So by now you’ve probably read about the uproar over the leaked Britney Spears track where she is busted singing “Alien” without Auto-Tune. Take a listen. It’s pretty hideous. Her producer, William Orbit, defended her on Facebook:
"Warming up is essential if you’re a pro, as it is with a runner doing stretches, and it takes a while to do properly. I’ve heard all manner of sounds emitted during warmups. The point is that it is not supposed to be shared with millions of listeners."
I'm not going to get into whether she's warming up or not. The Auto-Tune debate has been raging for years. Some thinks it's cool and others think is the worst thing to happen to music:
"The prevalence of Auto-Tune comes from two longstanding pop music traditions — the desire to alter the human voice and the quest for perfection at the expense of real talent and emotion," wrote Tony Sclafani at MSNBC.com, just a few weeks ago before this latest debacle.
As Sclafani also points out, "too much meticulousness in pop music strips away passion." And that's where this relates to drum loops and Drums On Demand.
In the drumming world there is an equivalent to Auto-Tune. The most popular brand name plug-in is probably Beat Detective, but there are many other groove-tightening plug-ins available in recording software today.
What these plug-ins do is basically find the peak transients of the beats and then shifts them so they are perfectly in time. For example, you can take a kick or snare track and make sure that the beats appear at the exact point on the grid where they are supposed to.
At Drums On Demand we do not use Beat Detective to tighten the performances of our artists. Our goal is create drum loops so you can replicate a live, human drummer in a studio. Our goal is not to create in-human, robot-like drums tracks.
Now, that being said, from time to time while cutting loops, we might manually tighten an obviously "loose" snare or kick. But in sum, we leave our drum loops as untouched as possible so that human passion and feel Sclafani talks about remains.