Remix Report Tips

Jay Spring’s Tip

Avoid warping in Ableton if you don’t have to.  I saw our friend Victor Menegaux of BarBangerz.com write something on Facebook a month or two ago, basically yelling at DJs for ruining the quality of songs by warping in Ableton.  It definitely made me think.  For those who don’t know, when you warp a song, the program does have to alter it somewhat.  Most of the time, it’s very subtle and you don’t really notice it, but still, it does take a little something from the original.  So if you are concerned about the quality of your stuff as much as we are, there is a simple fix you can make on most of your edits:  Take the warp off on the meat of the song AFTER your intro drums or AFTER the transition part.  We are all kinda spoiled these days with having our music perfectly gridded (warped) when we make edits.   But hopefully you all know that you can still drag unwarped parts of songs to where they belong by looking in closely at the waveforms (and using the previous portion of the song as a reference).  Here’s two simple examples of what I’m talking about…

1)  The Mikael Wills remix of Thrift Shop is 105 BPM.  However, the intro drums are 128 BPM.  I started by warping the whole thing.  Then, I cut and pasted the flat 105 BPM drums from the end of the song to the beginning to make an ALL 105 edit.  At the start of the 9th bar where I cut to the main part of the song (one long unchopped part), I took the warp off since I would not be doing anything from there on out.    I made sure that if I kept the 105 BPM flat drum loop going, the unwarped part starts on beat right where it should.

2) I made my own little transition from the Qulinez “Sweet Nothing” Remix into the Diplo trap remix.  I made sure the tempo was already up to where it needed to be when the switch to the trap mix was made.  Then, I unwarped the Diplo remix, since I wouldn’t be touching anything in the song once it came in.

A few important notes….

*  Changing the tempo messes up the placement of unwarped parts.  You need to make sure you have the BPM set to where you want it before unwarping a track.

**  Again, this is really only for the last part of any edit, since you don’t need it to be PERFECTLY on beat/gridded if you aren’t gonna be touching the rest of the track.  If you are making a mixtape, you probably wouldn’t want to unwarp anything on it, since you are gonna be constantly adding more songs.

*** I warp in Ableton all the time….everyone does.  Please keep in mind this whole thing is just something to do to make you sound a small percentage point better.  Basically, something easy that you might as well do because you can.  This wasn’t intended to scare you from warping and using Ableton in general — in most cases you won’t be able to hear the difference.

 

JD’s Tip

Convert With Ease!  This summer I ran across a great audio converter for the Mac, Xilisoft Audio Converter (also available on the iTunes App Store for $30).  I use this program ALL the time to convert our Remix Report videos to MP3 podcasts, to quickly convert MP3’s to lower bitrates to quickly send examples to people in email and to convert my weekly radio show from WAV to MP3 format.  While these examples are pretty standard, this converter also offers conversion from and to AVI, MPEG, WMV, MP4, FLV, MKV, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, AVCHD, MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC, FLAC, OGG and more.  It also gives you complete control of the audio settings for each format.  You can change the bit rate, sample rate, stereo/mono and then you can save your favorite setting as presets for quick recall.

One of the main reasons I love using a converter other than iTunes is that my iTunes library doesn’t get clogged up with random audio examples and rough drafts of projects I’m working on.  This saves my iTunes library for what it’s meant for, my main music library.  I can also call us audio presets much quicker than having to manually reset the import settings in iTunes preferences.  If you do a lot of converting, Xilisoft Audio Converter is for you.

8 comments

  1. DJ Maine www.deejaymaine.com

    Phresh!

  2. Like the Tips section!

    Some good advice here, great insight for DJs, Remixers, and Producers alike!

  3. great post about warping, i cant stand to hear unnecessary warped vocals on edits

  4. What mode do like to warp in (Beats or Complex)? I read a lot of people like the Complex mode and I do use Complex mode sometimes, but I really think Beats sounds better. To me Complex makes some tracks sound muddy. Beats seems to make the mid’s and high’s sound better. When I warp full tracks, I like to set 1.1.1 warp marker at the first down beat. I than Warp From Here (Straight) (You will end up with no warp markers accept the first one you set for 1.1.1, After that I go almost to the end of the track and check to see if the track is on or not. If the track is off, I set a warp marker close to the end and make adjustments. By doing this the rest of the track will not be affected by warping. Sometimes I well go to the middle of the track to see how the grid is lining up. If its off, just drop a warp marker where you need it. 98% of my 4000+ tracks that are warped, only have 2 warp markers in them. Just remember… the less warp markers you use the more natural the track will sound.

    The other thing I like to do is delete the transients in the songs. Goto the Sample Editor (where you warp the track), put you cursor over the track and select all (Your track should become highlighted yellow), and than right click and choose the Delete Transients. Something about the transients makes full tracks sound funny depending on what mode you warp in.

    How do other people warp? I really like hearing about other peoples techniques.

  5. Thanks guys!

    Ryan…. You’re right….people like JD, Skillz, and Serafin all think complex is better, but they are insane. Beats sounds better 95 % of the time. Complex really messes with stuff, especially hi hats. Complex is really only usefull for one you are warping an acapella down a lot in BPM, or if there are some amazing vocals (like Adele) on a track and the artist sings long notes. In the last case, when I make my mixtapes on Ableton, I’ll actually just highlight that long note in complex and leave the rest of the track in beats.

    As for the actual warping, I do it the EXACT same way as you. However, I didn’t know about the transients thing. I’ll have to check that out.

    Spring

  6. Great post and thank you for putting this out there. Food for thought: always use “beats” mode unless you’re using acapellas or in JUST the selection you’re using in a transition. Beats mode stays as true to the original audio as long as you’re right on tempo with the BPM, just be sure when making an edit that the master tempo is within 2-4 bpm of the segment bpm or you will hear a difference in quality. Complex Pro mode oversamples the crap out of transients, use only in the actual section of audio for the transition or for acapella parts like I mentioned.

  7. Also, going back to the title of the post, avoid using warp markers in acapellas unless you REALLY know what you’re doing and/or where they need go and why. Most of the time in my warping acapellas all I need to do is properly mark at the 1.1.1 marker and the rest is cake. Over-warping an acapella is the quickest way to destroy the integrity and flow of the mastered vocal. Happy producing everyone!

  8. Cheers for mentioning my thrift shop mix!

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