Tempo sync is a simple yet wildly creative effect that can bring your music to life. In this episode of Digital Media Insider we go behind the scenes of three O'Reilly Digital Media articles to demonstrate some inspiring things you can do with rhythmic echoes. Stewart Copeland and Roger Linn make virtual celebrity appearances. (DMI 11-09-2006: 9 minutes 52 seconds)

Production Notes

The audio examples in this episode came from the three O'Reilly articles listed below, a review I wrote for Electronic Musician, some CDs, and a Flash audio file I found on the Web. The Stewart Copeland clip is from a 2004 telephone interview. Because the Flash file wasn't easily downloadable, I used Cycling '74 Soundflower to stream the output of the web page into my audio editor, BIAS Peak. I then shortened the examples with cuts and fades and exported them as AIFF files.

Next I imported the AIFFs into Ableton Live, where I arranged them around my voiceover and background music. Finally, I rendered the mix to an AIFF file and converted it to an MP3 in Peak.

I recorded the voiceover directly into Peak, using the new Rode Podcaster mic. The Rode's USB jack lets you plug it directly into a computer, though it records at 48kHz instead of the standard 44.1kHz, so I used Peak's sample rate converter to bring the voiceover down to the project sampling rate. After snipping out some tongue clicks and false starts, I compressed and enhanced the voiceover with Izotope Ozone.

The background music came together in Live as well. I made the opening sound effect by splicing a compressed mouth noise onto a tone cluster I generated in Native Instruments Reaktor. The main groove is from Steinberg Xphraze. (Jim Aikin turned me on to both virtual instruments in his article "My Five Favorite Soft Synths.") The piano is from the Garritan Personal Orchestra, which I discovered when we interviewed Gary Garritan. Then there are a few percussion samples dredged from my hard drive. Altogether, the mix took just six tracks. Effects processing was courtesy of Live's default plugins and Freeverb.

M-Audio Black Box

The M-Audio Black Box features tempo-synced effects designed by drum machine guru Roger Linn. Read our review here.


O'Reilly Digital Media Articles

Sync and Grow Rich

Learn how to use tempo sync to create cool rhythmic effects in music and video.

Doc Wiley: Master of the 30-Hour Album

Pro Tools wiz Doc Wiley combines studio psychology and cutting-edge technology to coax the best performances out of vocalists and bands.

Review: M-Audio Black Box, v2

This breakthrough guitar processor offers amp modeling, unique rhythmic effects, a mic input, a drum machine, and a Pro-Tools-compatible USB audio interface for an astonishingly low price.


Echo Plugins

David Battino is the audio editor for O’Reilly’s Digital Media site, the co-author of The Art of Digital Music, and on the steering committee for the Interactive Audio Special Interest Group (IASIG). He also writes, publishes, and performs Japanese kamishibai storycards.

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