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Remixing Techniques: Time Stretching
Illustration by John Hersey

Comping the time-stretched vocal and the original vocal


From:

Remixing Techniques: Time Stretching

with Josh Harris

Video: Comping the time-stretched vocal and the original vocal

Now that we have our time stretched vocals, let's listen through and see if there are any spots that might need some finessing or massaging. I'm going to move the Vox Doubles underneath the lead vocal. I'm going to move right to the chorus here, got our vocal sitting a few dB below unity, so they're not too loud. I'm going to listen to the first chorus and be mindful of words that might feel a little bit elongated or slow sounding. I'll expand the chorus, and we will take a listen right from the beginning.
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  1. 5m 36s
    1. Welcome
      1m 41s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      46s
    3. Why did we record this course in four different digital audio workstations (DAWs)?
      45s
    4. Using the exercise files
      2m 24s
  2. 3m 4s
    1. What is time stretching/expanding?
      1m 4s
    2. Exploring different time-stretching scenarios in remixing
      2m 0s
  3. 31m 17s
    1. Understanding where to get a capella vocal tracks
      2m 30s
    2. Time stretching in Pro Tools
      6m 44s
    3. Time stretching in Logic Pro
      4m 51s
    4. Time stretching in Reason
      5m 17s
    5. Time stretching in Ableton Live
      5m 16s
    6. Understanding the roles of multiple DAWs in a time-stretching workflow
      1m 2s
    7. Dealing with wet vocal stems
      4m 2s
    8. Choosing the tempo for different styles or genres
      1m 35s
  4. 21m 6s
    1. Importing vocals and using the 10% time-stretch rule
      7m 42s
    2. Comparing several vocal time stretches at faster BPMs
      6m 20s
    3. Putting the time-stretched vocal in context
      7m 4s
  5. 26m 43s
    1. Setting up your session for double timing a vocal
      7m 27s
    2. Double timing the music and then time stretching the vocals to a slower BPM
      8m 54s
    3. Putting the time-stretched vocal in context
      10m 22s
  6. 28m 53s
    1. Setting up your session to slow down a vocal track
      2m 34s
    2. Calculating the BPM and tempo of the original track
      4m 18s
    3. Time stretching the vocals to a slower BPM
      6m 46s
    4. Comping the time-stretched vocal and the original vocal
      6m 49s
    5. Putting the time-stretched vocal in context
      8m 26s
  7. 54m 12s
    1. Starting from a pre-existing Pro Tools multitrack session
      13m 34s
    2. Tightening up a vocal that drifts from the click track, part one
      9m 55s
    3. Tightening up a vocal that drifts from the click track, part two
      7m 37s
    4. Subdividing 6/8 time and changing the time signature to 4/4
      7m 5s
    5. Editing vocal phrasing to work with 4/4 time
      7m 0s
    6. Time stretching the vocals to a faster BPM
      9m 1s
  8. 38s
    1. Goodbye
      38s

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Remixing Techniques: Time Stretching
2h 51m Intermediate Jun 28, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Josh Harris demonstrates time-stretching techniques in four of the major digital audio workstations: Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Reason, and Ableton Live. Josh covers the basic time-stretching treatments, where minimal tempo adjustment is needed, and then moves into more difficult territory—remixing at a much slower or faster tempo than what the original tracks were recorded at—where time stretching is pushed to the extreme. Another technique shows how to create a composite vocal from multiple time-stretched tracks. Each lesson employs real-world musical examples to clearly show where each time-stretching technique is useful and how the results of time stretching affect the sound of a song.

Topics include:
  • What is time stretching or expanding?
  • Understanding how time stretching fits into the remixing process
  • Working in Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Ableton Live, or Reason
  • Calculating the tempo of the original track
  • Dealing with wet vocal stems
  • Importing vocals with the 10% time-stretch rule
  • Comparing time-stretched vocals at faster tempos
  • Putting a time-stretched vocal in context
  • Setting up a session for double-timing a vocal
  • Creating a 4/4 remix from a song originally in 3/4 or 6/8
  • Tightening up a vocal that drifts from the click track
Subjects:
Audio + Music Music Production Music Editing Remixing
Software:
Ableton Live Logic Pro Pro Tools Reason
Author:
Josh Harris

Comping the time-stretched vocal and the original vocal

Now that we have our time stretched vocals, let's listen through and see if there are any spots that might need some finessing or massaging. I'm going to move the Vox Doubles underneath the lead vocal. I'm going to move right to the chorus here, got our vocal sitting a few dB below unity, so they're not too loud. I'm going to listen to the first chorus and be mindful of words that might feel a little bit elongated or slow sounding. I'll expand the chorus, and we will take a listen right from the beginning.

(music playing) The word that jumps out to me is the last control in the chorus, and I'll zoom in on it, and we'll listen to the measure leading up to it.

(music playing) Let's make an edit point right here on this word so that we know where it is in both the lead and the doubles using our scissors tool, and I'll bring the original vocals back in, and I like to close those arrows so that my Audio Bin looks a little neater. I'm going to bring the LEAD VOCAL out and the Vox Doubles out.

Close the Audio Bin, and I'll color code these a different color so that visually there's no confusion. I'll place the LEAD VOCAL at the original BPM side by side with my time stretch, and the Vox Doubles side by side with the Vox Doubles time stretch. One thing you'll notice we have vocals at 134 sitting next to vocals at 148, and as I expand the screen obviously these vocals aren't going to line up with one another. So manually, I need to slide these over so that I can follow the waveform from one to the other.

In other words, I have to find this word, control, in both the Lead Vocal track and the Vox Doubles track from the original BPM. Let's solo out the lead vocal and one thing we can do here is take a look at what the waveform looks like. This is simply an elongated image of this waveform so if we slide this over, and you can see here, this waveform is similar to this waveform.

And if, I'm looking at this correctly, this word right here should be control. So we go in and make our edit point, and we're going to deal with just one vocal at a time. In other words, I'm not going to edit the vox doubles with the lead vocal. This is strictly the lead, and we can mute out the other vocals right now to avoid any confusion, zoom in here. (music playing) I'll delete control at 134 and in its place I'll place control from 148 BPM.

Now this is a manual placement, there's nothing automatic about this so you have to use your ear, and just see how this sounds on the beat. (music playing) Okay, so I'll need to make an edit here. I'll make this a little bit bigger. I'll even loop this small section. (music playing) We might even need to do a Fade. (music playing) Let's go ahead and put a Fade In there. Load Fade Out, and I'll just pick a number of 250, an arbitrary number, it's probably a little bit too much, let's dial that back.

(music playing) That little hiccup might be on. (music playing) That's better. So we can do a quick Fade In on our edit point of the vocal at 148. Let's choose a number 75. (music playing) That cleans it up. And again, these are dry vocals. There's no reverb or any delays, a lot of the treatments that you'll put on the vocals will help smooth out some of these spots.

Now that we have the edit of the 148 BPM vocal with the 134 vocal sitting properly over the kick drum, let's address the Vox Doubles. Same process here with the next audio track. I'm moving this over so that visually I'm looking at waveforms that look very similar, one just happens to be an expanded version of the other. This should be control. I'll do an edit here, and we can use our vocal up here as a reference point for where to place it.

Now again, so much of this process depends on your ears. There's not a quantization setting or anything like that that will do this for you, this is manual. This is using your ears and paying attention to how things sound. Let's take a listen to the edit point, I'll back it up just a little but further. (music playing) The timing is right but the Edit point needs to be cleaned up. So, let's Solo out Vox Doubles. (music playing) Might be able to get away with a Fade, small Fade, I've used this so much now I just pretty much know that 50, 75, or 100 are small fades, and I just type it in this way.

(music playing) That cleans it up. Let's take listen to everything in context. (music playing) I would probably go a little bit further on the editing and clean up when I start to put my mix together. Again, the treatments with the delays and the reverbs really will help. We are listening to things so raw and so dry right now that every little nuance pokes out. With a built-up track, bass drum, some textures, you probably won't notice some of these idiosyncrasies.

But you have to go through the song like this and find the words and the spots in the song that feel a little bit off or maybe a little bit slow, and you replace that word if you're able to with the word from the original to help smooth out the phrasing. I would go through and find every instance in this song where the word control sounds like it did before I made the edit, and I would replace it just the way I did with this one edit point.

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