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How to change the tempo of stems in various DAWs
Jaz from the RepostExchange Team
Oct. 02, 2023

Time-stretching is a powerful tool that empowers music producers to adapt audio to new tempos while maintaining the essence and integrity of the original material. Most DAWs provide a variety of tools and features to seamlessly change tempos while preserving the integrity of your audio. Understanding time-stretching is key when you want to remix a track in a different genre.

What is Time-Stretching and how does it work?

Time-stretching is the process of altering the duration of audio while preserving its pitch and tonality. The algorithms are used to analyse the audio waveform and intelligently manipulate it to achieve the desired tempo change. In this guide, we'll delve into how to change the tempo of stems in various popular DAWs:

1. How to time-stretch in Logic Pro

  • Create a new project and set the project tempo to the BPM of the original song.
  • Import the stems into separate tracks.
  • Turn on 'Flex Time' for each track.
  • Adjust the Flex markers to align with significant transients in the stems if needed.
  • Change the project tempo as needed.
  • Logic Pro X will automatically stretch or compress the stems to fit the new tempo while maintaining the audio quality.
  • Review how it sounds, if you hear artefacts, you can try a different Flex Time algorithm. For example: 'slicing' works best on drums and 'monophonic' works best on bass.

2. How to time-stretch in Ableton Live

  • Create a new project and set the project tempo to the BPM of the original song.
  • Turn off 'Warp' mode.
  • Import your stems into separate audio tracks.
  • Enable 'Warp' mode on each track using the complex 'Warp' mode.
  • Use warp markers to align the stems' transients with the grid if needed.
  • Change the global tempo to match your desired value.
  • The stems will automatically adjust their playback speed, preserving pitch and timing.
  • Review how it sounds, if you hear artefacts, you can try a different warping algorithm. For example: 'beats' works best on drums and 'tones' best on bass.

3. How to time-stretch in FL Studio

  • Create a new project and set the project tempo to the BPM of the original song.
  • Import the stems into separate tracks.
  • Enable 'Stretch' or ‘Stretch Pro’ mode for each audio file by double clicking on the audio file and going to ‘Time Stretching’ in the upper right hand corner of the pop-up window.
  • Change the project tempo to your desired value.
  • FL Studio will time-stretch the stems accordingly, maintaining their quality.
  • Review how it sounds, if you hear artefacts, you can try a different time stretching mode. For example: 'slice' works best on drums and 'e3 mono' works best on bass.

4. How to time-stretch in Cubase

  • Create a new project and set the project tempo to the BPM of the original song.
  • Import the stems into individual tracks.
  • Select all audio files and got to the audio menu and select ‘Find Selected in Pool’, make sure the tempo is set to the tempo of the original song. You can type the correct BPM in the tempo section. 
  • Now close out of the Pool tool and activate 'Musical Mode' in the menu located in the upper right of the screen.
  • Now you can change the project tempo to your desired value.
  • Cubase will adapt the stems, ensuring they sync with the new tempo while preserving their musicality.
  • Review how it sounds, if you hear artefacts, you can try a different time stretching modes. For example: 'time' works best on drums and 'pitch' works best on bass.

5. How to time-stretch in Studio One

  • Create a new project and set the project tempo to the BPM of the original song.
  • Import the stems into separate tracks.
  • Activate 'Time stretch' mode for each track in the track inspector.
  • Change the project tempo to your desired value.
  • Studio One will automatically time-stretch the stems to match the new tempo, maintaining audio quality.
  • Review how it sounds, if you hear artefacts, you can try a different time stretching mode. For example: 'drums' works best on drums and 'solo' works best on bass.
  • If this doesn’t work, you can create a new project and set the project tempo to the BPM of the original song. Now take note of the bar number of the bar number where the stems end.
  • You can then change the project tempo to your desired tempo and stretch the audio files back to the bar number they are supposed to end by using option+drag (mac) or alt+drag (windows).

6. How to time-stretch in GarageBand

  • Create a new project and set the project tempo to the BPM of the original song.
  • Import the stems into separate tracks.
  • Select the region, open the editor and check "Follow Tempo & Pitch" on every track.
  • Change the project tempo as needed.
  • GarageBand will automatically stretch or compress the stems to fit the new tempo while maintaining the audio quality.
  • Please note this only works in GarageBand on Mac, time-stretching is not supported on iOS.

Now that you know how to time stretch stems in your DAW, it's time to put your newly acquired knowledge to the test! Download the stems from one of our Remix Competitions here and start remixing for a chance to win amazing prizes!