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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.
As one of the most popular DAWs on the planet, Pro Tools is an excellent platform for time stretching vocals. I've been a Pro Tools user for over 15 years now, and many of my early remixes were created in it. Let's take a look at the Elastic Audio feature within Pro Tools, and I'll show you how you can use it to time stretch a vocal. We'll begin with a blank session, and I will import my vocal, and I'm going to use the Iyeoka Simply Falling Acapella that I used in remixing a course in Logic Pro, and I'll add this to the audio bin.
It'll convert it and place it in the Audio Files folder that's attached to the Session folder. I'll choose New Track, and here we have Iyekoa_Simply_Falling_Dry_Acappella_112BPM. The first thing I need to do is make sure that my session's BPM, or tempo, matches that of the vocal that I just imported. I will go up here and change my Tempo to 112 beats per minute.
So up here we have 112 beats per minute, and it matches 112 beats per minutes in the vocal. Now just to make sure that everything is truly locked up against the grid, I will create a mono AUX track, and on it I will place a click track, and I'll also create a Master Fader. I like to have a Master Fader present in all of my sessions. We'll mute the vocal and just play the metronome. (audio playing) And because I like to be very organized within my sessions, I will label this click track. So to make sure that everything is actually lined up against the click, I'll play the song from the very beginning.
(music playing) Good, and as you can hear those are in beat, I'll scan up here a little over a minute, and we'll take a listen to the vocals at this point in the song and make sure that nothing has drifted. (music playing) Excellent! That's locked up against to click nicely, and we'll scan up to the bridge section of the song just past 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
(music playing) Excellent! Nothing is drifted, the vocal is absolutely tight against the click track. Now I'll mute the click track. Because we're only dealing with one stereo track of vocals, there's no reason why we shouldn't expand the view of the waveform to be extreme.
You'll notice there's a little gray handle here, and it allows me to turn on Elastic Audio. I'll choose Polyphonic, because polyphonic will give me the most in-depth waveform analysis. Basically, what elastic audio is doing is it's examining the transients of the waveform. Polyphonic will give me the best time stretching results possible. If I were working with a snare drum or a kick drum, I might choose Monophonic from the pulldown menu here, or Rhythmic you would use for loops or groove-based audio.
But for our purposes, we'll choose Polyphonic, and you'll notice over here at the left, there is a little blue icon. It allows me to choose between Samples and Ticks. It's important that you set this to Ticks for elastic audio so that when I go up here, and I change the BPM of the session to the desired BPM that I want for my remix, the audio follows suit. Now let's take a listen to the newly time-stretched audio against the click track to make sure that everything is indeed locked against the beat.
(music playing) So that sounds like it's in beat to me. We'll double check down here to examine the song, right around the bridge, 2:30--or actually it's 2:13 now because we've shrunk the amount of time that this vocal will play from start to finish because we've sped it up 16 beats per minute.
(music playing) Excellent! So everything is tight against the click track. Now I will mute the click track, and let's take a listen to different spots of the audio with nothing playing but the vocal, because we really need to take a close listen to the time stretch and make sure that there are no words that are garbled or warbly sounding as result of the time stretch.
I will place my marker up here before chorus2. (music playing) Very little audio degradation. I hear a little bit on certain words, it's nothing I'm concerned about. When you actually apply reverb and delay and maybe a little chorus, and this vocal sitting in the mix with drums and bass and all sorts of instrumentation underneath it, you are not going to notice any of that audio degradation.
It's very, very minor. So as you can your hear, elastic audio offers great results in time stretching vocals. And if you happen to be a Pro Tools user who hasn't spent much time using elastic audio, I hope this movie inspires you to spend some time experimenting with it. By all means, use elastic audio to time stretch other elements of a mix besides vocals. In fact, you can even use elastic audio to time stretch the entire finished mix. If at the end of your mixdown, you feel like you like to have your tracks 2 or 3 beats per minute faster to add a little more energy, by all means pop into Pro Tools, use Elastic Audio, and experiment.
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