Join Brian Lee White for an in-depth discussion in this video Quick start: Tuning a vocal in Auto mode, part of Learning Auto-Tune 8.
- Before diving into the full features set of auto-tune, I wanted to show you a quick jump-start on tuning a vocal track just using a handful of controls. So I've brought in the example material "do re mi vox" and "do re mi piano". Let's take a listen to that. ♫ Do, re, mi, fa ♫ so, la, ti, do ♫ Cool, it's not bad, but it could use a little sprucing up with auto-tune.
So I'm going to insert on the vocal track the auto-tune plug-in. And as this interface comes up, I'm just gonna use a handful of controls right now to work with this. I'm going to set the input type to match my specific voice here, "Alto Tenor". I'm going to set the key of my performance, and in this case it is "A Major".
Now if you don't know the key that you're working in you can leave it as "chromatic" which will include all twelve notes. However, if the vocal isn't very close to being in tune, this can be quite problematic as it'll drift between notes of the scale that you're actually using as well as the adjacent notes in the chromatic scale. So it's best if you know the scale you're working in, to get the easiest results as fast as possible.
Now I'm just gonna control one more parameter here called "retune speed". This is how fast auto-tune is going to retune notes that are out of pitch. So, like I described before, it's listening to the incoming signal, it's determining if it is any of these pitches or close to any of these pitches, and it's going to retune them to the nearest pitch that it detects based on this speed. So you can think of this as, how much tuning do I want to take place? How fast is that tuning gonna take place? So let's leave it at the default of 20, and listen again.
♫ Do, re, mi, fa ♫ so, la, ti, do ♫ So I can see here the retuning happening in real time, so it's actually pulling the notes that are out, towards the zero point which is in tune. Watch again. ♫ Do, re, mi, fa ♫ so, la, ti, do ♫ And actually just with this default setting of 20 milliseconds, it's sounding pretty good.
Most things are going to sound pretty good starting at around 20, going up to about ten milliseconds, and if that's too aggressive you could back down to 30 or 40. Let's listen to what it sounds like if I set it to zero. ♫ Do, re, mi, fa ♫ so, la, ti, do ♫ Very, very robotic, because what's happening is it's retuning it instantly and so I'm getting this very robotic or T-Pain, Cher style effect.
That can be cool as an effect, but tends to sound unnatural, likewise if I pull it too slow I'm not gonna get very much tuning. ♫ Do, re, mi, fa ♫ so, la, ti, do ♫ So I can still hear quite a bit of that drift on some of those notes. So, like I said, that sweet spot is gonna be between about 40 and ten, and really you wanna play with this based on your material.
You wanna listen and you want to use the retune speed and pick something that sounds natural or satisfactory to you, retuning the notes fast enough, but not so fast that you're losing the character of the performance. Unless that is your intention. Now, it's important to remember that auto-tune requires a single, clean, monophonic signal to operate properly. So that means no corded material or mixed sources, let's say acoustic guitar and vocals recorded without enough separation.
Well, there is software that can attempt to work with a polyphonic source, auto-tune is not designed to be used that way. So, now that we've seen how easy it is to jump in and quickly tune a vocal track, we can dive a little deeper and learn how to finesse some of these results a bit more.
- Understanding pitch correction
- Tuning vocals with Auto mode and Solid Tune
- Working in Live mode
- Creating and tracking pitch curves in Graphic mode
- Controlling timing
- Achieving natural results with tuned vocals