"It's simple enough to create the perfect hard-tuned and harmonised effects within our DAW, providing you have the … – MusicRadar

It might feel like a relatively new concept within the production psyche, but the process that we describe as ‘hard-tuning’ has been around for nearly 30 years. 

Back in 1997, audio software company Antares released a new piece of software which it called Auto-Tune. Its sole purpose was to analyse an incoming audio signal, before correcting any imperfections in its pitch in real time. Prior to this, it was not uncommon for studios to play vocal parts into samplers, and correct serious tuning anomalies using the production equivalent of keyhole surgery.

It was a labour-intensive process, and one that Auto-Tune eradicated overnight. Moreover, the product name became an adjective, mistakenly applied whenever an artist used pitch correction software (much like the famous Hoover/vacuum cleaner paradigm). 

Cher’s vocal on Believe showed creative use of hard-tuning and inspired many to deploy it themselves (Image credit: Barry King/WireImage)

Rock-solid tuning