Production notes on creating a even tempo from a mp3 w/o click track

Posted by: Charlie Fogle

Production notes on creating a even tempo from a mp3 w/o click track - 08/28/16 04:54 AM


I found this song idea I recorded years ago. The tempo varied from 99-105, mild clipping but it was recorded with two mics, one for vocals and one for the acoustic guitar.
I worked on it for a bit with the idea to enter it into the Xtra Styles contest but it is not good enough quality of a song or production to do that. I thought some may be interested that it was done completely in BIAB and RB and using the Audio Chord Wizard I was able to get the track from a varying tempo to a steady 102 bpm. I also used the RB harmonies and effects to complete the mix.

I worked with Band in a Box and RealBand to even the tempo to 102 and then created a backing track with one of Band in a Box's new Xtra Styles and added effects, harmonies and mixed the tracks in RealBand. I uploaded the song for discussion in the forum.

I started the project importing the song into BIAB and applying the ACW for the actual tempo map and chord progression. I saved the BIAB project.
I opened a new project in RB and imported the track.
Using the average tempo determined from BIAB, I set the tempo to 103 and recorded a Click track.
I opened the RB ACW and tweaked the tempo map and imported the song and chord progression into RB.
I did this twice before I was satisfied with the accuracy of the tempo. Once I was satisfied, I changed the tempo and stretched the audio to a fixed tempo of 102.
I used RB to split the stereo track into two separate mono tracks.
I saved the RB project and returned to BIAB and auditioned Xtra Styles and decided on Inspire – Cheery Indie Pop.
I returned to RB, Selected the Xtra Style – Inspire and generated the style.
I erased the original acoustic guitar track and silenced the spaces between words of the vocal track to eliminate as much of the original acoustic guitar as possible.
I duplicated the vocal track and edited that track so I could start over if necessary.
Once the vocal track was edited, I added RB effects and created two additional duplicates – Panned hard left and right.
I copied/pasted several phrases taken from the vocal track onto a new track and created harmonies from these.
I balanced, mixed and rendered the tracks to stereo.
I created a file of the song with a little of the original song added at the end for comparison if anyone is interested in hearing it and posted that to my Soundcloud account.

I think this would have been a successful project had the original recording been a higher quality and better recording. Trash in – trash out is in full force here. I never completed the song beyond the first verse and the song here is just a repetition of verse and chorus.

I decided to post this as is so possibly someone will benefit from the process. As a song, the recording or the quality of the song itself does not warrant entering it into the Xtra Styles contest.
If any lyricist wants to have a go at completing the song and re-recording it from scratch, have a go at it.



Sweet Eyes with original attached


Posted by: Noel96

Re: Production notes on creating a even tempo from a mp3 w/o click track - 08/30/16 02:39 PM

Charlie,

That's quite a journey you've been on!

I've just been over to Soundcloud and had a listen and I have to say that you've done a really great job! Am I correct in assuming that the last part of the Soundcloud file is the original that you worked with? If so, you've really lifted the production up to the stratosphere! It's excellent.

And, I disagree with your thoughts... this is every bit suitable for the Xtra styles competition! You should definitely lodge it in that thread. The bottom line is that you have nothing to lose, only things to win smile (If you decide to lodge it, I'd also include all the above production notes.)

I enjoyed the read and the listen. Thanks for being so meticulous.

Regards,
Noel
Posted by: thomasc

Re: Production notes on creating a even tempo from a mp3 w/o click track - 08/31/16 11:59 AM

Hi Charlie

I'm following your tracks ...
As I'm heading in the same direction as your interesting workflow description indicates, I dived into the details and hence would appreciate even more details if you don't mind.
As I mentioned in the other thread your results were extremely good and inspired me a lot in the quest of recreating the past in new clothes.
I've inserted some questions in red below in your workflow.

1. I started the project importing the song into BIAB and applying the ACW for the actual tempo map and chord progression. I saved the BIAB project.
2. I opened a new project in RB and imported the track.
I.e. opening a *.*GU-file?
3. Using the average tempo determined from BIAB, I set the tempo to 103 and recorded a Click track.
I.e. the average tempo that the ACW in BB showed?
Click track with setting bars and/or beats?
Did you then realign the music according to the click track? Or did you do this at #5 including stretching of the audio?
Sometimes one gets the message about reconsolidating and this sometimes is a happening with the wav moving to a new bar position … Have you had this?

4. I opened the RB ACW and tweaked the tempo map and imported the song and chord progression into RB.
Preserving chords and part markers and just adjusting the bar-settings?
5. I did this twice before I was satisfied with the accuracy of the tempo. Once I was satisfied, I changed the tempo and stretched the audio to a fixed tempo of 102.
I.e. two runs within the same session with RB ACW?
Changing to the average tempo of ACW in RB?
Stretching with the Time stretch and Pitch shift command?

6. I used RB to split the stereo track into two separate mono tracks.
7. I saved the RB project and returned to BIAB and auditioned Xtra Styles and decided on Inspire – Cheery Indie Pop.
8. I returned to RB, Selected the Xtra Style – Inspire and generated the style.
9. I erased the original acoustic guitar track and silenced the spaces between words of the vocal track to eliminate as much of the original acoustic guitar as possible.
10. I duplicated the vocal track and edited that track so I could start over if necessary.
11. Once the vocal track was edited, I added RB effects and created two additional duplicates – Panned hard left and right.
12. I copied/pasted several phrases taken from the vocal track onto a new track and created harmonies from these.
13. I balanced, mixed and rendered the tracks to stereo.
14. I created a file of the song with a little of the original song added at the end for comparison if anyone is interested in hearing it and posted that to my Soundcloud account


cheers Thomas
Posted by: Charlie Fogle

Re: Production notes on creating a even tempo from a mp3 w/o click track - 08/31/16 07:33 PM

Hi Thomas. I'm no expert but am happy to share what I did.

2. I opened a new project in RB and imported the track.

I.e. opening a *.*GU-file? No. I opened a new RB file and imported the audio. I did not open the saved BIAB file.

3. Using the average tempo determined from BIAB, I set the tempo to 103 and recorded a Click track.

I.e. the average tempo that the ACW in BB showed? Yes. There is a difference between the precision of the ACW in BIAB and RB. RB is more precise. I began the project in BIAB because it generates tracks faster and I also only needed a rough estimation where to set the tempo in RB. I could have started the project in RB with the click track but I experimented with the Xtra Styles in BIAB first to see if the song was suitable for the project. I came back to BIAB and reviewed the files some more before making the final decision on which Xtra Style to use.

Click track with setting bars and/or beats? bars

Did you then realign the music according to the click track? Or did you do this at #5 including stretching of the audio? I aligned the song with the click track.

Sometimes one gets the message about reconsolidating and this sometimes is a happening with the wav moving to a new bar position … Have you had this? Yes. I consolidate the file.

4. I opened the RB ACW and tweaked the tempo map and imported the song and chord progression into RB.
Preserving chords and part markers and just adjusting the bar-settings? Yes, preserved the chords and part markers. I did this step to get a more precise and accurate tempo map for the whole song. After deleting the original acoustic guitar and edited out the bleed through of the guitar on the vocal track, I added some chords, changed a few chords and added some pauses to make the melody more interesting.

5. I did this twice before I was satisfied with the accuracy of the tempo. Once I was satisfied, I changed the tempo and stretched the audio to a fixed tempo of 102.
I.e. two runs within the same session with RB ACW? Yes. I imported the file into RB after the first run through the ACW and the exported to the ACW and tweaked the bars some more.

Changing to the average tempo of ACW in RB? Yes. Once I felt I had the tempo the best the ACW would accomplish, the file and tempo map were imported into RB and I opened the tempo map and deleted it and set the tempo at a fixed 102 bpm which was more accurate than the tempo determined in BIAB.

Stretching with the Time stretch and Pitch shift command? Yes. There won't be any issue with RealTracks, Super Midi or Midi files generating to the fixed tempo. The audio was time stretched and pitch shifted prior to generating the RealTracks.

I did more than what is normally necessary with my project because there was such a wide variance in the tempo range. 99-105.

With properly recorded audio you most times only need to do the click track in RB in order to generate a Style or add RealTracks. With this song, the drums were unuseable with just the click track as drums/percussion is a big part of the style. The speeding up and slowing down was very noticeable and distracting and also the syncing was off. I needed to have a fixed tempo to make this style work, thus I had to take additional steps.
Posted by: Charlie Fogle

Re: Production notes on creating a even tempo from a mp3 w/o click track - 09/01/16 05:05 AM

Originally Posted By: Noel96
Charlie,

That's quite a journey you've been on!

I've just been over to Soundcloud and had a listen and I have to say that you've done a really great job! Am I correct in assuming that the last part of the Soundcloud file is the original that you worked with? If so, you've really lifted the production up to the stratosphere! It's excellent.

And, I disagree with your thoughts... this is every bit suitable for the Xtra styles competition! You should definitely lodge it in that thread. The bottom line is that you have nothing to lose, only things to win smile (If you decide to lodge it, I'd also include all the above production notes.)

I enjoyed the read and the listen. Thanks for being so meticulous.

Regards,
Noel


Yes Noel. I included a portion of the original recording at the end of the song. I'm very pleased with how well the style fit and the improvement from the original.

Thanks for your encouragement and continuing support. I revisited my mix and tweaked a bit more and have entered into the contest. From what I've seen of the other posts so far, I've got a lock on last place but it was a fun project from start to finish.

Charlie
Posted by: thomasc

Re: Production notes on creating a even tempo from a mp3 w/o click track - 09/03/16 01:14 AM

Charlie

many thanks for update.
I now got a clear picture of the workflow.

Will now dive into reality trying to accomplish my expectations.
Cannot guarantee that no additional questions might pop up and hope it would be ok to consult you again.


Cheers Thomas
Posted by: Charlie Fogle

Re: Production notes on creating a even tempo from a mp3 w/o click track - 09/03/16 06:03 AM

Originally Posted By: thomasc
Charlie

many thanks for update.
I now got a clear picture of the workflow.

Will now dive into reality trying to accomplish my expectations.
Cannot guarantee that no additional questions might pop up and hope it would be ok to consult you again.


Cheers Thomas


As Peter Gannon says, "have fun!". I'm glad to help again if you need it. Others here on the forum will too. It's a great place to learn.