Live’s Sample Box gives us different warp modes for changing how audio clips are played back.
If you’re working with audio files for a remix, vocal recording, or anything else, the warp mode you use is
incredibly important. When the audio clip is warped, it will shape the entire sound to either time-stretched gloriousness with minimal artifacts, or at the other extreme,
glitchy beyond recognition.
Different warp modes in the Sample Box:
Beat Mode (default)
If you haven’t changed this, then each audio file
you’ve warp is going to start becoming glitch as you change the tempo or other attributes of the sample. The “Preserve” below the warp mode allows you to select how to shape the
beat transients. In short: what rhythmic artifacts are you trying to emphasize?
The mode is ideal for anything with a clear pitch like vocals, lead
guitar, bass lines, etc. You’re look for dominate melodic or harmonic note structures that don’t emphasize rhythm.
You can adjust the Grain Size to shorter or larger settings.
Basically, the grain size is how the audio file is broken up into tiny parts to warp it. Adjust this until it sounds right.
Texture warp mode is ideal for anything that doesn’t have a complex melody or pitch, like pads and ambient sounds, and stretching sounds effects or other records that may not be
obviously musical in nature. Playing with the Flux can help you create some very interesting atmospheric sounds.
Re-Pitch warp mode is essentially a turntable. It speeds up or slows
down the transients to match the global tempo in your project. Basically, this is the old school way DJs worked with vinyl to get their beats. If you’re trying to preserve pitches
and notes, don’t use this mode. It can be fun with drums though…
Complex & Complex Pro
This is the ideal mode for warping entire song files or other
complex audio. Complex requires a little more CPU of all warp modes as it is trying to preserve all of the rhythmic and tonal qualities of the audio file. I set the default for
all my audio clips to Complex mode in Live’s Preferences (Go to Record/Warp/Launch tab –> Default
Complex Pro is a deeper version of Complex, adding the Formant and Envelope parameters. Formant adjusts the sample when
transposing the pitch. Envelope adjusts spectral qualities of the file. Ableton recommends the default value of 128 for most audio. Try
using lower values when using higher-pitched samples, and higher values when using lower-pitched samples.
The Start and End markers in the Sample Box give us quick control for adjusting the markers in the clip. Don’t be afraid to use these often for quicker editing adjustments. Same goes with using the Loop’s Position and Length parameters.
In this next video, we’ll look at the different warp modes, and dive into using other parameters in the Sample Box…