How to sync acapella to your beat

Written by chris anzalone
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If you like to record beats at home using computer software or an external workstation, you can add vocals by importing acapella (voice-only) tracks. Acapella tracks are available online from websites that specialise in audio samples and loops, and they can make great additions to instrumental pieces. The process of sycing the voice to the melody can prove tricky, however, if the two recordings do not play at the same speed.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Audio-editing software

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  1. 1

    Open a digital music recording program. If you don't already have a recording program like ACID, Reason, Logic, GarageBand or Pro Tools, you can download a free program from the Internet such as Audacity, Ardour or Qtractor. If you choose an alternative program, you must choose one that allows multi-tracking (the process of separating layers of a song into separate sections, or "tracks").

  2. 2

    Calcuate the tempo of your acapella track. The tempo refers to the speed, measured in beats per minute. To calculate tempo on your own, listen to the acapella track and clap your hands (or tap your foot) in time with the beat. Count the number of claps in 15 seconds and multiply that number by 4. This gives you the total beats per minute.

  3. 3

    Import your music beat track into your recording software, unless you already have the beat saved as a recording project. To import an audio file, click your "File" menu and select "Import." The "Import" option is almost universally found beneath the "File" menu, but if you do not see it, check the other menus on your menu bar.

  4. 4

    Adjust your software tempo. If you created the beat using your software, locate the "Tempo" box on your main window and change the tempo to the number that you determined in Step 2. If you did not create the beat using your software, calculate the current tempo of the beat and adjust the project window so it matches the tempo of your acapella. For example, if your beat tempo is 120 BPM and your acapella tempo is 105 BPM, you will need to subtract the tempo indicator on your screen by 15, regardless of the default tempo.

  5. 5

    Import your acapella file. It will appear on a separate track on the project window (resembling a horizontal series of waves), directly beneath the beat file. Drag the waveform image along the time line until it lines up with the beat. Use your software's "Cut" tool (usually resembling a pair of scissors) to divide your file into multiple regions and move them to different spots along the beat. For example, this is useful if you want to use different parts of the vocal track for a verse and chorus.

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