Mixing different speed loops, for free, with Sony's Acid Pro.
One of the ways to mix loops is with Sony's Acid Pro. Loops mixing has been one of the most troubling aspects of music making for some time, and now with this short, but simple guide, you can easily do it.
Sony's software is all to do with drag and drop, just the way I like it. Easy, simple, and paint by numbers music. The only problem is alot of the functions are limited, you have to buy Acid Pro to get full functions. But you can do a huge amount with the free version.
First off, we need to download the package, this can be done here. You have to register the software to get the keycode to unlock it.
Also, I have made some loops for you to practise with. They can be downloaded from here. Just extract to a place where you can find easily.
When we load up Acid Pro, you will hopefully see the following screen:
A nice fresh screen, with my 5 MP3 loops at the bottom of the screen of Acid pro(you will need to hunt for your loops). When you click on one of the loops it will play (clicking on "white space" will stop the loop) and show you its details at the very bottom of the screen. The loops that we will be using range from 118 to 122 bpm. Not a huge difference, but noticable.
We now need to use one of the loops. I have chosen to use samplebeat3. So what we need to do it hold down the left mouse button on samplebeat3 and drag it to the top left hand window as shown in this picture:
We need to tell Acid Pro that this is a loop that we would like to listen to. So what we do is draw where we want the loop to go. To do this, we put our cursor over the grey rectangles next to our loop, and a pencil appears- this is our drawing tool. Our loop is not that long in size, so, keeping left mouse button down, we draw our loop accross to the 5.1 line. If done right, it should look something like this:
We can now play our loop (making sure that the flashing vertical line is at the start) press play (shortcut=space bar). We notice that the flashing line passes our loop into "just space". So we need to loop it back. this is done by pressing the loop button or by pressing shortcut= Q.
Our loop area (the blue box) is too wide. Thats a problem. So we need to shrink it. This is done by clicking the top right hand corner of the blue box, in yellow, and then (keeping left mouse button down) drag it over to the end of the loop, like here:
Press play again, and it should loop just right.
Now, lets add another loop. I think samplebeat should work well. So follow the above steps to drag samplebeat over (Acid Pro will put samplebeat under samplebeat3) and draw samplebeat for the whole loop range. it should look something like this:
Now I want to add another beat, I am thinking of samplebeat5. But before you race into drawing it. I only want it at certain places. It is a large sounding beat and would clash too much with samplebeat3, so I will place it in the first and third grey block. If you off shoot the block, just click on the drawn segment and move it! Simplicity. So here what it should look like:
Now I want to have a little fun. I would like to change the tempo of the beat mid-play. Now this is where Acid Pro comes into its own. For this, go to Insert Menu (found at the top of the screen), then go to Tempo/Key/Time Signature Change. And a little box should appear:
Now, because we are dealing with drumloops we adjust the tempo of the loop. I changed it a little bit to 130bpm. but if we had synth loops, you could easily do a key change...a fantastic idea. So when we press ok, a little grey line has appeared on our loop screen. I wanted the loop to change tempo close to the end, so I moved this marker just by the end, like so:
I also want to add a little effect to the track. The effects section is very limited, but reverse is allowed. So on the second samplebeat5 segment, right click on it, and go down the menu to find reverse. Click on it, and a little arrown will now show on the loop to say it has reversed. It should look something like this:
There we go. Easy for loops. But how about saving off your work? Well Acid Pro will only allow you to save off in WMA format at a reduced rate. That is ok as there are many converters out there that will convert WMA to WAV.
Tip. Most converters have a "only convert 70% of the file" policy. Thats ok, with loops they loop! So all we need to do is make sure that we have drawn our loops long enough so that it gets caught within that conversion percentage. Easy.
What do we do with our loops then? We can then throw them into a tracker, and make our own tunes for free! This is well explained from an idea through to a full song in the Complete Beginners Guide. Click to find out how to use Acid Pro Loops in making your own songs.