Slowing down your samples WITHOUT it sounding rubbish?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Citizen
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Slowing down your samples WITHOUT it sounding rubbish?

Post by Citizen » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:48 pm

I recently worked on a track using sampled breakbeats and came to the realization of how utterly rubbish Ableton Live is at slowing down samples. Honestly, even playing back these breaks at 2-3bpm slower sounded atrocious!

I thought Live was supposed to be good at this sort of thing!

I tried using both the Beats and Complex Pro modes to warp the sample, but jus came to the conclusion that slowIng your samples in the digital realm is simply a big no-no.

Am I doing something wrong, or is there a workaround that will permit a bit more latitude with slowing down the speed of my samples? It would be nice to slow things down by 10-15bpmsometimes – but is that pushing my luck?

Warrior Bob
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Re: Slowing down your samples WITHOUT it sounding rubbish?

Post by Warrior Bob » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:00 pm

Live is pretty good at it, in the scheme of things. More specifically, the Elastique Pro algorithm that Live implements is.

Given that you literally have to make up data to slow something down digitally (assuming you don't want the perceived pitch to change), I'd say you can only hope for so much :)

I actually think Complex Pro sounds pretty good for most things, but when using samples I usually take a tour of the different warp modes before I commit to one.

icedsushi
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Re: Slowing down your samples WITHOUT it sounding rubbish?

Post by icedsushi » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:44 pm

Try using beats mode, set preserve to 1/16. Then in the box below that, set transient loop mode to off (single arrow pointing right) or forward (2 arrows pointing right). Then mess around with the transient envelope trying values less than 100%. This usually works well for me when slowing things down. The default loop back & forth setting (forward & back arrrows) isn't always the best for percussive material.

Especially if you turn off transient loop mode you can avoid any smearing. The lower you take the percentage with transient loop mode off, the more you will get a little space between each transient, but sometimes that can be a desired effect.

If that doesn't quite get you where you want it, slice to new midi track. Especially for breakbeats & percussion material slicing it will give you the best results for slowing down the tempo. If the gap between the slices it too abrupt, you can always soften it & fill it back in with a little reverb.

Fizmarble
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Re: Slowing down your samples WITHOUT it sounding rubbish?

Post by Fizmarble » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:49 pm

Beats will sound like crap for all but the simplest beats. Complex and Complex Pro are great for everything else. I almost always use regular Complex, but Complex Pro sounds better in certain circumstances, usually when the audio is more,...complex. I have not once in my years of using Live thought that Complex sounded bad at anything but extreme tempo changes, but what do you expect if you are altering by 80+ bpm? Still, I have used warping to extend guitar notes well beyond their natural decay, as well as to make a vocal note stop quicker to match an instrumental full stop, and pretty much everything in between.
http://www.youtube.com/user/TOGtracks Free Jam Tracks for Guitarists, Bassists, and Drummers

Citizen
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Re: Slowing down your samples WITHOUT it sounding rubbish?

Post by Citizen » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:14 am

Thanks for those great detailed responses guys - esp icedsushi - I haven't messed with those settings before, but will have a shot and report back.

Also, the slice to midi and add reverb trick sounds like a workable solution.

While we are on the subject of the abrupt cut to the decay of drum hits that you often get when slicing beats (for example the decay of a Ride cymbal, which will not have fully finished before the next hit in a loop) - is Reverb the only tool you can use to hide the abrupt cut to the decay once it hase been sliced?

Or is there some other way of convincingly extending the decay, someone mentioned that they use warping to do this. Keen to hear any tips or techniques in this too!

Thanks again!

snakedogman
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Re: Slowing down your samples WITHOUT it sounding rubbish?

Post by snakedogman » Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:02 pm

Citizen wrote:Thanks for those great detailed responses guys - esp icedsushi - I haven't messed with those settings before, but will have a shot and report back.
So... you came here slagging off Live and telling us how "utterly rubbish" it is at slowing down beat samples and then you admit you didn't even take the time to examine the actual settings of the warp mode called "beats"??

Maybe try asking nicely for advice (or, you know, rtfm) first before throwing a tantrum?

keefbaker
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Re: Slowing down your samples WITHOUT it sounding rubbish?

Post by keefbaker » Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:27 am

oh, and when it comes to these algorithms if you work on divisible numbers you'll see it works better, a slow of 2-3bpm is the worst whereas reducing 160 to 120 would cause less audio artifacts because it's a comfortably divisible number.

dna598
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Re: Slowing down your samples WITHOUT it sounding rubbish?

Post by dna598 » Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:55 am

Some serious user error on the part of the op. severe case of RTFM.

You can,t just fling a breakbeat in and expect it to sound pristine when you slow it down....most of the time.

Perhaps he should try to make sure his transients are bang on tight, experiment with the preserve settings, and try slicing.

As for the ride cymbals getting chopped when slowing down, I wonder if he ever tried putting a ping pong loop on the end of them.

Didn't think so.
ctrl + left/right = select transient

ctrl + shift + left/right = select between transients

ctrl + space = play selection

dna598
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Re: Slowing down your samples WITHOUT it sounding rubbish?

Post by dna598 » Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:56 am

Or try recycle.
ctrl + left/right = select transient

ctrl + shift + left/right = select between transients

ctrl + space = play selection

agent314
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Re: Slowing down your samples WITHOUT it sounding rubbish?

Post by agent314 » Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:29 pm

At least he's getting his money's worth...

Citizen
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Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:34 am

Re: Slowing down your samples WITHOUT it sounding rubbish?

Post by Citizen » Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:51 am

Far out guys - I'm still learning - give a guy a break. 8O

FYI - I've read large parts of the manual - but alas, I don't have photographic memory. And no, I don't just expect to slow down breaks dramatically without their being some consequence, I just want to know what the best ways to minimise the negative effects, so I can get a better understanding of where that threshold lies.

And no, of course I haven't put a Ping Pong loop on my ride cymbal you smarmy bastard. How the hell would I have known to do that? I suppose you were born with an intuitive knowledge of such things?

To everyone else who gave me some good advice, without the side-order of condescention, as I said, cheers - it IS appreciated! :wink:

Citizen
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Re: Slowing down your samples WITHOUT it sounding rubbish?

Post by Citizen » Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:56 am

For the record I just tried icedsushi's suggestions, and it helped the situation considerably. Nice one.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Citizen
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Re: Slowing down your samples WITHOUT it sounding rubbish?

Post by Citizen » Sun Mar 25, 2012 12:02 pm

.

dna598
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Re: Slowing down your samples WITHOUT it sounding rubbish?

Post by dna598 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 12:48 pm

Haha, u were asking for it.

noob.
ctrl + left/right = select transient

ctrl + shift + left/right = select between transients

ctrl + space = play selection

Citizen
Posts: 752
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:34 am

Re: Slowing down your samples WITHOUT it sounding rubbish?

Post by Citizen » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:55 am

Does this sort of thing make you feel clever?

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