Newbie help needed - timestretching problems

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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headquest
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Location: UK

Newbie help needed - timestretching problems

Post by headquest » Wed Nov 10, 2004 3:41 pm

Hello all,

I hope someone can help, and sorry in advance if this has already bneen covered in other threads - I'm new around here (and new to Live).

My problem is:

I made a 12 bar pad loop using Reason's Maelstrom synth. I ReWired into Live audio track 1 and bounced the audio to track 2 to make an audio clip. In the clip properties I checked WARP and selected "textures" mode. So far so good....

But if I play the loop back and change the tempo - even by one degree - then the loop breaks up. Aaagh!

In a similar way, I made a longer project using audio loops (mostly from Reason or made in Adobe Audition) and it sounded great. Then I decided I wanted it to slow down in the final bars... so I automated a tempo change in the master channel of the arrange view....

Same result - the whole thing started breaking up as soon as the tempo change kicked in (only down from 120 to 112, so nothing drastic).

I know that Live is famous for its timestretching and pitch shifting excellence so I am at a loss... clearly I am doing something wrong! Without solving this Live is unusable... so PLEASE, PLEASE help!

headquest
Posts: 1191
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 11:32 am
Location: UK

Post by headquest » Wed Nov 10, 2004 9:44 pm

Please - can anyone help?

ethios4
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Post by ethios4 » Wed Nov 10, 2004 10:04 pm

The most likely reason for not getting a reply yet is that the exact same question gets asked at least once a week on this forum, with the exact same answer every time. Not at all meaning to be an ass, but its always best to check previous posts for a similar problem. On this subject there are many, many posts to be found. There are several very experienced users on this forum who often go out of their way to provide excellent detailed answers to many questions, but i suspect they grow tired of answering the same questions over and over...
To answer your question:
You have to learn through experience about the different Warp modes and how their parameters work. Try adjusting the Grain Size and Flux in Texture mode, or Grain Size in Tones mode. Through practice you will learn what the best settings are for any given piece of audio. There are times when you may not be able to get a satisfactory result, but most users seem to find these time few and far between.
Another factor that comes into play is the sample-rate and bit-depth of the files you're using. The higher the sample-rate and bit-depth, the more information is present in the audio file, and thus, the more information Live has to work with when stretching audio. If your final destination is CD, you'd probably do well with 88.1 kHz sample-rate, if DVD is your destination, use 96kHz if you can. I prefer 24-bit files, but you can probably get away with 16 if you want.
So dig in with those Warp modes and good luck in your quest! :)

headquest
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Location: UK

Post by headquest » Wed Nov 10, 2004 10:14 pm

Thank you very much for taking time to give a detailed answer - and for not biting my head off too severely! I did try to find other threads on the topic, but the only recent one that looked possibly relevant, the poerson asking the question was directed to another thread which I couldn't find! but I will dig further back and seek out detailed answers if I need to...

I can understand people getting bored of the same questions reappearing... I've been there and done that on the Tracktion and Adobe Audition forums!

In the meantime you've given a good pointer, for which I'm grateful. Being new to Live I possibly believed the magazine hype about how easy the program is. Certainly I can see that once you get the hang of some basics you can get up and running in little time at all... but having come from more traditional sequencers I find I am also on a real fast learning curve! I have already fallen seriously in love with Live, though, and think I may well end up using it as my main sequencing application once I get fully up and running with it.

To portray it as a simple program is inaccurate though - I already see that Live 4 is very deep, and will take time to learn and master. These different warp modes are a good case in point, so thanks again for the help! :)

ethios4
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2003 6:28 am

Post by ethios4 » Wed Nov 10, 2004 10:38 pm

Glad to be of service! I hope the advice helps!
Yeah, i wouldn't exactly call Live "easy" to learn anymore... i would call it "intuitive". The thing that sucked me in in the beginning was that i found it easy to figure out how to do what i wanted, as opposed to, say, Cubase, which i always find difficult to work with. Live really is a different kind of program, more of a software "instrument" than anything, and i think it pays to approach it differently than other programs. Live responds very well to an experimental attitude!
The more experienced users on this forum have probably been using Live since the early days when things were simpler...no Clip Envelopes, Follow Actions, VSTi, MIDI, all that...just time-stretching and FX (if even that!). So it might be a good approach to learn Live in the same way: start with basic Warping procedures, move on to Clip Automation, then jump into the more advanced stuff like routing, MIDI, etc...whatever works best for you, right?
For me, the Warp modes has been the hardest aspect of Live to learn... its really hard to tell someone what settings will work best... each person just has to learn it with their own ears.
One thing to keep in mind if you plan on using Live as your main sequencer - at present there is no Plugin-Delay-Compensation... meaning that each plugin you use will usually introduce a bit of latency, due to processing time, which will make each track be slightly off from the others. The amount of latency depends on the plugin : Reverb plugins usually have a lot of latency, while a flanger would have relatively little. This is an issue that hopefully will be resolved by Ableton in the near future, but at present there are a few workarounds, mostly in Tips & Tricks somewhere, i believe. Maybe search for "SIR reverb"...
Sorry for being snappy earlier... welcome to Live!

supster
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Post by supster » Wed Nov 10, 2004 11:00 pm

Actually .. going from 120 to 112 is not really a small jump. The more the difference is from the original BPM, the more likely you will hear digital stretching artifacts ..

headquest
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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 11:32 am
Location: UK

Post by headquest » Wed Nov 10, 2004 11:14 pm

Thanks again for the advice :)

I'm already getting better results with the clip I was previously strunggling with... I see what you mean about working out the warp modes with a bit of trial and error. I'm one of these logical types who looks out for an A-Z answer - but I need to use my ears more, clearly!!

Thanks for the welcome! I'm loving Live, like I said, but I realise lack of PDC could pose problems, and I agree that it would be good to see this implemented in a future update. To be honest, I'm not sure whether any of my plugs are likely to be a problem or not, because I'm used to wroking in Tracktion, which has full PDC. Good thought that was, I think Live is a more exciting program right now 8)

Also I tend to do some of my effecting destructively using Audition (which I love), but I think that using Live will probably change that, too! 8)

The only other problem/mystery so far has been this thing where the automation on a track goes into the background/takes on a new shade and stops doing it;s thing. Something clever is clearly going on, and I'll no doubt work out what in due course!!

Cheers

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