Using Auto-Tune technology to improve the singing on TV talent shows has been lambasted by the sound engineering and production fraternity.

Viewers bombarded message boards this week after the opening show in the seventh series of The X Factor, suggesting that enhancements could be heard in some of the performances.

Three audio experts told Broadcast they believed automatically correcting pitch problems goes against the ethos of talent search shows.

One said: “If it’s an effort by the producers to make the contestants seem better than they are and potentially influence public opinion, then it’s ethically wrong.”

Dan Gable, a dubbing mixer and director of DIA, agreed: “Lots of people in the music industry use it on live shows, especially when there is a lot of dancing. But with The X Factor it is conning the public. Whether it is done live or in post, it has the potential to impact the vote [later in the series].”

Ivor Novello winning record producer and songwriter Bill Padley said: “Auto-Tuning is good in the right hands if you use it for the purpose that it was designed for which is correcting out of tune singers. But here [used in automatic mode] it’s like using a word processor and accepting the alternative spellings without checking them first.”

An ITV spokesperson said: “It is important to stress that we do not use, and never have used, audio technology that would unfairly reflect any singer’s original performance on The X Factor.

“In line with standard television practice, sound processing filters are used to remove background noise on our pre-recorded shows.”