VOICES - The JamesLaBrie.com Forum

General Category => General Music Chat => Topic started by: B-rad on September 19, 2010, 03:10:27 am



Title: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: B-rad on September 19, 2010, 03:10:27 am
I really needed to talk about this on the forum b/c I feel like I'm the only one who notices it. Obvious autotune was used on James' vocals throughout BC & SL, especially on Wither, which is pretty much pure autotune from beginning to end. What bothers me even more is that DT's sound engineers will activate autotune during some live performances. I don't know if anyone else on the forum is bothered by this or even notices it, but I'm just bothered by it because I know James is easily capable of singing in tune; i've seen him do it time and time again on the last tour without the help of autotune. I'm curious to hear James' opinion on this subject and if he has much say about whether or not autotune will be used in certain situations. Just as an example, here are Wither and A Rite of Passage from DT's recent performance at the Sonic festival.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXnOiImiNUQ
good example is at 1:28 on the word "down"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0XK0AhyUxo
best example is at 4:03 on the word "cornerstone"


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Natt on September 19, 2010, 03:25:58 am
It doesn't bother me at all as long as they don't overkill with autotune.

And those videos from the festival look like TV broadcasts, so maybe more 'polished' sound was needed for TV and that's why autotune was used.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: B-rad on September 19, 2010, 03:31:42 am
Ya at least they didn't completely overkill with autotune on those recordings. Chaos in Motion is total autotune overkill though. When I heard surrounded on Chaos in Motion, I was appalled at how heavily autotune was used haha. When I hear a live performance, I expect to hear the performers' natural talent, not a robotic sound produced by something that assures flawlessness. I expect everyone else feels the same way.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: goo-goo on September 19, 2010, 07:23:39 am
IIRC, autotune was not used in chaos in motion. it's the effects (especially reverb) that the sound engineer for that tour used. it got overused and that's why james sounds very "nasally" in cim. cim was not a professionally shot dvd, so there's isn't much you can use since the audio isn't as polished as a professional recording.



Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Freko on September 19, 2010, 09:10:46 am
yeah itīs not auto-tune on rite of passage... itīs vibrato. he have made many more of those on diffrent live acts from 92 til present.
I canīt belive for a second that they use auto-tune live, the side-effects would be ALOT more in that case.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: goo-goo on September 19, 2010, 09:21:32 am
Also, autotune is used in the studio, so I wouldn't doubt Wither has been autotuned a bit. But that is what the studio is...to record the most perfect performance. Some bands/artists/producers use autotune, some don't. It all depends on each artist's artistic view of the whole project


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Freko on September 19, 2010, 09:25:13 am
yeah, itīs like triggering a drum, adding delay or whatever. FX
also itīs a time saver , if youīre doing a perfect line with alot of feeling and expression and then go out of tune for just a millisecond then itīs perfect to use auto-tune or melodyne.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: nicoli on September 19, 2010, 10:14:51 am
Also: IT'S NOT KE$HA. ;)


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Rob on September 19, 2010, 11:06:16 am
This has come up before and I'm pretty sure James has responded that he's never used autotune during any live performances.  In the studio, I have no idea.  I'll let him chime in if he wants to though and give his thoughts.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: B-rad on September 19, 2010, 01:05:25 pm
IIRC, autotune was not used in chaos in motion. it's the effects (especially reverb) that the sound engineer for that tour used. it got overused and that's why james sounds very "nasally" in cim. cim was not a professionally shot dvd, so there's isn't much you can use since the audio isn't as polished as a professional recording.



I'm not sure how you could not notice autotune/pitch correction on both the Chaos in Motion dvd and cd. All of it was probably applied after the fact, but there is definite autotune/pitch correction used on almost every track. The most apparent instances are the "once lost but i was found" part of surrounded on the cd and the "leaving distrust behind" part in the dvd version of scarred (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIFgsFp7kuc&feature=related go to 4:53, listen to the word "behind"). I'm not trying to start an argument or anything, just pointing out what's obvious to me. And this isn't meant to be an attack on James or anything; it probably wasn't even necessary to use pitch correction/autotune on his voice in the first place. It just disappoints me when I listen to James' singing for it's natural qualities and some sound engineer has masked those natural qualities with pitch correction or autotune.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: ashflower on September 19, 2010, 01:51:56 pm
If they were really that obsessed with making him sound better, enough to use autotune, would they not have used overdubs instead? I love James as much as anyone here but half of that DVD was not exactly his best.  ;) It doesn't really make sense that they would autotune some notes and leave other missed notes as they were.

(disclaimer: James has been amazing the times when I've seen him live, this is not a criticism of his vocals in general, just of certain performances on Chaos in Motion)


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: B-rad on September 19, 2010, 01:55:35 pm
If they were really that obsessed with making him sound better, enough to use autotune, would they not have used overdubs instead? I love James as much as anyone here but half of that DVD was not exactly his best.  ;) It doesn't really make sense that they would autotune some notes and leave other missed notes as they were.

(disclaimer: James has been amazing the times when I've seen him live, this is not a criticism of his vocals in general, just of certain performances on Chaos in Motion)

There's a simple answer to that: it's much easier to correct the recording you already have rather than re-record it.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: ashflower on September 19, 2010, 02:29:42 pm
There's a simple answer to that: it's much easier to correct the recording you already have rather than re-record it.
I really don't think you're getting the point. His performances on Chaos in Motion are not his best. They did NOT use autotune to fix ANYTHING. I think you're pretty delusional. You're hearing what you want to hear, and I think it's pretty disrespectful to accuse DT of using such a cheap studio trick on a live performance. I mean, they would have actually done a good job of it, IF they had even used it and James would have sounded flawless. So your assumption just holds no water.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: B-rad on September 19, 2010, 02:58:55 pm
There's a simple answer to that: it's much easier to correct the recording you already have rather than re-record it.
I really don't think you're getting the point. His performances on Chaos in Motion are not his best. They did NOT use autotune to fix ANYTHING. I think you're pretty delusional. You're hearing what you want to hear, and I think it's pretty disrespectful to accuse DT of using such a cheap studio trick on a live performance. I mean, they would have actually done a good job of it, IF they had even used it and James would have sounded flawless. So your assumption just holds no water.


I understand your point completely, and I'm not hearing what i want to hear (believe me, I don't want to hear any form of pitch correction used on James' voice). If you're going to be that adamant about pitch correction/auto tune not being used, then I don't know what to say to convince you otherwise. The evidence is in the recordings.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: goo-goo on September 19, 2010, 05:34:58 pm
I would say there's something there....although it seems it's like enunciation or autotune. You can see James' mouth at the end of that example (on the word behind).

Let me clarify something:

On ALL of DT's LIVE OFFICIAL Recordings, Dream Theater has been known to overdub and/or "correct" their liver performances. I'm ASSuming auto-tune was used on this one over the recording and not overdubbed because of budget constraints. It's much easier to use autotune than overdub (better said, much cheaper). Chaos in motion was not a high budget project to begin with, like let's say Score or Budokan. I'm pretty sure they used it to "enhance" the quality of the video. One clear example (and it's mentioned on the Dream Theater bio), Live in Tokyo was mostly overdubbed in the studio (at least the vocals IIRC). Score had very minor tweaks...The most obvious is during  Under a glass moon...The guitar sound cut off (I was there) and it went off for like 20 seconds.

If you want to hear some RAW recordings of James' singing, I would suggest you to start getting into the DT bootleg world. There are some EXCELLENT recordings out there were James is fuckin awesome. Others, you hear him struggle, although it's been less and less in the latest tours. But let's be honest, the voice is the instrument that is pretty obvious if you screw up.




Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: James LaBrie on September 20, 2010, 11:03:51 am
Hey All,

Let's get something straight. I do not use auto tune live. I have in the studio and post live recordings. This recording from Tokyo and any other live videos on youtube has not been auto tuned. So to those who don't believe it, sorry to bust your bubble but you are absolutely wrong. This and all the others are exactly as they went down.

Rock on,

James.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Freko on September 20, 2010, 11:06:24 am
Hey All,

Let's get something straight. I do not use auto tune live. I have in the studio and post live recordings. This recording from Tokyo and any other live videos on youtube has not been auto tuned. So to those who don't believe it, sorry to bust your bubble but you are absolutely wrong. This and all the others are exactly as they went down.

Rock on,

James.
I was pretty sure u didnīt use it so..good to have it on paper!  8)


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: goo-goo on September 20, 2010, 11:39:32 am
Thanks JLB!


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Natt on September 20, 2010, 11:40:03 am
Hey All,

Let's get something straight. I do not use auto tune live. I have in the studio and post live recordings. This recording from Tokyo and any other live videos on youtube has not been auto tuned. So to those who don't believe it, sorry to bust your bubble but you are absolutely wrong. This and all the others are exactly as they went down.

Rock on,

James.
so there :D Thanks for chiming in and giving us heads up, Cap'n!


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Magdalena63 on September 20, 2010, 12:05:14 pm
Hey All,

Let's get something straight. I do not use auto tune live. I have in the studio and post live recordings. This recording from Tokyo and any other live videos on youtube has not been auto tuned. So to those who don't believe it, sorry to bust your bubble but you are absolutely wrong. This and all the others are exactly as they went down.

Rock on,

James.

That should nip any misconceptions in the bud. :)

Anita.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: SeRoX on September 20, 2010, 12:58:03 pm
Don't get Pirate angry! You Disbelievers!  :P ;D


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Donna on September 20, 2010, 01:19:18 pm
OK.  How many times do I have to tell y'all?  If you start talkin' smack about James, he IS INDEED gonna come here and set you straight. 

No more threads like this, please! 



Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Natt on September 20, 2010, 01:27:00 pm
OK.  How many times do I have to tell y'all?  If you start talkin' smack about James, he IS INDEED gonna come here and set you straight. 

No more threads like this, please! 
Hey, no one is talking smack about James. I for one was really curious as to if autotune was used on his voice or not - I'm more than satisfied to have all my doubts cleared. No offense meant


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: SeRoX on September 20, 2010, 02:41:18 pm
Hey, no one is talking smack about James. I for one was really curious as to if autotune was used on his voice or not - I'm more than satisfied to have all my doubts cleared. No offense meant

This.

I can't see the wrong thing about this thread. I mean, since there is James personal and offical forum and since there is a place for their curious fans, they are free to ask such questions. I see no harm at all.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: B-rad on September 20, 2010, 03:48:17 pm
OK.  How many times do I have to tell y'all?  If you start talkin' smack about James, he IS INDEED gonna come here and set you straight. 

No more threads like this, please! 



No one was talking smack lol. The point I tried to make with this thread is that I thoroughly enjoy James' natural voice and am disappointed when that naturalness is tampered with.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: B-rad on September 20, 2010, 03:50:08 pm
Hey All,

Let's get something straight. I do not use auto tune live. I have in the studio and post live recordings. This recording from Tokyo and any other live videos on youtube has not been auto tuned. So to those who don't believe it, sorry to bust your bubble but you are absolutely wrong. This and all the others are exactly as they went down.

Rock on,

James.
I was pretty sure u didnīt use it so..good to have it on paper!  8)

He did say he's used it in the studio and on post live recordings... I'm glad he doesn't use it live though. Thanks to JLB for clearing that up, b/c it's usually hard to know if autotune was applied live or after the fact.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Donna on September 20, 2010, 05:01:37 pm
I think I should have put in a few smilies with my post. I didn't mean that the way I typed it.  Sorry guys.  I didn't mean any harm.  I said it "tongue in cheek".  Next time, I will remember to put my smilies in.   


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: B-rad on September 20, 2010, 05:51:22 pm
I think I should have put in a few smilies with my post. I didn't mean that the way I typed it.  Sorry guys.  I didn't mean any harm.  I said it "tongue in cheek".  Next time, I will remember to put my smilies in.   

Haha no prob Donna. Those emoticons do wonders don't they? Maybe I should start using those things, because I don't think I always come across the way I intend to on here.  ;) :) ;D 8)


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: w34vi1 on September 20, 2010, 08:28:55 pm
Hey All,

Let's get something straight. I do not use auto tune live. I have in the studio and post live recordings. This recording from Tokyo and any other live videos on youtube has not been auto tuned. So to those who don't believe it, sorry to bust your bubble but you are absolutely wrong. This and all the others are exactly as they went down.

Rock on,

James.

looks like another time for the signature to do the talking :P


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Donna on September 21, 2010, 10:02:47 am
Does happen on teh interwebz. We know you're lovely really, Lieutenant.  :-*

 :'(  Thanks so much, sweetie.  This is a great bunch of peeps here.  I mean that. I will watch myself more careful.  Seeing as how a new thread has been started using what I have said here.... :D :D :D


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: lifeofthemind on September 23, 2010, 05:10:16 pm
To me it sounds like a backing track is used on the chorus of a rite of passage live.  Sounds like I'm hearing more than 3 voices for sure and at least 2 of James.  If that is the case, that might have led you to the autotune conclusion.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: nicoli on September 26, 2010, 12:15:19 pm
I think I should have put in a few smilies with my post. I didn't mean that the way I typed it.  Sorry guys.  I didn't mean any harm.  I said it "tongue in cheek".  Next time, I will remember to put my smilies in.   

Haha no prob Donna. Those emoticons do wonders don't they? Maybe I should start using those things, because I don't think I always come across the way I intend to on here.  ;) :) ;D 8)

I'M SO OFFENDED, OMG.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Donna on September 26, 2010, 03:48:48 pm
I love you, nicoli!................. :-* :-*


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Irock on September 28, 2010, 05:35:58 am
Let's get something straight. I do not use auto tune live. I have in the studio and post live recordings.
You use autotune in studio? This is news to me and my world is crushed. ;_;

I hope it's not often. ;_;

I've heard you sing great without autotune; why do you use it?


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Rockstar on September 29, 2010, 02:22:20 pm
As a performer and sound engineer myself, I thought I'd chime in...

Honestly, auto-tune is in fact a wonderful tool.  But it gets a lot of flack (and rightfully so) because of how overused it is in current music.  Once engineers lose their awe over it, it will probably begin to be used more tastefully in general.

This is similar to how chorus and reverb effects were abused in the early 80s and 90s, respectively.  Now that people have learned to tone them down, they can accomplish very nice things.  Notice how all of these serve a common purpose of embellishing a performance.  Auto-tune is no different, and technically no more "fake" than any other effect as it transforms the original sound.

To those surprised that James has used auto-tune in the studio, don't be.  You'd probably be surprised how few singers have *not* used it in the studio.

In a live context, it is much harder to properly use auto-tune on a voice like James's which slides a lot in between notes (unless you are trying to create a very obvious effect), so I can certainly understand the decision to simply not use it at all.  However, James has in the past confirmed that he uses other effects live, such as a harmonizer, which will definitely create harmonies that are auto-tuned by their very nature.  I can't listen to the samples posted right now, but maybe that's what you are hearing?


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: ashflower on September 29, 2010, 05:27:02 pm
^ Very good point. We all just tend to associate the term "autotune" with Kanye West and T-Pain these days. Since most of us hadn't even heard of this studio technique until it was popularized by overuse, we might be surprised to see GOOD singers using it in the studio. Admittedly, it is cheaper than overdubs, and faster. The point is, JLB doesn't need to use it to make him sing better. It's just to fix little mistakes that nobody noticed until the final stages of recording an album. So there's really nothing wrong with it I guess.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Dentachi on November 29, 2015, 11:20:53 pm
My question is this: James LaBrie, why do you use autotune? You don't need it one way or another, so...I don' get it.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Asianhawk on December 04, 2015, 07:31:10 pm
If or when James uses any kind of auto-tune in the studio, it would be just to fix and tweak some part that (as someone just earlier) was only noticed when they start mixing the album.
Ok to use as an example--I am a fantasy/ sci-fi book cover illustrator. After I have my finished painting it is  pro-shot. But before sending the file to the client I often have to use photoshop to tweak where the camera could not help some slight glare, or the deeps blacks or more saturated color did not pick up in the picture, or often dust fibers collect in areas after 3 weeks of painting. This all needs to be fixed in a photoshop before the final product is in print, so it looks as close to the original painting as possible. They are all minor fixes because a camera is a one-eyed idiot, and cannot capture the essence of a painting; just as recording a voice is PROBABLY never perfect either.
 So for James to use any kind of auto-tune to tweak something makes sense. I really doubt he would have to use it very much since any time I see them play live in person or watch live shows on youtube, his vocals are as close to the studio album more than really any singer out there. I mean seriously---can we really name very many (if any at all) rock/metal singers that can keep up the vocal power and sound the same live as in the studio? Even Fabio Lione can't do it.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Dentachi on December 26, 2015, 01:53:12 am
Well, if that's all it is, cool. Otherwise, I was beginning to wonder. Thanks for clarifying.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: 6degrmatichaosOnaxmasmorn on February 08, 2016, 06:07:22 pm
Something that has really bothered me about certain live releases is the POORLY-USED pitch correction. If you must touch up a live performance to make it perfect for DVD- fine (not my preference, but I totally get it)... However, if the pitch correction applied is tuning my favorite singer, Mr. LaBrie to the wrong note, it makes me extremely frustrated to listen to it.

People think James sounded bad on CiM (what I believe to be one of his best tours vocally), because the DVD does not capture what he actually sounded like in concert. The tuning was applied sloppily, and it would often tune his glorious, super wide vibrato to nearby notes. This means that instead of the pitch wavering evenly around, for example, an A (the way it was sung), you hear the pitch jumping back and forth between A and the note above or below it. Plus the auto-tune sound of snapping pitches, overall made it sound extra nasally.

On Breaking the Fourth Wall, the pitch correction detracted from the quality of the vocals as well, at points. If you listen to certain parts, notes were tuned to notes other than what they were supposed to be, and the pitch snapping was too extreme and is very unflattering for the vocals.

I'm saying that if you use pitch correction- use it accurately and neatly, and only on notes that are actually out of tune, or it's just detracting from the quality.

 >:( ;D


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: Asianhawk on February 10, 2016, 08:10:22 pm
Wow dude...you MUST be a singer, and can hear those pitch corrections, etc. Because I just can't hear it. I honestly would never know.
I will say, after your descriptions, it makes sense now that I think about it, I have always loved listening to DT's live performances of the yester years on the Images and Words and Awake tours--maybe without ever realizing it, the vocals to the songs sound more natural and not 'fixed' in post-production like today? So naturally I have been drawn to that more raw sound. I am the first to say James is an infinitely more dynamic singer than he was back then, and has grown exponentially. So it always pisses me off beyond belief when I read or hear people knocking him.


Title: Re: Autotune used on James' voice in DT
Post by: B-rad on January 02, 2017, 05:15:53 am
Something that has really bothered me about certain live releases is the POORLY-USED pitch correction. If you must touch up a live performance to make it perfect for DVD- fine (not my preference, but I totally get it)... However, if the pitch correction applied is tuning my favorite singer, Mr. LaBrie to the wrong note, it makes me extremely frustrated to listen to it.

People think James sounded bad on CiM (what I believe to be one of his best tours vocally), because the DVD does not capture what he actually sounded like in concert. The tuning was applied sloppily, and it would often tune his glorious, super wide vibrato to nearby notes. This means that instead of the pitch wavering evenly around, for example, an A (the way it was sung), you hear the pitch jumping back and forth between A and the note above or below it. Plus the auto-tune sound of snapping pitches, overall made it sound extra nasally.

On Breaking the Fourth Wall, the pitch correction detracted from the quality of the vocals as well, at points. If you listen to certain parts, notes were tuned to notes other than what they were supposed to be, and the pitch snapping was too extreme and is very unflattering for the vocals.

I'm saying that if you use pitch correction- use it accurately and neatly, and only on notes that are actually out of tune, or it's just detracting from the quality.

 >:( ;D

You said exactly what I feel about all this. I sort of regret starting this thread the way I did because my claims were inaccurate. James never uses autotune live; they just tend to add it in post-production. But it's basically become a mainstay of audio production these days (all of the new rush live releases have some form of pitch correction on geddy's voice too). Chaos in motion was a bit of a disaster audio-wise; aside from the autotune being applied poorly, the mixes were very thin sounding and James' vocals sounded like they were coming through a telephone. I agree with you on Breaking the Fourth Wall; there are some uncomfortable pitch-snapping moments for me (like the long note at the end of Trial of Tears), but overall the autotune is alright on that dvd and perfects James' vocals well. As far as the last self titled album, I actually love the level to which autotune was used to perfect his vocals- they sound extremely clean and punchy (maybe just a tad to perfect for my taste), but Rich Chycki definitely knows how to produce a clean and punchy mix; I feel like with today's level of compression used on vocal tracks, the imperfections tend to jump out a lot more, which is why almost every producer uses some sort of pitch correction to clean up a vocal track.