Imagine this… You are in the studio recording your next single. You’ve just given the performance of your life. The passion in of your voice is clear… and emphasises the lyrics of the song perfectly. But, as you listening back to the recording, you notice a couple of phrases are a semi-tone or so off. You could perhaps leave it that way and hope that nobody notices? Or maybe you should try a re-take of the whole song or just the phrases you noticed? The problem with re-takes is that they often will never match the original performance you made you heart bleed for. The third option, and I would argue, the most logical one, is process the recording using a tuning tool.
Melodyne is my software tool of choice. While it can do all of those extreme vocal tunings you hear on pop records across the world, it can also be very subtle. Nudging a note here and there, either up or down the scale, or perhaps to tighten up the timing a little. What you end up with is all the passion of that almost perfect performance, tweaked to correct the small issues. It can be done in a relatively short space of time, arguable less time than it would take to re-record another perfect take.
Here’s another example of how I might use Melodyne. My vocalist has finished recording and gone home. I’m sat in my studio listening to the track, and as is often the case, I hear a counter melody in my head. Wouldn’t it be great if we got the singer back in to track these harmonies? Of I could just use the original melody, feed it in to Melodyne and create the harmonies from that. As long as it isn’t too high in the mix, or the harmony is several octaves away from the original vocal line, it usually works well. Obviously if it’s noticeable, perhaps it wouldn’t be of use. With a small amount of training, it’s a quick thing to try in your mix. If it doesn’t work… well lets try and get the vocalist in again… or maybe you could sing the harmony yourself 🙂