With the introduction of Elastic Time, in Pro Tools 7.4, it’s clear that Digidesign is taking a proactive stance against competing programs boasting easy to use, time compression/expansion based, automatic beat matching algorithms. Though it’s tough to proselytize that Elastic Time is as easy to apply as similar functions in competing software applications, I can say, without a doubt, that it kicks butt in terms of its audio quality and the level of direct control you have over how the algorithm is processing your audio. It’s deep and offers a variety of ways to fine tune the processing, from multiple Elastic Audio “plug-ins” (Polyphonic, Rhythmic, Monophonic, and Varispeed), to individual control panels for each plug-in type, and the ability to freely edit Warp markers directly in the Edit window. Talk about control! Due to the simple fact that you have such a high degree of control over the Elastic Time processing, it requires a bit of homework to master, but once you do, you can achieve absolutely stunning results.

It’s important to note that Digidesign calls Elastic Audio a “plug-in”. However, it’s not applied in the way you’d normally think of a plug-in, as an insert on a mixer channel or an offline AudioSuite processor. Instead, it’s applied directly to a track in the Edit window, with its plug-in menu located just below the track’s Timebase selector.

ET Selector

Beat Matching Made Simple
Elastic Time is at its most intuitive when browsing for loops in the Workspace. Simply turn on the Audio Files Conform to Session Tempo button (it looks like the ticks metronome) in the Workspace, select one of the four plug-in types (they’re pretty self-explanatory), and when you click on a loop’s play button (the little speaker) the loop will be automatically analyzed and played back at your session’s tempo. You can even do this while your session is playing, allowing you to hear immediately whether the loop you’ve selected is a bang or a bust. Talk about optimizing your workflow! When you find the loop that you want, simply drag it into the Edit window and it will be deposited on a newly created ticks based audio track, and conformed to your session’s tempo. It doesn’t get much easier than this.

Workspace ET

For those of you who are used to working with REX loops, it should be noted that with the introduction of Elastic Time, the Processing Preference setting, Import REX Files as Region Groups is off by default. So, if you’ve recently updated to Pro Tools 7.4 and you’re wondering why when you drag in a REX file it no longer comes in as a region group, mystery solved. To return to your old way of working with REX loops, make sure that the Processing Preference for Import REX Files as Region Groups is checked, as well as the REX and Acid Files Only selection for Drag and Drop from Desktop Conforms to Session Tempo. From the Workspace, you can also audition REX loops at your session tempo when the Audio Files Conform to Session Tempo button is on. And, if when you drag a REX loop from the Workspace into the Edit window, you want the REX loop to automatically conform to your session’s tempo, again, the Audio Files Conform to Session Tempo button must be enabled.

REX Import Preferences


    I saw a demo of this in London. I agree simple but deep. It was something that everyone could use. Plus the way that the Beatdetective could extract the groove, and then use elastic time to paste that groove over another track was pretty impressive.

    Greatly enjoy the blog


    “proselytize” – Erik I don’t even know what that means! heh heh

    I’ve spent some more time with Elastic Audio and it’s just incredible! It seems that Pro Tools is definitely working towards catering to more composers and bedroom producers now. Elastic Audio fits that mold. So does every single A.I.R. virtual instruments!

    Especially Transfuser! Man is that plug dope or what???

    Very cool. I heard Hesam has you in his class… I actually have a great Pro Tools 110 teacher as well in Richard Mendleson.

    Anyway can’t wait to get to your Reason class. Anything else I can learn about Reason is always welcome!

    See you in 3 terms! (Unless you teach Mixing with Pro Tools which I have next!)



    Great to hear from you. See you in class soon (I don’t teach the Mixing with Pro Tools course).

    I’ll have another blog on Elastic Time coming soon, more tips and tricks on working with this amazing new feature.


    Hey Hawk my man, how you doing!!!!
    ive been making music like crazt and remixing a lot!!!
    pt 7.4 is wicked!!! great for remixing

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