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- What is time stretching or expanding?
- Understanding how time stretching fits into the remixing process
- Working in Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Ableton Live, or Reason
- Calculating the tempo of the original track
- Dealing with wet vocal stems
- Importing vocals with the 10% time-stretch rule
- Comparing time-stretched vocals at faster tempos
- Putting a time-stretched vocal in context
- Setting up a session for double-timing a vocal
- Creating a 4/4 remix from a song originally in 3/4 or 6/8
- Tightening up a vocal that drifts from the click track
Skill Level Intermediate
Let's take a listen to what we have here, our kick drum is in. (music playing) I'm already noticing a little bit of degradation. So let me double check and make sure that I have everything set on Complex Pro, I do not. So we're going to change that right now.
Ableton defaults to Beats, so when it comes to bringing vocals or other audio that's not a drum loop, you always want to set it to Complex Pro, it'll give you the best quality in terms of time stretch. Let's start that over and take a listen. (music playing) Sounds good. I'll expand these Track Views a little bit so we can just have a better handle of where we are in the song.
Okay, so those are the wet vocals, they are not super wet there's a little bit of reverb on them. But there's enough to factor into the time stretch, so we are at 114, I want to reference the dry vocals and just hear if there's a difference. (music playing) They sound better, and you also notice visually that the wet vocals are a little bit louder.
I mean, you look at the waveform amplitude, and you can just see that the wet vocals were bounced a little bit hotter. So that's not going to necessarily play a role in terms of the time stretch, but it's just something to take notice of as you're auditioning wet and dry vocals. We're at 114, let's push it up a little bit further and see where the limit is with our time stretch. I'll take it up to 120, and play from the same spot. (music playing) The lead vocals still sounds really good to me, the background vocals are starting to get a little bit warbly because they're sort of textural, the ooh's are almost have a Synthesizer Pad type texture to them.
So let's push it even a little further. Again, when it comes to doing a Remix, you may not want to use all of those ooh's, you may take one sample it, delay it, affect it somehow so, we don't always want to marry ourselves to using every single bit of the vocal from the original but the lead vocal is the most important vocal file. I'll push it up to 124, and let's hear what that sounds like. (music playing) Still sounds good, let's jump over to the wet vocals, and hear how they sound.
(music playing) The lead vocal still sounds good, we can push it even a little bit further to 126, going back and listening. (music playing) It still sounds good to me.
It's important for me to mention at this stage that even though the quality of the vocal is still there, the phrasing is starting to get a little bit fast, and we never wanted time stretch vocals so that the vocal performance itself doesn't feel credible. We're 22 beats per minute faster than the original, and I would say this is definitely the line, and I would not time stretch beyond this point because the phrasing and the performance of the vocals just won't feel credible. So you can see the value here, and having both the wet and dry vocals side by side lined up against a kick drum, and it's very important to experiment with different BPMs.
I always begin with this part of the process, a basic kick drum and the vocals, and I spend a few minutes experimenting with different BPMs. If you don't spend a few minutes at this stage, you may commit to a tempo too early, and as you begin to listen to the vocals further into the song, realize that oh, there's a bridge section, and that doesn't sound very good at this tempo but I want to keep the bridge section in because I have been hired to do a full vocal remix. So this should give you some ideas of how to begin the time stretching process and again we chose Ableton for this movie but you can apply the same philosophies no matter what DAW you're working in.