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When vocals need a tuneup

May 07, 2003|Maureen Ryan

So how does studio software such as Pro Tools work? Not much differently from most word-processing programs. To create the perfect vocal track, for example, a producer will digitally record several takes of the singer. The producer then can look at each of those takes on a computer screen and use a mouse and a keyboard to cut and paste together the best parts of each take. When an experienced engineer or producer is doing the cutting and pasting, the edits are impossible to hear.

Once the best vocal take has been assembled, the producer can run the entire take through a program that automatically tunes every note; the software does this by guiding bum notes toward the note that should have been sung. Another, more time-consuming, method involves using software to tune individual notes, words or fractions of words. For those who want to be extra safe, there also are devices on the market that plug into a studio's mixing board and correct a singer's vocal before it's even recorded.

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