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Strange Tempo Changes Across Computers Phenomenon

Hey I figured I'd ask here because I'm new to sharing tracks over the net. I use Ableton Live and just got my friend/drummer Ableton Live so that we could share ideas and he could add drums on his end. I've been rendering down sets without drums (just my vocals, guitars, etc.) and send the Wave or MP3 to my friend.

For some reason when he imports my rendered waves into his DAW, he's experiencing completely different tempos than the tempo of the track showing. For example, I send him a Wave that's recorded at 164 BPM and when he gets them on his end they're reading at 122 or something completely different. I really don't know why this is happening as when I import the same file into my Live it reads as 164 as it should be.

Any thoughts here or is more information required to give me some semblance of what's going on? Thanks for your help.


RemyRAD Mon, 12/10/2012 - 21:23

Here's one possible scenario as to why this is happening. I use this inexpensive Edirol, UA-1EX, by Roland. It is 24-bit, 96 kHz capable. And you set your chosen sample rate with tiny dip switches on the bottom of the interface. Normally, I leave it at 44.1 kHz. Now here's the rub. If I tell my software I want to make a 48 kHz sampled recording, it will. But it's outputting a 44.1 kHz sampled bitstream with a 48 kHz header. And then software will play it back at 48 kHz and not 44.1 kHz which would make it play faster and higher in pitch. So while you indicated there is a tempo difference, is there also a key or pitch difference? Our software allows us to increase or decrease tempo without affecting pitch and/or to increase or decrease pitch without changing tempo. So what is it? Too slow in the right key or in the wrong key? Too fastt in the right key or the wrong key. Engineers need to be a little more articulate than the descriptions of these kinds of problems. It gives us nothing to work with.

On occasion I have recorded at 44.1 kHz at 48 kHz, some multi-track software packages can deal with the difference and others cannot. I don't work with the Appleton Live product so, not sure what's going on there? So once you give us a little more information, I'm sure we can get this taken care of.

Then there is the issue also, of trying to stay within some kind of higher resolution format like 24-bit, 88.2 or 96 kHz, some even at 192 kHz. And while the software may allow for some of this, the actual converter may not? So the converter will only output what it's capable of regardless of what you tell the software it should be recording.

With different other systems, many of these problems are averted. Other software that might still be extremely versatile may require greater manual control and configurations on your part? You have to know how to cross your eyes and DOT your T's. And since we all have 2, black magic marker looks totally RAD. And that way I don't get arrested at the beach.

Don't use flesh colored magic markers.
Mx. Remy Ann David

RemyRAD Mon, 12/10/2012 - 21:33

I neglected to also mention that some hardware will switch to the bit depth and sample rate you have chosen in the software. Other software and hardware, require individualized selections to both the hardware and separate selections for the software, were you better make sure, they match.

Here is another quick for instance. 20 years ago, we were using stereo DAT tapes. My Panasonic machines differed substantially from my TA-SCAM DAT decks. The Panasonic would automatically sense but the sample rate of the pre-recorded DAT tape was. And it would digitally output that sample rate. The TA-SCAM unit would play back at whatever sample rate you had chosen for its clock, as I remember? And that made for some very funny digital transfers until I got wise to the difference between how the two different manufacturers machines worked with the same tape. Just because we don't use tapes anymore doesn't mean you are not experiencing this for yourself. Our computers are not smart so we have to outsmart, our computers.

This one live jazz recording was actually better at the wrong sample rate.
Mx. Remy Ann David

rbf738 Tue, 12/11/2012 - 09:46

Thanks for the input Remy! No there was no pitch shifts or anything, the only thing is we're using the exact same setup so there shouldn't be any discrepancies. I've noticed the same issue now when importing MP3s I've just made back into Live where they are slightly off in the imported tempo.

I think we found a work around in terms of unwarping the tracks and finding the proper starting point as it will align with the drums and not get off time when unwarped, just won't snap perfectly from the beginning so a bit of a hassle but it should work. Thanks again!