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FDP Forum / Home Recording Forum / How would you proceed? (trainwreck recording project with a friend)

littleuch
Contributing Member
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Ocala, Florida

Blowing bubbles
Mar 22nd, 2019 08:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

Female vocalist friend who's been through a rough decade+ of life threatening medical issues and wants to make a musical mark while she still can. She is by no means out of the woods. Her husband is also an old friend/bandmate of mine.

I've been tasked to "produce" 2 songs for her, one a cover and one an original of mine. I sent her a reference and she put the vocals down in a studio elsewhere, then sent me the tracks.

I don't want to sound unkind but they're really bad. I am surprised that she can't hear it. I asked her if she objected to me "working" any pitch issues, justifying it by stating "we can spend hours punching takes in front of the mic, or "fix it in the mix"". She's open to it.

I see hours of detailed graphics mode autotuning. A "polished turd" will be better than letting the original track fly, trust me. But I almost feel like the degree of pitch correction will contribute to what I think is a delusional self perception. I'd be horrified putting my original "out there" with the vocals as is. This is a conundrum.

I'm inclined to do the pitch work, then provide 2 mixes and let the chips fall where they may.

WWYD?

Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Mar 22nd, 2019 08:49 AM   Edit   Profile  

I think it depends upon how far off pitch she is. If she's off just a little, the Autotune won't sound to artificial. If she's off a lot, it will be a bit mechanical sounding.

Have you spoken privately with her husband about it to see what he recommends? You could express your concerns that she's not on pitch for much of the two takes, and ask if that is due to her physical condition. If it is, roll with it.

If not, it may be a better approach to ask for additional takes of the tunes. For instance, she records three takes of each tune, and you use those three to pull the best performances and stick 'em together. Obviously--cutting and pasting word for word would be time intensive. But whole lines are easy.

littleuch
Contributing Member
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Ocala, Florida

Blowing bubbles
Mar 22nd, 2019 09:14 AM   Edit   Profile  

Pitch is all over the place. There will be artifacts or remaining wince inducing notes.

I'm fairly certain much of the issue is medical. (breast cancer, lung cancer surgeries, currently awaiting second kidney transplant on 20 years, so long term dialysis).

I think the multiple take idea would likely result in diminished returns and incur $tudio hours.

I may talk to her husband but that could be awkward.

Leftee
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VA

Knuckleheading
Mar 22nd, 2019 10:01 AM   Edit   Profile  

That’s a tough one. I’d do my best and let the chips fall where they may - as you describe. I think that’s a balanced approach.

Life is so hard because, even in the worst of times, we’re not sheltered from glaring truth. And, in this case, the glaring truth of her performance. Life is way ugly and unfair in that regard. But no one is exempt.

Therealfrogman
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Pueblo, Co

I qualify!
Mar 22nd, 2019 10:20 AM   Edit   Profile  

"Life is so hard because, even in the worst of times, we’re not sheltered from glaring truth. And, in this case, the glaring truth of her performance. Life is way ugly and unfair in that regard. But no one is exempt."


If this is what she may consider a "mark" maker it is neglect to not offer a straight up analyses of the problem(s).

She will most likely thank you for it.

gdw3

LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Mar 22nd, 2019 01:52 PM   Edit   Profile  

It's not a tough decision at all, as far as I'm concerned. If this is her life's great wish, you make it sound as awesome as you can. Pitch it, time correct it, everything. So what if it's your song? She likes it enough to record it. You're not releasing it as you, right? It's not like you can't do another version. There have been plenty of bad covers done. No one blames the songwriter! Keep the backing tracks and get a pro singer to re-do it.

(This message was last edited by gdw3 at 03:52 PM, Mar 22nd, 2019)

littleuch
Contributing Member
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Ocala, Florida

#Meat...ooh!
Mar 22nd, 2019 02:48 PM   Edit   Profile  

The original I've already done. I don't know what her conditions are in the studio she's tracking the vocs in. She's working with a 2 track reference so there's little control short of volume level in the cans. If I'm to believe the track names they are recorded with a Neumann and a Lauter. However, the tracks sent have verb and have the snot compressed out of them, so...ugh. Request for raw tracks sent. Hopefully her guy didn't print them this way. :-/

I did play some with pitch and as suspected think i can make it work in most places without too many artifacts. But I really need clean tracks.



reverendrob
FDP Data Goon
Moderator

She hath it all,

& hath no need of thee.
Mar 22nd, 2019 03:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

I shepherded a friend's 'last wish' project for his band (and an unexpected follow farewell EP as he lived long enough to do that, knowing it was VERY near).

I spent months.

I would spend them again in a heartbeat.

The only difference, I suppose, is the material was perfect and the performances nearly spot on.

Every time I listen to it, I think of him.

In this it comes down to: how long does she have, how bad does she want it, and how far are you willing to go?

littleuch
Contributing Member
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Ocala, Florida

#Meat...ooh!
Mar 22nd, 2019 04:51 PM   Edit   Profile  

To my knowledge nothing is imminent but she's fighting a lot of the aforementioned issues. I would go forward enthusiastically if the performance was strong, but feel a bit between the rock and hard place between honesty and just dolling this thing up. I think I'll do as I stated in my OP. Two mixes, one fixed the other as is and let her make the call. If the opportunity permits I'll ask her about the comfort level at the studio. I can think of a number of things that might have sent it off the rails; closed ear cans, volume, a disinterested and rushed engineer, etc. What I can't understand is how she can't apparently hear what's wrong. Virtually everything is flat and only hits pitch at the tail end of some stretched notes.

I am so much better equipped in dealing with my own suckitude, lol.

Leftee
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VA

Knuckleheading
Mar 22nd, 2019 05:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yeah, could she hear herself properly?

I like Rob’s take on the situation.

ninworks
Contributing Member
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Middle Tennessee

Too Much GAS
Mar 22nd, 2019 06:42 PM   Edit   Profile  

I think your 2 mix idea is a good one. Who knows? She may want the one with pitch problems so it reflects her physical or emotional state at the time. If it were me, I'd want it to sound as good as it possibly could.

With the pitch problems as bad as they are tuning them will help the pitches but won't fix the performance. If she can't hear the pitches she probably missed some other aspects of it as well.

I don't like having to look at a shiney turd but, if I have to look at one, shiney is better than not.

FDP Forum / Home Recording Forum / How would you proceed? (trainwreck recording project with a friend)




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