Playback audio slowly?

I have an audio file that I want to line up with my grid. It’s part of a Frank Sinatra song and his voice is the dominant sound so Cubase can’t do it automatically because, as many of you know, he sings in a swing style so the hitpoints Cubase finds are pretty random. But I can hear brushes and bass in the background that keep a perfect rhythm so I want to put in the hitpoints manually based on those.

But to do that with precision I need to play it back slowly. In another thread someone suggested the scrub tool but the scrub tool is too random - even moving the mouse perfectly evenly the playback rapidly speeds up and slows down, making it impossible.

How do I playback an audio file slowly?

Thanks in advance.

I’d suggest using a copy of the song, so you always have the untouched original.

Put the Audio onto a Track and set the Tempo so it’s in the neighborhood of the Audio. Now even though it is not really correct set the Tempo of the Audio in the Pool to this value. Also set the Audio to Musical Mode and the Track to Musical Timebase. Now the Audio should shrink & expand with the tempo.

That said, I think there is a better approach. I do a fair amount Audio editing and find it is easier to locate cut points etc. at the actual tempo. This is one place I take exception to the rule to let you ears be your guide. Well the ears can still guide, but let your eyes decide.

Zoom in to about a measure around whatever you are trying to find, a hat hit in your case. And make sure the Track size and wave display on it are big enough to easily see. Now when you loop-play this section and listen for the hats you’ll find that the hat hits are typically visually obvious. Double check by putting the cursor at the hit and hit play. Then you can fine tun it (if needed) by moving the cursor a bit later or sooner and hitting play.

If the hats are being masked by the other instruments and vocals you can take the audio and drastically EQ it. Find where to boost to make the hats pop out and give that a bit of a boost, and then cut all the other frequencies and render that out. This won’t sound good but it will make make it easier to find the hits both aurally & visually.

If you haven’t seen Dom’s video on setting tempos it is very much worth watching.

This video shows how you can adjust the playback speed using the tempo track so this may help for slowing down playback

Changing the tempo track changes the grid which would cause all kinds of other problems.
I just want to slow down the playback speed. I don’t have time to do complicated workarounds like Raino suggested. If it can’t be done in Cubase then just say so, and I’ll use a different DAW for this project.

  1. Change the Select (Arrow) Tool option to *Sizing Applies Timestretch"
  2. Make sure the time-stretch Algorithm is using one of the “Time” selections (by default it should).
  3. Drag the lower right corner of the Audio Part to speed it up or slow it down

Art, folks here really do try to help you. But frequently your questions are not that easy to understand - you sometimes leave out crucial info or include details that are ambiguous. So we’re kind of forced to make assumptions or guess at what you are actually after. And then you come back all pissed off that we can’t read your mind and answer your actual question. Maybe take a moment when posting a question to consider if it will be clear to someone who is not immersed in whatever you are working on.

I didn’t ask about stretching it and I don’t want to time-stretch it… The question was simple: “How do I playback an audio file slowly?” There is nothing ambiguous about that. Many tools can do that but if Cubase can’t then just say so.

If there was a way to do it someone could have said, change it in this menu or dialog, etc, or they could have said “it can’t be done”, which would have been a perfectly complete answer.

As @raino states in his first post,

What’s up with this method? You will be able to slow the BPM down, edit it and then speed it back up when you’ve finished your edit.

Genuinely interested in a DAW that can do what you are asking as I often work on acapella remixes, but struggle with a 3/4 into 4/4.