Autotune in Many Modern Recordings


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I just came across this video and found it quite interesting and entertaining (not sure if anyone has already posted this). Looks like there are quite a few edit points, judging by the video jumps, but it flows together quite well. Check out where he demonstrates AutoTune with his own voice around the 10:20 mark. The over-use of auto-tune would have to be up there along with excessive use of dynamic range compression as the two major sins in so many modern recordings. Combine the two and you are a step closer to total homogenisation of 'popular' music.

 

 

 

After just posting this, I realised it might be more appropriate for it to be under The Great Audio Debate. Will be happy for the moderators to move it they think so.

 

Edited by emesbee
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In that example it sounds more like they are using it as a special effect. The trouble is that you seem to hear the same effect in so many songs.

 

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34 minutes ago, emesbee said:

In that example it sounds more like they are using it as a special effect. The trouble is that you seem to hear the same effect in so many songs.

 

Twere but a joke.

I have watched a lot of Rick's videos. Always good value ;)

 

Edited by deepthought
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6 hours ago, emesbee said:

The over-use of auto-tune would have to be up there along with excessive use of dynamic range compression as the two major sins in so many modern recordings.

I couldn't agree more.

Auto-tune (along with compression) is the scourge of the music industry and sadly not just the realm of manufactured top 40 junk and is also used strongly in alternative music as well.

 

In my opinion the music industry needs to get back artists who are actually capable of singing and are true musicians.

 

As mentioned earlier the one example which I do agree with is Daft Punk who as a duo are supposed to be robots so their voices are supposed to sound computerised.

 

Most other uses that I've heard either simply can't sing or are just following a fad/sound which is not that good a sound anyway.

 

BAN AUTO-TUNE !!!

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Great video, just watched it now.

 

To force this to the Great Audio Debate - make the analogy with the usual audiophile debates:

  • why audiophiles like certain distortions and gears that don't measure perfectly
  • why analog hi-fi sounds more real than digital including digital signal processing
  • why measurement is not the best way to tell if something sounds good

(now ducking for cover 😂. )

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As an old fart I don't listen to a lot of popular music, however today I was driving in an area with limited radio reception and the only station I could get played top 40 type music.

 

Just about every song was recorded with auto-tune and it is an effect that has annoyed me ever since Cher wavered "Believe".

 

My immediate impression when I hear someone sing using auto-tune is that they are a no talent bum.

Edited by thethrowback
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1 hour ago, LHC said:

why measurement is not the best way to tell if something sounds good

You can measure that Cher song all you like, it still won't sound even remotely good !!! 🤣

 

I suppose theoretically you could use this arguments against objectivists who want everything to measure perfectly flat....😜

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23 hours ago, deepthought said:

This is a great song that uses too much autotune

 

 

 

Here's a version without autotune!

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

Autotune is a tool - used in studios obviously but also live. I remember sitting behind the control desk at a particular concert and watching the screen as auto tune grabbed the female artists voice and pushed it into the right note. Plenty of compression too.

When I think of how the arena venues in Melbourne ( Rod Laver etc) are so not configured for acoustics  at all , and the very very expensive concert tickets, its all in aid of trying to find some level of audio that is digestible - the 'spectacle' of these gigs is always the main draw, not the sound.

 

In recording, auto tune is a symptom of a deeper infection than just a lack of talent - or rather its just one symptom of how the 'artist' in popular music has been inexorably disempowered as a musical entity. It reminds all of us that the record companies (which isnt really the right term anymore) dont need musical talent to sell a product - they just need a face... which is really just the old cliche of the primacy of image over sound.

 

While many of us were introduced to music via a genre contemporary of our own times , whether its blues, jazz, prog rock, soul etc, that it was all to a more or lesser extent, subject to the tireless forces of mass marketing and formulaic design over time.

 

Artists who have chosen to break away from the wheel join a growing body of musicians that have to take control of their own careers without the media muscle of large companies - and many do this with varying degrees of success.

This isnt purely a current phenomenon. Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye , The Jacksons et al were the faces of Motown records 40 -50 years ago. For many of us our perceptions of these artists represent much more diversity than that of the present day face of a Sony, Warner or Universal etc...but for the kids, their perceptions have been shaped by the music of their time - much of which has become sonically amorphous to someone of my advancing years. Its an oft repeated corporate narrative.

 

In the end though its money, The recording business has exploited artists since the first grooves in the wax - and the past successes of some musicians has taught the industry that in order to get the lions share - the artist has to be dispensable...but the dream needs to seem real...

Fortunately there are still plenty of great artists making unique and interesting music - they just do it in the struggling sub tier of very tight budgets and the public domain.

 

Nice to have another rant on Stereonet again!

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Glad to hear I'm not the only one who goes to concerts and thinks the sound of most venues is generally sh*t.

And don't get me started on the acoustics in a lot of Cinemas!

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Posted (edited)

Yes, it’s all about selling a look to a certain demographic, and that demographic doesn’t analyse what’s being served up.  When the look is no longer fashionable, the artist disappears.

 

Quality music will always remain, and sound great no matter which decade it’s being listened to.

 

It would be nice to live in a world without auto-tune though…

Edited by Kaynin
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32 minutes ago, andythiing said:

Yep I love the paraphrased quote from the producer " My job is so much easier - dont need to find good vocalists-   just good looking people"

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Posted (edited)

Apart from the numerous and tiresome cutbacks to T-Pain ,the " misunderstood genius"  there were

some fascinating insights from a select few people including Suzanne Ciani and Jace Clayton.  Ciani talks about the effect as a crutch or tonic for something lacking in the artists ability.  T-Pain didnt ruin music but he seems to be under the impression that theres something stunningly innovative about using an effect - which is simply delusional. What both Clayton and Ciani point out is that if the effect spurs you to DO something different then its a good thing but unfortunately for T-Pain although it turns out he's not a bad singer -he's  just another average singer/rapper of which there are 00's of 000's.

 

I guess the thing that bemuses me is that human voices are all different from one another - and here is an industry befuddled with its formulas for making all of them sound the same...

 

On another tangent - how about guitarists? Its harder than one might imagine to get a guitar sound that differentiates you from another guitarist.

I remember loving the Voice box sound on Frampton comes alive (when I was 14) and it reminded me of guitarists whose tone is very dependent on effect for their thing including Santana, Andy Summers, The Edge , and a heap of others.  Those effects DO become crutches for some but also signatures - and each of those players found a way to play that differentiated them from each other and everyone else - and with all 3 the sound of their bands too. And how about Wah wah Watson! - I mean there;s no pretense of whats going on there.

Not to mention Hendrix, Bill Frisell....the list goes on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by gator62
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