“How do I tempo change a loop in Pro Tools?” This is a common question and the answer is, “There are lots of ways.” You could use Beat Detective, or you could use the TCE Tool, or you could use Elastic Audio. You could even use a combination of all three tools. It really depends on the source material and your sonic objective. OK, that doesn’t really help does it? How about a video tutorial?

This is a method that I use all the time. It works particularly well for remixing stereo masters (like the audio from a record or CD) because of how it treats the source material. I use both the TCE Tool to round up the tempo of my loops and Elastic Audio for the general tempo changes. Actually, you don’t need to use the TCE Tool, once you discover the tempo of your initial loop and lock it to the session’s tempo you can jump right to Elastic Audio. But, I like to have my audio loop’s tempo rounded to a whole number in order to make it easy to move around on the grid. Plus, I’ve been using the TCE Tool for years, long before Elastic Audio came along. Sometimes old habits are hard to break.

What is crucial here, and should always be done first for any sort of tempo change operation, is that you match your session’s tempo to the loop. If you don’t do this at the start you’re liable to run into a train wreck as soon as you make your tempo change. In Pro Tools I use Identify Beat to match the session’s tempo to the loop, and I set the audio track’s timebase to Ticks in order to lock the loop’s beats to the session’s bars and beats before I apply the Elastic Audio plug-in.

“How do I tempo change a loop in Pro Tools?” This is a common question and the answer is, “There are lots of ways.” You could use Beat Detective, or you could use the TCE Tool, or you could use Elastic Audio. You could even use a combination of all three tools. It really depends on the source material and your sonic objective. OK, that doesn’t really help does it? How about a video tutorial?

This is a method that I use all the time. It works particularly well for remixing stereo masters (like the audio from a record or CD) because of how it treats the source material. I use both the TCE Tool to round up the tempo of my loops and Elastic Audio for the general tempo changes. Actually, you don’t need to use the TCE Tool, once you discover the tempo of your initial loop and lock it to the session’s tempo you can jump right to Elastic Audio. But, I like to have my audio loop’s tempo rounded to a whole number in order to make it easy to move around on the grid. Plus, I’ve been using the TCE Tool for years, long before Elastic Audio came along. Sometimes old habits are hard to break.

What is crucial here, and should always be done first for any sort of tempo change operation, is that you match your session’s tempo to the loop. If you don’t do this at the start you’re liable to run into a train wreck as soon as you make your tempo change. In Pro Tools I use Identify Beat to match the session’s tempo to the loop, and I set the audio track’s timebase to Ticks in order to lock the loop’s beats to the session’s bars and beats before I apply the Elastic Audio plug-in.

So You Want to Remix?

Oct 27 2007

For starters, it’s a good idea to determine a general stylistic direction for your remix, because not every song will work with every style of beats. In general, the most important factor in making this choice is a song’s original tempo, because no matter how you slice, dice, and warp the audio, there’s always one constant; the less of a tempo change you make on the original the better it will sound in your remix. (This is, of course, assuming you want to hear the original song clearly in your remix. If not, all bets are off.)

Regardless of how great a particular tempo change process is, the further you stretch, compress, and slice up a piece of audio the more warbled, disjointed, and distorted it will become. Since most electronic music styles that are appropriate for a remix inhabit a select tempo range, it’s wise to choose a target remix style with a tempo that is as close as possible to the song’s original tempo. (See the chart below for a sampling of several popular dance music styles and their tempo ranges.)

Tempo changes that are less than +/-20 BPM are usually a safe bet, but this amount will vary depending on the types of sounds and performances you need to alter. For example, slowing down legato bass and vocal performances is trickier than speeding up staccato guitar and percussion parts. Speeding up a performance usually produces better sonic results, with fewer processing artifacts, than slowing it down. However, in some cases, slowing down the original by a few BPM so that you can double-time the remix tempo and reach a suitable dance music tempo can also work. So long as your tempo change doesn’t destroy the musical “feel” and audio quality of an artist’s recording, you’re in safe territory (especially if the remix has been commissioned by the artist or their record label).

To precisely determine the tempo of the original song I fly the stereo mix into Pro Tools, separate out a couple of bars and apply Identify Beat to the selected region. Make sure that the region you create is perfectly trimmed to the downbeat and loops seamlessly. Identify Beat is only as precise as your selection, so if your separation points are off the downbeats by even a little, your tempo calculation will also be off. The clear transient of a kick drum is one of the best landmarks for a downbeat, and the Tab to Transient function can make finding your kick transients an absolute snap.

Dance Music Style and Tempo Chart