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Yes, apparently it is OK to cheat in your vocal recordings!

A recent RP article asked whether it is OK to use Auto-Tune on vocals, which it suggests is tantamount to cheating. The readers' response... an overwhelming YES, YES, YES!

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A recent article in Audio Masterclass asked Do famous artists use studio tricks to enhance their voices?, and questioned whether certain studio techniques, up to and including Auto-Tune should be considered cheating.

You can read visitors' responses here, and they are overwhelmingly in favor of using whatever is necessary to get the result you're after.

Clearly using a great mic is not cheating. And according to our readers, using Auto-Tune to correct notes that are off pitch is perfectly OK too.

So, this begs the question, are Audio Masterclass readers incapable of finding singers who can sing well without such artificial assistance?

Yes, ask yourself that question... why are you working with someone who can't sing properly?

Possible answers include...

  • I do my own vocals. Give me a break!
  • I have to work with whoever comes through the studio door. It's my job.
  • On the budgets I get to work with, speed is essential and it's quicker to fix problems with Auto-Tune.
  • I can pick and choose my singers, but image or other factors are sometimes more important than singing ability.

These are all perfectly satisfactory answers. You're using Auto-Tune because you have to. It gets the job done.

But there could be another answer. If you are using Auto-Tune because you're working with poor singers, shouldn't you be doing everything you can to move up the ladder and work with professionals?

I'm not trying to insult anyone here, but any self-respecting engineer or producer surely wants to work with the best people around. Over-reliance on Auto-Tune could be a sign that you're not putting enough effort into developing your career.

By the way, we think Auto-Tune is a great software. But as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility...

By David Mellor Thursday November 30, 2006
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