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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
Now that we have our time stretched vocals, let's listen through and see if there are any spots that might need some finessing or massaging. I'm going to move the Vox Doubles underneath the lead vocal. I'm going to move right to the chorus here, got our vocal sitting a few dB below unity, so they're not too loud. I'm going to listen to the first chorus and be mindful of words that might feel a little bit elongated or slow sounding. I'll expand the chorus, and we will take a listen right from the beginning.
(music playing) The word that jumps out to me is the last control in the chorus, and I'll zoom in on it, and we'll listen to the measure leading up to it.
(music playing) Let's make an edit point right here on this word so that we know where it is in both the lead and the doubles using our scissors tool, and I'll bring the original vocals back in, and I like to close those arrows so that my Audio Bin looks a little neater. I'm going to bring the LEAD VOCAL out and the Vox Doubles out.
Close the Audio Bin, and I'll color code these a different color so that visually there's no confusion. I'll place the LEAD VOCAL at the original BPM side by side with my time stretch, and the Vox Doubles side by side with the Vox Doubles time stretch. One thing you'll notice we have vocals at 134 sitting next to vocals at 148, and as I expand the screen obviously these vocals aren't going to line up with one another. So manually, I need to slide these over so that I can follow the waveform from one to the other.
In other words, I have to find this word, control, in both the Lead Vocal track and the Vox Doubles track from the original BPM. Let's solo out the lead vocal and one thing we can do here is take a look at what the waveform looks like. This is simply an elongated image of this waveform so if we slide this over, and you can see here, this waveform is similar to this waveform.
And if, I'm looking at this correctly, this word right here should be control. So we go in and make our edit point, and we're going to deal with just one vocal at a time. In other words, I'm not going to edit the vox doubles with the lead vocal. This is strictly the lead, and we can mute out the other vocals right now to avoid any confusion, zoom in here. (music playing) I'll delete control at 134 and in its place I'll place control from 148 BPM.
Now this is a manual placement, there's nothing automatic about this so you have to use your ear, and just see how this sounds on the beat. (music playing) Okay, so I'll need to make an edit here. I'll make this a little bit bigger. I'll even loop this small section. (music playing) We might even need to do a Fade. (music playing) Let's go ahead and put a Fade In there. Load Fade Out, and I'll just pick a number of 250, an arbitrary number, it's probably a little bit too much, let's dial that back.
(music playing) That little hiccup might be on. (music playing) That's better. So we can do a quick Fade In on our edit point of the vocal at 148. Let's choose a number 75. (music playing) That cleans it up. And again, these are dry vocals. There's no reverb or any delays, a lot of the treatments that you'll put on the vocals will help smooth out some of these spots.
Now that we have the edit of the 148 BPM vocal with the 134 vocal sitting properly over the kick drum, let's address the Vox Doubles. Same process here with the next audio track. I'm moving this over so that visually I'm looking at waveforms that look very similar, one just happens to be an expanded version of the other. I'll do an edit here, and we can use our vocal up here as a reference point This should be control.
for where to place it. Now again, so much of this process depends on your ears. There's not a quantization setting or anything like that that will do this for you, this is manual. This is using your ears and paying attention to how things sound. Let's take a listen to the edit point, I'll back it up just a little but further. (music playing) The timing is right but the Edit point needs to be cleaned up. So, let's Solo out Vox Doubles. (music playing) Might be able to get away with a Fade, small Fade, I've used this so much now I just pretty much know that 50, 75, or 100 are small fades, and I just type it in this way.
(music playing) That cleans it up. Let's take listen to everything in context. (music playing) I would probably go a little bit further on the editing and clean up when I start to put my mix together. Again, the treatments with the delays and the reverbs really will help. We are listening to things so raw and so dry right now that every little nuance pokes out. With a built-up track, bass drum, some textures, you probably won't notice some of these idiosyncrasies.
But you have to go through the song like this and find the words and the spots in the song that feel a little bit off or maybe a little bit slow, and you replace that word if you're able to with the word from the original to help smooth out the phrasing. I would go through and find every instance in this song where the word control sounds like it did before I made the edit, and I would replace it just the way I did with this one edit point.