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Pro Tools 10 Essential Training with musician and producer David Franz illuminates the process of recording, editing, mixing, and mastering in Avid Pro Tools, the industry-standard software for music and postproduction. The course covers recording live audio and adding effects on the fly, creating music with virtual instruments and plug-ins, editing for time and pitch manipulation, creating a musical score, and mixing and mastering a track.
Elastic Audio in Pro Tools refers to both Elastic Time and Elastic Pitch. I'll explain some of the concepts here and then lead you through some exercises to experience the power of Elastic Audio. I'll start with Elastic Time. Elastic Time analyzes audio clips for transient events, like drum hits or guitar chords, and enables you to conform those events to the session's tempo, a quantization Time Trim tool, or manually use the edit tools and warp view. Let's try it out. First I am going to zoom in on this drum loop that I have got.
It's a reggae beat that I have imported, and you'll note that it's not exactly 4 bars, I can see up here. So I want to use the Time Trim tool and extend this out so that it's exactly 4 bars. So I'm going to go over here and make sure that I have got the Time Trim tool selected or the TCE tool. I'm going to go to the end of this, click and drag, and now it's processed so that it's exactly 4 bars. Now I want to go over to the Time Base for this track and change it from samples to ticks, I can do that right here.
And now I am going to enable Elastic Audio, so I am going to click here and scroll down to polyphonic. And as soon as I chose that, Pro Tools, behind the scenes, analyzed the audio waveform for its transient events. In this drumbeat here, it's pretty easy to pick them out. All right, so let's have some fun. First I am going to play this track back at the original tempo, and then I am going to try out a bunch of different tempos, and you are going to notice how the loop conforms to each tempo. (Music Playing) So that's the original.
So now I am just going to go up to our Tempo Event here and double-click it, and I'm going to change it to 130. Now, you'll notice that the grid got a lot closer together, because the tempo is much faster now, and the beat automatically conformed to this new tempo, it's still 4 bars. Let's hear what it sounds like. (Music Playing) All right! Let's go slower this time. Let's go down to 70.
(Music Playing) You should note that extreme tempo changes can create some serious unwanted artifacts in your tracks, so be careful when you are doing some extreme tempo changes. All right! So let's undo this one, go back to the original, I'll do two undos to get us back to the original. And now I am going to switch over to Varispeed, so I will click here, choose Varispeed.
Now, Varispeed links the time and the pitch change together, like how a tape machine would react if you sped up or slowed it down. Let's try these same tempo changes and hear the different sounds. Here is the original. (Music Playing) Now, if we got to 130 again. (Music Playing) Notice that the pitch changed, it went up because we got faster.
I'll undo that, and now we'll go to 70, and we should expect this to be lower in pitch. (Music Playing) And indeed it was. I am going to undo that. Now let's look a little closer at what's going on with Elastic Time. I'm going to go over to the Track View and choose analysis. Now I am going to zoom in a little bit more so we can see what's happening.
The white lines that we see here are analysis markers on all of the transients in the beat, and now I am going to switch back over to Polyphonic actually for this example. I am going to select the Grabber tool here, so we can actually click and drag to reposition these markers if we want to, to better align with the Tempo grid, or with the musical performance. However, Pro Tools usually does a great job of analyzing these transients, specifically on more percussive parts like this.
So we don't really need to move them. The only times we may need to move them is when we're working with audio that doesn't have clear transients, like synth pads or legato string parts. Now let's switch the track view to warp. And now I can see the warp analysis here, and this is when it gets interesting. We can double-click to make a warp marker, and since we've got this on the grid, if we start sliding these, you'll see that they will conform to the grid values.
And it's moving by a beat. Let me make this grid smaller, and it will be more obvious what we are doing. I am moving everything by a 16th note now. So I can move these warp markers and they will align right with the grid, and this is a great way to be able to move pieces of the waveform and align them with the Tempo grid or with any other audio events. I've used wrap markers like this to align all kinds of parts; base parts, drum parts, vocal parts, you name it.
Just double-click to create warp markers that lock to the grid, and then you can move around any of these little pieces of audio to totally line up performances within the grid. Now let's go back over to the Elastic Audio menu. When we look down here, we can see that Pro Tools is processing this Elastic Audio in Real-Time. Now, this can be demanding on your computer, especially if you have a lot of tracks that are using Elastic Audio. If we switch this to Rendered Processing, that creates a temporary file, and it isn't Real-Time processing anymore, and this will save you a lot of processing power for your computer.
And you can always go back and choose Real-Time if you need to. Just click it right here. Let's look at one more thing related to Elastic Audio. If you go to Setup > Preferences, and click on the Processing tab, you can see that we have this Elastic Audio area, and here we can choose what the default plug-in is from any of these four, for when we instantiate Elastic Audio onto a track. Polyphonic is usually the best one to keep it on anyway.
We can also adjust the default gain, but I wouldn't touch that, and we can check off Enable Elastic Audio on New Tracks, so anytime we create a new track, we'll have Elastic Audio on it already. I'm going to keep that unchecked, because that can take up a lot of processing power. Let's move on to the other half of Elastic Audio, Elastic Pitch. So I am going to get away from our reggae beat and look at our acoustic guitar track down here. And what I want to do is transpose the pitch of this clip.
I'm going to play it back first so you can hear the original pitch, and then we'll get into the Elastic Pitch. (Music Playing) All right! So let's go over here and choose Polyphonic. So now Elastic Audio is active on this track. And you should note that Elastic Pitch does not work on monophonic Elastic Audio files.
So we can't choose Monophonic here if we want to apply Elastic Pitch. Now let's go up to the Clip menu and choose Elastic Properties. You'll see down here at the bottom we have pitch shift, and I'm going to click and drag and go up 2 semitones, that's one whole step up. Let's press play. (Music Playing) So you can hear that the music is automatically pitch-shifted up one whole step.
And obviously you can change the pitch shift by any value here, and we can also change the number of cents if we need to tune it specifically. Let's close that up, and now if we want to we can go back up to the Clip menu and choose Remove Pitch Shift, and that gets rid of the pitch shift. So now you know how to use Elastic Pitch to transpose audio clips and how to use Elastic Time to conform performances to a new tempo. It's really amazing the power that you have over your audio clips in Pro Tools with Elastic Audio.
And if you notice down here, I've included several other audio clips in the session, so if you have access to this exercise file, you can experiment with Elastic Time and Pitch and how they affect different types of audio clips, like this bass track and a stereo audio track of an entire song.
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