What did they use before Auto-Tune?

Answered by Robert Flynn

Before the advent of Auto-Tune, studios relied on various methods to correct pitch in recordings. One common technique was to have the singer repeat a phrase multiple times until it was sung in tune. This process could involve doing a hundred or more takes of the same phrase, with the hope that at least one of them would be in tune. These individual takes would then be meticulously patched together to create a final piece of music that sounded in tune.

The process of patching together multiple takes to create a seamless performance was a labor-intensive task that required precise editing skills. Engineers would painstakingly splice and align the different sections of each take, ensuring that they flowed seamlessly and sounded natural. It was a time-consuming process that required a lot of manual effort and attention to detail.

In addition to patching together multiple takes, engineers also employed other techniques to correct pitch issues. One such method was the use of tape manipulation. By subtly speeding up or slowing down the tape, engineers could alter the pitch of the recorded vocals. This technique was often used sparingly and required a skilled engineer to achieve the desired pitch correction without making the vocals sound unnatural or robotic.

Another common technique used before Auto-Tune was the use of hardware devices called pitch shifters. These devices allowed engineers to alter the pitch of the recorded vocals in real-time. However, they were not as precise or flexible as modern pitch correction software like Auto-Tune. Pitch shifters could often introduce artifacts and artifacts and affect the overall quality of the recorded vocals.

It’s worth noting that pitch correction was not as prevalent or readily available before Auto-Tune became widely used in the late 1990s. The process of manually correcting pitch was time-consuming and expensive, which meant that it was primarily employed in professional recording studios. Smaller studios or independent artists often had to rely on the skill and ability of the singer to deliver a pitch-perfect performance.

Before the introduction of Auto-Tune, studios used various methods to correct pitch issues in recordings. The most common technique involved having the singer repeat a phrase multiple times and then patching together the best parts to create a final performance that sounded in tune. This process required significant time and effort, as well as skilled engineering work. Other methods, such as tape manipulation and hardware pitch shifters, were also used but were less precise and flexible than modern pitch correction software.