13. Track Warping In Ableton Live

This chapter examines how I prepared each of the tracks ready for the compilation, in particular the warping techniques within Ableton 7.

WARPING

As mentioned in a previous chapter, the mixing for the album was to be done digitally so I could achieve the highest level of beatmatching perfection, and for this to be attained correctly I had to utilise Ableton’s built in time stretching algorithm known as ‘warping’.

Warping operates on the basis of treating audio files as pieces of elastic that are then ‘pinned’ to the global tempo set in Ableton with what’s known as ‘warp markers’.

When an audio file is first imported into Ableton, the software makes a guess at the tempo thus creating a time grid of sorts based on transient detection, and this grid can then be refined by the user by adding and modifying the warp markers.

If any of you reading are users of Ableton then you will share my pain at how much of  a nightmare this process can seem at first glance, but once mastered it can really surprise you at how simple and innovative it really is.

As with many areas of Ableton there are a number of different ways to approach  the task depending on user preference or the  source material, and I’m going to post my personal (and rather OCD) technique that I incorporated into this project:

MY TECHNIQUE

1. Make a note of the track tempo – I used a free piece of software called ‘BPM Analyser’ from Mixmeister, which can be found here:

http://www.mixmeister.com/bpmanalyzer/bpmanalyzer.asp

It’s not a necessary step but I found that having the BPM of the tracks can really speed things up when warping difficult pieces.

2. Import the track into Ableton and place the BPM into the global tempo and seg. BPM boxes

3. Zoom into the waveform display and place the ‘1’ warp marker at the start of the first beat

4. Left click the warp marker and choose ‘set 1.1.1 here’ and then left click the marker again and click ‘warp from here’

5. Zoom into the end of the track and drag one of the grey numbers so that it aligns with a beat (they may be slightly off) do not place any warp markers during this step as this is just for tidying

6. Turn on the metronome and the loop button in the clip and set the start point to 1.1.1 and the length to 16.0.0 (16 bars)

7. Play the track, and using the loop brace, progress through the track placing a warp marker at the end of of every 16 bars. The loop brace is a handy tool as it enables you to see whether or not the gridlines are drifting and need adjusting – the metronome also comes in handy here too.

8. Finally and most importantly of all: Always use the ‘save’ button on a regular basis!

 

Finished track warped to every 16 bars

 

After all this had been done and the metronome had no problems playing along with the track, I then repeated the process and created warp markers every 8 bars, then repeated again to 4 bars, then 2, then every bar.

As you can imagine this was an extremely time consuming operation, considering there were around 300 bars in each track, it took a lot of dedication and motivation to warp all 36 records!

 

Enlarged 4 bar section of a fully warped track (trainspotter note: A.T.G.O.C 'Repeated Love')

 

To test the accuracy of my warping on each track, I decided upon using a strange method of setting a small 2 bar loop brace, and then turning off the PC monitor so I could flick through the track using the shortcut keys without seeing where the loop brace ended.

This technique allowed me to hear rather than see whether or not my warping was accurate, and if I could not tell whether the loop brace had ended or not it was a sure fire sign the beatmapping was spot on.

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CONTENTS

1. Welcome
2. Rationale Behind The Project
3. My Background
4. Euphoria Brand Background
5. Original Compilation Analysis Part 1
6. Original Compilation Analysis Part 2
7. What Makes An Anniversary Edition?
8. Obtaining The Tracks
9. Importing The CDs
10. Importing The Vinyl
11. Third Party Influences
12. Mixing The Album Part 1: The Live Sessions
13. Track Warping In Ableton Live
14. Mixing The Album Part 2: The Studio Sessions
15. Harmonic Mixing
16. Track Editing
17. Mastering The Compilation
18. The Artwork

TRACK EDITING: DISC ONE

01: Karen Ramirez - Looking For Love (Trouser Enthusiast’s Joy Of Sex Mix)

02: Chakra - Home (Original Mix)

03: Billy Hendrix - Body Shine (Original 12 Inch Mix)

04: Da Hool - Meet Her At The Love Parade (Nalin & Kane Remix)

05: Faithless - Insomnia (Moody Mix)

06: The Egg - Getting Away With It (Rollo Indared Mix)

07: Heliotropic - Walk With Me (Mix No.1)

08: Josh Wink - Higher State Of Consciousness (Dex & Jonesy's Higher Stated Mix)

09: A.T.G.O.C - Repeated Love (Ibiza Mix)

10: Moonman - Don't Be Afraid (Brittany Remix)

11: Lost Tribe - My Soul

12: Rodd-Y-Ler - Lifesigns

13: Ventura - Birds (Instrumental)

14: Armin - Blue Fear (Trouser Enthusiasts E.B.E Remix)

15: Coyote - Spirits Dancing (Mix#1)

16: Paul Van Dyk - For An Angel (PVD E-Werk Club Mix)

17: B.B.E - Seven Days And One Week (Club Mix)

18: BT - Flaming June (BT & PVD Mix)

TRACK EDITING: DISC TWO

01: Way Out West - Domination (Album Version)

02: Jam & Spoon - Stella

03: Nalin & Kane - Beachball (Original Club Mix)

04: Hybrid - Symphony (Original Mix)

05: Ruff Driverz Presents Arrola - Dreaming (Lange Mix)

06: Bedrock - Set In Stone

07: Humate - Love Stimulation (Paul Van Dyk's Love-Club Mix)

08: The Age Of Love - The Age Of Love (Paul Van Dyk Love Of Age Mix)

09: Energy 52 - Café Del Mar '98 (Original Three 'N One Mix)

10: The Space Brothers - Shine (Full Vocal 12" Mix)

11: Agnelli & Nelson - El Niño (Matt Darey Latino Remix)

12: Brainbug - Nightmare (Original Sinister Strings Mix)

13: Lucid - I Can't Help Myself (Judge Jules Remix)

14: Sash! - Encore Une Fois (The Powerplant 'Toke On This' Mix)

15: Mike Koglin - The Silence (12" Club Mix)

16: Binary Finary - 1998 (Matt Darey Mix)

17: Blue Amazon - No Other Love (Original 12" Mix)

18: Lost Tribe - Angel


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