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Albert-Jan van der Neut

Does this exist? (automatic pitch and timing correction)

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TLDR: Is there a way to automatically correct pitch and timing errors in recordings using a midi or audio track?

Hi there,
New to the forum so please forgive me if I placed it in the wrong category. 

Long introduction:
I used Sonar Cakewalk In the days of Windows 3.1 I had a copy and used it to write sheet music. I never used any other functionalities back then.

Bought a new copy a year before it became a free product but hardly use it.
Audacity gives me a quick and dirty solution.
However I want to go beyond and started to use Cakewalk by Bandlab but when time is of a essence I fall back to Audacity. 

I'm looking for a functionality that  might already be there and I don't know how to look for it or it doesn't exist at all.

I conduct choirs.
During Covid we are not allowed to practice.
So I ask the choir members to sing and send the files to me.
This works good enough for the rehearsals. 

However I want to make audio files that are nice to listen to and not just for rehearsals.
So one of the things I would like to do is make sure everyone sings the right notes, starts and ends on the same time.
This is not the easiest tasks when you are not singing together even when we use a clicktrack.

The question:
Is there a way to automatically correct a recording; timing and pitch using either a midi file or another correct track?
I know about Melodyne. But to be honest the quality of the recordings is already good enough that it is not worth the time to correct it that way. 
However if there is a way to automatically correct it using another file (midi, audio or another type) it will be worth to invest that kind of time.

Or should I ask:
How can I easily correct multiple recordings easily; pitch and timing/duration corrections, in the least amount of time. I'm lazy you see 😀

p.s.
It's mostly corrections of the timing.
Something that happens automatically when you are singing together and look at the conductor 😉.

Kind regards,
AJvdN

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To be honest, my experience in the last decade regarding timing of vocals is very disappointing. I found out that it is nearly impossible for a software to find the note starting points (transients) correctly. This is possible for sounds like acoustic guitar and piano tracks, but not for vocals at all. See the results of Melodyne and CbB AudioSnap to understand the problem. There are so many possibilities for a singer to set note accents (transient) that it prohibits automatic timing correction IMO.

Currently I am working manually on vocal timing correction of an album and it takes about 10 times more time than I thought! Some of the phrases are nearly perfect except the latency shifting that the vocalist heard during recording, but it takes time to be sure what is right! I would pay a lot of money for a software that really could deal with that, even if it only could detect vocal transients correctly! 😄

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I have no idea, but you definitely win best name in the CH if that's any consolation. 

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1 hour ago, paulo said:

I have no idea, but you definitely win best name in the CH if that's any consolation. 

I was going to ask how his forum name is pronounced. 

I don't know of any software on the market at least for us poor musicians that does what you want.

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 Revoice Pro by Synchro Arts. It's expensive but it does a pretty good job.

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@Bapu  Thanks for the info.   Too bad it is not more cost effective.  The parish I belong to  wants to do the remote recording of parts and the person in charge of the project really could use that software.  

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So... First i love choirs

Second... One way to get choirs sounding tight is to enter the midi for all the parts...

Then, make a mix for each part and boost the volume of that part maybe 7 db louder than the other parts... Really significant increase...

Now share the recordings with your choir and let them practice to it.

This isn't a click track but it will have the same result. They will all be on time and singing with, or harmonizing with, the part they are supposed to be singing.

This is tons of fun. It's like standing right next to a really loud singer who is perfect every time... You just do as they do.

Now, when you pull the tracks together, you have a great starting place. Everyone is in key and on time.

From there, you boost the vocalists that are tighter at any moment, trying to give them all moments to shine. You don't want to pitch correct more than necessary. It can help to have vocalists slightly off and slightly dimmed. It will make the singer nailing it Sound better. As long as the one who is tight is louder, it will be cool.

The mix will sound like someone was pointing the Mic from singer to singer, a different Mic for basses and sopranos and altos etc. It will be magic that the Mics focus on the best singer at each moment.

In this video, i show how to use melodyne to compare two instruments playing the same part...

You can also accept multiple takes from each vocalist. Use panning and gain control to make your virtual choir super big and way cool. Panning different parts differently also helps. Don't be scared to move your parts around on the Sound stage, centering the most important part of the moment in ways that are impractical in a church. The centered part can be a little louder than things panned to the sides because it is coming through two speakers, not one.

In lots of choirs I've worked with, they often change the score to simplify it because it is hard to do it right live. They cater to the weakest link often. But with this technique, everyone can sing it right with some practice.

Edited by Gswitz
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Thank you everyone for all the answers. 
Especially @Gswitz for the video.

I also found something called vocal sync so I'm going to invest some time to get myself more educated.

If you want to know how te pronounce my name. Just enter it in Google translate as being Dutch 😉

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Vocal sync is the cakewalk feature for tightening up vocal parts where people are singing together. It's neat in concept. If you have a group of people singing the same part with 100% isolation (no mic bleed) it can be used to tighten up the set without doing tons of manual adjustments. Mic bleed can complicate it. It can still work out with bleed. Your ears will tell you.

I have used it sometimes. It's a tool I don't use unless it's required. For the type of music I tend to work with, I rarely need vocal sync.

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If these people sing while being conducted, one alternative is to record a video of the conductor doing the moves and such and have people practice to that. It's not a real replacement for fixing the time, but it could help. There are other strategies with that. When I was part of a woodwind orchestra, our conductor had all of  us look at him and inhale with him as the upbeat for the first downbeat of his conducting.

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On 12/8/2020 at 8:31 PM, Gswitz said:

Vocal sync is the cakewalk feature for tightening up vocal parts where people are singing together. It's neat in concept. If you have a group of people singing the same part with 100% isolation (no mic bleed) it can be used to tighten up the set without doing tons of manual adjustments. Mic bleed can complicate it. It can still work out with bleed. Your ears will tell you.

I have used it sometimes. It's a tool I don't use unless it's required. For the type of music I tend to work with, I rarely need vocal sync.

We just went in another lockdown so no chance of any bleeds ;-) 
Seems like the coming months we have to keep recording from home.
That gives me the opportunity to learn how to get things to working for me.

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The key is wrong, but it gets the idea across.

Then the singer can just sing along with the video and make their own recording to send back to you.

 

 

 

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