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Warping clips

From: Up and Running with Ableton Live 9

Video: Warping clips

One of the most advanced features in Live is the warp engine. The warp engine allows us to edit the waveform as if it were elastic. We can easily speed up or speed down different sections of the audio clip. In other words, when an audio clip is warped, it will play in sync with the project's tempo. We can change the global tempo to hear that the pitch is not changing, although the speed is changing, thanks to the warping engine. So I'm going to solo the guitar track. I'm going to play it and change the global tempo and listen to what happens.

Warping clips

One of the most advanced features in Live is the warp engine. The warp engine allows us to edit the waveform as if it were elastic. We can easily speed up or speed down different sections of the audio clip. In other words, when an audio clip is warped, it will play in sync with the project's tempo. We can change the global tempo to hear that the pitch is not changing, although the speed is changing, thanks to the warping engine. So I'm going to solo the guitar track. I'm going to play it and change the global tempo and listen to what happens.

(music playing) Let's bring it back to 83. So as you heard, the speed of that audio clip has changed without the pitch, which is amazing. We can change the guitar's groove to fit better on the grid. Live will place transient markers wherever it thinks there is a new sound, and we can see them with the small gray lines.

I can then double-click on any transient marker to create a warp marker, marked with a yellow square. If we move the warp marker, we can see we changed the timing of the audio before and after the marker, like the warp marker is marking a change in the playing speed of the clip. So let's align the guitar to the grid. I want to create a warp maker here, move it slightly, another one here, just small fixes so it will really be on time.

If you only want to move a specific section of the audio without changing everything before and after the marker, you'll have to create two warp markers before and after the one you're going to actually move. I'm going to hit Command+C to delete them. A shortcut to this is to hold Command or Ctrl and Live will automatically create a warp marker before and after. You can change the grid of the warped audio clip just like the grid in the media editor.

Ableton has six different warp modes, each designed to best warp a specific type of audio. Beats designed for rhythmical audio, Tones designed for clear pitched audio, Texture designed for polyphonic or noise, Re-Pitch will change the pitch with the speed, just like a record, and Complex and Complex Pro, which is designed for a whole song and complex audio, like vocals. So in this case I'm going to choose Tones. Experiment with the different warp modes to get different sounds.

The warp engine can be used to sync any audio material to your song. You can also use it creatively and create new sounds and textures by using the warp engine to the extreme. You can always turn off the warp engine using the Warp button and then the clip will play at its original speed, regardless of project's tempo. Go ahead and warp the lead guitar and vocals.

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Up and Running with Ableton Live 9

33 video lessons · 5578 viewers

Yeuda Ben-Atar
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