How to Remix with Ableton: Fix an Acapella

In the last two posts on how to remix with Ableton, we talked about how to warp an acapella using two different techniques. But, sometimes, especially when you are using an acapella from a song recorded with a live band (not with a box full of wires, like we do har har), there will be minor inconsistencies in the acapella. THIS MUST BE FIXED.

OK, sorry. They don’t always have to be fixed, and you should probably pick your battles. Warping the bejeezus out of a soulful Nina Simone vocal phrase always struck me as…untoward.

But sometimes, little inconsistencies that would fit with the groove of the original backing track don’t exactly fit our purposes. In this case, we should be ready. So, I have this handy, two-step method for handling this. Remember, this only applies when the track has already been warped.


Remember that, when you move a warp marker, everything between them will be stretched. This is, in general, to our benefit. But, in this case, you are liable to try to fix something extremely small and end up pulling the whole acapella out of wack.

The solution to this is to quarantine your problem phrase. Find the phrase that you want to fix and make sure that there are warp markers isolating it from the rest of the track.

New Warp Markers

Regardless of which warp mode you’re using, Ableton should allow you to add a new warp marker at every significant waveform event. Go ahead and double click all of the pertinent bumps in the waveform. Don’t go too crazy, but be thorough.

Now (and this is super important), turn off the grid lock (Cmd+4)! This will allow you be a lot more exact with your modifications. If you don’t do this, you will get frustrated very quickly because you’ll keep on overshooting where you’re tryign to drag the warp marker.

You should now be able to move the warp markers to conform to how you feel the melodic phrase should sound.

From here on out, you are goign to have to play it by ear (har har), because each melody is different and the amount of warping you want to do is up to you. I would recommend, though, that if you are going for transparency, you might want to remove unecessary warp markers when you are done with your modifications.

That just about does it for warping acapellas. To be honest, I think that, if you can warp an acapella (or anything without a drumset), then you can warp anything. So, it’s good practice, even if you aren’t planning on remixing anything.

Next Post: We’ll talk about how to think of new chord changes for a melody that you are remixing. Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions.

P.S. Don’t forget that, if you sign up for the Ableton Live Course before 1/1/2012, you’ll be eligible for a free bonus module on Marketing Your Electronic Music! SIGN UP HERE

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  1. How to Remix with Ableton: Warp Acappella Acapella | Ableton Tutorials - December 28, 2011

    […] How to Remix with Ableton: Warping an Acapella Part 1 reddit_url = "";reddit_title = "How to Remix with Ableton: Warping an Acapella Part 1";reddit_newwindow="1"; This is the first in a series of three posts about warping acapellas. See the rest HERE and HERE. […]

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