Many drum n bass flavoured tracks employ tried and tested rare groove breakbeat loops, at tempos in excess of 160 BPM. However, it is not always desirable to have such breaks pitched up high enough to loop at these tempos. Some breaks admittedly do sound good at a higher pitch (does anyone actually prefer the Amen at its original pitch?), but many other breaks can sound Mickey Mouse and lacking in testicles when pitched up. Either way, its good to have control over these variables, and this article covers a couple of common techniques for keeping the pitch of your breaks down, whilst jacking the tempo up. It is assumed that you will be familiar with the operating system of your sampler, and will know how to copy, rename and trim samples. Method One - Negative Timestrech The first, and easiest technique, is what I will call the Negative Timestretch Method . Very simply, take your loop and use Timestretch to make it shorter, i.e.: set a Timestretch value of less than 100%. Youll want to use the highest quality stretch available to you, for example on an S2000 select INTELL and set Quality and XFD values of around 90. The results can sound surprisingly natural, even with stretches of down to 75% which yields a tempo increase equivalent to pitching up by five semitones! (Complete Timestretch transposition/BPM formulae are available from the official Akai pages.) Needless to say, this technique is only available to people whose samplers or computers allow Timestretching. Method Two - Poor Mans Recycle! Method The second, and more complex, technique is what I will call the Poor Mans ReCycle! Method.As its name suggests, this is the old-fashioned manual form of the technique so famously automated in Programs like ReCycle! and Zero-X. Essentially it involves chopping up your break into every single possible edit that is, pulling each individual drum hit out of the phrase(s)that make up the loop. If you have an Akai that allows graphic waveform editing (e.g. S1000, S3000), then this will be a relatively straight-forward (although still time consuming) procedure. If your sampler does not allow graphic editing (e.g. S950, S2000) it will be a little more fiddly, but certainly not impossible. Whichever sampler you use, you might find it helpful to play back your samples from the LOW end of your keyboard whilst editing, to make it easier to zero in on the correct start and end points for each hit. Chopping up a break by hand like this can take a while, but the results can be well worth it. And, unlike ReCycle! or Zero-X, it doesnt cost anything. Once you have break in all its pieces, and have individually numbered them, you need to make up a Program to arrange the edits in sequence across your keyboard. You want one keygroup per sample, with a span of one note each. In other words, assign BREAKEDIT 1 to KG 1 (C2-C2), BREAKEDIT 2 to KG2 (C#2- C#2), BREAKEDIT 3 to KG 3 (D2-D2), and so on, and so on. Next, fire up your sequencer and, in your Akai, load up your new BREAKEDITS Program and all its samples, together with the original BREAK Program and sample you started with. Using either Multi Mode or Program Numbers, set up your BREAKEDITS and BREAK Programs to respond to different tracks on your sequencer. Now set the tempo of your sequencer so that the original BREAK loops at its original pitch. With the original break still looping, switch to the sequencer track which is assigned to your BREAKEDITS Program. After a few practices runs, play the edits from your keyboard, in their original order, and in time with the looping break to recreate the original phrase(s). If, like me, you are lazy, you can quantise everything to 16th notes. If youre completely obsessive, you can experiment with adjusting Note-Ons by thousandths of a second to recreate the exact phrasing of the original break. When you have your edited break programmed to your satisfaction, you can delete the original, and, finally, the fun begins. Try pushing the tempo up to 195 BPM, or pitchbending the break as it plays, or reversing the order of the sequenced phrase(s). Try making a tune with a dozen Tempo changes, or forcing your break to change key with the rest of the tune. Suddenly, anything is possible!
Best Wishes, ThE SaMpLisT. Want some breaks to experiment with?
Free downloads are available from: ThE SaMpLisT
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