Can I edit tempo of pre-recorded audio via tempo map?

I’m trying to go from a free-recording, create a tempo map from it (I’ve gotten that far), and then make tempo adjustments to smooth it out, while keeping the tempo map aligned with my changes, so I can sync drums, etc to it.

Can someone help me out to know how to do this? Seems when I use audiowarp, etc, the tempo map doesn’t follow it. Ideally, I’d like to just adjust the tempo map and have the audio follow. Is that possible? Also, I have multiple tracks I’d like to stretch/warp together.

Thanks in advance!


I’m not sure, but I think I have the same requirements as you describe. Here’s my workaround, I’m sure it’s probably not the most efficient way to get it done but it does work for me … hopefully someone smarter will come along and show the way to save a lot of time …

What I do to “smooth it out” (after creating the map as you said you’ve been able to do) is open the tempo track , then edit the little dots (select/delete a few, drag a few to a faster/slower tempo, etc.). Then when I go back and replay the project, it follows the new “smoothed out” tempo map.

[However … I have to restrain myself when I do that! What I find is it’s sometimes too easy to edit with my eyes (“… those dots look too uneven, let’s smooth them out a bit…”) than my ears, and if I’m not careful I’ve “smoothed out” all the “off grid” tempo changes that I wanted to preserve in the first place!]

Hope that helps you to do what you want -

Good luck!

Do you do that with pre-recorded audio, or MIDI? I’m trying to do it with audio, so that it would actually time-stretch the audio.

Hi Clayton - I do it with both …the audio gets time stretched (elastique pro) when I “smooth out” the points.

Thanks -

That’s awesome. I must be doing something wrong, though, because I swear I tried that. I’ll try again tonight. (Musical mode? Don’t have to define the file in the sample editor or anything?)

Can’t remember about whether it needs to be in musical mode or not, but whatever my default in the pool is when I import audio (which I think might be unchecked musical mode) is what works here. No sample editor stuff needed at this end. Need to have “Tempo Track” lit up and active too, of course - that part is almost always good for a redo in my hands :mrgreen:

I think you may be talking about two different things. The “Time Warp” tool in the project window that creates a tempo map is used to adjust the tempo of the project to keep it in time with an audio track that does not have an even tempo. This tool does not stretch the audio, it adjusts the tempo to line up the bars and beats with the audio at normal speed. If you want to stretch the audio so that it matches an even tempo, you need to use the AudioWarp tool in the sample editor.

Another thing that is confusing and I want to point out is the difference between selecting musical mode for a track in the project window and selecting musical mode for an audio clip in the editor. They are not the same. Musical mode in the sample editor means that the clip will be stretched to fill the given space based on number of bars/beats, time signature, and tempo. The musical mode in the project editor is for the track and defines how the start positions of the events on that track move if you change the tempo or time signature. In linear mode, if you change the tempo of the project, notice that the audio events do not move. If you use musical mode for the track and change the tempo, the audio events will move so they start on the same bar/beat.


Thanks for that, Jaslan, actually for both those things.

I’m not actually calling up a warp tool to stretch the audio … just editing in the Tempo Track. The Tempo Track says it’s using Elastique Pro in the drop down menu. Functionally, it does the trick very nicely for me … if my audio is a bit too variable in tempo (being not played to a click track), I drag the Tempo Track points up and down or use the pencil tool to “smooth out” the Tempo Track curve until the flow of the music is where i want it.

By description, do you think this is doing the same thing in a back-door way as using Audio Warp in the sample editor the way you described? I’m doing my bit for a whole track at a time (I just edit the Tempo Track here and there as I play through the track), I don’t know if it would be a good idea to use the Sample Editor for that large amount of audio or not…

Thanks -

It may be prudent to point out C5 doesn’t have elastique pro (C6) so the time stretch in C5 will sound way inferior

That would explain why I had no idea what Elastique Pro was. I am a C5 owner. :smiley:
So, @ Clayton,
If you are using Cubase 5 (based on the forum you are posting in I assume you are) and you want to stretch the audio clip/event to match a consistent tempo, you need the sample editor in musical mode. It is a little tricky so you will probably need to sit down with the manual. It is worth learning how to use though if you record live audio frequently. The stretch will fix small errors in timing very nicely.

FWIW - strictly speaking, a track is set to musical timebase, whereas an audio clip ist set to musical mode.

Thank you, thinking cap! That is such an important difference, and for some reason it’s not extremely intuitive to me.

For the folks like me who need to reference a nice explanation for the details every now and then - vic_france’s explanation on April 3, 2011 at 1614 hrs:

So I’ve played with it some more and poured over the manual (some more) and still haven’t “got it” yet. Specifically, I define the audio file via the definition tab in the sample editor. Then I go to the tempo track and edit the tempo (midstream–changing a constant tempo seems to stay in sync), and doing so midstream makes things go out of sync. If I increase the tempo at a certain bar, for example, the time of the previous three beats are stretched, which stretches the point in the audio file at which I’ve defined the beginning of the bar, so that the tempo event is now in the middle of some beat. I guess that’s because the audio file has changed and the definition is based on sample position? But why doesn’t adjusting the tempo track stretch things AFTER the beat position I edited?

Anyway, frustrating. I’ll keep playing with it. From Alexis am I gathering that things are simpler in v6?

Hi Clayton - It is hard to know exactly what is happening there, but this also sounds kind of familiar to me from my trial and errors in C6 - please see below. BTW, re: your comment about C6 vs C5 - I don’t exactly know how C6 and C5 are different in getting this task done, but I didn’t think it was much if at all (since what I do in C6 is what I did in SX3) … I thought maybe the comment in an earlier post was related to the actual stretching algorithm, Elastique Pro, not being available in C5.

Anyway, the way I got around the shifting of all the previous bars when I made a change at a later bar was to “tack” the very first bar down with a Time Warp point (in other words the beginning of bar #1 of the song). I found that otherwise the earlier bars would slide around based on changes later. I also found that I had to be on the lookout - this past weekend I found it “shifting around” even though I had “tacked” the 1st bar down, I think it was at a spot where I hadn’t done a time warp point for a few bars (because I thought they were in time enough), and so it took the opportunity to slide the previous bars around … I guess Cubase gets its kicks doing that :open_mouth: .So bottom line: now I Time Warp at least every single bar, taking away it’s opportunity to do that.

After I did that, I found that dragging the grid to an audio event only changed the tempo back one bar - as intended.

BTW, I don’t know if you know Hippo, but he is pretty much encyclopedic in his Cubase knowledge. He has a post today which I THINK may be related to this dealing with tempo - Cubase - Steinberg Forums , I will be looking at that.

My suggestions are only based on hours of butting my head against a brick wall to try and make things work, as it sounds like you are doing. I’m always on the lookout for posts on the topic from the smart guys who really know what they are doing! Speaking of which, you might also want to search for some posts from vic_france , he has posted a lot about the topic.

Good luck!

P.S. Also, make sure you are in “Musical Time Base” in your project window - i.e., the yellow music note icon is toggled on, not the clock icon. The latter will sometimes cause the starting point of the part to shift around …

Are you saying that you want to change the tempo in the middle of the clip? For example, you want the first half of the clip to play at one tempo and the second half to play at a different tempo? If you are trying to do this, I would suggest cutting the clip at the point where the tempo changes. Then you can define the tempo you want for each portion of the clip independently. Also, have you tried using Manual Adjust?

Alexis–Thank you for your suggestions, very helpful. I looked at Hippo’s post and will try to decipher it. When you say you tacked the 1st beat down with a Time Warp point I take it you mean a “Warp Tab”?

I’m trying to figure out the difference and relationship between the time grid of the audio file in the definition tab and the Warp Tabs in the AudioWarp tab…manual says for each that once you set them the audio will follow whatever further tempo changes you make. But yes, jaslan, I’m trying to change the tempo in the middle of the clip, not only once, but several times throughout the song, and the tempo changes do cause the audio file to play back differently, but it doesn’t follow precisely my tempo changes, so that things are out of sync, etc.

I’ll look up vic_france as well.

jaslan–since I’m changing tempo at nearly every bar (maybe I should even it out more), I don’t know that cutting is practical? I’ll think about that. And yes, this happened with Manual Adjust.

When you say you are changing the tempo nearly every bar, do you mean that…

  1. You are changing the tempo of the audio clip in order to even it out and match it to a constant project tempo…
    You are changing the tempo of the project (i.e. the tempo on the tempo track) nearly every bar?

This is a question that I asked much earlier in the thread and I still don’t know the answer, which is critical to what you are trying to do.

Another way to ask my question is… What do you want in you final product? Do you want the actual final tempo to change every bar or do you want a steady tempo? (or at least a steady tempo for a part of the song, i.e. not changing every bar)

We’re on two different threads! :smiley:

It’s the latter–I’d like to do two things:

  1. Create a great tempo map based on some ebb and flow of the song (though smoother), and
  2. Lock the existing audio to the smoother (and faster) tempo map.


Try this way…

Thinking cap … that is AWESOME!

I sort of was stumbling around for a long time trying to do this, and would up doing it the way you do, though with great trepidation that it was completely wrong … thinking that I should be using AudioWarp instead of just dragging tempo track points around. Now I can sleep easy that it IS a reasonable way to do it!

Can I ask you please - is this just another way to do the task that AudioWarp does? If so, why would anyone use AudioWarp … your Tempo Track manipulation method is so easy, much easier than AudioWarp IMO (not that the first pass of AudioWarp is hard, but I find that a 2nd pass to touch up little mistakes winds up getting completely out of hand, with tempo points to the right and left changing in ways I can’t control and don’t like).