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Melodyne, Waves Tune or Auto-Tune?

Transcript
Hello everybody, hope you’re doing marvelously well. We’re back with another FAQ Friday. I know people love it when I say FAQ. That is Frequently Asked Questions.

As ever, please, if you haven’t, please subscribe and hit the notification bell, and then you’ll be notified when we have another video.

Every Friday, we do the Frequently Asked Question — the FAQ Friday, and it’s fun because a lot of these questions get asked frequently. They get asked over and over again, and a couple of them don’t get asked, that’s why I pick them out, because I think they’re very, very important questions to answer.

There’s a lot of questions that get covered in the multitude of repetitive videos and stuff out there, because there’s so many videos on the same subject, but what I love about this forum, and about this incredible community that you — all of you out there have created, is there’s questions that come up that are really important in every day recording situations.

Questions about getting great performances, about how to work with artists, about how to maintain work and career with family, and with friends. This is just as important, because if you can’t get up in the morning and feel excited about what you do in any way of life, then how are you going to get the best out of a situation? I need to come in in the morning and work with an artist and feel excited about working with them.

If it’s just coming into a drudgery, then I’m not going to get the results that I want.

So thanks for all of these amazing questions, because you touch on all of this kind of stuff. Let’s get started.

Question one is, “Melodyne, or Waves, or Auto-Tune? What would you recommend?”

That’s an amazingly good question, because I have all of them. I have Melodyne, I have Antares Auto-Tune, and I also have Waves Tune, and they all do the same thing, technically, but they all have different kind of algorithms, or different ways of doing that.

Let me demonstrate what I like about each one. Melodyne, obviously, has a functionality which I believe is second-to-none in its ease of use. It has that ability when you just click the blocks and you can just push them up. It’s really super quick. I personally find a lot of my friends who aren’t musicians, but are engineers, love Melodyne.

Once they identify the key, they’ll just quickly use it, and I think for a kind of one-size-fits-all, does the job, Melodyne is pretty darn amazing. It also is really quick and easy to use for building harmonies, because if you can see the scale, and you’ve got these blocks, you can move them up to the next note and build a harmony from the original.

Really, really great tools, and I do believe that Melodyne sounds fantastic when used sparingly. All of these are really good when they’re used sparingly, unless you want to go for complete, over the top, T-Pain kind of vocals. Then we’re talking about a whole different thing. That’s about taking a vocal which may be monotone, and recreating — or creating from scratch, more like, a vocal performance.

Auto-Tune is the one I use predominantly. I use Auto-Tune to fix vocals in a graphical mode. What that does is I’ll take a whole performance, and I’ll see one or two elements only in a whole performance, and just take the graphic mode, and just subtly redraw in just the single piece of vocal that went out. That might be a whole phrase.

[sings]

And I’ll take that and I’ll love the tonality of the singer, and I’ll just tuck it in to the note I want it to be, just lightly. That is my choice to use Auto-Tune for that.

Now, of course, Melodyne does that as well, however, I grew up using the Auto-Tune functionality, and I like the graphical mode. Both of them do that.

Now, Waves Tune is something I use as well. I have found Waves Tune’s algorithm is particularly good on Rock vocalists that have a lot of grit. I was working on a rock album with Mike Clink. You know, Mike Clink, the producer of Guns N’ Roses, very famous for doing that. He had a singer that had that super growly voice like that.

He said to me, “Oh, there’s a bunch of tuning issues here,” and he only had like, a specific one or two vocal takes to work with. So we couldn’t comp around it, so he asked me to go in there and fix a few notes.

I tried Auto-Tune, it didn’t pick up. There was so much growl in there, it barely had a note. Melodyne, the same thing. Now, bear in mind, this was five years ago. Both of those software may well encompass that, but the Waves Tune immediately found the note in that super, super growly vocal, and was able to fix it.

My point is, if you can, and you have the ability to have multiple versions of it, I believe Auto-Tune, Melodyne, and Waves Tune are all really, really good for multiple different instances. They can do all the jobs, but if you have the flexibility to use them, you can choose what is best for you and what is best in a specific situation. That is what is so good about having the access to multiple tools.

I can’t say whether one is better than the other, because I use Auto-Tune a lot, but I also use Melodyne for a lot of other stuff. It’s really good on instruments. It’s really quick and easy when you use that block, but Auto-Tune also has a functionality very similar to that.

For me, I’m blessed to have access to all three, and I can choose which one to use. And you know me, I only talk about things that I use. I don’t have opinions on things that I don’t use, and that to me is really, really important.

So if you can, try each one out and see which one works for you.

Do you ever use albums to reference when you’re mixing? If so, what were some of your favorite to use?

That’s a great question. I think we could do a whole week on reference mixing. I love using references. However, I don’t use them exclusively, and I don’t use them all the time, I tend to use them personally, because I’ve been doing this a long time when I may be working outside of my comfort zone.

So for me, if I’m doing something of a different genre, put it this way, I do a lot of Rock. A ton of Rock. I do a ton of Pop. I do a ton of organic stuff, you know, acoustic guitars, and piano/vocals, and all of this kind of stuff, but if I was to do something super, super heavy, and I wanted it to compete with that, I would find the best possible reference I could, and make sure I’m always up to it.

If I am going to do something which is really, really sparse and beautiful, vocal/acoustic, I might find something very popular in that genre, and aim for that.

I tend to use references in production a lot. A lot. Like, I’m working on this artist, Dustin Thomas’ record at the moment, and Dustin is a very organic acoustic guitar vocalist, and I am referencing the best music in that genre. Not necessarily the most modern, but the most inspiring, and for me, for instance, John Martyn’s Solid Air is one of the best acoustic or piano, standup bass, one of the most beautiful sounding records.

It’s not the most modern, but I’m not listening to it for frequencies boosted and cut. I’m not listening to it for compression ratios. I’m not listening to that. I’m listening to it from a point of view of inspiration. So when I’m recording music, I’m listening to it to create that same feeling that I get when I listen to an album as good as John Martyn’s Solid Air.

So there’s lots of good reasons to listen to reference mixes. It’s not all just mixes. It is the production, it is the overall feeling.

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Now, when I’m listening to stuff that has to compete in a certain genre, I’ll listen to the biggest and best that it has to compete against.

So if I’m doing a modern rock song, I’m going to listen to the best sounding modern rock music, but I might also listen to some of the classic stuff to make sure I’m getting that same feeling. This is really, really important to me that I get everything in there.

So I do reference brand new, slamming, loud, crunchy tracks to make sure I’m competing on that same level, at the same time as listening to stuff that’s classic and feels really exciting to me, and brings a feeling that is bigger and better than just the sonics alone.

Music is not just all about boosting and cutting frequencies. It’s not all just about compression ratios and limiting, and all of that kind of stuff. It is bigger and better than that, and we have to remember that. So be inspired. Don’t just listen to music and reference music just from the point of view of EQ points and stuff, listen to things that excite you and inspire you just as much as listening to it from a point of view of being current.

There’s a lot to do with music, and remember, creatively, there’s current music, and there’s older music, and there’s everything — more importantly, there’s genres outside of your genre that you bring to your music that will keep you excited and inspired.

You mentioned putting the MV2 on the end of a bass sub. What do you mean? Compressing the sub frequencies?

Ah, good question. Okay, so where I grew up, there is busses, auxiliaries, and subs. There’s a subgroup, an auxiliary, and a buss.

They’re all the same thing to me.

Now, there may well be differences of opinion from experts as to what all of those individual things are, but when I said sub, I meant a group or auxiliary. What I mean is if you have multiple sources, let’s say you have a DI, an amp, maybe a SansAmp, maybe a different way of miking an amp, like I quite often mic an amp speaker with another speaker to get super sub frequencies.

When you have these multiple things, I might EQ and compress them independently, and then buss them into a subgroup, an auxiliary, or a buss. That’s what I mean. So we’re taking multiple sources, and putting them all onto one fader, so whether it be on a console on a fader, or more importantly, in your DAW on one fader, that is my subgroup. That is my buss. That is my auxiliary.

So the very end of any EQ and compression I’ve done, I’ll put the Waves MV2. It is a go-to plugin for mine — it’s the go-to plugin for me, and has worked miracles on bass guitar. You hear me talk about it a lot, and you also know that a lot of people have responded by saying that once they put it on their bass, they couldn’t believe how much it does for them.

It’s a really great way of combating some of the high notes that get lost, or some of the low notes that were played too heavily and bottomed out, and it’ll bring that low level information, the high level information, and bring them together. It controls the dynamic on a bass guitar in particular, and allows that bass to sit very evenly in the mix.

I’m keeping a copy of everything you work on. Do you store it in the cloud with a DropBox or something similar? There must be cheaper and more resilient ways than keeping old hard drives around.

It’s an interesting question, because there are whole companies that backup stuff, and thus far, when it comes to often called — Sony called it the iron mountain, where they store everything, and other record companies refer to the same thing, the way they’ll backup is they’ll backup onto multiple hard drives, and also onto digital tape as well, and then they will continually backup.

I do believe that cloud based systems are a good way to backup your stuff. However, I think the only — honestly, the only answer to that question is multiple sources. So backup to hard drives, to multiple hard drives, backup to a cloud based system, put it on your DropBox if you want, you know, whatever you want to do, the point is, the only real solution is to put it onto multiple sources, as opposed to just one system. Because if your cloud backup went down for whatever reason and you couldn’t access it when you needed it, it would be nice to have it on a hard drive.

If your hard drive stopped working and you cloud backup is working, great. The point is you do want it on multiple platforms, because the more ways that it is stored, the more likely it is to survive some kind of disaster.

So that’s really my best answer. My best answer is to back it up onto multiple ways, and that’s the only way you’ll be able to guarantee you’ll be able to access it when you need it. Have you ever thought about running a paid service, where you provide customers a song to mix every week or month, and then provide them with short reviews about the mix.

Yes, and I already have it. It’s called the Produce Like a Pro Academy. I remember seeing this, and I answered it. It was a great question. Yes, I do. I have this thing called the Produce Like a Pro Academy.

Every month, we give out a free multitrack of a great artist recorded in all kinds of ways, we’ve done recorded on tape, we’ve done recorded using in-the-box drums, we’ve done recorded using four or five mics on drums, two mics on drums, 24 mics on drums, we’ve done everything.

We’ve done EDM, we’ve done organic music, we’ve done — I can’t think of a genre we have not covered. We’ve covered everything from heavy rock all the way down to acoustic guitar, vocals, and pianos. We cover everything, we do male vocals, female vocals, you name it, and we’re expanding it at all times, and then every week, I do mix critiques, and I listen to it and critique it, and then in our forum, and inside of our Academy, everybody helps each other out.

It is an incredibly supportive community. It’s just like the Produce Like a Pro community we have here, but more expansive because people help each other out directly within it.

I’m starting to see a lot more of that going on in the comments below, so please feel free to do more of that here where it’s free on YouTube. Please help each other out. I’m seeing a lot of really good stuff going on. It’s all about community, it’s all about helping each other out.

So please check out The Academy if you can, go to producelikeapro.com and you can try a free trial of it. We do a monthly and yearly, and actually, we do lifetime access as well.

Have you ever mixed Latin music? I mean, Latin percussion like, congas, and timbales, and a brass section?

Yes, yes, and yes. I did a — I’ve done tons of it over the years, but for instance, I did a couple of years ago, the Bacardi Sessions, and you can find them on YouTube, and we did some with a whole Latin section. We had, you name it, every single Latin instrument. Brass sections, live drums, it was fantastic, and I recorded the whole thing live, and I mixed the whole thing afterwards.

It sounds fantastic. Go and find the Bacardi Sessions, and you’ll hear loads of stuff. It’s really, really amazing. And then of course, I’ve done tons of brass outside of Latin as well as within Latin. I’ve recorded Tom Scott, you name it. I mean, I’ve done orchestral stuff, brass stuff, I record congas and bongos and everything every day anyway, and djembes, I’ve obviously done Trevor Hall’s records, I’ve done loads of different artists that have used all kinds of instruments.

Brass is a lot of fun to record. So check out the Brent Fisher videos. You’ll see some live, not only brass, but you’ll also see some strings, and we talk about the miking there with Matt Brownlee. A really, really good video. So check that out. There’ll be some link around that floating around.

We’ll do far more videos encompassing all kinds of percussion and everything. It’s going to be absolutely amazing.

So please, as ever, subscribe. Thank you ever so much for the wonderful, wonderful questions. I really appreciate it. I love doing these FAQ Fridays. They’re really amazing.

Leave a bunch of comments and questions below, and I’ll see you all again next week. Have a marvelous time recording and mixing.

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Warren Huart

Warren Huart

Warren Huart is an English record producer/musician/composer and recording engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Learn more at producelikeapro.com.

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