Auto-Tune: When and How Should it be Used?

Auto-Tune: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Auto-Tune is a tool, and like most tools, it is defined by the person working with it. Some people just slap Auto-Tune in the automatic position and the vocals end up sounding like T-Pain is singing their song, whether they like it or not.

Auto-Tune is a very smart tool when used correctly. This usually occurs in graphic mode. In this mode, you can keep all the vocal scoops and nuances of the singer’s style and just tweak the notes after they reach closest to the desired note.

Auto-Tune is like any other tool in the music world: the better the singer, the better job you can do. The best tuning is none at all, but even the best singer can maybe use just a little tweak.

I am always drawn to a performance rather than just the right notes. I love when the heart of the vocal performance is there, even if there might be one or two notes that are “iffy.”  These are incredibly easy tweaks that will help you as a producer or engineer — along with the performer — not cringe at missed notes, and in the end be incredibly happy with a great performance.


Phil Naish

Phil Naish

Phil spent 37 years in Nashville working as a keyboard session player while simultaneously evolving into a music producer. He has produced three Grammy-winning albums for Steven Curtis Chapman and played on projects by Kenny Chesney, Kenny Rogers, and Elton John. As Sweetwater Studios’ executive producer, he acts as a quality control person and ensures that the music coming out of our facilities is top notch. This is especially true whenever he’s playing keys for a client, but it also applies when he’s helping them craft a project, selecting or even co-writing songs so that the music communicates exactly what the artist is wanting to say. In Phil’s estimation, the quintessential album that broke through the most barriers in quality songwriting and production could be none other than Abbey Road by the Beatles.

Comments (2)

  • Hi Phil!

    I emailed you at your website but then quickly realised that you probably don’t read that email anymore since you moved. I’ve been an aspiring audio engineer for about a decade now and love the sonic signature of the music you produce. Due to the pandemic, I have been given the opportunity to mix our church livestream and am trying to duplicate (or at least approximate) the reverb I so often hear used for Kristyn Getty’s voice. It almost sounds like delay – I hear what sounds like an early reflection with 60ms predelay and a tail around 1.5s, but that doesn’t seem to sound similar on our mixer’s built-in reverb (It’s a Roland V-Mixer M-400). Do you remember how the reverb was done? Any settings or plugin names you could divulge that would help, or how the reverb buss was EQed, etc?

    • Hi Scott!

      That has been a while but I talked with Ronnie Brookshire who mixed that Getty projects that I produced and here are his ideas… “Best I remember we use the Valhalla reverb plug-in. I think that may have been the amazing vocal setting and then tweaked it up a bit. Also we probably used some delay on the vocal that was likely set to a quarter note setting according to the BPM of the track.” Hope that helps!

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5501 US HIGHWAY 30 WEST, FORT WAYNE, IN 46818
800.386.6434   //   STUDIO@SWEETWATER.COM

© Sweetwater Studios
All Rights Reserved.
Please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Press Releases.