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Strange problem with a producer and intonation.


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I do quite a bit of work with a producer. He is decent in working with the artists. Has okay song arrangement ideas, especially in regards to vocals. So here is the weirdness. This guy can pick out some of the tiniest flaws in vocal intonation. Sometimes to the point where he wants to AutoTune a voice where I and the artist felt it possibly had more flavor being a little bit "out". Okay, he wants perfection. But when it comes to intruments, this guy will SWEAR that a guitar that is several cents out of tune with the bass is "just fine", even though I can hear it being out of tune by a long shot. What is worse is that he likes guitar parts with extended chords, and he can never hear when the B string is flat as hell, and how it grates! I can always tell when the guitars are out of tune just by how the bass to guitar mix goes the hell when they are out. The guitar doesn't sound rich, and the bass sounds muddy. When I can convince him to tune, the mix instantly improves and all is well. Anyway. Anybody else work with somebody like this? Someone who can hear single note intonation quite well, but cannot hear multiple note intonation at all? I want to say something to him about it, but 1 - I don't want to lose any work! 2 - I doubt he will believe me at all, even though when I catch the tuning problems and point them out, and the offending instrument is checked, it is indeed out of tune on the tuner. I ask this because I feel the productions we do together are for obvious reasons suffering more from intonation problems. He feels that stuff just needs to be eq'ed and compressed more, or more effects, etc! It is nerve racking, because when I do any tracking with him not there, and we get to mix time, those tracks just work out very well with almost nothing being done to them. But the tracks he is around for that have these intonation problems never sound right, and we spend obscene amounts of time trying to fix something that can't in my opinion be fixed. What would any of you do? This isn't just some simple "for fun" type of work. We are both paid by the artists. Dumdum
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I would mention each problem spot just one time.(that way my conscience would stay clear) After that I'd just suffer through it. If HE brings it up again, fine , if not, then too bad. I feel it would be the artist's place to intervene any more than that.
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I gotta ask.... How in the world do you end up putting a bass and a guitar which are out of tune (either within themselves, with each other, or with any other instrument) on the same track? Don't they tune to the same reference?

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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it sounds like this guy is the type of person who, when he listens to music, naturally will focus on the vocal- lyrics & melody. it sounds like he's got a decent ear, you say he picks out stuff that actually [i]is[/i] a little off, even if it's passable. he's producing for people that hear music like him. now, i've never been an expert at hearing everyone's opinion and acting on it. sometimes you got to believe in your own ear & opinions. more recently, i try to state my opinion as smartly & calmly as possible. i'm not an engineer, but good engineers are very good at doing this and then immediately moving on to executing the producer's decision. however, my [i]favorite[/i] engineers are the ones who can get a subtle personal jab in without the producer knowing. :D :D 1: "okay, i can definitely do that, if that's what you want." 2: "hmmmm. interesting." 3: "why didn't [i]i[/i] think of that?"
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Having spent a long time as a piano tuner I have a hard time dealing with people like that. Standard pitch is standard pitch and equal temperament is equal temperament and you should know what those are and what they sound like before you stray from them. What I usually do in a case like that is try to point out my obvious superior hearing abilities and if that doesn't work, just slap the hell out of 'em. I was being sarcastic but here's a real tip. Whenever possible let one person tune all the instruments before a session, that way if things are screwed up at least they'll be consistently screwed up. An ounce of prevention...
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This sounds more like a topic of, strange problem with a producer and egos. It's difficult to ignore "out of tune". Large orchestras are always out. Drives me fucking nuts. So, on one hand, I can relate to the producer. On the other hand, pissing time away tuning, depends on how the mix sounds. Ultimately, the player should be astute enough to be and stay in tune. We all have different thresholds for this type of perfection. Just thank God it's not a Barbra Striesand session!

GY

 

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A vocal is usually a lot harder to keep in tune than an instrument. Properly tuning everything before you start playing should eliminate most tuning problems with instruments. Things can still go out, but if they're properly tuned it shouldn't happen unless something major like a string break happens. (or if the players in the band are using shitty instruments, which has happened to me more than once...) What is your role in this partnership? Maybe you could take it upon yourself to make sure the players are in tune before you start. Throw a tuner at 'em and remind 'em to do it while they're sitting around waiting for the drummer to set up.
Andrew Mazzocchi
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Replace the guitar and bass with MIDI guitar and bass sounds. Voila! No more tuning problems. Thankyouverymuch. I'll be here all week.

Current live rig: Roland RD700SX, Hammond XK-3 with Leslie System 21, and Muse Receptor. Also a Nord Stage 76 other times instead. And a Roland FP-7 for jazz gigs.

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I'd say to him: "You seem to have an ear for vocal intonation. Sometimes it sounds fine to me, but you hear it being off. I'm willing to trust your ears on vocals. Can you trust mine on guitars? Maybe I'm obsessive, but it only takes 30 seconds to tune a guitar, and I feel so much better." If you can't say that to him, or if he says no to that, how can you keep working together? What Ultravibe said too. --za
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[quote]Originally posted by wager47: [b]wow- wager & wewus, [i]both[/i] with serious responses! maybe frank'n is the new wewuswager.[/b][/quote]Just what are you trying to say, ya Bastid? Here's my solution: [img]http://members.aol.com/BobandIzak/img32.jpg[/img] And if that don't do it: [img]http://www.medimagery.net/ArtWork/Q-tip-Puncture.gif[/img] Serious enough for ya? :freak:
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Stop the session and tune the instruments. Don't ask for permission, don't discuss it, just tune up. And like Ultravibe said above, make sure it's not the instruments. You don't want a tune floating around that YOU recorded, with out of tune instruments on it. There will be calls for work you won't get, and you won't know why. It will be because somebody heard the song and decided NOT to call you. Sly :cool:
Whasineva ehaiz, ehissgot ta be Funky!
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