Not being combative, just genuinely curious re your comment:
"I remember seeing a record on the shelves @ the store that had a sticker on it that said "Absolutely No Vocal Tuning" I find that extremely funny. it may be evil, but its a necessary evil."
Did you find it funny in a "what a weird world we live in" kind of way.... or what?
I was proud to put a similar claim on my last record (not front and center, as a sticker, but just mentioned in the liner notes.) I don't think it was a necessary evil for my humble project. I'm certainly not the world's greatest singer, but I care about pitch and will do any extra takes to get it right. Point of pride I guess.
During a previous project, I let the engineer fix a note or two 'cause I was tired and out of time. And now when I hear those notes, they totally irritate me...
but I feel that we use mics, EQ, compression, editing, mixing, everything as tools to make the record sound better than it really is.
I completely understand your point though.
If I thought I could sing, even the slightest bit, I'd want to get the pitch right, every time. but I'm also a realist and I know that I would rather spend my time getting that lightening in a bottle type performance, where I held the note out just right, had a little gravel at the end of the passage, curled the note up just at the right time, but I faltered ever so slightly on the pitch. Tune me!!!LOL
Thats all I am saying.
thats why most engineers I know, always go red on the rehearsal take, cause you never know what you're get capture. "Red-hearsal" I've heard it called.
I did some tracks with George Jones a couple of years ago. we didn't tune him, but we varispeeded, if thats even a word, the whole track up a couple of clicks to give his vocal some life, some excitement.
I let my clients hear what they have recorded before tuning, then we comp our best performances and tune as needed. It is as close to "being real" as we get these days. Letting a singer hear their weaknesses will only help them get better. I know it helps me. Stripping a song down to just bare bones will sometimes help a singer find their center of pitch too. I think it is a good ego check sometimes for a singer to hear the raw audio back at them. It is much easier to get them to agree to touching up their vocal with a tuner that way. I did have a client that was very tight and thought I overcharged him tuning a vocal. He thought you just slapped a tuner on and let it run. I had to show him the light and explain why that was not the way you make a CD. Then I played him the before track and he happily paid the bill. Bottom line, I don't expect all of my clients to understand everything we do to make finished CD's, so a 5 min talk can clear up any confusion that might be brewing.
Randy...my clients LOVE to watch me manipulate their notes with Melodyne...when necessary.
The "Blobs" seem to fascinate them...lol
I agree that is is always a good idea to comp a vocal FIRST, prior to tuning. I want the best performance, regardless of pitch. Then a judicious use of tuning to ice the cake. I know we both subscribe to the "let the artist perform" platform, as opposed to a lot of starts and stops. Best for the artists continuity, confidence, and performance.
Most of them do need it to some degree or the other.........for years I suffered with no way to fix it, other than to punch in and out with re-takes until I wore the singer out.
Now with Melodyne, and with the pitch correction feature in Digital Performer, I'll actually show them how I can help them. Really only have had one client who "supposedly" didn't want me to use it, she thought it beneath her. Until she got tired, and I showed her how I could save her time and effort......
Most clients just shake their head in amazement at what can be done with today's technology. Gotta admit I do the same from time to time.
My i suggest a few ideas. 1st. if you are the engineer, it isn't your call, 2ed if you' re the producer it is the clients career not yours, 3ed, you can always use play list and give them options. 5th. Use a program that is transparent,i.e. melodyne or Waves Tunes. Autotune has a sound that is noticeable. Also try only tuning part of the word that is in questions, then cross fade the rest. i.e. the vabrito can be left alone. All and all it's the clients project and their career. Walk gingerly ....Call me any time for a consult. I've tuned vocals for more than 28 years.
sorry 4th perfection isn't always the better path to walk. Performance can be a feel thing and perfect tuning can be to clinical. Always choose performance over perfection!!! Once again walk gingerly....it's their project.
Tune them while they're at dinner, or in the mix. If they say, "Wait, what did you do to my voice?" then throw the original tracks back in there...
I usually don't tune with the client in the room. Sometimes it's an ego thing, and sometimes it just keeps things running smoothly. I ask who they want their song to sound like, and most of the time that person has been tuned, and I explain that to the client. "Yes, Carrie Underwood is tuned, and yes she can sing amazingly well, but you don't think you need to be tuned?"
Eh, so it is. The life of an engineer. Next thing you know, the drummer will never need to be beat detectived.