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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.
During this chapter, I'll be using Propellerheads Reason on the Mac Platform for the demonstration. The menu choices and keyboard shortcuts I'll be using are for that DAW and platform only. If you're using a different DAW or if you're on a different platform obviously, you'll be using different keyboard shortcuts and menus but the remixing concepts will be the same. If you need a refresher on your DAW choice, please seek out the Essential Training Title for that DAW on the online training library here at lynda.com. Additionally, you can reference the chapter in this course where I do your DAW for the demonstration.
And I'll show you the basic remixing tools and techniques for that DAW and then return to this movie and go through this chapter's concepts with the techniques appropriate to your situation in mind. I'll begin with a blank Reason session as well as an MP3 opened up in the QuickTime movie player. Most of the time when I'm hired to do a remix, I'm sent the MP3 along with the vocal stems, sometimes the MP3 comes first. In this case, Reason does not have a BPM Calculator or BPM Counter like Logic or Pro Tools.
So we're going to approach this manually. I've got the MP3 opened up in the QuickTime movie player. The song is called 'I knew you were the one' and again the artist is Natalie Brown like our last chapter. I'll bring the QuickTime volume down just a little bit so that I'm able to listen to the click track in Reason. So let's play the MP3 in QuickTime. (music playing) So I played about 40 seconds of the MP3, and as you saw I Tapped in Reason's Tap tempo area here by the Transport, and it looks like 68 is the BPM of the original.
Just to make sure that that's accurate, I'll engage the click track in reason, and we can take a listen to metronome just briefly. (music playing) There it is. I'll go back and play the MP3, and I'll hit Play in Reason as close to the downbeat as I can of a drumbeat in Natalie's song and listen to see if the click drifts from the QuickTime movie player. (music playing) I didn't get that super tight on the downbeat so let's do that again.
I'll back Reason up to 1 and move this back up to about 40 seconds. (music playing) So as you can hear, the click track didn't drift from the QuickTime movie player.
I didn't get the click exactly on the downbeat but close enough to where I would be able to tell if the BPMs are actually in sync. Had I been off the click track would have wandered from the MP3 pretty quickly, and you would have be able to tell that 68 was not the correct BPM. So now that we've established that the original version is at 68 beats per minute. Let's set up a re-drum in Reason. And I'll go over here to my Tools window.
Since I've been using Reason since version 1.5, I am very accustomed to pulling down the Create dropdown menu and finding the modular tool that I need. I'll select the REDRUM Drum Computer. And the first that I'm going to do is program the Step Sequencer using this kick drum, I'll turn that up a little bit, there we go. And I know from my experience on the step sequencer, that if I want to place a kick drum on every Quarter note, I start with 1, 5, 9 and 13 on the 16 Step-Step Sequencer. Next I'll put a hi-hat in.
(music playing) And I'll put those on the and. I just know these numbers from years of experience in programming Step Sequencer's. We'll take a listen to the Drum Computer. (music playing) Excellent! And let's add a snare drum on beats 2 and 4. (music playing) Yes, that's sounds good. (music playing) Excellent! Now I'll mute the Redrum and save it for later, but now we have a Step Sequencer Drum machine that can move with this as we select different BPMs.
Because essentially what we're going to be doing here is slowing down Natalie's vocals from 68 BPM to 64, and do what's called double-timing the music. This is a ballad, and we're going to slow this down 4 beats per minute and then double-time the music so that we're at 128. So don't dismiss this somewhat old- school approach to BPM Calculations. I actually calculate the BPMs of a lot of the songs that I remix this exact way. I may not always do it in Reason but I use the same approach where I have, QuickTime open with an MP3 playing, and I'll Tap Tempo the rhythm either on my iPad or my phone or in another DAW that allows for Tap Tempo.
At the end of the day, the first thing you need to check when you begin a remix or when you're even thinking about whether or not you're going to take on the remix is you need to know the BPM of the original. Because if something?s at 80 or 85 or 90 beats per minute that's a tough remix, that might be a project that you take a pass on because that what we call no man's land. You are either slowing things down or speeding them up and the time stretch is so drastic one way or another, that might not be a project to take on.
But you have to be able to determine the BPMs quickly and so I'm a big believer in the manual Tap Tempo approach. I actually think but I'm able to arrive at the source BPMs of the songs I am remixing faster than importing an MP3 into a DAW and waiting for it to calculate the track's BPM.
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