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In this course, producer and engineer Skye Lewin reveals the techniques that professional musicians and producers use to get the best-sounding results from Melodyne. The course covers digital audio workstation (DAW) and session preparation, and shows how to perform rhythm and pitch corrections on both lead and background vocals. It includes lessons on importing and exporting tracks between the DAW and the standalone version of Melodyne, as well as utilizing Melodyne as a plug-in, through ReWire, and through Melodyne Bridge. Skye also shows how to use a MIDI keyboard to edit the pitch of a recorded performance in Melodyne and how to trigger a MIDI instrument using an audio recording.
Through the rest of this course we will be working with Melodyne in a stand-alone workflow. You can follow along working the same way or if you want you can follow along using MelodyneBridge or ReWire, if you prefer. But first, let's look at preparing the rest of our elements. I am going to go back into our Girl Got Attitude Pro Tools session. And I just want to point out a few things about the way the session is set up so that it will work quickly and easily with Melodyne. So the first thing I have got is I have already created a stereo balance of the instrumental track, and what that is let's just take a quick listen is it's basically the instrumental track which I am sure you know, means there are no vocals in the track.
So at any point in the song... (music playing) ...it's just the instrumental elements in the song and all the vocals are on their own separate tracks. So now below that we have got all the tracks, and in this example, I have already COMPed them all, which means that essentially I have already made all of my edits and gotten the vocal where I want each performance on each track, and I have already combined, or consolidated, all of those edits down into one file. And one thing I want to point out is that all of those files start at the exact same moment in time.
At this point, they start at -1 bars, however you do it can be different, but I like to start it so that the music starts at bar 1, and I have two bars of pre-roll before the music starts. So in this case, we have all the files starting with that exact same two bars of pre-roll on every track. So what that means is that we can import those files right into Melodyne and line up the starts of all the files right in the same place and everything will play perfectly in sync, and we don't have to do any movement or adjustment of files later. What you can do, and sometimes there is a benefit to that, because if you have a track, for example, that only has a little bit of audio at the very end, like our Adlibs_COMP in this example, I am just going to take a look at that file.
At the end of the track you can see the Adlibs come in, but they are not playing at the beginning. So it might make sense to start the file here and just import that little clip into Melodyne. However, that would mean we would then have to move that clip later in the timeline so that it plays in the right place along with everything else. But we are not going to worry about that now. We are going to make everything start right at the same point in time. Once that's all done, you can either choose to import those audio files directly from the Audio Files folder where Pro Tools references those files, or you can export the files from Pro Tools into another location, and either way has its benefits or its downsides, it's really your choice what you are going to do.
For the rest of this course we are going to use the same audio files that are in our Pro Tools' Audio Files folder. So let's quickly tap back to the Finder, and in the Finder, in our Audio Files folder, you'll see all those tracks are already there, already COMPed, and ready to go. And you can see, for the four files that we already imported, Melodyne has already written an MDD file for each of those audio files. And Pro Tools will just ignore that file, so it's not really going to interfere, other than that there are more files in your Audio Files folder. We can quit Pro Tools now and go back to Melodyne and open Girl Got Attitude_01_04, which will pick us up where we left off after the last video.
We already have the first four tracks imported. So again, let's import the rest of these tracks, Shift+Command+O or Shift+Ctrl+O, is the default key command--you can change that if you like-- and I am going to pick up where we left off by importing the rest of the lead vocals. So I will go ahead and select the rest of those and click Open, and we will import the Region. One thing to note is that if you're using the exercise files, instead of creating your own session from scratch, Melodyne won't detect the audio as it imports, because the MDD files already exist in the exercise files.
So now that we have got all four of our lead vocal tracks imported, let's import the rest of our tracks. I am going to import the instrumental track next, so let's find it in our Audio Files folder here, and that's Girl Got Attitude_ Abridged Instrumental_122 bpm.wav, I am going to Open that, and you can lay this out however you like. I personally like to have the instrumental at the very top, so I am going to click and drag it up and move it so that it's the first track. From here, let's finish importing the rest of our Audio Files, I am going to import the Adlibs and all 24 background vocal tracks. I am going to select those and click Open.
So as Melodyne imports the audio for each of these tracks, it's going to detect the pitch, and so it takes a little bit of time for each track to be imported. So as you do this, don't be alarmed if it takes a lot longer than it did for us in the video, we just cut ahead to make it quicker for the sake of the video. So now I have got my session more or less laid out how I like it. I have got my instrumental on top and my lead vocals, and just below my lead vocals I have got my Adlibs, and then all of my background tracks. For this course I have combined my backgrounds into as few tracks as possible, but oftentimes what you may want to do in a real world example is have all the backgrounds for the chorus on one set of tracks, and perhaps the pre-chorus and the bridge on different sets of tracks, so that you have a little more control over mixing.
Now, you can still do that later, but sometimes it's faster to condense them so that you actually have fewer tracks in your Melodyne session. So now that I have got all of my tracks in here, there is another key command I remembered that I want to set up that will help make navigating the session a lot easier. So I am going to go back into my Preferences, I am going to go back to Short Cuts, and go to Transport and Navigation, and we will scroll down to Zoom, and there's a couple of Zoom settings that I like to set. And again, these kind of mirror what I am used to in Pro Tools, with Command Focus enabled, so I will make my Zoom In, Shift+T, which is zooming in both vertically and horizontally, I will make my Zoom Out, Shift+R.
You can leave these if you like, the defaults, they are actually not bad having 1, 3, 9, and 7, but I like to have Zoom In (horizontally) match Pro Tools' T, and I like to have Zoom Out (horizontally) match Pro Tools' R. And the one that I really want to set right now is No Zoom or Show All, I set to Option+A, or Alt+A on Windows. So I have set these to key commands that are comfortable for me, but feel free to use any key command that works for you. I am going to close our Preferences, and we can try these new key commands out. So we can zoom in and zoom out, we can zoom in horizontally and zoom out horizontally, and we can zoom in vertically and horizontally at the same time.
And so one other thing I wanted to show you before we move on is if you want to have a quick way to zoom to the whole session all at once, we can use a Marker. So first, let's zoom all the way out, you can use the key command you just set, or you can hold Command+Option or Ctrl+Alt, to bring up the magnifying glass and zoom all the way to the full session by dragging left and right. So dragging left will zoom us all the way out. Here we can see the left, which is our in point, and the right Marker, which is our out point. So if we drag the right Marker to the end of our session here, we can then go to Navigation and Create Marker, or use the key command Option+C or Alt+C, and let's call this Full Song.
Once we hit Return, we now have a navigation point under the Zoom to menu that we can recall, and it will bring us to that point. So at any point if you're working, and you want to go back to the Full Song, you can simply choose Zoom to > Full Song, and now you can see the whole song in one screen. We already set our tempo, but if we hadn't, we would go now to our Transport Bar, Shift+Command+T or Shift+Ctrl+T, and enter our tempo, in this case, it's 122.0 beats per minute. And if we wanted to change the sound, we can go to our Mixer, Shift+Command+M or Shift+Ctrl+M, and change the levels on anything that we want, louder or softer.
And one thing that you should keep in mind is that when we are done, and we go to export, any settings that you make on this Mixer will actually print to the final audio. So if you make your lead vocal louder or softer and then export, it's going to be louder or softer in the exported file, as well as what you hear working in Melodyne. So sometimes I will sacrifice the sound quality, or the mix quality, just to make it quick and easy, but if I am going to be working in Melodyne for a long period of time, I may actually get the mix a little more dialed in, pan things where I want them, get the faders where I want them.
I just have to remember to set them back to 0 before I export, or if I do export with the fader levels differently, I just have to know that that's going to affect my exported audio. So for now, I am just going to drop the level on our instrumental a little bit just so it doesn't play too loudly against the vocal tracks. I am going to close the Mixer and feel free to play around with that. You can make the mix sound however you like. One other thing that I like to do is to make bar 1 of our ruler match bar 1 of our music. So I am going to zoom in, and I am going to take this number 1 to the left of bar 1, and drag it to the right until it corresponds with the first beat of our music.
So now bar 1 on our timeline matches bar 1 of our music. (music playing) And I may want to adjust my Navigation Marker to compensate, since we have now shifted the timeline. I am going to Zoom Out again, so we can Delete the Marker > Full Song, adjust the in and out point, and create a new Marker with Option+C or Alt+C, to replace it. So now that our session is set up and everything is ready to go, let's get started editing.
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