pcgamesmagazine

The best (and worst) of auto-tune

In games on November 1, 2010 at 9:40 pm

In the same way that models, politicians and artists are intact and invulnerable before age thanks to the magic of the Photoshop, the fact that many singers generate perfect notes is not something of it comes from their throats, but a small technological wonder called Auto-Tune. What started as a technology used in the oil industry, is now the vital essence of many “alleged” modern singers. In some cases, the use of Auto-Tune has been more coherent, but nor are missing these artificial real punished to our ears.Listen awhile.


Public in general still not convinced whether it’s one of the most important inventions of recent years, or the huge destructive nemesis ended by ending the last possibility of listening to singers that, indeed, “sing of truth”.Both authors and labels are fast as light exit to defend their rights, but that all consumers should ask themselves these days is if they are really singing, or what you hear is the result of an audio post-processing.Auto-Tune has become one of the main tools for all editor and engineer audio which, in the absence of another expression, you must convert to a cavernícola musical in a potential candidate for a Grammy.

Auto-tune operating in GarageBand (source: Wikipedia)

Auto-Tune is a processor audio released by the company Antares Audio Technologies in 1997. However, its beginnings are slightly different. An engineer called Andy Hildebrand, he developed what was the ancestor of the Auto-Tune when working for the oil company Exxon.Hildebrand used a correlation process for sending sound waves to land, and then save the “reflex” these waves, revealing areas with a high potential to make a successful drilling. This method led to save millions oil industries and Hildebrand achieved something that the vast majority of people could only dream of: be retired at the age of 40. With long time ahead, Hildebrand found a challenge from a guest at a dinner, that “something” to make it to “sing well” created. After several months by adjusting the process that had been used in Exxon correlation, Hildebrand created Auto-Tune.


At first seemed a simple novelty, something that could “distort” the voice, but the software was much more than that. Audio engineers realized that they could make small corrections to tone, every time that an artist committed an error. His first exposure to the public was the video for the song “Believe” Cher released in 1998. Engineers behind this song tried to hide the principle use of auto-tune, claiming that had resorted to a vocoder, but quickly other artists adopted the same “effect robotic” present in the video of Cher. The use of Auto-Tune declined significantly in subsequent years, until American rapper known as T-Pain did come back from the shadows, achieving successes through the application of auto-tune on his songs.


Since then, professional audio engineers who work primarily with the music stars have recognized that there is no modern pop artist whose voice has gone through Auto-Tune. This led to a significant polarisation on its use.Many artists are turning software because it guarantees “good performance” and makes them work in a more relaxed way, while others have rejected entirely to this kind of alteration in the audio. Even so, these positions have not kept constant. I remember very well when Christina Aguilera appeared with a t-shirt which read “auto-tune is for faggots”, but has become clear that he changed his mind when released their last album “Bionic” (which personally I feel awful).

The photo was taken in August 2009.Less than a year later, Aguilera launched “Bionic” plagued with auto-tune. (Source: singersroom.com)

Between criticism and accusations, Internet has made a clear record of the existence of Auto-Tune, and videos featuring parodies with processed audio have generated millions and millions of reproductions. Some of the most successful have been responsible for the “Gregory brothers” who had the original idea of applying auto-tune to something as everyday as the news on television. Their “Bed Intruder Song” has gained more than 36 million reproductions on YouTube, and total creations exceed the 87 million hits.Another video of Gregory that literally exploded videos site was the “Double Rainbow Song”, which to date accumulates more than 14 million hits.On the Internet have appeared parodies with cats, dogs, politicians, movie stars, TV series and so many others that have gone through the Auto-Tune, with results that can simply be classified as a “viral” on the Web.


Meanwhile, “large” music artists still resorting to Auto-Tune without imported them much criticism, and no longer used it for simple fixes.Some specific topics have justified the use of the Auto-Tune, as for example “One More Time” Daft Punk, but there are cases in which certain singers “attempt” singing, rapping, or whatever, but only achieved it with the assistance of auto-tune.It is called “the Photoshop voice”, and the term is more than adequate.And everything seems even presentations live must avoid the use of Auto-Tune.The presence of software already have noticed few concerts, while a scandal in August in the British show last talent “The X Factor” was related to the use of Auto-Tune in the voice of the participants.Auto-Tune is a piece of formidable engineering, that there is no doubt, but every time there are more reasons to doubt if the star is auto-tune, or artists.

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