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[STEP BY STEP] Using Ableton Live to create a constant tempo

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[STEP BY STEP] Using Ableton Live to create a constant tempo

Postby totom on Fri Jun 30, 2006 3:33 pm

After exploiting 5.1 audio sources (for multichannel SaCD, it's simple, you just need a hardware SaCD decoder and record each analog output or the ones you interested in), we're going to see howto make constant, in a quite easy way, the tempo of a regular song in which tempo varies (we're talking about anything that's basically not hip hop or electronic music) using Ableton Live.

I'd like to thank comar and payroll for telling me this technique.

From the point of view where we're having a lot of fun with acapella extractions from Ziggy Stardust's 5.1 mix, I'll do a brief part where I'm gonna explain how to proceed to fix the tempo of any acapella.
To do that, we're gonna use channel 3 (containing the vocals in general) and one of the first 2 channels on which we're gonna apply the following steps in Audition, so that we get the original track on one side and the acapella on the other. We need to open channel 1 or 2 and convert it in stereo, just like this:

Image

If it's already in stereo, select right channel et push "Suppr" key (same as a Mute or Silence function).

Then, open the acapella, select all the content and copy it.

Image

On the other file, select the empty channel (the right in our case).

Image

Then, paste the acpella in it.

Image

Save. Quite simple, isn't it?

----------------------------------------------

The following part applies to any song in which tempo varies slightly (you'd better have clear marks of rhythms into the song).

Open Ableton Live, get into Arrangement Mode (or whatever it's called, just look at the pictures to find out)

Image

Drag and drop the file which we want to set the tempo straight into an Audio channel, let Live analyse it (for more clarity, I applied the treatment on left channel only -- in fact, I made the previous steps in Audition after I set the tempo in Live).

Image

In the lower part, zoom into the track's beginning, before the vocals begin obviously.

Image

Put the number 1 mark on a clear mark of rhythm (try to choose the beginning of a measure), by clicking right > Set 1.1.1 Here. Double click in the grey ruler to create that mark in case it's not here.

Image

In general, Live detects approximatively the song's tempo. From this point, you just have to correct the tempo fluctuations telling on which time is that kick or that snare drum. Do that on a time that's quite shifted from where it should be:

Image

Double-click on a time that looks shifted, here 4.3, and move it on the exact time (beware to the drummer's playing, pick a drum shot that seems as well placed as possible). You can move it even more precisely using the zoom.

Image

Adjust the working tempo, so that it will be close enough to original approximate tempo.

Image

If you notice at one moment every marks are shifting progressively and you don't want to move every time over few measures, you can select the time from where the shift is happening.

Image

Then, you define the tempo from this time.
Click right > Warp from here (you can choose between few options).

Image

Do this 'til the end if possible, until you can at least. Move each time that seems important to you, it's useless to do it for each measure but it's also useless to do it too largely.
When you're finished, you should get a forest of rhythm marks.

Image

Into the arranger, stick the song to the measure marks, select a bit wider part than the song itself (see last image) and click on File > Convert to hard drive...

Image

In the exportation window, select the right options (the analyse file is not mandatory and unclick Convert into mono if your source is stereophonic).
Click OK. Your file is at the tempo you've chosen (by the way I advise you to set right now the tempo you're gonna work with the file).

In fact, in my example, I made it backwards, and did the first steps in Audition after I set the song into the right tempo, then re-opened the exported file from Audition so that Ableton Live sets it to the right tempo. It's just a different way to do, a bit more complicated.

Image

On this picture, you see well the zone that'll be exported so you don't find yourself with a cut or too long file.

Before I discovered this technique, I used to cut a song into pieces using Audition so I could import them into Acid, but this particular technique has the advantage of preserving the unity of the song and not to have to carry a dozen of different loop files (even if the latest Acid version deals well with it).

-----------------------------------------------

Let's go back into Audition, and open the obtained stereo file with constant chosen tempo.

Image

Select the channnel containing the acapella then "Save the selection as" (in our case "Five Years (acapella)").
Now we're done, he're an acapella with the right tempo, all ready to be mashed, cut and mixed up.
Last edited by acapella on Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Restored all of the image links :)
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Postby dramaproductions on Thu Jul 06, 2006 11:09 pm

Great tutorial - seems like a great solution to a very common problem!

Can't wait to try it!!!
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Postby djeswift on Fri Aug 11, 2006 11:41 am

Great tutorial man, I have Live and could use some more tutorials so I can get the most out of it. I'll be hitting you up with some help questions soon I'm sure;)
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Postby acapella on Fri Aug 11, 2006 2:10 pm

djeswift wrote:Great tutorial man, I have Live and could use some more tutorials so I can get the most out of it. I'll be hitting you up with some help questions soon I'm sure;)


tomtom's one of our very own Tutorial writers eswift & I also love Ableton Live so feel free to pump me a question via AIM.
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Postby alainpolis on Sat Jan 06, 2007 3:00 pm

Very Good Tutorial.. Tnx for the post
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Postby leo on Thu Jan 18, 2007 11:01 am

thanx i'll give this a try too :D
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Postby fasten on Mon Apr 09, 2007 3:22 pm

Thank you very much guy for this tutorial!! :cheesy:
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thanks

Postby Tlew41 on Tue May 22, 2007 11:42 pm

that helps alot! thanks!
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Postby Bekay on Sun Jun 17, 2007 4:17 am

interesting - I might give this a try right now
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Postby Juggernaut on Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:47 pm

[quote-"djnando"]thnx[/quote]
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Postby mofdonk on Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:03 am

very useful info here thanks alot
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Postby p.illa on Wed Dec 24, 2008 9:32 pm

I just started using Ableton, I find it pretty hard but yeh I have to sit down and read your post and try it, cuz I need this for doing remixes. Thanks.
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Postby sushi1 on Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:51 pm

sorry i'm new here i though it was the right place to ask a question about ableton live 7.
i just bought it after trying the Trial version because i'm very much into mashup songs, so Ableton sound like perfect for this kind of thing. I was trying to mashup Naughty by Nature's hip hop hooray with the intro of The GZA's Knock Knock it sounded kind of crapy but there was some idea behind it. So i most tutorials to see if there was anything that could help me, but i didn't found anything. someone can help me with this stuff ? thx.
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Postby Reggie_p75 on Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:25 pm

Im an Acid user (the software NOT the chemical :D ) and also use SoundForge.

I've used 2 techniques:- Old Skool n Nu Skool

Old Skool :-

You chop up ur track into 1 bar/2bar/4 bar loops n sequence them back together, totally avoiding the dodgy timing that 70s funky drummers had or the warp of vinyl (or some other crap that nessitates loop making). Gets good results tho time consuming. Timing is tighter when compared to playback of both the original n the 're-grooved' version... to test, play a 4/4 beat centre panned, the old track left n the 're-grooved' track right.. see the difference... NO sorry, hear the difference!!!!

Nu Skool:-

Use the similar function in ur software (Acid/Ableton) and 're-groove' the track to fit timing. Gets similarly good results but is ALSO very time consuming.. can be confusing for a newcomer who doesnt understand musical timing n stuff, yet should have some understanding timing.


I do both... sometimes with a track that has heavy drum rolls or percussive rolls i chop my loops 2 beats in then 4 beats after that. then ur hitting the mid point of a 4 bar loop n usually dont have to contend with drum rolls and the like.

I have used the new-fangled software 're-groove' function but still enjoy the laborious loop cutting, knowing that its as tight as hell.. no lazy beats for me
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Postby sushi1 on Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:59 pm

[quote="Reggie_p75"]Im an Acid user (the software NOT the chemical :D ) and also use SoundForge.

I've used 2 techniques:- Old Skool n Nu Skool

Old Skool :-

You chop up ur track into 1 bar/2bar/4 bar loops n sequence them back together, totally avoiding the dodgy timing that 70s funky drummers had or the warp of vinyl (or some other crap that nessitates loop making). Gets good results tho time consuming. Timing is tighter when compared to playback of both the original n the 're-grooved' version... to test, play a 4/4 beat centre panned, the old track left n the 're-grooved' track right.. see the difference... NO sorry, hear the difference!!!!

Nu Skool:-

Use the similar function in ur software (Acid/Ableton) and 're-groove' the track to fit timing. Gets similarly good results but is ALSO very time consuming.. can be confusing for a newcomer who doesnt understand musical timing n stuff, yet should have some understanding timing.


I do both... sometimes with a track that has heavy drum rolls or percussive rolls i chop my loops 2 beats in then 4 beats after that. then ur hitting the mid point of a 4 bar loop n usually dont have to contend with drum rolls and the like.

I have used the new-fangled software 're-groove' function but still enjoy the laborious loop cutting, knowing that its as tight as hell.. no lazy beats for me[/quote]


strugling to understand, but i think the problem come mainly from the fact that GZA's Knock Knock seems to be like a 3/4th because of the variation and the beat is still a 4/4th sounds wierd to me like that but if you hear the song, you may understand.
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Postby Reggie_p75 on Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:56 pm

sushi1 wrote:
Reggie_p75 wrote:Im an Acid user (the software NOT the chemical :D ) and also use SoundForge.

I've used 2 techniques:- Old Skool n Nu Skool

Old Skool :-

You chop up ur track into 1 bar/2bar/4 bar loops n sequence them back together, totally avoiding the dodgy timing that 70s funky drummers had or the warp of vinyl (or some other crap that nessitates loop making). Gets good results tho time consuming. Timing is tighter when compared to playback of both the original n the 're-grooved' version... to test, play a 4/4 beat centre panned, the old track left n the 're-grooved' track right.. see the difference... NO sorry, hear the difference!!!!

Nu Skool:-

Use the similar function in ur software (Acid/Ableton) and 're-groove' the track to fit timing. Gets similarly good results but is ALSO very time consuming.. can be confusing for a newcomer who doesnt understand musical timing n stuff, yet should have some understanding timing.


I do both... sometimes with a track that has heavy drum rolls or percussive rolls i chop my loops 2 beats in then 4 beats after that. then ur hitting the mid point of a 4 bar loop n usually dont have to contend with drum rolls and the like.

I have used the new-fangled software 're-groove' function but still enjoy the laborious loop cutting, knowing that its as tight as hell.. no lazy beats for me



strugling to understand, but i think the problem come mainly from the fact that GZA's Knock Knock seems to be like a 3/4th because of the variation and the beat is still a 4/4th sounds wierd to me like that but if you hear the song, you may understand.


Apologies.. forgot to mention my loop cutting was referring to general pop/dance material where the beat is 4/4. I guess a 3/4 loop would be difficult to cut unless u had reference points relevant to 3/4 timing.. No doubt there is an option deep down in the depths of modern software to help..

Anyone help with that??
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Re: [STEP BY STEP] Using Ableton Live to create a constant tempo

Postby Omega192 on Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:39 am

It's great to see such a large amount of Ableton Live tutorials, thank you! :]
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Re: [STEP BY STEP] Using Ableton Live to create a constant t

Postby mic_cim on Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:21 pm

thanks
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Re: [STEP BY STEP] Using Ableton Live to create a constant t

Postby acapella on Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:26 pm

All images restored inside this Tutorial from Totom
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Re: [STEP BY STEP] Using Ableton Live to create a constant t

Postby totom on Wed May 04, 2016 1:36 pm

There, I fixed the links again:

After exploiting 5.1 audio sources (for multichannel SaCD, it's simple, you just need a hardware SaCD decoder and record each analog output or the ones you interested in), we're going to see howto make constant, in a quite easy way, the tempo of a regular song in which tempo varies (we're talking about anything that's basically not hip hop or electronic music) using Ableton Live.

I'd like to thank comar and payroll for telling me this technique.

From the point of view where we're having a lot of fun with acapella extractions from Ziggy Stardust's 5.1 mix, I'll do a brief part where I'm gonna explain how to proceed to fix the tempo of any acapella.
To do that, we're gonna use channel 3 (containing the vocals in general) and one of the first 2 channels on which we're gonna apply the following steps in Audition, so that we get the original track on one side and the acapella on the other. We need to open channel 1 or 2 and convert it in stereo, just like this:

Image

If it's already in stereo, select right channel et push "Suppr" key (same as a Mute or Silence function).

Then, open the acapella, select all the content and copy it.

Image

On the other file, select the empty channel (the right in our case).

Image

Then, paste the acpella in it.

Image

Save. Quite simple, isn't it?

----------------------------------------------

The following part applies to any song in which tempo varies slightly (you'd better have clear marks of rhythms into the song).

Open Ableton Live, get into Arrangement Mode (or whatever it's called, just look at the pictures to find out)

Image

Drag and drop the file which we want to set the tempo straight into an Audio channel, let Live analyse it (for more clarity, I applied the treatment on left channel only -- in fact, I made the previous steps in Audition after I set the tempo in Live).

Image

In the lower part, zoom into the track's beginning, before the vocals begin obviously.

Image

Put the number 1 mark on a clear mark of rhythm (try to choose the beginning of a measure), by clicking right > Set 1.1.1 Here. Double click in the grey ruler to create that mark in case it's not here.

Image

In general, Live detects approximatively the song's tempo. From this point, you just have to correct the tempo fluctuations telling on which time is that kick or that snare drum. Do that on a time that's quite shifted from where it should be:

Image

Double-click on a time that looks shifted, here 4.3, and move it on the exact time (beware to the drummer's playing, pick a drum shot that seems as well placed as possible). You can move it even more precisely using the zoom.

Image

Adjust the working tempo, so that it will be close enough to original approximate tempo.

Image

If you notice at one moment every marks are shifting progressively and you don't want to move every time over few measures, you can select the time from where the shift is happening.

Image

Then, you define the tempo from this time.
Click right > Warp from here (you can choose between few options).

Image

Do this 'til the end if possible, until you can at least. Move each time that seems important to you, it's useless to do it for each measure but it's also useless to do it too largely.
When you're finished, you should get a forest of rhythm marks.

Image

Into the arranger, stick the song to the measure marks, select a bit wider part than the song itself (see last image) and click on File > Convert to hard drive...

Image

In the exportation window, select the right options (the analyse file is not mandatory and unclick Convert into mono if your source is stereophonic).
Click OK. Your file is at the tempo you've chosen (by the way I advise you to set right now the tempo you're gonna work with the file).

In fact, in my example, I made it backwards, and did the first steps in Audition after I set the song into the right tempo, then re-opened the exported file from Audition so that Ableton Live sets it to the right tempo. It's just a different way to do, a bit more complicated.

Image

On this picture, you see well the zone that'll be exported so you don't find yourself with a cut or too long file.

Before I discovered this technique, I used to cut a song into pieces using Audition so I could import them into Acid, but this particular technique has the advantage of preserving the unity of the song and not to have to carry a dozen of different loop files (even if the latest Acid version deals well with it).

-----------------------------------------------

Let's go back into Audition, and open the obtained stereo file with constant chosen tempo.

Image

Select the channnel containing the acapella then "Save the selection as" (in our case "Five Years (acapella)").
Now we're done, he're an acapella with the right tempo, all ready to be mashed, cut and mixed up.
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