Can Autotune Be Used Live: Explained For Beginners
Autotune is a vocal processor that is used to create the impression of singing in perfect pitch. It works by analyzing the singers voice and correcting any errors in pitch or timing, making it sound like they are singing perfectly.
Can Autotune Be Used Live? Im sure youve heard this question before people want to know if auto-tune can be done live on stage, during performances.
The answer is yes! Many singers use auto-tunes live because it helps them sing more efficiently without worrying about pitch problems and focusing more on their performance.
Lets get into the details on how exactly auto-tune is used live and its pros and cons.
Before we get into details, lets first look at what auto-tune is:
Autotune In The Music We Love
First log to be updated shortly
LOG 1 SEPTEMBER 13, 2013
What is auto-tune?
Simply put, auto-tune is a tool used to digitally correct the pitch of an instrument or voice in order to more easily get a perfect recording in a studio session. This tool is often used to slightly change pitch but is more widely known for the drastic alteration in the voice, giving it a mechanical or inhuman sound. The alteration is done through running the selected audio file through what is known as a Phase Vocoder.
This is a technical process so Im going to explain it as well as I can. Firstly, Im going to explain what a vocoder is:
A vocoder is an instrumental tool that takes the shape the mouth makes when singing but replaces the actual sound of the vocal chords with the sound of an instrument. So, basically, it sounds like an instrument is singing. Now, a phase vocoder is almost the same thing, except it does so completely electronically. When this process is done, we have what is modern day auto-tune.
So, why does some auto-tune go unnoticed, while other auto-tuned songs sound completely unnatural? Great question! Basically, the reason some auto-tune sounds so inhuman is the choice to significantly alter the pitch by raising or lowering it to the point where more of the phase vocoder is heard than in normal pitch-correction.
A Brief History Of Pitch Correction In Action
Although it wasnt until electronic interventions that we would see pitch correction as we know it, producers working with multitrack recording were able to develop some clever editing tricks. Strawberry Fields Forever was actually built from two spliced takes that had been recorded at different tempos, one in B flat minor and 90 bpm, the other C major and 108 bpm. Increasing the speed of the 90 bpm take also increased its pitch, making it match the faster version. Can you hear the cut happen at 1:00?
The H910 Harmonizer helped David Bowie and AC/DC achieve unique snare effects on Breaking Glass and Back in Black, respectively.
After the invention of Auto-Tune in 1997, Chers Believe skyrocketed digital pitch correction to the public forefront in 1998.
Radiohead would apply digital pitch correction to the tracks Packt Like Sardines In a Crushd Tin Box and Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors on their 2001 album Amnesiac.
A list of pitch-corrected music wouldnt be complete without mentioning T-Pain. His tracks pushed the warbly robotic sound of extreme digital pitch correction into both the ears of the mainstream and experimental music scenes alike.
Bon Iver has also embraced digital pitch correction as a unique and popular staple of their sound.
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How Can You Tell When Autotune Has Been Used
In an article for the BBC Entertainment News, Daniel Griffiths, editor of music recording magazine Future Music stated, Its pretty much used in 99% of recorded music now. Ive spoken to engineers who have recorded really big artists who I wont name and they just say its there on the mixing desk all the time. If the artist wants to use it, then they just flick the switch.
So how do you know? Auto-Tune and plug-ins like it are very subtle. Even an artists most rabid fans and other musicians might have a difficult time hearing when someones vocals have been tampered with.
You have to know what to listen for. In some cases, its a bubbling tone or a jagged movement between notes that are the tell-tale signs of pitch correction.
Recording engineer Des McKinney pointed out some examples of autotuning that you can judge for yourself:
- Avril Lavigne Complicated. This is more subtle. See if you can hear a bubbling effect when Lavigne sings way and driving.
- Rascal Flatts Life Is A Highway. There is a autotune effect on the word driving.
Why Do Musicians Use Auto
Auto-Tune has been around for a long time and whether we know it or not, its used both on radio and in live performances. In some cases, the use of Auto-Tune is iconic! Yet, most people dont know what Auto-Tune does or how it works.
Auto-Tune is an audio processor or type of plug-in for music production software that corrects pitch by adjusting sharp or flat notes to a preset musical scale. It can correct minor imperfections or be used to make purposeful vocal effects and can improve live performances.
A lot of people judge the use of Auto-Tune without understanding it. I challenge you to read this article about the origins of Auto-Tune, its utility, and both the positive and negative aspects of using it. Then, decide.
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Getting Your Hands Dirty
Auto mode is crucial for adding subtle correction and tightening up a track, but for more surgical operation, graph mode is key. Well dive into manual pitch correction next month, so check back after youve mastered Auto Mode and well get our feet wet with manual mode!
Auburn Sounds Graillon 2
Pros: Sleek and easy-to-navigate interface, accepts MIDI inputCons: Latency can make recording wonky sometimes, confusing user manual
Graillon 2 is a fully-fledged vocal modulation plugin that allows you to shape your voice in any way you see fit add different harmonic voices, octaves, bitcrushing, you name it. The free version gets you the crucial Pitch-Shift and Pitch Correction modules of the plugin, perfect for dialing in chipmunk vocals or something approximating the classic Auto-Tune sound.
One of Graillon 2s best features is that it accepts MIDI input, meaning that you can set your vocal performance to follow the pitch of specific MIDI notes, which can result in a more vocoder-y performance. Theres also a Smooth knob that determines how quickly the pitch correction kicks in: Set it to Fast for a robotic sound and Slow for a more natural effect.
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Problems With Quality Control
Before the invention of multitrack recording, captures that werent perfect would need to be entirely re-recorded. This was a highly inefficient and expensive process. After the development of multitrack recording, overdubbing could help mask select subpar samples, meaning mistakes could be fixed without having to redo everything. This still required a high level of skill and patience, however, with dozens and sometimes hundreds of takes needed to get the perfect part and an editor having to physically cut up and splice tape to create the best possible track.
Impact On The Industry
Auto-Tune spread like wildfire in the late 90s electronic dance music scene. Within a year, it was already being exploited for its creative potential by artists like Cher and Eiffel 65 , both early examples of what would later be known as the T-Pain Effect.
While engineers would rejoice over the time- and money-saving properties of pitch correction, and many artists would find creative and experimental uses for it over the coming decades, there would also be many who denounced the technology.
In 2009, Death Cab for Cutie wore blue ribbons to the Grammys to raise awareness for Auto-Tuner abuse. Jay-Z had already released an Auto-Tune diss track that year. The authenticity and talent of a corrected performance are typical points of contention, as are fears that natural artistic talent will be erased in favour of slicker studio productions.
Although a certain amount of healthy skepticism is to be expected of any new technology, the continued use of pitch shifting to save time in the studio and contribute to experimental soundscapes in massively popular music projects indicates that it is most definitely here to stay. And while the T-Pain effect may one day lose its novelty, the impact of pitch correction software on the professional sound engineering workflow is here to stay.
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How Does Autotune Work
Autotune works in two main steps: pitch detection and pitch correction. The first part is pitch detection. It detects how off-key the voice is. The second step is pitch correction, which moves notes to the closest correct note.
The audio processor is essentially the heart of most music producers gear, and it is responsible for the vocals and instrument processing. This processor splits the audio signal into many separate parts and makes changes to those sounds.
What Is Autotune Used For
Autotune is commonly used in popular music for several reasons. Some artists use Autotune to add more uniqueness and originality to their music. While some artists use it because they are just poor singers and need some help with pitch correction.
However, most artists use Autotune to stand out from the crowd and make their music super unique. There are many different uses for Autotune in music, and it does the job well.
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Find Your Key And Scale
We need to choose the key of the song, it will help the plugin to tune the vocal only to certain keys that belong to this songs harmony. This will minimize the mistakes.
To choose the Key and the scale, you can use an additional plugin Auto-Key that goes with Auto-Tune Pro. Auto-Key can detect the Key of the song using a vocal or accompaniment track. It will not always choose correctly, but if you cannot determine the key of the song yourself, Auto-Key is your best shot.
Another way is to use the chromatic scale option. In this case, all the notes will be included and you will be able to later delete the notes you dont need to use. We recommend you to use Chromatic mode and then choose scale using advanced mode. We will describe it later in this article.
Graillon 2 Free Edition
Graillon 2 Free Edition calls itself a voice changer and features pitch correction and pitch shifting. But make no mistake, this is an autotune plugin meant for vocals. Some reviewers have said it can be a bit more on the dry side rather than the wet side, so beware of that. But for a free plugin, its not bad.
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Tc Electronic Voicelive Touch 2
|2 x XLR Input, 2 x Output|
|Power||9 Volts DC|
My Review: When you attach the VoiceLive Touch 2 to your mic stand, you are opening up a whole new world of vocal processing options for your live performances. This auto tune pedal has an extremely powerful internal processor that allows it to combine effects, store a large number of presets, and perform free of glitches.
With intelligent dynamic and tone-sculpting capabilities, the VoiceLive 2 is capable of much more than just auto tune or pitch correction. You can use it to alter the equalization of your vocals, compress them to limit the dynamic range, or create repeated sections using the looper.
The VoiceLive 2 contains hundreds of presets that are based on popular artists or songs. Once you find one that you like, you then have the option of customizing it by delving into the individual characteristics of the preset and adjusting the necessary parameters.
Who is This Best Suited for: The VoiceLive 2 is the only vocal processing pedal youll ever need. If you dont mind spending a little extra than the average price of an auto tune pedal, Id highly recommend considering this TC Helicon offering.
Bottom Line: With so many vocal processing options housed within the VoiceLive 2, calling it a pedal doesnt seem like an adequate description. It acts more like a processing unit youd find in a top-end recording studio, offering hundreds of tweakable processing options and high-quality auto tune presets.
What Is Autotune In Music
This guide will answer what is autotune in music, how its used, what its used for, showcase examples, and share what popular music artists use it.
What Is Autotune In Music?
Autotune is a pitch correction software created by Antares Audio Technologies. The software was created so singers could sound more professional and increase their musical range. Autotune helps correct flat notes or accentuate sharp notes. It is very common for rappers and singers to use Autotune today in their music.
What this post covers:
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What Does Autotune Do To A Voice
Auto-tune makes the voice sound more perfect. Its like Photoshop for your voice. It was originally made to fix off-key notes in a singers voice, but now it has become a genre of its own.
Auto-tune was very popular in the 2000s, and many modern singers are still using it, some more than others. It gives the song a very unique and stylistic feel.
To Tighten Up Pitch Imperfections
Lets be real:
No matter how talented a particular singer might be, a recorded vocal track is never going to be perfect.
Often, a singer will nail the feeling of a particular line, but find themselves a little off-pitch in the process. In this scenario, autotune will be used to tighten up the pitch and polish the finished product.
Similarly, if a record is on a tight production schedule and the singer doesnt have time to record the take several times over, autotune will be used to fix up any imperfections.
To put it into an easy-to-remember quote:
Autotune often the difference between a great take with just one small fix and endless hours of an artist trying to achieve perfection.
Recorded music serves as the backbone of any pop singers reputation, meaning it has to be passionate yet perfect. Autotune allows singers to achieve perfection by prioritizing the feel of a track and touching up any minor pitch imperfections with autotune.
When it comes to this aspect of the production process, many singers are transparent about their use of autotune and accept it as a normal part of the production process. However, others prefer to be a little more discreet about it .
Some popular artists that have used autotune for this reason include:
- Katy Perry
Example: Complicated Avril Lagvine
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Tc Helicon Voicetone C1
|2 x XLR Input, 1 x Output|
|Power||9 Volts DC|
My Review: The TC Helicon VoiceTone C1 Hard tune pedal is the perfect solution for vocalists who want their performance to be polished and free from pitch-inconsistencies. If you need to create extreme hard tune effects, the addition of an on/off footswitch makes it possible to quickly bring the effect in or out of the mix.
The VoiceTone C1 can correct pitch with clarity and transparency. Theres a dedicated guitar input that can be used in conjunction with the pitch correcting feature, molding the tuning of your vocals with that of the guitar. This is very useful when improvising or jamming, as it allows you to sing melodies and the pedal tracks the key that your instrument is in and corrects the vocal pitch accordingly.
The quiet, high-quality preamp that is housed within the C1 ensures that the effects it produces are clean. The housing itself is made from die-cast metal, which is road-ready and able to withstand the rigors of touring. For added convenience, the manufacturer has installed a rubber slip-proof base, improving the stability of the pedal onstage.
Who is This Best Suited for: Vocalists who require a mixture of pitch-correction and hard tuning will find the TC Helicon VoiceTone C1 to be a very valuable tool. Its an easily operable pedal that doesnt have an overwhelming number of controls and parameters, so if you like straightforward functionality, this is a recommendable pedal for you.
Why Do Singers Use Autotune
Many singers use Autotune to give their songs a more unique and original feel. Autotune is becoming so popular in music that it has become its own genre.
Some singers use Autotune to reach higher notes than they normally could if they did not use the software. For example, a singer who might not hit a high E flat may use Autotune to sing that note that would be out of their vocal range.
On the other hand, some singers use Autotune because they have a poor singing voice and need help with pitch correction. It also helps singers stay in tune.
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Tc Helicon Mic Mechanic 2
|1x XLR Input, 1 x Output|
|Power||9 Volts DC|
My Review: TC Helicons Mic Mechanic 2 is an affordable auto tune pedal that offers all of the most popular vocal processing effects in a compact housing. With a high-quality mic preamp, the pedal can add layers of effects to vocal tracks whilst preserving the natural tone of the singers voice.
The Mic Mechanic 2 requires 24-volt phantom power, which is produced internally and therefore doesnt require an external connection to a mixer or interface. It can be powered either by a power supply or battery. With eight built-in presets and three main effects, the pedal can be used for numerous vocal-processing purposes.
The effects produced by this TC Helicon pedal include reverb, delay tone correction, and auto tune pitch correction. The delay channel is boosted by an automated compressor, EQ, and de-esser which all combine to ensure that the tone produced is as clean as possible. Theres also a Tap Tempo switch for syncing the delay with the BPM of a chosen song.
The auto tune feature of the Mic Mechanic 2 is easy to control. With a singular rotary knob that ranges from 0-100 in value, you can add more extreme amounts of hard tuning to your vocal tracks, or dial it in for more understated pitch correction. Combining the auto tune with the reverb and delay settings is a great way to soften the effect and make it less noticeable.
|1 x XLR Input, 1 x Output|
|Power||9 Volts DC|