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Remixing Techniques: Time Stretching
Illustration by John Hersey

Time stretching in Ableton Live


From:

Remixing Techniques: Time Stretching

with Josh Harris

Video: Time stretching in Ableton Live

Ableton Live is sometimes overlooked as a vocal time stretching solution. Over the years, I have mostly used it for drum programming and time stretching loops, which I feel is one of the best programs for working in those areas of production. As I take you through a basic vocal time stretch, you'll notice that the process is slightly different than Logic, Pro Tools and Reason. I begin with a blank session that defaults to 120 beats per minute. And since I know that the Iyeoka vocals is 112 BPM.
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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

Time stretching in Ableton Live

Ableton Live is sometimes overlooked as a vocal time stretching solution. Over the years, I have mostly used it for drum programming and time stretching loops, which I feel is one of the best programs for working in those areas of production. As I take you through a basic vocal time stretch, you'll notice that the process is slightly different than Logic, Pro Tools and Reason. I begin with a blank session that defaults to 120 beats per minute. And since I know that the Iyeoka vocals is 112 BPM.

I will change the sessions to tempo to match that of the vocal, I import it. And you notice that Ableton predetermines a bunch of these warp markers which we're not going to use. So I will turn off the warp marker feature. And turn it back on, and you notice that all of the predetermined warp markers have gone away. I have the metronome on just to make sure that the vocal is indeed locked up against the grid. And I'll play it from the beginning, and we can take a listen. (music playing) Excellent. Everything sounds nice and tight. Let's move up here around the first chorus.

(music playing) Excellent. Everything sounds nice and tight against the grid. I'll move the playhead down later in this song to the last chorus. (music playing) Excellent. Everything sounds nice and tight against the click track.

Now you will notice down here there's a pulldown menu. I've option of Beats, Tones, Texture, Re-pitch, Complex or Complex Pro. I'll choose Complex Pro. This is very much like choosing polyphonic in the Logic Flex mode and Pro Tools Elastic Audio time stretching algorithm menu. So this is the most detailed and intricate time stretching algorithm that Ableton offers. We've chosen Complex Pro, I'll change the BPM to 128, and we'll take a listen to the 128bpm vocal against the click track.

(music playing) I decided to play the verses in this time stretching scenario since we haven't listened to the verses yet.

I'll move the playhead further down into the song next to the last chorus. (music playing) Excellent everything sounds nice and tight against the click track. Now I'm going to mute out the metronome right now. And just to give you an example of the difference in the time stretching algorithm quality, between Beats and Complex Pro, I'm going to go ahead and play little of the chorus with the Beats setting on for the time stretching algorithm.

(music playing) So you can hear there is a quite of bit audio degradation there. I'll switch back to Complex Pro and play the same section again, and you'll hear a difference. (music playing) I feel that it's important to point out the difference between the Beats time stretching algorithm and the Complex Pro one.

There is a huge difference, and if you happen to forget to select Complex Pro for your vocal, your vocal time stretch will actually not sound very good. What separates Ableton Live from the rest of the DAW's is that it is so heavily used for live performing. Many DJs use live as their DJ program. Having the ability to drop an A capella like this one in the middle of the track or in the middle of a beat or groove that you're putting together on the fly or improvising in the middle of the DJ set, takes the entire live performance to a new level.

And that's really what separates this from Logic, Pro Tools, Reason, and as you'll see in the next movie, Melodyne.

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