Let's talk vocal tuning

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jochicago
KVRist
144 posts since 26 Feb, 2018

Post Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:51 pm

Let me preface by saying I’m a decent musician but new to recording and mixing.

I’ve been working on making sense of tuning vocals with Melodyne Essentials (Studio One).

I normally trust my ears for tuning, but the longer I stay in a mix I start losing objectivity. I noticed this happens all over the track, I end up making weird mixes that feel right but sound bad the next day, etc. I figure this gets better with experience.

I was recently working on a phrase that needed a little correction on a couple of notes. I wanted to see if there was a visual tool to see the pitch. I tried a couple of tuner plugins but they are all over the place when registering vibrato even on phrases that are in tune to my ear, and that Melodyne identifies as being in tune.

Questions:

1. Is there a reliable plugin to help identify when something is not in (acceptable) tune? (Melodyne has been helpful for me but not the typical tuner plugins)

2. How do you keep yourself objective when deciding on vocal tuning? (Or, do you ever feel you are losing objectivity or struggling to assess a vocal, and what do you do about it)

3. What’s “acceptable” tune? I would say from a numbers perspective about +-12 cents is “in tune”, although measuring a vibrato phrase is a different story. What’s your philosophy (other than just using your ears).

enroe
KVRian
852 posts since 19 Mar, 2008 from germany

Re: Let's talk vocal tuning

Post Thu May 17, 2018 2:38 pm

I don't quite understand your question.

In every tuner-plugin (Melodyne, G-Tune etc) you can see
the horizontal lines which are the "ideal" tuning. You
just need to drag the vocals onto one of these line,
dependent on your target note.

So its very easy and clear. :)
free mp3s + info: andy-enroe.de songs + weird stuff: enroe.de

jochicago
KVRist
144 posts since 26 Feb, 2018

Re: Let's talk vocal tuning

Post Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:25 pm

I guess what I'm suggesting is (and this is all personal opinions TBH)
the tool is not perfect, it can only do so much, particularly when tuning a vocal with heavy vibrato. Once you start noticing that, how do you go about using the tools to tune things?

And how far do you go?
If I bend the performance too much I hear it sound mechanical. And there are times that I'm not sure I prefer the "tuned" version vs the original that according to Melodyne was off by 15 cents. I don't have perfect pitch or perfect ears, but I'm pretty good coming from a music background and I normally hear and feel something out of tune quite easily. So not seeing eye-to-eye with Melodyne is becoming a conflict for me. Its almost like Melodyne is telling me not to trust my ears, but I know my ears are decent.

In a perfect situation in which the vocals are simple, with limited vibrato, and the tool is doing the job right, do you always correct to "0", or do you favor the original performance within certain limits?

User avatar
donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
4968 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Re: Let's talk vocal tuning

Post Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:40 pm

I would always say trust your ears. You can get away with a lot with vocals, particularly if you double-track etc. If it sounds right, then it is...

If you want to correct a bit of crap vibrato then you'd need a higher version of Melodyne, as these have the modulation tool which 'essential' doesn't, as far as I remember.

_al_
KVRist
324 posts since 28 Oct, 2014

Re: Let's talk vocal tuning

Post Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:55 am

jochicago wrote:
1. Is there a reliable plugin to help identify when something is not in (acceptable) tune? (Melodyne has been helpful for me but not the typical tuner plugins)

2. How do you keep yourself objective when deciding on vocal tuning? (Or, do you ever feel you are losing objectivity or struggling to assess a vocal, and what do you do about it)

3. What’s “acceptable” tune? I would say from a numbers perspective about +-12 cents is “in tune”, although measuring a vibrato phrase is a different story. What’s your philosophy (other than just using your ears).
1: Try pitching it up an octave, and matching it with a sine wave played from a synth (if you're working in a DAW)

2: I like to play things back with other people in the room. It seems to let me hear things from a fresh perspective, and i will often cringe at things i never noticed.
Also, you can try distracting yourself somehow, like watching something on tv while the song is playing in the background, but you genuinely have to be not focusing on the track

3: I think this depends on the vocal style. When you sing loud, you can get away with more, and i've heard plenty of songs where they go +30 for a phrase, and still sound good

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