Q. What’s the best program for time‑stretching?

Published in SOS September 2011
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Sound Advice : Mixing

I was wondering what the latest and best program is for time-stretching. I purchased Apple Logic 9, but I don't find that quite suits my skill level. I use Audacity to change tempo, as I find it very intuitive to use, and it time‑stretches by a decent amount before degradation is noticeable. I am sure, though, that in this day and age there are better programs for this function. Are you aware of any?

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The current leaders in tempo‑matching and time‑stretching technology may be more advanced than is necessary for many people. Celemony's Melodyne is a superior piece of software for processing audio in this way, but for time‑stretching and tempo‑matching beat‑based music, something like Ableton Live may be all that is necessary.The current leaders in tempo‑matching and time‑stretching technology may be more advanced than is necessary for many people. Celemony's Melodyne is a superior piece of software for processing audio in this way, but for time‑stretching and tempo‑matching beat‑based music, something like Ableton Live may be all that is necessary.Q. What’s the best program for time‑stretching?

SOS contributor Mike Senior replies: There are loads of bits of software that will do time‑stretching and tempo‑matching for you and, although I've no experience of the facilities in Audacity myself, I'd suspect that the current state‑of‑the‑art technology, commercially, is probably ahead of what is available as open‑source technology. You don't say what kinds of things you're trying to stretch, however, and in my experience the performance of any given tool depends a great deal on the type of audio material you feed it with. Propellerhead Recycle, for instance, is much better than most time‑stretching‑based tempo‑matching software when working on beats, drum loops, and other rhythmic material. Programs like Celemony's Melodyne or Serato's Pitch 'N' Time, on the other hand, tend to be much better at dealing with melodic phrases or full‑stereo mixes. However, all of these options may well be more complicated to get the best out of than something that's specifically set up for easy working with beat‑based music: Ableton Live, Apple GarageBand, or Propellerhead Reason, for example.  .


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