QOTD: How do you handle speeding up audio?

June 28, 2010 | 5 Comments

Photo courtesy of Travy

June 28th, 2010 – Remember when I said that I’d learn how to use Ableton Live by doing a mash-up that I’d already done in Logic? Well this weekend I sat down with Ableton and warped some tracks. I liked how easy warping was to perform in Ableton (I haven’t yet installed Logic 9 to try the Flextime as a comparison), although when I sped up the track 25% (something I had done successfully in Logic), it sounded like crap. I think it had something to do with the priority Ableton puts on performance over fidelity, especially as it seems to do the calculations on-the-fly, rather than destructively like Logic and other tools.

Producer/DJ CJ Milli suggested that I use Audacity and speed up the track, and then re-import into Ableton. Jon Tidey from AudioGeekZine suggested offline plugins within Reaper and Protools. I think I’ll speed up the track in Logic and re-import it into Ableton. I may have to re-warp the track but that shouldn’t take long now that I’m know what I’m doing. Hopefully the fidelity will be decent, and I’ll be able to try out some of the cool tricks I’ve seen Ableton folks performing.

My question to you is, how do you deal with audio that needs to be stretched a fair bit and still retain the key? Do you have a favorite technique? Do you use specific software?

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  1. Sébastien Orban says: June 29, 2010

    Change the algo use to change the speed : beat is what’s used by default, but most of the time I got to use complex or complex 2, both who are way heavier on the CPU.

  2. Ed says: June 29, 2010

    I’ll echo Sebastian. Live has a range of warping algorithms for different source material. If you haven’t already, I’d suggest trying them all out to see which one produces results closest to what you’re looking for.

  3. Will says: June 29, 2010

    I agree, Ableton using the complex pro algorithm. Reaper also has an algorithm called Elastique Pro (i think?) built in. To do destructive editing in Ableton you can always warp it, speed it up and render it out. (A quick way to render is by freezing the processed track and dragging the clip to another track, it’ll create a separate new wav file.)

  4. cheakypawl says: June 30, 2010

    using ableton to warp is not as straight forward as one might think. certainly the quality is a moot point. i’ll cut straight to it – there are 2 high quality settings. BEAT warp is almost perfect IF the music fits the kind of beat you use. usually 1/8ths or 1/16ths will be great for a fair amount of speed changes. the other high quality setting is COMPLEX PRO but you need to adjust the extra customisable settings to FORMANTS 100 and ENVELOPE 8. try stretching something rich like an orchestra with high notes and increase the ENVELOPE, you’ll hear aliasing creep in. This setting is the most cpu intensive too. It’s good that Ableton allow you to alter these settings, because you can get the most out your set up.
    In the past, i’ve used SERATO pitch n time pro to stretch stuff quite a bit and been very happy but there are some great alternatives out there now.

  5. Cooper Fuqua says: September 16, 2010

    i have found that pro tools elastic audio works fairly well. especially if you have an HD system. but lets face it, how many of us can actually afford a home pro tools|HD system. it also gives you a color contrast little note when you’ve stretched the file past its potential limit.


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