Introduction to Remixing Songs in ACID Pro 4 – Part 1

If you’ve been following our digital music tutorials over the last six months, you will have become something of an MP3 guru. You’ve learned to rip CDs and record vinyl and cassette to MP3. You’ve made compilation CDs and learned how to beat match and DJ mix your digital tunes. This week we take a slight detour from the world of music consumption, and delve into the more creative realm to experiment with rearranging and remixing songs in Sonic Foundry’s Acid Pro 4.

Why ACID?

Sonic Foundry recently released the fourth incarnation of its loop sequencing software, ACID. This version introduces some great new features such as effect automation, MIDI, and virtual instrument support. These are advanced features that we will take a quick look at in part two of this tutorial. In part one, we explore the basics of editing, time stretching and looping. The great thing about performing these tasks in ACID is that everything you do is “non-destructive”, which means your editing and experimenting do not permanently change the files you are working with. This gives you virtually infinite undo capabilities and maximum creative flexibility.

Getting Started

The first thing you need to do is decide on a song to remix and a style to remix it into. These can be the same if all you want to do is shorten, lengthen or change the tempo of a song. When you have chosen a song and a style, it’s time to cut out some loops to use in the remix.

Import your song

[ Figure 1 – Find your song in ACID’s Explorer window ]

First, open ACID and use the file browser to find your song. Then double-click the file to import it into the ACID project. If your song is more than 30 seconds long, you will be prompted by the ACID beatmapper function to automatically determine the music’s tempo. When this happens, click next. You will then be presented with a graphical waveform display of the song. Here you need to locate the first beat of the music, which you do by dragging the “Downbeat” marker to the beginning of a drum or percussion sound as shown in figure 2.

[ Figure 2 – Locating the first downbeat of the song ]

When you have done this, click next. ACID will now attempt to select a four-beat loop starting from the point you specified. In this screen, you should preview the loop to make sure it is correct and, if it sounds off beat or out of time, drag the loop start and finish indicators until it loops correctly. ACID will play a metronome sound to help you match the beats to your song.

[ Figure 3 – Selecting loop points ]

When your loop is smooth and continuous, click next. Step three of the beatmapper process will let you scroll through the song and test that your beats are on time. If they aren’t, you may need to go back and forth a couple of times until it sounds right. To finalise your beatmapper settings, click next and finish.

You will now have a track appearing in your timeline for the song.

[ Figure 4 – A new audio track appears in the timeline ]

Extracting a loop

[ Figure 5 – Drawing in the timeline ]

Now, using the pen tool, which should be selected by default, draw your song into the timeline. For now, just draw between the markers labelled 1.1 and 3.1. This is effectively the same as eight beats or two bars. If necessary, you can zoom in on the timeline -- use the plus sign in the lower right hand corner. Now click the loop icon in the playback controls and then click play. You should hear a perfect loop of your song’s intro.

To get a feel for ACID’s real-time capabilities, try changing the tempo of the song using the slider located above the chopper/explorer window on the left hand side. In part two of this tutorial, we will run through the process of creating more loops and putting them together to build the remix.

[ Figure 6 – Looping over the song intro ]

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Daniel Potts

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?