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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
During this chapter, I'll be using Ableton Live on the Mac platform for the demonstration. The menu choices and keyboard shortcuts I'll be using are for that DAW and platform only. If you are using a different DAW or if you're on a different platform, obviously you'll be using different keyboard shortcuts and menus but the remixing concepts will be the same. If you need a refresher on your DAW of choice, please seek out the Essential Training title for that DAW on the online training library here at lynda.com. Additionally, you can reference the chapter in this course, where I do you use your DAW for the demonstration.
And I'll show you the basic Remixing Tools and Techniques for that DAW and then return to this movie and go through this chapter's concepts with the techniques appropriate to your situation in mind. We begin with the blank session in Ableton Live. I already know the BPM of the song because the engineer was kind enough to put them in the title of the vocal stems. Let's take a look. We have Lead and Background vocals WET and DRY 104 beats per minute. So we already know what the BPM of the song is lets change it here in Ableton, and let's bring the original version in.
So we can take a listen to it, I was given an MP3, and I'll drag it into the Arrange window, but again, turning my volume down because I don't know how loud this file is. We'll turn off Warping feature in Ableton so that we're just listening to the MP3, and start our song pointer at measure 1 and take a listen. (music playing) So you get the idea, now we can actually clear this out of the Arrange window we wont need it, and I'll turn this to none. Before we import the vocals, I'll take a moment to bring a kick drum into the session.
And I am able to access the kick drum I'll show you where this folder lives, inside Lives Library folder, we have a Samples Folder and a Waveforms folder, a Drums Folder, and a Kick Folder. So here are some kick drum samples that come with the Ableton live Sound Library. (music playing) I like the way this kick drum sounds. So I'll bring this one in, drop it at measure 1 and distribute it on each Quarter note of the measure.
I can highlight one full measure and use Command+D and Copy and Paste throughout the song. We'll take it up to about 105 measures, that should be plenty to put the vocals against it. Let's label this track. And now let's return to Browser number 2, Ableton has three browsers here. As you can see. We'll return our song to measure 1, as well as our review.
Let's create, and we'll create another five or six tracks of audio because I'm going to bring in both the Wet and Dry vocals. First we'll bring in the Dry Lead Vocal, and as I import each audio file, the very first thing I'm going to do is turn off the Warp feature in Ableton. Ableton likes to calculate the BPM of the audio files that are being imported, I turn off the Warp feature.
I now highlight the track up here in the Arrange window, and I hit Command+J, creates a consolidation, and now Ableton creates a new Waveform overview with a warp marker beginning truly where the audio file begins. And as you can see, our Segment BPM is at 104 beats per minute. I'll select Complex Pro because I know that, that will give me the best possible time stretching algorithm option, when it comes to speeding up the vocals.
So we have our Dry Lead, now let's bring in our Dry Background vocals, and we will do the same thing. Turn off the Warp feature, grab this handle, slide all the way to the left, go back up to the Arrange window, hit Command+J and consolidate. For those of you moving from Ableton 7 to Ableton 8, you'll notice that this warping engine is quite different, and it might take a moment to get used to some of its new features. And I'll label my tracks as I bring them in to avoid any confusion.
So Lead_dry and BG_dry. Just to make sure that both of these are sitting properly against the Grid, we can see that they are actually the same size, go up here to the end and both them end and exactly measure 105. Next I'll bring the Wet vocals in, disengage the Warp feature slide handle all way to the left, highlight the track, hit Command+J. And while it's calculating it won't let me name the track while it's consolidating.
We will name this Lead wet, and finally we'll bring in the wet background vocals. Excellent. Let's label this track, BG Wet, and we can see that all of the audio files are the same length which is the way they should be because they were all bounced out starting from the same place from the original session.
So the files themselves are all the same size in terms of megabytes. I'll bring the volume down because again I don't know how loud these are, and we're going to take a listen to the Wet vocals first, so I'll mute these out, disengage this tracks. Our kick drum is in, and before we listen to any audio I want to take a moment to explain what we refer to in remixing as the 10% Time Stretch rule. It's a rule that surfaced years ago when time stretching applications and software and even some hardware didn't have the algorithms that they have today.
In other words, we were much more limited back then in terms of how far we could stretch a vocal. I like to think of the 10% Time Stretch rule in this fashion, if the Source BPM is 104 beats per minute, take 10% of that number, which is roughly over 10, so we can start by adding 10 BPM and taking this up to 114 beats per minute and listening to what that sounds like. You're generally safe with time stretching in either direction, when you're applying the 10% time stretching rule.
Once you get outside of that number, it's possible that you'll start to hear some degradation in the audio.