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musikman1

Is a universal tempo change possible in a large project?

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Hi,

Best I can describe is I've painted myself into a corner, so to speak.  I have a project/song that is nearly complete, but after listening many times in my mix sessions, I've noticed I don't like that the tempo is just a little too slow for my liking, and it is making the song drag. (kinda like playing a gig with a bad drummer I guess!)   Problem is I've got 25 or so audio tracks of different instruments and vocals, and maybe just 2-3 midi tracks of VST instruments (that I've not yet converted to audio).  I want to speed up the tempo while maintaining the key of the song, but I don't want to have to edit one track at a time with CW's audio tool, I've tried that before and it's just too confusing.  I know if I just try changing the project tempo, I'm going to have a mess on my hands, which will again bring me back to having to use the CW audio tools on each individual track. 

Is there a quick way to do this universally to all the tracks at once, or am I better off just mixing down the project as is to a wav or mp3 file, then finding a different software that will speed it up without compromising the key of the song?  Does such a software exist??  Any help appreciated. Thanks!

MM

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In the old days, I would just take a finished stereo track of the song and go to Process>Length at the top and set it at 95% or 90% to speed it up a little.
I never noticed any artifacts, but I believe if you go too far, you might.
The easy, one-click method.

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Hi musikman,

I don't know about within cakewalk itself, but most would change the tempo of the mixed-down audio once you're happy with the mix.

Wavelab among many others can do this.

Timbo

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As a purist I'm astounded that anyone would consider post-mix audio stretching an acceptable solution.

That said, if you're producing uber-compressed MP3s for consumption, it probably isn't going to matter. As always, consider and compare the results carefully before committing.

And also, consider this a learning experience that determining the right tempo for a project is best decided before tracking audio. For next time.

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ummm, IMO I figure if Phil Manzanera upped the tempo of almost every track on Dave Gilmour's "On an Island", post-mix, then we all can too! I think it sold over 500,000 copies.

Tim

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57Gregy, will using the Process/Length change the pitch of the song, or will the pitch remain intact? I ask just in case I want to use this in other scenarios where I may want to speed up a track, then maybe record another track after the fact.  If it changes the pitch then I won't be able to do that.

Timbo, Wavelab I see is a mastering software, not very expensive either, I'll have to look into that, thanks.  I have something that I sometimes use to slow a song down to shed a part, it used to be called Riffstation. Don't think it's available any longer though.  I'm going to try that, I'm just not sure if it will output an audio file, or if it's strictly just for manipulating audio.  (I didn't know that about Phil Manzanera upping the tempo, thanks for the tidbit!)

Right Colin,  this is the first time I've ever had this happen, it was just a matter of me liking the tempo at first, then just liking it better a bit faster later on. Usually I'm locked in at the start and right through to the end.

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Posted (edited)

I have been a big fan of Wave Lab since version 3. I have logged thousands of hours mastering and editing everything from songs to funeral services with it. I forgot about the time stretch function so out of curiosity I just fired it up. I think last time I used it was on Wave Lab 4 and Windows XP with a Celeron and 500MB of RAM and it was glitchy so haven't tried since. 

Anyhow I took a song from 120 BPM all the way to 140 BPM expecting artifacts. Could hear ( or see)  nothing. It seems to work perfectly. 

I have Wave Lab 7 elements it cost only $100 Can. There is now Wave Lab 10 which I imagine is even better.  I think the Pro version can do a even higher quality render, as you see mine only goes to Standard. 

It especially endear itself to me a week or so ago when I found out it also can create DDP files for mastering CD's. 

1214609740_2021-01-02(12).png.e7e5145a918f174480246dfb980427f4.png

 

Of note is you can set Cakewalks tool menu to include any WaveEditor like wave Lab.

So this just got me thinking of the few songs I've had that I played great guitar parts on and wanted to speed it up just like the OP. What I can do is tool copy the  4 or 5 audio tracks one at a time and re set the tempo. Will be interesting to see if they all sync up. My songs are more Midi than Audio so it is a good option. Thanks for bringing this up this made my day! 

Edited by John Vere

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5 hours ago, WalkerTalker said:

As well as Wavelab, the time stretching/shrinking in Izotope RX is pretty good. Uses the Radius algorithm, FWIW.

Yes well worth owning but time stretching is not available in elements for $30. Only in Standard and Advanced $300 plus 

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13 hours ago, musikman1 said:

will using the Process/Length change the pitch of the song, or will the pitch remain intact?

It has always remained the same for me. 
Try it; anything you do can be undone.
I would export a track or a mix of tracks to a folder outside CbB. Open a new project and drag that file into it, then do the Process>Length to it.
But there are many ways to do it, some simple and some a little more complicated.

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Posted (edited)

So out of curiosity I took a finished song and rendered it from 155 BPM up to 170 in Wave Lab and save as " Song 170 BPM " 

I opened the original Project and dragged this to a new track. This way I could listen to both and also see the ending point change. 

I then dragged the unaltered version to a second track and rendered it with Cakewalks Default algorithm.  Cakewalks interface is sort of crude compared to Wave Lab so it only offered a percentage, not a Tempo.  I went back to Wave lab and it showed tempo and a percentage of 91.17 %  So I used 91 % . 

A very tiny bit of sibilance on vocals in the Cakewalk version, not sure why and it only noticeable to me because I just spent 40 hours working on this song!! 

But it works fine. I will still use the Wave Lab version because I'd rather think in terms of tempo than a percentage.  Under a microscope I think it does less damage. But the Cakewalk time stretch is right there ready to use, so nothing lost by trying. Not sure what happens if you highlight all the audio in a big project and render and not about to try :o 

I do have a song with only a few audio tracks so might try it track by track and see if everything stays synced. But I see right away the big issue is because it doesn't use a tempo I will have to guess at what to change the midi tracks tempo to..  I guess can open wave lab and it will tell me, right. 

 

Edited by John Vere

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maybe make a copy of the song project into a separate folder before doing the multiple track stretching... even with undo, it may be much less heartache if something goes wrong... to wit: Murphy's Law...

if most of the tracks in my project were MIDI and i need to change tempo, then i'd update the tempo and re-render the MIDI, and then time-stretch only the recorded parts using Melodyne or the built-in time-stretching.  but i'd only do that with a new version of the project file saved into it's own folder to avoid buyers remorse later...

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Posted (edited)

I'm glad to see this has sparked a few of you to try some things.  John, I personally have tended to stay away from using CW's audio stretch tools, which is why I came here checking if there was a quicker/easier way to achieve this.  I am assuming you are using CW's Audio Snap Palette?... or are you using some other set of tools in CW that I'm not aware of, and if so, where are they located ? The Audio Snap Palette is the only place I know to go to edit  audio, is there another?  Whenever I've tried in the past I've never gotten the results I was aiming for with the Audio Snap Palette. There was always some glitch that I had to figure out why what I tried to do didn't work.  It must be me not grasping the details, because I remember watching a YT video and the guy teaching it made it look easy.  I know CW is designed to give us a good amount of options and tools, but it just never seemed very simple to use, and it should be if the task at hand is simple, like changing the tempo. 

For now I can at least go with mixing down the whole project to a wav, exporting, then using another software to change the tempo.  If there is some light that can be shed on making CW's audio stretch tools/features more easily understood, I'm all ears. 

Edited by musikman1

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Posted (edited)
On 1/2/2021 at 1:53 PM, musikman1 said:

Is there a quick way to do this universally to all the tracks at once

There's a thread here on the legacy SONAR forum that discusses how to do this. This is the specific reply, but there is more information if you keep reading.

The stretching algorithms in Cakewalk have been improved since that particular discussion took place, and in my opinion your results (audio quality) will be acceptable, maybe undetectable. Before you start, look in Preferences and set to the highest quality,and keep in mind that until you render your modified tracks you'll be hearing only a preview. The final render will be higher quality.

I hope this helps. I know what it's like to get far down the road and for whatever reason decide that the tempo is wrong. Maybe along the way you've added instruments or changed the lyrics or something that makes the original tempo not work. And you might still be working on the track, so you don't want to mix it down and change tempos on the stereo mixdown.

There is another method of changing the tempo of an entire multitrack project, but I rarely use it and can't put my finger on it right now. I'll follow this thread to see how you're doing. I saved the technique somewhere and I'll look for it.

EDIT: OK, I found the other method. It's in Craig Anderton's Sound on Sound column from December 2018. The column contains more info than you need, but the tempo change stuff is there, too. One caveat: When he says "slip-stretch" in Step 1, he means "slip-edit." Good luck! And thanks, @Craig Anderton!

Edited by Larry Jones
more information

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Posted (edited)
On 1/2/2021 at 5:09 PM, Colin Nicholls said:

As a purist I'm astounded that anyone would consider post-mix audio stretching an acceptable solution.

The OP is faced with audio stretching regardless, the difference is in how many errors are going to be introduced with the process(es) chosen. If adjusting each track/clip separately, it can introduce compounding errors into the result. Once "too deep" into a mix, it is much simpler to finish the mix and apply the audio stretching as a one-time process to keep everything relative.

Audio stretching is audio stretching whether is it pre- or post-mix; some programs just do it better than others.

Edited by mettelus

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@musikman1  I used the tool found in the Process menu. Length. I didn’t know it existed before. I too though you use Audio Snap. 
 

 

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Ok, a lot of info to process, but this gives me a couple of options, thanks guys for taking the time to assist, much appreciated!

John, I read the webpage that popped up when I opened Process/Length and clicked the help button, the other options in that Length window don't make a lot of sense yet, so for now I just left all the boxes checked, and left "type" as "radius mix".   So for now I just did a quick test with the Process/Length tool, seeing as how I'm extremely busy with RL stuff the next couple days.  I just quickly took a drum loop audio clip in a project where the tempo is 159bpm,  and entered 50% and it seemed to double the tempo, or at least it seemed twice as fast to me and the clip shrunk to roughly half the size. Not sure why, but after using the Process/Length tool set to 50% I opened the Loop Construction view to check the clip's bpm and it was not doubled, it was 164bpm, I kinda expected it to be double, or at least much higher than that.  (these are the things that drive me nuts in CW with audio editing! :). Not that I need to have all the numbers fall perfectly into place, just curious why it didn't double the bpm number in the LC view, or at least be higher than 164.  I guess it must be correct though, maybe I'm not getting the percentage math correct in my head. 

Also, one of my first thoughts was, how will this method affect audio vocal tracks? I'll have to give that a test too with one of my utility projects that I use to experiment with these kinds of issues. That way nothing important is lost or ruined.

Larry, I do have midi tracks mixed in with my audio. Why is Brundlefly saying to "Snap the Now time at 121:01:000."??   I assume he's saying to set the project's play marker to start playing at 121:01:000, but why at that measure number? That thread is helpful, but a little confusing at first, I'll have to study it a little longer to grasp the concept he's suggesting and experiment with it over the next day or so when I have more time.

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It is my long standing gripe with Cakewalk is any of the audio editing tools like this and Normalization leave you guessing as to what the results will be.  I own a few wave editors and the tools are very easy to use.  
we just “get used to it “ and stumble along. This is why I mostly use the tool copy into Wave lab so I can work more efficiently. 
 

My guess is that 50% is like 100bpm becomes 150bpm  and 100% would make it 200 bpm or double  But there’s an example that I am only having to guess  

it’s nice that they include some audio editing features but it’s like the developers never use them and have not seen what tools a real editor has 

 

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13 hours ago, musikman1 said:

Why is Brundlefly saying to "Snap the Now time at 121:01:000."?

This is in direct response to the original question on that thread. The numbers are meant to work for the OP. Later in the thread it's explained how this method works, what the numbers mean and how you could change them to suit your specific situation. It does work, BTW.

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Thanks Larry,  I must have been reading through too fast and missed that, will go back again.  Forgive my ignorance, but not sure what you mean by "OP"..

John I checked the CW help page on this, unfortunately they don't give as much detail as I'd hoped, but the percentages are somewhat basically explained..... here's is what's there...

Length dialog

The Process > Length command, which opens the Length dialog box, can be used to stretch or shrink MIDI and/or audio clips, and/or to move their start times. Process > Length lets you stretch or shrink the selection by a fixed percentage and makes the adjustment by altering the individual events. A value of 200 percent, for example, stretches the selection to twice its original length, while a value of 50 percent shrinks the selection to half its original length.

This command offers the option to stretch audio clips along with the MIDI information. Sometimes you don't want to adjust the speed of your audio. Audio can be stretched or condensed up to a factor of 4 (e.g., it can be shrunk to as little as 25 percent of its original length, or expanded to as much as 400 percent of its original length).

You can also use the Process > Length command to alter only the start times or the durations of notes. For example, changing the durations of notes to 50 percent of their original length can create a staccato effect.

The Length dialog box has the following fields:

Change:  Use the fields in this section to tell Cakewalk what to change, including:

Start Times. Choose this option if you want the start times of the selected events to shift by a percentage of their distance from the beginning of the selection. For example, if a note starts on beat 3 of a selection and you enter a value of 50 percent, Cakewalk shifts the start of the note one beat to the left, or half of 2 beats.

Durations: Choose this option if you want the durations of the selected events to shrink by a percentage.

By “N” Percent : Fill in the percentage number that you want the selected events to change by, which can be positive or negative.

Stretch Audio: Choose this option if you want duration of any selected audio to change.

Type: (disabled unless Stretch Audio is checked)

Choose options based on the source material: single voice or instrument versus a group of instruments (ensemble or polyphonic), and how long you want to wait for processing to finish: better quality can take a long time if you’re processing several tracks.

 

 

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