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Discussion Starter #1
Love Glee as a show, love the song selection, love the song arrangements.

one problem, and it's a big one: Antares Autotune! Why do they need to auto-tune everybody for every single note making the voice sounding so robotic and unnatural. There is another pitch-correction program called Melodyne that is far more natural although it is much slower to use (requires manual labour in fixing the pitch). However, it won't take more than an extra 4 hours of studio-engineer's time for each episode (approx $600 in labour and studio cost).

I quite honestly don't understand the need of saving $600 per episode when they already spend at least $1 million per episode... especially the $600 goes into the vocals which is the main thing of the show.
 

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While I have always noticed this to an extent I have to admit it seems even more pronounced this season. It does take away from the theme of the show.
 

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I thought there was lees auto tune this year. hmm, I guess I am getting used to it. I am starting to find that that Lea really over sings her lip syncing. I can't wait till she thinks shes too good for the show and quits.
 

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I love the concept of the show but refuse to watch it because of the way-too-slick music production. The songs have no soul and set the standard for perfection sooo high. Who wants to go see their kid's Christmas (sorry, Winter-themed) choir concert now? :p
 

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Discussion Starter #5
In the previous seasons the Autotune may be set to a lower setting. This season's Autotune seems to be set close to the max to the point the spoken voice timbres are dramatically different than the singing timbres.

I own both Autotune and Melodyne, there is no need to to use Autotune to begin with. Furthermore, there is no need to set the strength to be so high.

Sadly even 'singers' are using Autotune. For example Justin Bieber singimg 'happy birthday' in one of the TV commercial. It's awful awful awful!
 

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I love the concept of the show but refuse to watch it because of the way-too-slick music production. The songs have no soul and set the standard for perfection sooo high. Who wants to go see their kid's Christmas (sorry, Winter-themed) choir concert now? :p
You mean your kids school choir doesn't sound as good as Glee?

Before you dump their Christmas concert...give it one more year.

And yes...I said it...it's Christmas...I don't see any holiday in North America for "Festive Season or Winter"...except maybe on Sienfield for festivus :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Naah, all he meant is that his kids' school choir doean't sound feakishly robotic and their school is so cheap to the point of not using SSL mixing board, Neumann mics, and Lexicon or Manley reverb. :D
 

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I like that the songs are over produced. They just need to work on syncing there lips with the words..
 

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Isn't that the point? The songs are supposed to be fantasies.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I agree with Coasterdon in terms of overproducing the songs (to the point of having back up dancers and actual string section in the scene). To my those are symbolism of the excitement and the grand-feeling the glee club members are feeling when they are performing.

I just don't get why they have to use Autotune instead of Melodyne. Heck, they don't even need to use Melodyne, most of the cast can actually sing. Why don't they just Melodyne the cast that can't really sing, Autotune the cast that really can't sing, and leave the casts can sing alone without pitch correction software/hardware (the Antares Autotune is a hardware -- although also avilable as a plugin, whereas Melodyne is a standalone software)
 

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i had no clue about that software.. So thanks! First Santa is a fake and now this! :)

Its over the top and i like it. It makes for a good show.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The use of the Melodyne have become extremely rampant nowadays and the use of Antares Autotune hardware have become even more rampant than Melodyne.

My favourite singers such as Michael Buble use Autotune all across his last album, Rod Stewart's Great American Songbook 1-4 uses a lot of Melodyne but the upcoming Songbook 5 he used a lot of Autotune too :(

Justin Bieber, Kana'an, PCD use Autotune to the n'th degree (I can list them all, but I don't have several hours to type artists' names that use Autotune and/or Melodyne). Katy Perry use a little bit of Melodyne. Even Kylie Minogue who used to do live show without the use of Autotune (Melodyne is impossible because it's not real-time and needs to be literally hand-drawn) in her latest album also use Autotune.

Bottom line, for me:

No pitch correction: uttermost respect
Melodyne: still have some respect (because you still actually need to be able to sing most of the notes properly)
Autotune: zero respect. You can literally read the lyric while playing the actual notes on a MIDI keyboard and make it sound like you sing.

The history is that Antares Autotune is a super refined version of Digitech Vocalist (originally used to create 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th voice to thicken the vocalist's voice and later refined with algorithm where the singer can create backing-vocal-choir just by singing the melody while playing the accompanying chords) which core technology derived from Vocoder which used as a special guitar and keyboard effect (Pink Floyd used to use it for effect -- they ACTUALLY sing without any pitch correction system).

The recording industry just needs to be shaken up.

One day if I have time to go to Mississauga to dig my old studio gears, I'll post an snippet of me singing vs me "singing" (using Antares Autotune... I don't know whether I still have my Digitech Vocalist anymore).
 

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How do you know/find out who uses (or if they use) vocal enhancers? Very interesting background info on that tech, David - thanks for bringing it to the table.

That abrupt shift in vocal quality as soon as someone breaks into song has annoyed me since day1 of the show. I would love it if the characters voiced sounded more like their natural voices - even if they did miss a few notes. Or like David says - even just dial it back a few notches.

So, where on the "performance enhancement" scale of outrage do we put AutoTune and the like if we have PEDs in sport at one end, and ED meds in the porn biz at the other end? ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It's actually very easy to detect once you find out the "vocal" characteristic of Autotuned voice. Usually very thin (no "oomph" in the voice and virtually no vibrato with eerily spot-on pitch, pitch slides from one note to the next is constantly at the same ratio) Nobody, and I mean nobody, can hit a perfect pitch 100% of the time, it's just humanly impossible -- although there tons of people who have perfect pitch hearing. The same thing with pitch slides. Nobody can repeat the same slide with 100% same-ness twice, let alone the entire song or even the entire album.

After teaching my daughter what to listen to (the easiest way is by listening to examples -- such as comparing Michael Buble's vocal characteristics from his first album with his voice in "I haven't met you yet"). In about half hour she can get it down pat 100% in who are using Autotune.

Melodyne is a completely different beast. Because the pitch corrections are hand-drawn, if you find a good enough Melodyne editor (such as Jim Zolis, a Melodyne expert I worked together with for the past of 10+ years, a sub-contract producer of Celine Dion and Shania Twain), you'd be hard pressed to hear the Melodyne in action. Also because everything is hand-drawn, no two pitch-slides can be 100% identical. Of course, in the hands of less experience people (read: David Susilo, for example) it's easy to detect the Melodyne side effect

Here's a link of one of my "artist" virtually reading the lyric, minimally fixed with Antares Autotune (set at 30% correction), then fine tuned the rest with Melodyne. She was so bad and never showed up in the studio on time (or at all) I ended up drawing the entire song by hand and took me about 40 hours to do just the vocals. (watch out, 35 Mb .WAV file size so there is no additional artifact to confuse anybody between compression artifact vs Antares Autotune + Melodyne for all the vocals and Digitech Vocalist --used just to create a duet phrases here and there--)

https://rcpt.yousendit.com/969225489/4d34575922a278c95667376a2952a634

Not to sound conceited, but please don't distribute these files since it's copyrighted (under my name and lyricist for Hummingbird Centre: Christian Ravera with SOCAN, BMI, ASCAP and AURA (but if anybody know anybody in the recording industry who want sto pick up this song, just PM me ;) )



These "performance enhancement" should only be used, IMO, for live application and even then don't send the signal to the max. 30% correction is plenty. And if you can't sing properly with 30% correction, then you should not be a professional singer anyway.

Sometime next week I'll try to find and post a file of a singer who sings with Autotune set literally to 80% and Melodyned the vibrato (although unfortunately even the vibrato was only drawn once and copy-and-pasted for the entire song making the vibrato level sounds unnaturally identical throughout the song. But her dad didn't want to pay more than 1 hour's worth of vocal take AND fixing, so I can't do anything better than that.
 

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Autotune in small amounts can be just fine as well - it's when they go and max out the settings that makes it sound so robotic (think any T'Pain song, or Cher's "Believe"). A vocoder may have been used in the Cher song instead, but it achieved the same effect.

I think overall, Mercedes seems to have one of the better voices on the show. I don't think Autotune was maxed out when she sang (I could hear a vibrato in her voice, and it didn't seem quite as robotic as some of the others (Finn, for example).
 

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I would like to see an episode done where the songs are recorded live with the take. Maybe a "Glee goes to camp" theme would work. Some classic singer-songwriter stuff would be great to hear done.
 

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Autotune in small amounts can be just fine as well - it's when they go and max out the settings that makes it sound so robotic (think any T'Pain song, or Cher's "Believe")
I disagree. Autotune should only be used for dramatic effect. Otherwise it's just plain cheating.
 

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I know we are straying a little off topic, but I am not sure I agree that autotune is cheating? Its all about entertainment. If people like listening to music that has been "autotuned" then what's wrong with that? Its like saying that actors who get plastic surgery are cheating. Or photographers who use photoshop are cheating. I'm sure when electric guitars emerged, people thought that those using them were cheating.
 

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Its all about entertainment.
If you value entertainment over all else - including artistic merit - then yes, support "musicians" who use Autotune all you want. If that's the case, you should have no problem with "musicians" who use backing tracks and lipsync while they entertain.

Yesterday I watched a Saturday Night Live episode from last season with Jude Law as host. He reminded the viewers that the last time he hosted, Ashlee Simpson was the musical guest. And we all know how that went. That was probably the first time that backing tracks & lipsyncing was really exposed to the public in such a blatant way (aside from frauds like Milli Vanilli). After a huge uproar, it seems aids like backing tracks, lipsyncing, and now Autotune are more prevalent than ever.

This more recent episode of Jude Law hosting saw Pearl Jam as the musical guest. I can assure you there was no Autotune, no backing tracks, and no lipsyncing whatsoever, and the result was astonishing. Their live rendition of Just Breathe was as close to perfection as possible. This is the result of superior musicianship and practice, practice, practice. And in their second song, even when Eddie Vedder broke a guitar string, he continued on as if nothing happened. It's called professionalism - something Ashlee Simpson could learn a thing or two about.

By no means am I a die-hard Pearl Jam fan, but I appreciate good musicians when I hear them. I'm sure the actors on Glee are great singers. Unfortunately we'll never know because they just sound like robots.

Larry, the examples you used are all examples of improvements, but none of them achieve perfection. The comparison to performance-enhancing drugs & athletes was brought up earlier. The problem with this comparison is that, with the exception of a handful of sporting events, it's impossible to achieve perfection in sport. Humankind is constantly pushing the limits of physical boundaries - with or without drugs. PED will help an athlete be better, but it won't make a couchpotato into an elite athlete. The problem with Autotune is it can transform a god-awful singer into a perfect singer. That is cheating, no two ways around it.

What I don't understand is when good singers use it to enhance their already-superb vocal talents. So what if it's not perfect - that's never been the goal of music or art. Beauty (physical & otherwise) is found in its imperfections. There's a reason why Heidi Montag is repulsive, it's because she's attained physical perfection as defined by western society. As a result, she's become a monster.

Now, this has gone waaay off-topic and become a bit of a rant, but as a musician something I feel very strongly about. Autotune and the pursuit of perfection will be the death of the music industry. And this time, it can't be blamed on the record companies!
 
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