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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.
Now that we have the BPM of the original version, let's import the vocals. I open up the Audio Bin, go to Add Audio File and select my vocal stems for Breakdown Mode, drag the LEAD VOCAL out on to the Arrange window, next will be Verse Bvs, next will be Vox Doubles, and I'll actually drag the Oohs down here, and Logic will create a new track for me. There we go. Let's take a listen to the vocals against the kick drum.
I'll mute out the original and make sure that everything is sitting nice and tight against the grid. (music playing) Everything sounds nice and tight so far.
Let's scan further up into the song and just to be safe I'll lasso all these tracks and bring the volume down just a little bit so that my kick drum isn't fighting the vocals. This is really about making sure that everything is locked up against 148 BPM kick drum. (music playing) Excellent. Everything sounds nice and tight against the kick drum.
I'll return the playhead to the start of the song, and now it's time to engage Logic's Flex mode. I'll select Polyphonic, and now that we have Logic's Flex mode engaged we can experiment with a couple of different BPMs to see what sounds good. We're at 148. I know that my target BPM is going to be somewhere around 130 to 135, 136. So let's do a drastic time stretch. Let's go down to 130, 18 BPM slower than the original.
I'll scan right to the first chorus where all the vocals are in. (music playing) It feels a little sluggish to me. Let's take it up to 134. I have a feeling that will do the trick, right before the first chorus. (music playing) Nice, that 4 BPM increase really makes a difference, and we're still within that 10% rule that I mentioned earlier in the course.
Let's Solo out each vocal and export them, because there's no reason to leave Logic in Flex mode. You are asking the computer to continuously analyze a WAV file, and as you build your track and engage your software synths, you're just taxing the CPU sources. Just to prove my point, before we export these vocals, let's take a look at the CPU Meter when all 4 vocal tracks are playing with Flex mode engaged. (music playing) As you can see, down here in the CPU Meter it's hitting around 25% or 30%, and we've only got 4 tracks playing over our kick drum.
So I see no need to leave Logic in Flex mode. We'll export our vocals, and then we can turn Flex mode off, because we'll have freshly new exported vocals at 134. Let's' return these Faders to 0 so that the Waveform volume of the exported vocals will be just as loud as the original tracks. I will Solo out LEAD VOCAL, I select Bounce, select the Audio Files folder because I prefer to export audio files to the Audio Files folder and leave the Bounces folder for my mixes, and that's just a personal preference.
Let's call this Lead Vocal_134 so that there's no confusion between this vocal and the original. Now you'll notice that we here that Normalize is set to On. I'm going to turn this Off. Normalize will boost the level of my audio file, and I'm not interested in that right now. I prefer to leave this setting Off at all times. I've selected Add to Audio Bin so that Logic will import the freshly bounced vocal into our session, and I hit Bounce. Logic's offline bouncing will save us quite a bit time during this process.
Next is Verse BVs, select Bounce, and we'll call this file Verse BVs_134, Normalize is Off. Next is Vox Doubles and finally Oohs. Now that we have all four of our vocals exported at the new BPM, we can get rid of the original vocals here and delete these tracks which will then turn off Flex mode.
I'll go up here and create four new stereo tracks, and I'll turn the Open Library off, I don't need to have that one. Open up the Audio Bin and drag my new vocals onto the Arrange window. Close the Audio Bin, and let's take a listen from the first chorus. (music playing) Everything sounds in order.
Again, I will turn these vocals down a little bit. They were little bit loud on top of the kick drum, and scan further into the song just to double check. (music playing) Excellent! We'll turn the playhead to the start of the song. You can see how important it is to have the vocals locked against the grid prior to time stretching them.
You can also see how important it is to use Logic's Flex mode to arrive at your destination BPM then export your vocals and turn it off, saving the computer's resources.
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