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Warping in Ableton Live

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One of the most popular features of Ableton Live is the “Warping” function. While Warping is now available in many other DAW’s, the term has become synonymous with Ableton Live. Warping enables users to powerfully manipulate audio files within Live, resulting in extremely creative uses of audio manipulation. But what is Warping?

(*tech alert*) Warping is the process of taking a piece of recorded audio and changing the speed of sample playback independently from the pitch, so as to match the song tempo. In layman’s terms, Warping is the process of taking a piece of audio and stretching it to fit within the tempo of your song, without altering the pitch of the original audio signal.

In the pre-Warping era, altering the tempo (or playback speed) of a piece of audio would also alter the pitch. Slowing down audio would lower the pitch, where speeding up audio would raise the pitch. For those of you who have had the pleasure of DJ-ing using turntables, this should sound familiar. Playing a song at a different playback speed than which it was intended could result in some extremely odd (and sometimes hilarious) results. Warping allows you to creatively manipulate a piece of audio so that you can alter the playback speed and fit it into your own musical piece, without altering the original pitch of the audio. It is also possible to radically change the sonic signature of a sound by using some extreme Warp settings.

There are numerous Warp Modes available within Live, all of which have their own unique characteristics. In the following video, our very own Ableton Certified Trainer Martin Clancy takes a look at the Beats Mode Warping algorithm. As you may have guessed from the name, Beats Mode works best for material where rhythm is dominant, such as drum loops. Let’s take a look.

The above video was taken from the 4 week Ableton Live with Martin Clancy course for Sound Training Online. Martin also regularly runs both evening and weekend Ableton courses in the Sound Training College, Dublin.

For more information regarding the online Ableton Live with Martin Clancy course, please click here.

For more information regarding the Ableton Live courses that Martin runs in the Sound Training College, please click here.

I hope you enjoyed this article and that it provided you with additional knowledge in relation to Warping in Ableton Live. Please feel free to leave any comments below, and make sure to follow Sound Training Online through our social media channels. Check out our YouTube channel for more video tutorials and course samples.