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Remixing Techniques: Time Stretching
Illustration by John Hersey

Setting up your session for double timing a vocal


From:

Remixing Techniques: Time Stretching

with Josh Harris

Video: Setting up your session for double timing a vocal

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.
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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

Setting up your session for double timing a vocal

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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