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96: How Time Stretching Tools Like Elastic Audio Can Save Or Ruin Your Recordings

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Let's talk editing again!


Specifically: Elastic Audio,  Flex Time, Vari Audio, etc.

These are tools that let you stretch or compress time. Not time in general (that would be dope, right?), but the length and tempo of your recordings, without affecting the pitch. Also pretty cool, if you ask me!

This is super useful in cases where slip editing (cutting and moving parts/notes) is just not enough.

Here are some of the things we discuss on the episode:

  • Different time stretching algorithms and their different sounds
  • When to use it (or not use it)
  • Options inside your DAW
  • 3rd party options (not built into your DAW)
  • Time-aligning tracks
  • Super detailed DI fixing
  • Tempo shifts
  • Some DAW-specific techniques and tricks
  • Committing edits (and why you would do that)

Enjoy!

Book A Free Coaching Call With Benedikt:


This episode was edited by Thomas Krottenthaler.

Benedikt's voice on this episode has been recorded with the Antelope Axino Synergy Core.


Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy (click for full transcript)

TSRB 96 - How Time Stretching Tools Like Elastic Audio Can Save Or Ruin Your Recordings

[00:00:00] Malcom: I think that's a really good introduction then to get wrapping your head around when to use it and what to watch out for, because it is super powerful, but it's also just as able to destroy your song as it is to fix it. So you have to be really careful with it. 

[00:00:28] Benedikt: Hello, and welcome to the self recording band podcast. I am your host. Benedick tine, and I'm here with my friend and cohost Malcolm. Oh, and flat. How are you Malcolm?

[00:00:37] Malcom: Hello. I'm great, man. Sat an amazing week out in the Bush doing some filming. I got so wet. It was literally just pouring the entire time. All day, every day. And I like had like a poncho and a rain jacket on under that poncho and all my clothes under it was still wet. It was crazy. 

[00:00:56] Benedikt: Uh, any new floods, your house and 

[00:00:58] Malcom: I know my host did [00:01:00] good. Um, I actually didn't really hear about flooding elsewhere, but it doesn't mean it didn't happen. So somehow, I mean, it just seems like the weather was blown out of proportion this time, but who knows? Maybe it's just on its way. 

[00:01:10] Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Okay. 

[00:01:13] Malcom: How are 

[00:01:14] Benedikt: Uh, good teak. good to hear nothing happen. Uh, it was amazing. My, it was my wife's birthday, a birthday yesterday, so we had a little, it wasn't a big party because of the Corona stuff still, but we celebrate it for sure. And it was a great weekend. Um, we have snow now, like it started to snow this weekend. So I was out with the kids. Uh, playing in the snow. So it was really, yeah. Nice, nice weekend. 

[00:01:34] Malcom: Oh, that's really fun. 

[00:01:36] Benedikt: what what's also fun is that for the first time in years, I completely ignored like completely ignored black Friday, cyber Monday. And all of that, like the only thing I bought was a course that I, we both talked about before we started recording. Yeah. That's the only thing like the one you bought is actually not even a black Friday deal, but the other one was one. And I bought it, but not because of black Friday, that just seemed to happen, but [00:02:00] I ignored it completely. I didn't buy a single plugin, not a single piece of gear, nothing this year. I just spent time with the family and just decided to ignore it.

[00:02:07] And that was actually great.

[00:02:09] Malcom: Yeah. You know what I am proud to say that I've not bought a single plugin, either. Very stoked. 

[00:02:15] Benedikt: Awesome.

[00:02:16] Malcom: last time. Like last year I bought like five or something, like just like went nuts. So, so it did good. Uh, I am, I'm proud of us both. And this is right after recording an episode called you need to stop buying gear. So that, that were that, you know, we were late on our audience because our audience is listening to that episode after black Friday. But we recorded that just in time for ourselves. 

[00:02:38] Benedikt: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. I really, absolutely. I might have bought something. Uh, but, but maybe, but after that episode I was like, no, I'm not going to buy anything this year. And also what I did last year paid off because last year I switched all of my, or like most of my monthly subscriptions and stuff like that to annual deals. And I. I caught all of the black Friday deals last year, just to save on those [00:03:00] recurring expenses that I have anyways in my business. So I, that was a smart move. Like it was a ton of money up front last year, but it saved me a lot of money during this year. And all of that stuff got renewed now and I still have the same deals, so that really paid off. And, um, yeah, that was the only thing I did on black Friday. No net, the only thing I bought a bunch of things last year, but like, that was the main thing that was really a good decision. And this year I didn't have to do anything. 

[00:03:23] Malcom: Fantastic. All right. We're 

[00:03:25] Benedikt: Yeah. 

[00:03:26] Malcom: this week is off to a good start. 

[00:03:28] Benedikt: Yes. So what, what did you want to say before I 

[00:03:30] Malcom: Oh, no, that was what I wanted to say. I wanted to ask how you did with a black Friday after doing an episode of, but not buying gear. So, Yeah. great, 

[00:03:38] Benedikt: great, fantastic. Yeah, sure. Now, before we dive into today's episode, I want to ask you something. Um, I want to ask you for two things. The first thing is we set that in the last couple of episodes, and I want to say it again. If you get something out of this show, please go to your podcast app, preferably apple podcast or iTunes, and leave us a review there, please like share it with [00:04:00] your friends, first of all, and then go to your podcast app and leave us a review that really helps us a lot. And. Yeah, just do it and we'll be forever grateful. Thank you for that. And the other thing I wanted to talk about is in case you haven't heard of it, you probably have, but in case you haven't heard of it, I'm doing coaching now. So if you want a coaching call, a completely free coaching call to discover whether. We would be, um, the program would be a great fit for you. And if you just, or if you just want to have a free coaching session for an hour and like get clarity on what to focus on next, get a personalized roadmap, get chunk, get some action steps, get some feedback on your recordings. You can go to the self recording band.com/call and just fill out a little form and book a free coaching call with me. And during that call, we'll dive deep into your music. We'll figure out what. Your biggest pain points are at the moment. You're the problems you need to solve, what your goals are, what you really want to do with your music, how you can get there. And you will leave this call [00:05:00] with a much more clarity and a pretty detailed roadmap and action steps that you can follow with. Or without me, anyway, this will be really valuable. And, um, if you want to do that, the self recording band.com/call. Oops. Yeah, do it. 

[00:05:17] Malcom: All right. 

[00:05:18] Benedikt: All right. with that out of the way we started today's episode, when we talk about something, I'm curious how this episode will go, actually, because there's so much we could talk about when it comes to this topic. We talk about elastic audio that basically means stretching or compressing. Um, an audio file and compressing in the sense of like compressing the time, the length of it, like. 

[00:05:42] Malcom: The quality. 

[00:05:43] Benedikt: Not the quality. Yeah. So we talk about manipulating audio so that what you recorded gets longer or shorter essentially. And you can use that to correct timing issues. You can use that to sync up multiple recordings. If you're doing doubles or layers of stuff, you can, there are [00:06:00] multiple use cases. And I think that most people with a modern dog have already started playing around with that, probably because most of us do have a feature like that, but there's a lot of confusion and a lot of mystery about it as well. And a lot of things that can go wrong. And we want to talk about that today. We want to tell you why you would want to use something like that. we want to give you some use cases where it's a good idea why we think it's a good idea to use elastic audio. We also want to talk about situations where it's probably not a good idea, or you should try slip editing first, like cutting, moving, and then putting the audio back together. And we're going to talk about all that. And we'll just try to demystify that whole part of editing a little bit, because yeah, because we really think we need to talk about it. It's it's, it's confusing for sure. It can't be.

[00:06:47] Malcom: Yeah, definitely. So like you just mentioned slip editing there, there's kind of two primary forms of editing those slip editing, which is where you just chop the audio file and move it to where you want it and then crossfade it back together. [00:07:00] Right. And that is 99% of the time. What I use for everything. At least 98, if not 99% of the time. And that's what I think is usually like, I think that's what most people should do. I think they should be slip editing whenever possible, as much as possible because it's usually very transparent and, uh, if your takes are good, there's no reason it shouldn't work. Now 

[00:07:24] Benedikt: you just say when you're sorry to cut you off, but did you just say when your cakes are good.

[00:07:28] Malcom: No. If your cakes are good, your takes will be good. as well. But, uh, no, I meant to say takes, if I didn't say takes. 

[00:07:36] Benedikt: you probably did, but I heard cakes might be, might be still in birthday mode. I don't know.

[00:07:40] Malcom: Yeah. Yeah, that's fine. What are you thinking about over there? Um, yeah, so, but yeah, if you have good takes, slip editing is generally totally possible and usable and is what I recommend and what most pros that I know do the reason I want to do do this episode in the first place though, was that [00:08:00] a lot of people that are getting started. When I encounter how they've edited something, say I get something to mix. Um, I hear it, uh, hear that they've used elastic audio for other editing or I'm talking to them and they're like, oh, I just figured out how to use elastic audio. So I'm doing all my editing now and like alarm bells start going off in my head pretty much. And it's, you know. I wonder if this is the same for you, Benny, but most of the time, these people that get caught up with using time stretching as their main editing. Our logic users, cause logic and garage band are really built around that and not built around slip editing. I actually have never been able to figure out how to slip, edit logic. It drives me nuts. I just can't figure it out. 

[00:08:40] Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah, I agree. I tend to agree even like they implemented it very early. Like even the, when I remember in 2009 or so I was in logic nine. It wasn't even logic pro X. It was logic pro nine. I was still on logic back then. And I used the flex time thing all the time. They had it as part of the, of their doll even like 12, 13 years ago. [00:09:00] And yeah, and it w it, it worked and I didn't really know the difference. I do it, but I didn't, I wasn't really sure. And I think I just could guess the editing to work well as well, because flex time was so easy and logic, you just detected the transients and then you quantize the drums or whatever, and it would just move those flex markers around and it kept the phase relationship and everything, and it just worked. And I never really thought about what was actually going on, but like it was stretching and compressing the audio versus like what beat detective does epic. The type of can do elastic audio as well. But like when you. Slip edit stuff. It, it, it makes a cut on wherever the transients are or wherever you want to do a cut and then you move the slice to where it's supposed to be. And then you close the gaps again, and you can do that with stretching or with just cross fades and. Yeah. It's hard to explain on a podcast without showing it what I actually mean, but like, you know, I wanted to say like, you can, if you, if you make a cut [00:10:00] and you move one, like yeah, you have a piece of audio and you cut it in half or in two pieces, and then you move the pieces where they are supposed to be. You probably have a gap somewhere and you have to close that gap and slip editing. You just grab the end of your event or your clip or whatever it's called in your door and you drag it so that the, the gap is closed. And then you make a crossfade that means a short, a very short part of your audio will happen twice. Like, because you just moved it and then you close the gap again. So there will be a very short repeated thing, which is usually not audible. If the gap is shorter, 

[00:10:35] Malcom: Yeah. 

[00:10:36] Benedikt: If it's, if the gap gets too long and this technique doesn't work because you get the transient twice or whatever, then you can stretch it. And that closes the gap without this overlap or this double thing that happens basically. And that's what flex time did without showing it. Like you, it's the weird thing about logic. At least it was back then that it would show the flex markers and it would show. The corrected results, but [00:11:00] you didn't really see where the cuts are, whether or not it's crossfade or stretched, or like it was, I wasn't really sure what was going on under the hood. And that, that always made me a little nervous. And, um, so I prefer just to know what's going on, but like yeah.

[00:11:13] Malcom: Definitely. Yeah, So the advantage of slip editing is that it, uh, it, you know, there is that. Really like a few samples of duplicated sound that happened twice. Like you said, then the crossfaded together. And we don't perceive that if it's done well. And usually that's placed in like a pretty quiet spot, you know, right before transient. There's probably not another transient. So there's a little opportunity of silence, more or less to CrossFit together. So the advantages that other than that little fade, Our audio is totally unchanged, right? It just happens sooner or later. Cause we've nudged that clip that way or one way or the other, where with elastic audio, once you've stretched, it you've changed the entire clip. Right? Whatever part has been stretched, that whole audio file is now different. You might not be able to tell. And that's [00:12:00] great if you don't, you know, we can trust our ears with this stuff. If we can't tell that it sounds worse. That's that's totally awesome, but it has something that has happened. There's no way you can stretch or compress the timing of an audio file without it doing something to the sound it has to so slip, edit needs transparent. That's why we normally use it. But. Elastic audio pretty darn convenient and incredibly powerful, incredibly powerful for what it can do if you're in a sticky situation. And I do want to say that, well, our opinion is slip editing. There's told the people that are really good at what they do and have bigger records under their belt. Then we do that. You slip editing probably. I don't know who they are. Like, I can't think of anybody, but I'm sure they're out there. You know, I'm sure, you know, some. Do you know, winning guy or Juno is pretty niche. That's Canadian, I think. But the other one,

[00:12:54] Benedikt: Yeah, the Grammy.

[00:12:55] Malcom: Yeah. some Grammy winning guys, just only using elastic audio and just [00:13:00] saving so much time because they're just auto quantizing shit and they don't care what we say, but anyways, you should know the difference. And that's why we want to talk about it. 

[00:13:08] Benedikt: I actually think most people use a combination of both to be really honest. Like I think. Uh, I, I don't think that a lot of people only use liberating editing or only use elastic audio because there are situations where one is better than the other. And so, uh, yeah, I, I can't think of a, of a situation where I would only use, like, I, yeah, there are situations where I would only use one, but I can't think of ever, like, not using one or the other, like it's, 

[00:13:35] Malcom: Yeah. I mean, I get through entire projects without using it all the time for 

[00:13:40] Benedikt: Without, uh, elastic audio you mean? Yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure. But I, I that's the same. I probably worded that wrong. That's the same for me. I just don't think that I could limit myself to only do slip editing EV like forever. There are projects where I need elastic audio. So like, and I don't think there are people who just don't do [00:14:00] one of those 

[00:14:00] Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. totally. Yeah. And that's not what we want to do here. We want to teach you how to use elastic audio well, and when to use it, um, we want to add it to your tool belt as the tool is meant to be. And I'm just suggesting that you also look into slip editing, so it's not your, so that it's not the opposite. You know, we don't want elastic audio to be your only tool. 

[00:14:19] Benedikt: Yeah, yeah. Totally. No, I get it. Yeah, absolutely. So, yeah, let's maybe let's maybe start with explaining real quick. we're like, what are the situations where you use elastic audio most of the time. And are there situations where you don't use it? Like, what are the situations where you don't use it ever like, or.

[00:14:38] Malcom: I guess there's two situations. One is when it is, uh, a disaster when there's a disaster that I can't fix with slip editing. So, um, a good example would be a really rushed, fast drumming. Um, say that there's like, a scenario if those are all [00:15:00] rushing and getting closer and closer together, and there's just no way to pull that back on to beat one at the end of it, they just went dah, dah, dah, dah, and then there's this big pause. And then they come back in home one, we have to try and like slow that roll down to make it happen. Um, so that the song stays in time and you could try to slip editing where you chop at each transient and nudge them all around. But what happens is that when you try and roll back that the clip to connect with all the gaps you just made and fade it together, you encounter the snare hit before or. after. Um, there's not enough space to make this happen. And there are clever ways to get around that for another episode with duplicating silences and stuff. But it's honestly just such a pain in the ass. It's not. And it doesn't always sound good. It's usually not worth it. So that's, that's like the prime example where elastic audio is just, uh, a lifesaver where you can just mark all your transients and stretch those hits to be longer and fill that space. And you won't encounter [00:16:00] these double transience. And it just, it just works. It just works. There's still stuff we're going to talk about in this episode, how to make it sound really natural because there's different algorithms. That's the clue, different algorithms for different sounds. But that would be my first use case is like fixing performance issues that just can not be corrected with slip editing. And then my second, most common one is aligning stuff like backing vocals when it is something like a vocal, double. Whereas this is very in the background, not in the focus of the song. I am not afraid to butcher it. However I need to, I don't care if there's artifacts happening, if I can't hear them, you know? So, um, if I need to line them up to the lead vocal, I'm going to use elastic audio just to shift them around like crazy. 

[00:16:46] Benedikt: Sure. Yep. Agreed. Same.

[00:16:48] Malcom: Yeah. So those are my two main use cases. Do you have a, like another one that you use it for often? 

[00:16:53] Benedikt: Yeah, I think I just viewed it a little differently. I do the same, but I want to add something and that is [00:17:00] with drums. I try to avoid it, but that's, that might be because I use Cubase or we use Cubase here at Thomas and I, the engineer who works with me at the studio, who does a lot of the editing for me. He's also the amazing human who added to this podcast, by the way. So. 

[00:17:14] Malcom: up to Thomas. 

[00:17:16] Benedikt: Yeah, thank you, Thomas. Um, we played around with that quite a bit, and we had some situations on different records where we had, where we got away with like little to no artifacts on Brahms. And others had like audible artifacts that really bothered us. And we wanted to figure out why and why it was sometimes so hard to get rid of those artifacts or to avoid them at all. And we found that. Sometimes what you just described with stretching a roll or something, and drums can work very well, especially if it's just a short thing that you need to stretch, but sometimes, and that's, that might just be a Cubist problem if it's longer parts or even in some situations, if it's just. It, it says it, try it it's it keeps the phase relationship intact, but it actually doesn't. So you can group the tracks and Cubase and you [00:18:00] can edit them together and it should stay in phase and it always stays in phase when you slip edit, but with stretching, it just sometimes doesn't work. And we don't really hear that a lot on the transients interestingly, but we hear it on the symbols. So sometimes we have this. sometimes we hear it on the, on the transit as well, but most of the time we hear it in the symbol DK, it, this sounds like an MP3 it's weird phasing problems going on when there's a symbol bleed through that roll or something. For whatever reason, Cubase sometimes has a hard time stretching these things and keeping the phase in tech with drums. So I try to stay away from stretching if possible, or elastic, audio, and total SP if possible in Cubase. I know that I never had these problems in logic and that also believe, and that might be wrong, but I'm going to say, I also believe that I didn't have these problems in previous Cubase versions, which is a little weird and I'm probably wrong, but I've done it that way. Dick forever and never really had a major problem. And since a year ago, so we [00:19:00] encountered these problems and it might just be that I got more sensitive to the artifacts and most people don't even hear that maybe, but it might also be that some somehow Cubist changed the way it works. I don't know. I, so that could be totally wrong, but I, I just know that it started to bother me more and more. And now we try to stay away from it with drums in logic. I think it worked with the flex time thing. And then, yeah. So what, what, what I, most of the time do, like I do the same thing, as you said, with the backing vocals or aligning things. I use time stretching there all the time, and I don't care about artifacts even like, just as you said, if I want it to have to have it really tight there is this auto align tool in Cubase, which is similar to vocal line or what's the other one called? There are. 

[00:19:43] Malcom: revoice pro. 

[00:19:44] Benedikt: Yeah, it's the similar thing built into Cubase where you select one clip as a reference, and then you select the other one that you want to align to it. And then you hit a line and it auto aligns it. So that's really neat and you can choose and Cubase between um, so if you don't check [00:20:00] any box, it just does, whatever's necessary to make a tape, but there is a box that says avoid stretching. And if you do that, it just slipped, edits, it cuts and tries to make it without stretching. 

[00:20:09] Malcom: that's really cool. 

[00:20:10] Benedikt: Yeah, but I don't use that a lot, so I just let it stretch or compress, whatever it needs to do. And it works very well. So to me, mano, LendUp mano like single mic things like one track. That's where I stretch and compress all the time. And it usually works just fine with multimedia things. I'm just careful about the face. 

[00:20:30] Malcom: Yeah, you really got to listen. 

[00:20:33] Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah. Also the longer the sustain of something is, or the longer the note is the more careful I am. So for example, if I, with a base, for example, if I, if I added the timing of a base, sometimes stretching is really cool or even necessary because if, if a note is just not long enough and no matter how you move it around and close the gaps, you always hear the spot where you cut and you just make need to make that note. Stretching it a little bit is no problem usually, but if you need to stretch a whole lot of it, [00:21:00] or if the note itself that the clip itself is really long and you stretch it, sometimes it gets weird with distorted stuff, even weirder than with clean stuff. Sometimes I think like you can do that with the eyes pretty well, but it, once it runs through an amp, it gets a little more difficult in my experience.

[00:21:14] Malcom: I agree. 

[00:21:15] Benedikt: So, yeah. So what I sometimes do is sometimes I would even just take the last bit of a sustaining note and just stretch that, is that a stretching, the whole note or chord, and that sometimes does the trick. So I'm just careful with stuff that, that has a long sustained to it can be symbols can be a bass note, can be a guitar chord. I just try to make the shortest possible stretch yeah. That I can get away with. And that usually works very well. Interestingly, with vocals, the most important thing in most mixes. I don't have a lot of problems there. I can stretch and compress the shit out of it. And it usually just works like really? It, it, it works. And, uh, so when I do vocal editing this time stretching and using elastic audio in general is what I do most of [00:22:00] the time, more so than slip editing actually. So that, that might just be me, but it's, it just, it just helps.

[00:22:06] Malcom: Yeah, no, I would agree it, uh, it does seem to work vocal seemed to not slip at it super well dependent on the singer with their like breath placements and S and how long they, between asses and stuff like that. Sometimes the continents comes really late or really early, depending on the singer. And that can cause problems with the bed. And with elastic audio, but it's a totally valuable skill for elastic audio. I, I agree. Um, again though, it's, it's one of those you have to listen. I found that different algorithms sound different for sure. So you might time stretch stuff and not pick up that it's like doing something weird to their consequences, for example, or the top end of their voice. You really have to be making sure that this does sound good. Um, but Yeah. powerful tool. I agree on the amp thing, I just want to circle back to that. It's like, once it goes through an amp, especially distorted, it's like if the information becomes more complex and it struggles with it, where with the DDI, it seems to just work quite well. So if I [00:23:00] want something really tight and I've got dis all told slip edit, or, uh, uh, use the last two audio to stretch those dyes together and make them really tight and then ramp, and it seems to work. 

[00:23:10] Benedikt: Yeah, I think the more harmonically rich, the sources, the difficult, the more difficult it gets for 

[00:23:16] Malcom: Yes. So. distorted guitars and symbols. 

[00:23:18] Benedikt: Yep. Exactly. So there's one more interesting use case actually that I want to talk about because that's also something that I, that fascinates me and I don't know why that is, but, but it's true. And that is, I said the Cubase has problems with the phase. If you like do multimedia rums and try to do to stretch them. So that is when you use their standard editing tools. So. Cut the hole, like every microphone at the same spot. And then you grab the end of the clip, use the time stretch tool and just stretch it versus doing slip editing. That's when it, it, it, um, you can encounter problems with the face. Funny enough though, I had, I recorded a full length record earlier this year. Like in January, this was my last full production that I did.[00:24:00] We recorded drums for a song. And the band provided me with a list of all the tempos for every song and everything was planned super well. And like, we did everything as we, as, as it like how it's done, like exactly the way you should do it, but still for some reason, an error happened and the band gave me the wrong BPM for one song, the wrong template information, and we track the whole song and we didn't notice. And then we found that it's like too BPM, too fast or too slow over there. And we had to change it because it really worked better with the actual tempo. And also, yeah, we just, just an error happened for whatever reason. So we had to change it so that we had two options. We record the whole song or use the awesome take that we had and try to make it slower or faster. And we just tried and we just gave it a shot and wanted to know if, if we can get away with just strictly. And instead of like what I do when I edit drums, like cutting it and then grabbing it and stretching it, I just used the time stretch [00:25:00] tool in Cubase. That it's a little different thing. You can, you can mark a clip and then you can open a menu and you can type in the original tempo and the temple you want it to be in. And then it calculates how much it has to be stretched to be at the tempo, whatever. And I did that and it re rendered the whole thing, and then it wasn't the right tempo and everything was perfect with when it comes to face. So for whatever reason, Cuba has managed to do that well and perfectly, and we didn't have any artifacts, like nobody would ever notice and he worked perfectly fine, but when I do it manually, it doesn't work as well. And I don't know why the.

[00:25:34] Malcom: There you go. Well, that, that brings up a point on our list here. And that's, I wrote it down as the. note is third party options with audio suite, and it doesn't actually necessarily mean third party, but inside of pro tools, anyways, there is elastic audio built into the editing window. And then there's this menu called audio suite. And it's like individual plugins. All my plugins are duplicated there, but they don't run in real time. You select the audio and you process it. Um, and that sounds like what you did. You selected it all. And then [00:26:00] process. Uh, a time compression software, um, and there might've been the same one as what your dog is using, but it's implemented at a different way somehow. It like, Yeah. it, it, it always seems to work better. I agree. Um, but it, uh, it only works in situations that allow it, like you had to do the whole song, I assume. Yeah. so I ran into this. The second reason I had, we wanted to do this episode is, um, showed out to a band called Vogue villains that I'm just finishing the record with. We, they, they came to me and they're like, Hey, we want to change some tempos in the song, like at three different spots. So not the whole song, just like three parts of the song. We want to change them to different tempos. I'm like, okay, that sounds like a pain in the ass, but let's see what we can do, how much? And like I'm expecting Yeah. One or two, I've done that as well. It seems to work. And they're like eight to 10 down. And just for our listeners, slowing things down is worse than speeding them up because you're making information longer. So it has to create information to fill that space. Right.[00:27:00] You're adding more file size where when you shorten it, it's just compressing the information that already has. So it generally works better to speed things up rather than slow them down. Um, and Yeah. so eight to 10 BPM slower is a huge change. The really big change. And I was like, oh damn, here we go. And it's also just like a nightmare because it depends on your dog, but then tools like there's a lot of, you can really screw things up. You know, I might be working on slowing down a part in the middle of the summer. And then not realize that I screwed up the entire beginning of the song or something while doing these tempo changes. Cause you have to really make sure that you're just editing, just what you're trying to do, and then that everything else is still staying on the grid and all that. So big, big project for me to figure that out. I couldn't use artists' audio suite because of that, because I needed my, um, my mini-map and stuff to still translate. So I had to go into the elastic audio depths and try. How [00:28:00] to make this all work across all of the instruments, other than vocals. So distorted guitars sort of base symbols and everything, and still make it sound good. And, and that was a really big challenge, but really fun. And I learned a lot as well. And what I learned, which is one of the things that I really want people to get out of this episode is how different algorithms sound. So in pro tools anyways, there's like five different selections. When you turn something into like into elastic audio mode, you actually have to enable elastic audio on each track in pro tools. Again, um, logic I think is just always on, um, I could be wrong though. You get to select what algorithm and there's like monophonic polyphonic. So that's, you know, one at a time or two notes at a time rhythmic. So that's for transient stuff. Um, and then there's one called X speed or something, which is just kind of meant to be like a, a really high quality. Does it all, but is super CPU heavy. And then [00:29:00] there's also real time or rendered playback. So you can do all this without actually changing the audio file, or you can turn it to render it in. It actually will create new audio files based on the changes. And what I found is that by messing with those algorithms, It made a world of difference. It was went from unusable to it actually worked in the end. My, my first instinct I went through and I just went, you know, basis, monophonic, vocals, monophonic guitars, or polyphonic keys, or polyphonic drums or rhythmic And, uh, did all the changes and it sounded awful. It sounded really, really bad. So mostly the cymbals and the drums were just not agreeing. And then I tried messing with, okay, what if I took all my overheads and my rooms and it like symbol mix, you know, the complex ones and change them to polyphonic instead of rhythmic. And that worked. It actually worked really, really fantastically. So I've got transient mode on all my close mix and then my [00:30:00] symbol heavy ones are polyphonic and, um, tempo, or like, I don't know if this is a ProTools Cubase thing, but it seems like our phase alignment worked out perfectly, which is fantastic. Um, there was some other work flow tips I needed or hacks. I needed to kind of piece together. Like you have to split the clip. Uh, at the beginning and end of the region that you're trying to edit, otherwise it'll fix that one spot, but the rest of the song doesn't figure itself out. And these are really complex songs. There's like 18 different tempos in the song. Um, so you have to be like, that was really important, you know, cut them all across the whole thing. Do that. Yeah. And then, uh, the, the real time versus render playback made all the difference. I think that's just my computer struggling with real time. There's too much processing. But let's switch to rendered mode, worked itself out and then. And then the final, like Polish and making this really sound good was, um, go into [00:31:00] that. After I kind of done all the changes, I went to that X mode that the X speed one, the highest quality one, and committed all the changes, just like a hard read. Um, which took like literally two hours. It's a 

[00:31:13] Benedikt: Very cool thing to do. If the band is in the room 

[00:31:15] Malcom: No, no, not an option. Uh, literally took forever, but it did sound good and it worked. So it was a huge workflow, But it was amazing like how much was possible through all of that. So 

[00:31:28] Benedikt: that's exactly why we do this up to this episode, because that we want to tell you how it's done and how much goes into, like, what, what goes into making this work when you do it professionally. So. Sometimes it's just not that easy. Sometimes you need to go the extra mile, try a couple of things and take the time to get it right. That's just, that's just how it's done. That's the reality. And if one thing doesn't work, don't give up and just try all your options until you find something that works, because there's always a way. And if your dog can't do it, then maybe there's a third party option. But [00:32:00] there usually is a way, like I've heard recordings that are so terribly out of time and somehow the person mixing it or editing it made it work. So. As long as like you, you are probably not that terrible. That is unfixable. So, and if it doesn't work instantly, there is, there must be another way. So, yes. And, um, the one thing I wanted to ask, what, what was, what was thinking all the time? You sort of answered it, but I'm still curious, like using different algorithms on different tracks of the same thing. Like a drum kit still kept the phase in tech. You said that's really interesting. 

[00:32:38] Malcom: It sounded way better than keeping them all the same. So it just was able to figure that information out smoother, I guess. And that I should be clear. I'm not saying I couldn't hear a difference. I absolutely could hear a difference. We were grungy things up a little bit, but it was worth it. It was worth the, like the feel of that tempo is darn cool. I got to hand it [00:33:00] to them. Was it worth like four hours of my time in the end? I'm not sure, but 

[00:33:05] Benedikt: Did you, did you cut out the, the bleed? Like, did you gait or use a lot of samples or whatever? Did you like get rid of the cymbal bleed and the close Mike's? Because what I'm thinking all the time is I think I can totally imagine that it works. If. Yeah. If you have, if you treat the symbols of the rooms differently from the close max and the closed max focus on the transients, the other stuff has a lot of sustained, um, information in it. So that makes sense. But I was thinking that the symbol bleed in the close mikes would have to sound differently or like there would have been some sort of face problems probably if you treat that differently from the, the overhead and rooms. So I think part of making that work is probably getting rid of the bleed and the closed mix.

[00:33:46] Malcom: Yeah. I turned off all my gates to do the editing because I wanted to just hear everything. Um, and it, it was good. It like, it was pretty good. Um, but it, like, I turned them back on for sure. The gates are going to be there in that. 

[00:33:59] Benedikt: Okay, [00:34:00] cool. But that's fine. 

[00:34:00] Malcom: it just makes it better kind of thing. So it was, Yeah, Again, it, it, it, it always makes a difference. Like we said, that's the reason I usually avoid elastic audio is because no matter what I do, it changes the sound of it, but it was usable, just a lot of work. Um, but amazingly, like there was no other way. There's no way to slip out at a song eight to 10 beats per minute, slower. That's impossible. 

[00:34:22] Benedikt: Yep, exactly. Yep. And it's, I assume it's similar in whatever doll you're in like Cubase, you have different algorithms, similar. They are even, they're even called the same Lincoln monophonic, polyphonic, whatever. So I think options like that should be in most doors. Um, need to experiment with those. If you have those options. One thing that you mentioned, that's also interesting is the, the properly slicing up the, the clips and selecting the right thing to stretch and stuff that also applies. If you, I think that's really important to mention. So if you want to, let's say you have a vocal performance or some, like, let's just talk about a vocal, lets say you have a vocal performance and the last word of the sentence [00:35:00] is just too short and you need to stretch it. Now. I made the mistake of just making a cut after that last word, grabbing it and stretching it only to find out that now the whole clip before it has been stretched and nothing is in time anymore. So what you have to think and like, remind yourself about it. You can have that on a checklist or just get used to it is you have to cut that word out, like before the word and after the word and then stretch it. And then it will only affect the clip you're stretching. 

[00:35:27] Malcom: Yeah. 

[00:35:28] Benedikt: Otherwise, you will stretch everything that's before that. And I sometimes when I get tired or like after a long session of editing, I just make a cut and stretch things. And that just don't realize that I'm now messing with everything that I just touched. So you have to be really careful there, especially before you come.

[00:35:43] Malcom: Definitely. Yeah, Make a, I'm a big fan of like, I did a safe before I turned on elastic audio. I did a save after I had chosen my algorithms. I did a save once I had done my first attempt. I like, I just like do a save as description of where the fuck I'm at.

[00:35:58] Benedikt: Yeah, absolutely. [00:36:00] Absolutely. 

[00:36:01] Malcom: as detailed as possible, it looks hilarious. It's like reading a book, a journal of me trying to figure out how to do this. These changes effectively. Um, step-by-step guide, but it, you know, it saved my butt. I screwed up big and had to go back a version. So there we go. Totally worth it. Um, and yeah, there's something to be said even without like, not just for last year audio, but when you're editing, thinking of like things as objects, you know, like, okay, I need to work on this vocal sentence, block it off, you know, cut on the start of the end. And now that's the object you're working on, you know, not the whole song. Don't think global think small and, um, yeah. 

[00:36:36] Benedikt: Little workflow, heck there, or a little like ma yeah, workflow, but also, um, it saves you CPU power, basically. Processing power. Sometimes I don't even own, I don't, I don't only do the thing where I cut out that sentence or the word I sometimes cut it out and then render it like a, create a new audio file in place of that clip that I just cut out. Um, it's different in every dollar [00:37:00] Cubase you have, you can select it and then hit save as new file or something like that. And then it will render it in place and we'll replace the old clip. Um, I have a shortcut for that. I just cut it out, hit the shortcut, and then it's a new audio file. I'm going to get to why I do this. I just explain what that step does that step creates the single word. It just cut out. Um, it takes that and creates a new audio file. That's just that word because usually the single word you see in your doll is just part of a huge clip that's running in the background and Cubase or pro tools or. Just refers to that clip and only shows you that part of it. But every processing you do to that thing usually effects the whole clip in the background. Maybe there's a duplicate, so it doesn't affect the other stuff before it, but usually there's more than just the clip you see, because you can always take that clip and make it drag it, like make it longer and shorter. And in the background, this information is all there. So long story. In Cubase, at [00:38:00] least if you apply processing like stretching or if you use the very audio thing that's built into Cuba is it's something like Melodyne where you can pitch shift stuff. It analyzes not only this small piece of audio, but the whole clip, even if it doesn't manipulate the whole clip, but it analyzes the whole. And if you, and if you do that a bunch of times in your session, there's a whole lot of processing going on in the background that you don't even see. So if you want to just fix a single word, you can cut out that word, render it, and then do the processing and analyze it. And that, that way Cubase or whatever tool you're using only uses the processing and all the analyzing on that single very short audio file that is now that it's not referring to, it's just replacing it in the pool of audio files. That will save you processing power. Uh, that's just something I do same with, like, as I said, pitch correction and stuff. There's no need to analyze a three minute audio file if you only want to pitch up a single word. 

[00:38:54] Malcom: Yeah, it's great. Yeah. You save a lot of time in the rendering. That's awesome. Um, yeah, like I [00:39:00] said, sometimes this rendering can take a long time, So. if you can make it a shorter clip, that's going to, you know, keep the workflow moving. 

[00:39:08] Benedikt: Yeah, exactly. And also a beautiful thing is you can, if you messed up and you don't like what it did, you can just delete that little clip, wrap the clip before it drag it up, like over where the short clip was, make it longer. And then you have your original audio. Again, that's not been affected by what you did.

[00:39:25] Malcom: totally handy. 

[00:39:26] Benedikt: Yep. All right. 

[00:39:28] Malcom: you mentioned that you don't like the algorithm currently in Cubase, and I think that's probably totally. accurate. I, for example, pro tools has changed its algorithm multiple times and people have been like, Hey, this new one sucks. What's going on. Currently. They actually have added back in the old one, I think. So I've got like the options, the different algorithms and yeah. In my like time compression, little quick tool, I can actually choose what algorithm is using for that even third party ones, which is pretty cool. So I could buy like an improved algorithm and, and be able to just kind of quickly nudge [00:40:00] things around without going into technically elastic audio so that that's gonna suite. But, um, what I want to say is because these algorithms do change and you're going to have a different version of your dog a couple years from now, even six months from now, if we're artists, um, than you do now, You should render down your edits. Once you're satisfied with them, you should absolutely commit them. And then turn off the elastic audio, if that's an option in your doc. And like pro is runs terribly when elastic audio is on. So I always turn it off right after. But you want to commit it so that if you update your session and you go back to the song down the road, you, that it works, you don't want it to not be able to run or something. 

[00:40:40] Benedikt: Yeah, I agree. I never thought about that, but that's totally accurate. It's the same reason why I print drum samples and don't leave, trigger open or whatever. It's yeah, totally. I never thought about. You should totally come at the addicts do a save as or something, as you said. So you can always go back to the unedited version, but have a committed one ready. So when all, like [00:41:00] in case it just doesn't work anymore, you, you can continue working with something that sounds exactly the same

[00:41:06] Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. You know what? Save as with a new title is such an underused hack that like that is so essential and I'm always blown away. When I see a session open, that's just the name of the song. No other notes or dates or anything. I'm like, wow, you just that's ballsy. 

[00:41:21] Benedikt: Absolutely. 

[00:41:22] Malcom: in the wild Les. That's crazy. 

[00:41:24] Benedikt: Yeah, totally. Yeah. There's two things you should do this, the save as with a new title. And then there, there are situations where that is not enough and you need to do a full backup of the project where you need to save a new version, including all the audio source files and stuff. Whenever you do something destructive or whenever. Yeah. I would just say. I would just duplicate it and have a complete copy of the whole thing, including the audio files, but for the usual steps along the process you save as is usually enough, but that's the least you should do. Like, just make one for, I don't know, like [00:42:00] a recording rough mix or a demo or whatever before editing, after editing, before time stretch after times, just whatever you do. Like, I don't know, like make safe. As often as you need and give them names that are easy to, um, to understand even like easy to understand for a stranger, like always, always try to make it, even if you're the only person working on it. Always treat it as if a stranger would have to open the session and know what's going on. I think so. 

[00:42:29] Malcom: There you go. Yeah. You know, there there's way more to this. Um, but I think that's a really good introduction then to get wrapping your head around when to use it and what to watch out for because it is super powerful, but it's also just as able to destroy your song as it is to fix it. So you have to be really careful with it. 

[00:42:47] Benedikt: Totally. I think the last thing we should add is just in case people are not aware if you're using something like Melodyne or Auto-Tune and graphic mode or very audio [00:43:00] incubate, something like that. One of those tools that, yeah. One of those tools that show you the notes, like, um, of whatever you editing as like muddy notes, it looks like you're editing minute notes. Basically it analyzes the audio shows you the pitch and you can grab the. Events or clips that look like me notes, and you can drag them to another node. You usually can not only change the pitch, but you can also change its position and you can change the length of the note that you're editing that is applying time stretching or elastic audio. So you might not know that you're doing it, but you're doing it. If you're using a program like that, if you in Melodyne. A single word and you change the pitch or correct the pitch, and then you make it just a little bit longer. You've now stretched it. You've applied some sort of elastic audio to it. So you can't only do that with tool specifically made for that, but it can be built into other tools and you're using them all the time, maybe without knowing.

[00:43:54] Malcom: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, i, you know, you were talking about using the elastic audio to time stretch your vocals. [00:44:00] I now use Melodyne for my vocal tuning and love it, and I've totally adopted using its time stretching. Um, just, you know, just part of the vocal tuning workflow. Now it's just needs to be a little bit longer. Done 

[00:44:12] Benedikt: exactly. We do that in very audio and Cubase, but it's this the same thing. Yep. All right. Awesome. Thank you for listening and 

[00:44:21] Malcom: thank you. 

[00:44:22] Benedikt: see you next.

[00:44:24] Malcom: We've gotta be getting close to Christmas with this episode coming out. So, uh, I hope you're having some ramen eggnog out there. 

[00:44:29] Benedikt: Yeah, no, not that again. I remember that from last year, but now I know what it is, 

[00:44:37] Malcom: I broke it out last night and went and picked up some ramen ag dog. So I'm in. 

[00:44:41] Benedikt: All right. See you next week. Bye.


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