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[TUTORIAL] Dealing with multitrack files (p2: Ableton Live)

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[TUTORIAL] Dealing with multitrack files (p2: Ableton Live)

Postby totom on Sat Jul 12, 2008 2:48 pm

Here's a tutorial which tells you how to beatmap (or apply warp in our case) several tracks coming from the same multitrack pack identically, so that you can either rebuild an instrumental or your own arrangement or beatmap an acapella with the help on another track (a drum track for example) which has the exact same timing (both being part of the same multitrack). Of course, it's done in a way you can edit easily your arrangement into Ableton Live as everything in time.
Look for "multitracks" into google to see why I'm concentrating on the multitracks subject. Also, this tutorial will be useless if you don't know at least a little Ableton Live, by doing the tutorials or reading the manual a bit.

But let's dive into our multitracks suddenly coming out from nowhere, you'll understand if this still seems a little bit obscure to you:

In this tutorial, I'm using a Cars' song multitrack, which comes from the RockBand game (see part 1), and I drag 'n' drop one of the drum tracks (preferably the Bass Drum or "Drums Room Wide"). Imagining there's no drums in a song, you just take the most rhythmic instrument.

Image

Here I took the Bass Drum track, Live's Warp created a first grid of markers all over the clip. We absolutely need to fix the markers more precisely, never keep Live's first analysis as is (unless it's a simple loop of course). Let's zoom where the first bass drum hits:

Image

We begin by creating a Warp mark at the first kick. Also you should keep the first mark (or create it if it doesn't exist yet) and stick it right at the beginning even if it's silent, it can be helpful for further reasons.

Image

More precisely, you get this:

Image

Don't bother zooming frankly, and always put the mark just right before the percussion shot or the played note.

However, before being more precise in our warping process, I like to distribute the warp more regularly into the song, for example every 4 measures here seems appropriate.

Image

For the moment, we just determine which warp we're going to keep, and which frequency (the more the tempo is constant, the less warp you'll need).

Doing this way, we're coming from the picture above to something like this:

Image

In a larger view:

Image

Afterwards, we just tweak the markers we kept one by one and check if other warp markers are needed between the existing ones.

Before:

Image

Afterwards:

Image

For example here, we need to add another marker between 7.1.1 and 12.1.1:

Image

Like this:

Image

When you've done for all the track -- or in our case for the drum track -- (don't be too maniac on placing your markers, if you have a doubt, listen to certain parts with the metronome and check if you really hear the difference). So, when it's over, drag 'n' drop the acapella of the same song (or multitrack). Here's what you should see if you never put the sound into Ableton Live before.

Image

Wait until it's over and when it's done, you just remark Live completely messed up your markers.

Image

Wait, no, your work has not been lost, don't throw your computer across the room, stay in front of it.
Because, when you're there, just use the Edit > Cancel function (Ctrl+Z) to get back to the previous markers. Live will just disable your clip (which by then will look grey into your arrangement) and you only need to switch it on.
Nevertheless, sometimes, even if you're doing everything well, Live doesn't want to keep the markers you've set before on the file you want to use instead. To stick the markers from one clip to another, you just bring the file (acapella or other track) into your arrangement. In the clip that's been properly warped, you just select the markers one by one, beginning with marker n∞1 which is right at the beginning. By then, you just select the markers one after another, one by one (it's almost as painful as warping your track.. Ctrl+click, Ctrl+click, Ctrl+click...). Then you copy and paste over the acapella or any other track. You just need to pay attention the first warp marker is right at the beginning before you paste it over the acapella (here's the reason of the mysterious marker added in a previous step).

Image

So here's what you get in the end, listen to your vocals track (or another track) with the metronome, if you followed closely the instructions, it's perfectly in time into your project.

In multitrack mode, here's what you get:

Image

In our case, everything plays together well and in time with the project, you can also switch on the Master Tempo of any track so the sound will remain just like untouched.

Of course, it's the same process you run through with the playback created into part 3 of this tutorial.

With this and the following tutorial, you have no excuse anymore to do a bootleg or remix with vocals not perfectly in time, and if, perhaps, this is more complicated and boring than before, at least you don't do this while arranging as it becomes a lot easier as everything in time and the "polishing" phase becomes a real pleasure as you don't need to spot on every word that's not perfectly in time (this doesn't mean you don't need to listen and control if your mix is OK). When every beat is matched like that, you can do your mix without worrying about if it will remain perfectly in time, if you do things well, it will.
Last edited by acapella on Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: r
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Postby acapella on Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:03 am

A quite remarkable tutorial don't you think guys of how to WARP using the Dogs Bollocks of all programme EVER invented for this work!

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Postby otg on Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:41 pm

I must get round to learning how to use Ableton, the warping function seems so much more powerful than anything in Acid Pro... dang and blast these steep learning curves!
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Re: [TUTORIAL] Dealing with multitrack files (p2: Ableton Li

Postby mic_cim on Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:53 pm

good stuff
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Re: [TUTORIAL] Dealing with multitrack files (p2: Ableton Li

Postby acapella on Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:21 pm

All images restored once again inside the wonderful tutorial all about Dealing with multitrack files using Ableton Live
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Re: [TUTORIAL] Dealing with multitrack files (p2: Ableton Li

Postby totom on Wed May 04, 2016 1:38 pm

Here's another tutorial with fixed links for pictures:

Here's a tutorial which tells you how to beatmap (or apply warp in our case) several tracks coming from the same multitrack pack identically, so that you can either rebuild an instrumental or your own arrangement or beatmap an acapella with the help on another track (a drum track for example) which has the exact same timing (both being part of the same multitrack). Of course, it's done in a way you can edit easily your arrangement into Ableton Live as everything in time.
Look for "multitracks" into google to see why I'm concentrating on the multitracks subject. Also, this tutorial will be useless if you don't know at least a little Ableton Live, by doing the tutorials or reading the manual a bit.

But let's dive into our multitracks suddenly coming out from nowhere, you'll understand if this still seems a little bit obscure to you:

In this tutorial, I'm using a Cars' song multitrack, which comes from the RockBand game (see part 1), and I drag 'n' drop one of the drum tracks (preferably the Bass Drum or "Drums Room Wide"). Imagining there's no drums in a song, you just take the most rhythmic instrument.

Image

Here I took the Bass Drum track, Live's Warp created a first grid of markers all over the clip. We absolutely need to fix the markers more precisely, never keep Live's first analysis as is (unless it's a simple loop of course). Let's zoom where the first bass drum hits:

Image

We begin by creating a Warp mark at the first kick. Also you should keep the first mark (or create it if it doesn't exist yet) and stick it right at the beginning even if it's silent, it can be helpful for further reasons.

Image

More precisely, you get this:

Image

Don't bother zooming frankly, and always put the mark just right before the percussion shot or the played note.

However, before being more precise in our warping process, I like to distribute the warp more regularly into the song, for example every 4 measures here seems appropriate.

Image

For the moment, we just determine which warp we're going to keep, and which frequency (the more the tempo is constant, the less warp you'll need).

Doing this way, we're coming from the picture above to something like this:

Image

In a larger view:

Image

Afterwards, we just tweak the markers we kept one by one and check if other warp markers are needed between the existing ones.

Before:

Image

Afterwards:

Image

For example here, we need to add another marker between 7.1.1 and 12.1.1:

Image

Like this:

Image

When you've done for all the track -- or in our case for the drum track -- (don't be too maniac on placing your markers, if you have a doubt, listen to certain parts with the metronome and check if you really hear the difference). So, when it's over, drag 'n' drop the acapella of the same song (or multitrack). Here's what you should see if you never put the sound into Ableton Live before.

Image

Wait until it's over and when it's done, you just remark Live completely messed up your markers.

Image

Wait, no, your work has not been lost, don't throw your computer across the room, stay in front of it.
Because, when you're there, just use the Edit > Cancel function (Ctrl+Z) to get back to the previous markers. Live will just disable your clip (which by then will look grey into your arrangement) and you only need to switch it on.
Nevertheless, sometimes, even if you're doing everything well, Live doesn't want to keep the markers you've set before on the file you want to use instead. To stick the markers from one clip to another, you just bring the file (acapella or other track) into your arrangement. In the clip that's been properly warped, you just select the markers one by one, beginning with marker n∞1 which is right at the beginning. By then, you just select the markers one after another, one by one (it's almost as painful as warping your track.. Ctrl+click, Ctrl+click, Ctrl+click...). Then you copy and paste over the acapella or any other track. You just need to pay attention the first warp marker is right at the beginning before you paste it over the acapella (here's the reason of the mysterious marker added in a previous step).

Image

So here's what you get in the end, listen to your vocals track (or another track) with the metronome, if you followed closely the instructions, it's perfectly in time into your project.

In multitrack mode, here's what you get:

Image

In our case, everything plays together well and in time with the project, you can also switch on the Master Tempo of any track so the sound will remain just like untouched.

Of course, it's the same process you run through with the playback created into part 3 of this tutorial.

With this and the following tutorial, you have no excuse anymore to do a bootleg or remix with vocals not perfectly in time, and if, perhaps, this is more complicated and boring than before, at least you don't do this while arranging as it becomes a lot easier as everything in time and the "polishing" phase becomes a real pleasure as you don't need to spot on every word that's not perfectly in time (this doesn't mean you don't need to listen and control if your mix is OK). When every beat is matched like that, you can do your mix without worrying about if it will remain perfectly in time, if you do things well, it will.
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