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So this Guy Effortlessly Speeds up/Down a Track Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 18th October 2015
  #1
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So this Guy Effortlessly Speeds up/Down a Track




Super cool way of demonstrating some of the most famous samples used!

Now onto my question...

Are there any plugins that allow you to easily speed up/down a song (like in the video) without having to worry about adding tempos or timestretching etc? Preferably something that doesn't ruin the pitch as well! I've tried this in PHATmatik (any many others) and if you increase/decrease even by a couple of semitones, it radically affects the song.

Thanks in advance!
Old 18th October 2015
  #2
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Anything that speeds up or slows down a sample whilst locked to your soundcards sample rate i.e 44khz or 88khz etc. has to convert the sample in realtime by what's called Interpolation. All samplers after the Akai S-950 (S1000, Emu's, Kontakt, Exs 24 etc) do this. The guy in the video is using serious skill and vinyl to make it sound so good. Vinyl just slows down or speeds up the waveform unlike digital interpolation which has to resample on the fly and other digital trckery which leads to fluffy attacks and aliasing.

This is one of the reasons I use the Akai S-950 for my beats because it has only 8 note polyphony but each note of has its own engine which just either speeds up or slows down the sample in realtime with no slushyness of the attacks....very much the same as speeding up vinyl or tape. The best results in modern samplers is to run them at a higher sample rate and run the resampling algo's at their highest quality (usually an export option) makes one hell of a difference when messing with tranposition/speed of samples.
Old 18th October 2015
  #3
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Taken from Sound on Sound magazine:

As if all these problems inherent in the sound weren't bad enough, the sampler you're using can itself contribute to the difficulties with transposition. In the very early days of sampling, samples would be repitched simply by altering the rate of the sampler's digital playback clock, and if you listen to 1970s samples, you can hear this. For example, if a sample was recorded at a sample rate of, say, 32kHz (a popular sampling rate in the early days, giving a bandwidth of around 15kHz), then when the sample was transposed down an octave, the sample clock would be running at 16kHz, in the upper reaches of our hearing range. If you played the sample a further octave down, the sample clock would operate at 8kHz, well within the range of human hearing, and exhibit itself as a high-pitched whistle. All sorts of filters were employed to keep this to a minimum, but you can hear it nevertheless. I have some original Fairlight samples, and you can hear the whistle gradually creeping in as you play lower down the keyboard.

To get around this, later samplers (and indeed all modern samplers) used a fixed sample-playback rate, and employed a process known as interpolation to allow samples to be transposed. When samples are played out slower, the interpolation process has to fill in the gaps to reconstruct the waveform as accurately as possible at lower pitches, and when played back higher, it has to seamlessly remove tiny snippets of data in order for the sound to be played back faster. And all of this takes place in real time!

forgotten 3 pitching
A simple diagram showing how a single percussive sample, originally taken at C3, would speed up and down, and shorten and lengthen, as you play it over the range of the keyboard. Of course, in addition to the amplitude envelope being affected, other qualities inherent in the sound would also be altered by the transposition, such as vibrato and attack characteristics (scrape or rasp sounds, for example).
If this seems confusing, think of resizing a photo in an image editor such as Photoshop, which uses a similar process. If you enlarge the photo, the image editor has to somehow fill in the pixels so that the enlarged image isn't horribly distorted. It can't enlarge the actual pixels that make up the image; it has to interpolate and add new pixels that fit with the existing image and don't look out of place. It's similar when you're playing a sample lower in pitch — audio 'pixels' have to be inserted to create the longer transposed samples. And when you reduce the size of a picture in Photoshop, pixels have to be removed, because they can't be made smaller. It's much the same when transposing a sample upwards — audio 'pixels' somehow have to be removed. All of this is taken care of with a real-time interpolation algorithm.

Anyone who has used an image-editing package such as Photoshop will have noticed that there are often different interpolation algorithms that can be used to fill in/add or remove pixels with differing levels of quality. Different samplers also use different interpolation methods to play back sounds at different pitches. Some samplers use the most basic interpolation, and, as a result, it is not possible to transpose a sample far beyond the note at which it was sampled without interpolation distortion being quite evident. In cases like these, transposing sounds several octaves up or down can render them almost unrecognisable, although these side-effects can be used in a positive way for creative purposes (see the box opposite). A good sampler should use high-quality interpolation algorithms that are far kinder on samples, even when they are transposed in either direction some distance from their base pitch. As samplers developed, though, the progression wasn't always smooth — for example, the Akai S1000 and S1100 used so-called 'eight-point windowed sinc interpolation', which was a good algorithm allowing a good deal of transposition in either direction, and which introduced artefacts only with extreme transpositions. But the later S2000 and S3000 family used linear interpolation, one of the most basic methods available, as a cost-cutting exercise to make the range of samplers more affordable. In practice, this meant that samples couldn't be transposed too far away from their base pitch without transposition artefacts being heard (a kind of metallic 'mush'). In my experience, hardware samplers seem to handle transposition better than software ones, perhaps because hardware samplers have dedicated circuitry built into them devoted to interpolation, and maybe also because the software that drives this hardware will often be written in the lowest level of machine code to ensure optimal performance under all circumstances, unlike the software interpolation 'emulators' responsible for transposition in a software sampler. Of course, low-quality interpolation will have no effect on recordings when they are played at their sampled pitch, but the usefulness of a sampler is reduced if it can't transpose audio too far away from its original pitch.
Old 18th October 2015
  #4
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All that guy is doing is speeding up or slowing down the records (no time stretching or anything like that). You can do this using a sampler or something like Ableton Live in pitch mode.
Old 18th October 2015
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by explorer View Post
All that guy is doing is speeding up or slowing down the records (no time stretching or anything like that). You can do this using a sampler or something like Ableton Live in pitch mode.
Sure, pretty much what I said in the previous two posts....but it is different. Speeding up a record/tape/old school non interpolating sampler is a lot different than digital on the fly resampling as per any modern sampler.
Old 19th October 2015
  #6
I gotta say, that was fun to watch - but honestly, all this talk about interpolation methods, while accurate, is not particularly useful. I use a lot of sampling in my original music, often in a "hip-hop style" (though my music is more country-rock, I just like having fun with sampled beats), and what I've found is that if you use the artifacts in a creative way, every method is usable...

After all, that is what the "progenitors" did! Slowing down vinyl has its own artifacts - notably, the amplified clicks and pops, but also pitch variations (motor speed and surface irregularities) - as do all the classic samplers (with the caveat that those often do sound less offensive than newer methods). My personal view is that the whole "purity" thing is hokum, mainly because you wouldn't treat the sampled audio the same today as you would then...

When you sample a beat today, you are far more likely to compress and generally mangle it than they would in the heyday of classic samplers - mainly because a) you can, and b) those beats just plain aren't loud enough. This, of course, brings out the artifacts even more - but the type of artifacts that software samplers impart (mainly interpolation sound) are far less objectionable when compressed than the clicks and pops of a mistreated vinyl record. Of course, even I occasionally dig samples up off of vinyl, and even pitch-then-resample them, but that is for a specific sound - namely the sound of vinyl, going for that old-school vibe. I will far more often mangle a CD rip (WAV/AIFF) if I want to manipulate it a lot - just because the final product, in a modern loud-as-loud-can-be production, is far more likely to sound "right"...

Oh, and final thought - stop obsessing and just learn your tools! I got into sampling, coming from a completely "classic" background, not through hip-hop (I'm a rock/punk/country guy through and through), but through playing around with Ableton Live. Had I obsessed over the sound quality of what I was doing, I doubt I would have ever had enough fun to get my skills to where they are now! After all, the only true rule of music production is that there are no freaking rules...
Old 19th October 2015
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Proton View Post
Sure, pretty much what I said in the previous two posts....but it is different. Speeding up a record/tape/old school non interpolating sampler is a lot different than digital on the fly resampling as per any modern sampler.
The guy in the video is using DJ software such as Traktor / Serato, controlled by timecode vinyl. The resulting pitch change is done by software. Like Explorer says, just load the sounds into a soft sampler and turn the pitch knob to get a similar result.
Old 19th October 2015
  #8
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JC Biffro's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hint View Post
The guy in the video is using DJ software such as Traktor / Serato, controlled by timecode vinyl. The resulting pitch change is done by software. Like Explorer says, just load the sounds into a soft sampler and turn the pitch knob to get a similar result.
Not all samplers slow down/speed up the tempo relatively though.
Old 19th October 2015
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JC Biffro View Post
Not all samplers slow down/speed up the tempo relatively though.
Surely most of them do if you just turn the pitch knob on the interface? Kontakt? EXS24? Those two do for sure.
Old 19th October 2015
  #10
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I totally get where you are coming from, but I can't help obsessing over sample tech as I make sample libraries for a living now

The OP wanted to know why his DAW mesed with the sound of the beat when he tried to do the sae as the guy with the record decks, I'm just pointing out why transposing samples with modern samplers can mess with the sound.

take a drum beat and down sample it to an extreme -2 octaves with any daw sampler....then try it with a vintage non interpolating sampler. You will hear a lot less smeary attacks and less mush over all. It's just the physics of the thing.

But who the hell has time to find old samplers, retro fit them with ssd drives and then hook them up over midi....so your point is equally as important

Quote:
Originally Posted by dented42ford

;11417158
I gotta say, that was fun to watch - but honestly, all this talk about interpolation methods, while accurate, is not particularly useful. I use a lot of sampling in my original music, often in a "hip-hop style" (though my music is more country-rock, I just like having fun with sampled beats), and what I've found is that if you use the artifacts in a creative way, every method is usable...

After all, that is what the "progenitors" did! Slowing down vinyl has its own artifacts - notably, the amplified clicks and pops, but also pitch variations (motor speed and surface irregularities) - as do all the classic samplers (with the caveat that those often do sound less offensive than newer methods). My personal view is that the whole "purity" thing is hokum, mainly because you wouldn't treat the sampled audio the same today as you would then...

When you sample a beat today, you are far more likely to compress and generally mangle it than they would in the heyday of classic samplers - mainly because a) you can, and b) those beats just plain aren't loud enough. This, of course, brings out the artifacts even more - but the type of artifacts that software samplers impart (mainly interpolation sound) are far less objectionable when compressed than the clicks and pops of a mistreated vinyl record. Of course, even I occasionally dig samples up off of vinyl, and even pitch-then-resample them, but that is for a specific sound - namely the sound of vinyl, going for that old-school vibe. I will far more often mangle a CD rip (WAV/AIFF) if I want to manipulate it a lot - just because the final product, in a modern loud-as-loud-can-be production, is far more likely to sound "right"...

Oh, and final thought - stop obsessing and just learn your tools! I got into sampling, coming from a completely "classic" background, not through hip-hop (I'm a rock/punk/country guy through and through), but through playing around with Ableton Live. Had I obsessed over the sound quality of what I was doing, I doubt I would have ever had enough fun to get my skills to where they are now! After all, the only true rule of music production is that there are no freaking rules...
Old 19th October 2015
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hint View Post
The guy in the video is using DJ software such as Traktor / Serato, controlled by timecode vinyl. The resulting pitch change is done by software. Like Explorer says, just load the sounds into a soft sampler and turn the pitch knob to get a similar result.
Ahhh looking at the video again you are completely correct.

I will do the sample transposition experiment this week though and upload the findings.
Old 19th October 2015
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Proton View Post
I totally get where you are coming from, but I can't help obsessing over sample tech as I make sample libraries for a living now

The OP wanted to know why his DAW mesed with the sound of the beat when he tried to do the sae as the guy with the record decks, I'm just pointing out why transposing samples with modern samplers can mess with the sound.

take a drum beat and down sample it to an extreme -2 octaves with any daw sampler....then try it with a vintage non interpolating sampler. You will hear a lot less smeary attacks and less mush over all. It's just the physics of the thing.

But who the hell has time to find old samplers, retro fit them with ssd drives and then hook them up over midi....so your point is equally as important
You also make a good point - but your method seems far more complicated than mine! If I want to avoid interpolation (ok, this is mainly theoretical - I think I've done this ONCE, which tells you just how much all this actually matters to me) I [would] just slow down the records on a turntable, then record the result, then tweak from there (staying within a narrow range). Doesn't that seem like a simpler, more cost-and-time-effective way to accomplish the effect than retrofitting old tech with new? I mean, your method requires resampling in any case - and if you are going to do that, you might as well just stay within the DAW...

But what do I know, I've never tried it. I mean, I've messed around with old samplers, and they certainly have "a sound", but I've never been so enamored with it that I'd go to the trouble to make the old stuff work when the new is so much easier!

I do agree that it is easy to get a "bad" sound out of modern software samplers, especially if you are trying to do BIG transpositions. That being said, most of the time you'd want to do those - namely hip-hop and electronic - you will probably be "supplementing" the beat with drum samples or a drum machine in any case, for added punch and flexibility. You can easily (ok, simply - it isn't actually easy) use the stacked sounds to make up for the transient smearing.

All that being said, I look forward to hearing your comparisons - who knows, maybe I'll be retrofitting an old machine in my future!
Old 19th October 2015
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by JC Biffro View Post
Not all samplers slow down/speed up the tempo relatively though.
[sorry for the double post, just wanted to respond to this]

The most obvious example [to me] of a DAW sampler that doesn't do relative transposition is Ableton Live. All the others (Kontakt, Halion, EXS24, etc.) do, to various levels of quality. Of course, in Live, you can just create a clip of the sample and it'll stay relative - and in "Pitch" mode it will act pretty much exactly like Serato/Traktor. I've never done a quality comparison of the three, but I'd love to hear one!
Old 19th October 2015
  #14
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In ableton you could just map the tempo/bpm to a continuous controller if your tracks are warped.
Old 19th October 2015
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ctothej123 View Post
In ableton you could just map the tempo/bpm to a continuous controller if your tracks are warped.
I was referring to the SAMPLER device - it is a software sampler, but it doesn't time-stretch samples. I'm just saying this to be clear - what you describe will work fine, as well. I must say if you are using Live that it is probably easier to just warp the sample and conform it to the project, rather than automating tempo - they are independent, after all!

Your example does point out a problem with the "pitch mode" implementation, though - if you do have automated tempo with clips warped in repitch, those clips will speed up/down with the automation in the arrangement - which may not be a desired effect. The only way I know of to avoid this behavior is to render the samples (freeze/render or just resample to another track) and then re-warp into another mode - rather cumbersome, to say the least. I suspect that might just be the nature of the beast, but it is something to keep in mind when using repitch in Live.
Old 19th October 2015
  #16
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completely agree, I too would also slow the record down as well....but my record deck has long since gone as has all my vinyl (flooded toilet incident whilst on holiday).

For those like me that have a large collection of .wavs/.aiff format beats you do get better results actually slowing down the sample with an old sampler than trusting in the modern pitch resampling algo.

Will work on that test.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by dented42ford View Post
You also make a good point - but your method seems far more complicated than mine! If I want to avoid interpolation (ok, this is mainly theoretical - I think I've done this ONCE, which tells you just how much all this actually matters to me) I [would] just slow down the records on a turntable, then record the result, then tweak from there (staying within a narrow range). Doesn't that seem like a simpler, more cost-and-time-effective way to accomplish the effect than retrofitting old tech with new? I mean, your method requires resampling in any case - and if you are going to do that, you might as well just stay within the DAW...

But what do I know, I've never tried it. I mean, I've messed around with old samplers, and they certainly have "a sound", but I've never been so enamored with it that I'd go to the trouble to make the old stuff work when the new is so much easier!

I do agree that it is easy to get a "bad" sound out of modern software samplers, especially if you are trying to do BIG transpositions. That being said, most of the time you'd want to do those - namely hip-hop and electronic - you will probably be "supplementing" the beat with drum samples or a drum machine in any case, for added punch and flexibility. You can easily (ok, simply - it isn't actually easy) use the stacked sounds to make up for the transient smearing.

All that being said, I look forward to hearing your comparisons - who knows, maybe I'll be retrofitting an old machine in my future!
Old 20th October 2015
  #17
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It's all about the algorithm and its implementation. For example, the time stretching in Virtual DJ software is notably poorer than on Pioneer CDJs.
Old 20th October 2015
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Proton View Post
completely agree, I too would also slow the record down as well....but my record deck has long since gone as has all my vinyl (flooded toilet incident whilst on holiday).

For those like me that have a large collection of .wavs/.aiff format beats you do get better results actually slowing down the sample with an old sampler than trusting in the modern pitch resampling algo.

Will work on that test.....
Do you have a preference on which old samplers to use?

PHATmatik does an ok job - I use Pitch N' Pro for regular pitching duties but I've only recently picked this (very expensive!) baby up so I haven't discovered whether or not Pitch N' Pro can also speed up/slow down yet. Love this tool, but hate the fact it's Pro Tools only and this isn't my DAW of choice.
Old 20th October 2015
  #19
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Are you needing it in realtime? If not realtime then just grab an old Akai S-900 and sampler your best then mess with the tuning until in time. You get a great 12 bit crunch that sits really nice with other stuff as well. Should be able to find one for a couple of hundred bucks, if you don't like it you can always sell it on again at cost so no loss.



This one shows how different samplers sound (Hardware)


Last edited by Captain Proton; 20th October 2015 at 01:45 PM..
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