Saturday, 21 August 2010

Xfactor Autotune speculation? Otto rules.

antares AVOX
I happened to catch the end of the new Xfactor this evening.

They've wound the melodrama to 11 - I saw a terminally bad pop trio followed by an improbably silent audience ("Don't Clap" cards?). Next a styled quirky girl being given multiple attempts to sound good. Finally a singer with a freestyled version of a Duffy song - Mercy - which seemed an appropriate plea.

My ears picked up what sounded like autotuning during the broadcast. I've used Autotune for fun as a post-production plug-in when I mix music, but this appeared to be used live. I'll speculate it was an Antares AVOX AVP-1, which is a rack-mounted box, rather than the bit of software, but they obviously hadn't read the manual to slow down the retune speed properly.

I suppose it must have been post-processed or only added to the recorded track because otherwise the word would be out from the audience at the recorded show. Surprising no-one bothered to listen to the "Kittens in Autotune" quality playback.

I can understand the use of the technology for correction, but unconvinced of its use in the audition phase of a singing context? Maybe a short note to viewerservices@itv.com is required?

I decided to create a possible response using the Cowellisms application.

“Well you know what, we want to make the show relevant. Let’s put things in perspective, its only a microphone, not like someone fell off a mountain.

Maybe we misunderestimated the British public’s reaction, but let’s face it, we’re going outside some peoples’ comfort zone with some of the acts.

If the singers can’t make the song their own it might be controversial and that's going to get attention in any case.

You know what? You still have to judge everything based upon personal taste. That's why the public voting is so important.

I’ve seen those articles in the Press, all that extra coverage all week about a little button pressed by accident. You know what, we should just wipe the slate clean.

This week I’m going to judge it just on what I see in these performances and let the public decide.”


...and as an addendum, here's one of The Gregory Brothers examples of autotuning a C-SPAN congressional report on building a turtle fence.

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