Auto-Tuned

Since its interception in 1997 no other effect has been used and overused as much as Auto-Tune (except for maybe compression, but that’s a whole other story). Nowadays you will hardly ever find a recording session or any release that doesn’t take ‘advantage’ of the Auto-Tune technology. A lot of singers these days rely so heavily on this effect that it becomes part of their ‘sound’ and the listeners have become so used to hearing the typical Auto-Tune sound that they don’t even realize it any more.

At a Martina McBride concert a few years ago I got a chance to talk to the FOH engineer after the show and asked him why he used Auto_Tune on her vocals and he told me that audiences nowadays are so used to ‘that sound’ that it was requested of him to use it on multiple songs throughout the show. We both agreed that a singer of Martina’s caliber really doesn’t need it but he had to do it anyways.

Reviewing the last George Strait show on his Farewell Tour I was floored by how much the Auto-Tune was overused and audible throughout the whole show. It become really annoying to me when i.e. Vince Gill’s vocal runs were completely destroyed by Auto-Tune technology.
I couldn’t help but think of the days when artists would actually sing and work on their craft (I remembered shows of Diamond Rio and Restless Heart back in the day – no Auto-Tune, just pristine vocals !).

I realize that we will probably never get rid of Auto-Tune and that in certain circumstances it can be a valid and appropriate tool (when used in a subtle manner) but I am seriously getting tired of people letting a computer do their singing for them. Im my humble opinion: if you can’t sing, you may want to look for a different job. Apart from that, I don’t mind hearing little imperfections during a live show …. it’s a LIVE show, if you want to hear the song in perfection go buy the recording and enjoy it.

My hat’s off to all the artists out there, big league or not, that keep singing their songs to the best of their abilities, stay true to themselves and keep Auto-Tune locked up in the recording studio.

“Just because we have all the technology tools doesn’t mean we have to use them (all the time) !”

Cheers, let’s make some music ….
DiB