I think a true-er question would be "do you guys ever have clients that DON'T need pitch correction..........;-) Thank you Thank You, where you from, really me too.......... The answer is: Are they always with you in the control room. If it's not too bad, stick the Auto-Tuner on and Hide it....... If that doesn't work then either tell them "I can ENHANCE" your vocal a bit" usually if they think you're going above and beyond they'll go for it. Or as I've had to do, if it's that bad, but they think that they just won "American Idol" then let it go. Chances are no one will ever hear it outside of their parents and tone deaf wives and husbands........... I have had credits deleted or an alias if I don't want to be considered guilty............
I agree with Kyle on this...they will often ask me to play back their takes with Auto Tune!
I explain to those who are still in the dark that this will enable us to keep really exciting takes that would otherwise be lost due to poor intonation...I demonstrate by tuning a small section graphically (my preferred method)
They are usually pleased. My friend brad Vosburg turned me on to Melodyne a while back. I now use it often.
I've never had a client who objected to a bit of tuning...lucky, I guess.
LOL Also I tell them all the great singers use it now. Just stroke their Artist Ego and you can get away with anything. Funny how us producer/engineers have to be psychologist and actors!! If all else fails do it when they are not around.
What's even funnier are some of the major label artists that swear they don't tune their vocals, only to come back the next day listening to how great they sound!!! I usually ask the artist if they'd like for me to get them a hand mirror before they listen..............
As a singer, I think I have a unique perspective on this topic because it's my biggest fear to go into a studio and have the engineer just rely on tuning the vocals rather than working with me to get a great take. I think that today people aren't striving for that perfect performance and are just relying on fixing it in the mix. If you have a great engineer and a great singer in the room, the two should work together to get a great take. If you have a crappy singer, well I think you just have to burst their bubble and tell them that you're going for more of a "what it's going to sound like live" vibe. That way you have conveyed that they suck and will sound like crap live, but in a nice way. :) I think the overuse of AutoTune is due to the fact that most "artists" today aren't as talented as they once were and engineers are so used to having to fix the bad talent, that working with talent has become out of the norm. I know that even the best singers need a tune-up here and there, but I think it's best to keep the singer in the loop, unless it's an ego thing....then I suggest just hurrying the project to get them out of your studio and moving on to something more fun!
Gym...as a studio singer (with more than the occasional "blue note"...haha...I understand what you're saying. Still, I don't believe the perceived lack of vocal talent on records these days is due more to high pressure lawyers and aggressive management who foist these no talents on the record companies and gen public. Public taste is dictated by what they get, and so far I haven't heard a lot of public outcry for the removal of James Blount (Blunt, whatever) cd's from the shelves at Borders.
Back on topic....it creeps me out to hear out of tune vocals...unless it's a performance such as Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful", where the character takes over....but as there are no new Sinatras, Bennetts, Ella's, etc out there...those that could nail a performance LIVE with orchestra, tuning is the thing. That's why I make it a point to do a graphical tuning for the singer, just so they see the process. But, as you say, there is no substitute for an inspired performance of an inspired song.