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Re: Use of Autotune - experiment

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  • karenmaney
    To those who think Autotune just has equal temperament, it actually has 29 different tuning systems. Here s an experiment:
    Message 1 of 12 , Dec 1, 2010
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      To those who think Autotune just has equal temperament, it actually has 29 different tuning systems. Here's an experiment:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE8DvCx54v8

      I autotuned the same intro on several different systems. They are not in the order listed in the video screen. I want to see if barbershoppers actually prefer one over the rest. I included pythagorean, mean temperament, and just intonation since I've heard barbershoppers talk about all of these. Also included are two I've never heard of, "partch" and "valotti," and the dreaded equal temperament.

      Can you tell the difference?

      Karen Maney
      www.SingMyPart.com



      --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, "tpblead" <tpbuell@...> wrote:
      >
      > Here is a topic for discussion. I enjoy watching the TV show Glee, but I really dislike the use of Autotune. I have read others decrying the rampant use of Autotune on this show and others, but I had not really been able to tell on this show (maybe I really don't know what I am listening for), but my daughter showed me a clip from last night's show, and it seemed that I heard a slight buzz in the sound, that I am assuming is an artifact of Autotune.
      >
      > I can understand using Autotune when the performer is just not up to staying in tune, or perhaps to get a specific effect, but in the case of this show, it seems like the talent involved and the fact that the performances are pre-recorded and dubbed, allowing retakes to get it right, would mean that Autotune shouldn't be necessary.
      >
      > My question is this: Do they use Autotune because production costs preclude going back and "doing it right", so it is just easier to tweak it and go on, or is there something else at work here. I find it hard to believe that they couldn't find someone that could carry a tune to be on this (or any other) show.
      >
      > Thoughts?
      >
      > Tim Buell
      > Autotune free.
      > And usually at least close to on key.
      >
    • Ben McDaniel
      Auto-Tune can give a really neat effect to the voice when used as an effect. I don t like it when it is used to fix tuning, though, because it sounds weird
      Message 2 of 12 , Dec 2, 2010
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        Auto-Tune can give a really neat effect to the voice when used as an
        effect. I don't like it when it is used to fix tuning, though, because
        it sounds weird (hence its value as an effect). One problem is that
        the voice doesn't sound right when it is completely pitch-steady, and
        the other problem is that it screws up consonants. And when it fixes
        pitch, it changes the timbre, which affects the vowels and the tone
        color and individuality of the voice.

        As an effect, it's just like any other cool solo vocal effect, whether
        it's narrow bandpass (like the Beastie Boys), talk box (like Peter
        Frampton), speeding up or slowing down the vocals (like Strawberry
        Fields Forever), backmasking (like "!aaaH-aH ,yawA eM ekaT oT gnimoC
        er'yehT"), intentionally analog-overdriven vocals, or any kind of
        phaser or delay. Most of those would might not work do much for
        ensemble singing, but they can sound really cool with solo vocals.

        Auto-Tune is only one of the problems with modern vocal recordings.
        Another is extreme compression and clipping. The audio is compressed
        (I'm not talking about data compression, but rather the audio effect)
        until everything is the same volume, and then it is turned up so high
        that all the waveforms are clipped and everything sounds loud. The
        overcompression results in obvious changes in tone (if you make a
        single note louder, it sounds more bassy; if you make it softer, it
        sounds more trebley -- overcompression results in the volume and tone
        changing constantly). The clipping results in lots of non-harmonic
        distortion (harmonic distortion is like a blues guitar; non-harmonic
        distortion is like a blown speaker).

        And, of course, data compression screws up audio as well. A high
        bit-rate mp3 doesn't sound bad, but audio data compression with a low
        bit rate or one that's been compressed multiple times gets a jangly
        sound that's just horrible. It's on television all the time now that
        the audio is digital and the data is compressed (it's most noticeable
        when an audience is applauding -- listen for that jangly sound during
        applause sometime), and it's really terrible on internet videos. It's
        even a problem in movies, where rather than using no data compression
        with standard 16-bit 44.1 or 48 kHz sampling per channel, which is all
        the human ear can hear, they use a higher bit rate and sampling and
        compress the audio data. So they're adding compression that make the
        sound worse -- you can actually hear it -- so that they can have
        dynamic precision that you can't hear and high frequencies that you
        can't hear. (Actually, now that I think about it, for movies 16-bit
        might not be enough precision -- it's so loud that you could hear when
        a sound dropped from one bit to zero bits, unless they added some
        one-bit noise, which might be audible on a big theatre sound system.
        But there's absolutely no reason to make the sampling rate higher than
        40-some kHz.)

        Anyway, I'm not sure why I felt the need to say all of that, but
        Auto-Tune, audio compression, clipping, and audio data compression
        really bother me. Give me a recording of a quartet (or any music) with
        a stereo pair any day (the audible difference between individual mics
        and a stereo pair is a rant for another day).

        Ben McDaniel
        Newton, Kansas
      • Paul Girard
        ... The smoothing may be taking the overtones out. ... The term pure tuning doesn t explain the idea. I would say rational tuning, as in Just Intonation
        Message 3 of 12 , Dec 2, 2010
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          On Dec 2, 2010, at 6:58 AM, bbshop@yahoogroups.com wrote:

          > Re: Use of Autotune
          > Posted by: "Jeffrey Reifsnyder" jayreif@... jay.reif
          > Wed Dec 1, 2010 7:21 pm (PST)
          >
          > Tim,
          >
          > A "buzz" isn't really a tell-tale of autotune's use. That probably
          > means you
          > were hearing a problem with the speakers you were listening with. It
          > doesn't
          > really mess with the vocal quality too much, at least in small doses,
          > although there is certainly a difference. I tend to notice that
          > voices sound
          > too perfect or too computerized with autotune. That's due to the
          > inherent
          > digital modification of the sound waves; in a graph of the sound
          > waves, the
          > autotuned voice will look more smooth than the raw recording.

          The smoothing may be taking the overtones out.

          > My biggest
          > annoyance with autotune is that it's not Pythagorean tempering, it's
          > equal
          > tempering (in layman's terms, pure tuning versus the tuning of a
          > piano's
          > keys).

          The term "pure" tuning doesn't explain the idea. I would say
          "rational" tuning, as in Just Intonation ratios or "harmonic" tuning.

          > <snip>

          > Jeffrey Reifsnyder
          > e-mail: jayreif@...
          > cell: (713) 890 - 2530



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Bruce B
          Saw a neat demo on Youtube using barbershop to show teh sound with and without autotune. Check out:
          Message 4 of 12 , Dec 2, 2010
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            Saw a neat demo on Youtube using barbershop to show teh sound with and without autotune. Check out:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20-ydkc094E&safety_mode=true&persist_safety_mode=1


            Bruce Baedke <><
            Bass - Pride of Iowa Chorus

            --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, "tpblead" <tpbuell@...> wrote:
            >
            > Here is a topic for discussion. I enjoy watching the TV show Glee, but I really dislike the use of Autotune. I have read others decrying the rampant use of Autotune on this show and others, but I had not really been able to tell on this show (maybe I really don't know what I am listening for), but my daughter showed me a clip from last night's show, and it seemed that I heard a slight buzz in the sound, that I am assuming is an artifact of Autotune.
            >
            > I can understand using Autotune when the performer is just not up to staying in tune, or perhaps to get a specific effect, but in the case of this show, it seems like the talent involved and the fact that the performances are pre-recorded and dubbed, allowing retakes to get it right, would mean that Autotune shouldn't be necessary.
            >
            > My question is this: Do they use Autotune because production costs preclude going back and "doing it right", so it is just easier to tweak it and go on, or is there something else at work here. I find it hard to believe that they couldn't find someone that could carry a tune to be on this (or any other) show.
            >
            > Thoughts?
            >
            > Tim Buell
            > Autotune free.
            > And usually at least close to on key.
            >
          • marty.lovick
            Great Gold medallists .. true champions, and ... oh never mind :-]
            Message 5 of 12 , Dec 2, 2010
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              Great Gold medallists .. true champions, and ... oh never mind :-]

              --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, "Bruce B" <kbaedke@...> wrote:
              >
              > Saw a neat demo on Youtube using barbershop to show teh sound with and without autotune. Check out:
              >
              > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20-ydkc094E&safety_mode=true&persist_safety_mode=1
              >
              >
              > Bruce Baedke <><
              > Bass - Pride of Iowa Chorus
              >
              > --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, "tpblead" <tpbuell@> wrote:
              > >
              > > Here is a topic for discussion. I enjoy watching the TV show Glee, but I really dislike the use of Autotune. I have read others decrying the rampant use of Autotune on this show and others, but I had not really been able to tell on this show (maybe I really don't know what I am listening for), but my daughter showed me a clip from last night's show, and it seemed that I heard a slight buzz in the sound, that I am assuming is an artifact of Autotune.
              > >
              > > I can understand using Autotune when the performer is just not up to staying in tune, or perhaps to get a specific effect, but in the case of this show, it seems like the talent involved and the fact that the performances are pre-recorded and dubbed, allowing retakes to get it right, would mean that Autotune shouldn't be necessary.
              > >
              > > My question is this: Do they use Autotune because production costs preclude going back and "doing it right", so it is just easier to tweak it and go on, or is there something else at work here. I find it hard to believe that they couldn't find someone that could carry a tune to be on this (or any other) show.
              > >
              > > Thoughts?
              > >
              > > Tim Buell
              > > Autotune free.
              > > And usually at least close to on key.
              > >
              >
            • Michael Moran
              Ben that was a very well thought explanation. ... From: Ben McDaniel To: bbshop@yahoogroups.com Sent: Thursday, December 02, 2010 11:24 AM Subject: [bbshop]
              Message 6 of 12 , Dec 5, 2010
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                Ben that was a very well thought explanation.

                ----- Original Message -----
                From: Ben McDaniel
                To: bbshop@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Thursday, December 02, 2010 11:24 AM
                Subject: [bbshop] Re: Use of Autotune



                Auto-Tune can give a really neat effect to the voice when used as an
                effect. I don't like it when it is used to fix tuning, though, because
                it sounds weird (hence its value as an effect). One problem is that
                the voice doesn't sound right when it is completely pitch-steady, and
                the other problem is that it screws up consonants. And when it fixes
                pitch, it changes the timbre, which affects the vowels and the tone
                color and individuality of the voice.

                As an effect, it's just like any other cool solo vocal effect, whether
                it's narrow bandpass (like the Beastie Boys), talk box (like Peter
                Frampton), speeding up or slowing down the vocals (like Strawberry
                Fields Forever), backmasking (like "!aaaH-aH ,yawA eM ekaT oT gnimoC
                er'yehT"), intentionally analog-overdriven vocals, or any kind of
                phaser or delay. Most of those would might not work do much for
                ensemble singing, but they can sound really cool with solo vocals.

                Auto-Tune is only one of the problems with modern vocal recordings.
                Another is extreme compression and clipping. The audio is compressed
                (I'm not talking about data compression, but rather the audio effect)
                until everything is the same volume, and then it is turned up so high
                that all the waveforms are clipped and everything sounds loud. The
                overcompression results in obvious changes in tone (if you make a
                single note louder, it sounds more bassy; if you make it softer, it
                sounds more trebley -- overcompression results in the volume and tone
                changing constantly). The clipping results in lots of non-harmonic
                distortion (harmonic distortion is like a blues guitar; non-harmonic
                distortion is like a blown speaker).

                And, of course, data compression screws up audio as well. A high
                bit-rate mp3 doesn't sound bad, but audio data compression with a low
                bit rate or one that's been compressed multiple times gets a jangly
                sound that's just horrible. It's on television all the time now that
                the audio is digital and the data is compressed (it's most noticeable
                when an audience is applauding -- listen for that jangly sound during
                applause sometime), and it's really terrible on internet videos. It's
                even a problem in movies, where rather than using no data compression
                with standard 16-bit 44.1 or 48 kHz sampling per channel, which is all
                the human ear can hear, they use a higher bit rate and sampling and
                compress the audio data. So they're adding compression that make the
                sound worse -- you can actually hear it -- so that they can have
                dynamic precision that you can't hear and high frequencies that you
                can't hear. (Actually, now that I think about it, for movies 16-bit
                might not be enough precision -- it's so loud that you could hear when
                a sound dropped from one bit to zero bits, unless they added some
                one-bit noise, which might be audible on a big theatre sound system.
                But there's absolutely no reason to make the sampling rate higher than
                40-some kHz.)

                Anyway, I'm not sure why I felt the need to say all of that, but
                Auto-Tune, audio compression, clipping, and audio data compression
                really bother me. Give me a recording of a quartet (or any music) with
                a stereo pair any day (the audible difference between individual mics
                and a stereo pair is a rant for another day).

                Ben McDaniel
                Newton, Kansas




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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