What is Time Stretching?
Time stretching is a tool that you will find in just about any DAW. It is mostly considered simply as a functional tool, as a really good option to get your drum loops in time with the grid or change the tempo of the track in a DJ set. Moreover, it can be used to create some really interesting mangled sounds and can be implemented on most of the audio material (vocals, synths, drums, FX, you name it). In the following tutorial, I will demonstrate how to use time stretch with the help of some other effects to transform a simple vocal sample into something completely different.
Let’s get started!
I have chosen a short Ethno vocal phrase that is, in my opinion, most suitable to achieve the desired effect. Let us first hear the unprocessed vocal phrase solo and then mixed with other elements in the track.
~ Vocal Phrase, unprocessed
~ Vocal Phrase, unprocessed, with Drums & Bass
Adding Transpose Stretch
After mixing the vocal phrase with existing elements in the project, I will add a 3rd party plugin. Its called Transpose Stretch within Guitar Rig 5 by Native Instruments. This particular plugin not only allows me to control simple time stretching but also possesses grain delay and pitch control as additional parameters which are quite handy for the end result that I am trying to achieve.
Let’s move now to the automation of parameters within the Transpose Stretch plugin. The first thing to do would be to engage the “ON“ parameter at the desired point in the vocal phrase. Basically, you catch one small part of the vocal phrase and freeze it to time stretch it. You can play around with the amount of stretch, but for this example, I will start with the stretch parameter turned up to 100 %.
~ Transpose Stretch plugin, bypass button automated
Now comes the fun part… I automate the grain, pitch, and stretch parameters which alter the vocal phrase beyond recognition. It seems like a rather complex automation process. But trust me, it is worth every minute of your time when you compare the original to the end result.
~ Transpose Stretch plugin, full automation
After setting everything up, the vocal phrase still sounds a bit dry. So, I will process it further with Reverb and Delay. Let us finally hear it now with Drums and a Bassline.
~ Vocal phrase processed + Drums & Bass line