Sometimes you’ll encounter a song which has a steady tempo with occasional tempo fluctuations. Songs like this require multiple warp markers. Once you’ve gotten the tempo close by tapping it in, you’ll need to drop a warp marker periodically to keep the song lined up with the beat time ruler. How many warp markers you’ll need depends on a few things: how frequently and dramatically the tempo varies, and (most importantly) what you are going to be doing with the warped song.
The process is very similar to what we discussed in basic manual warping – with a couple of important differences. Once you’ve located the first place where the waveform clearly deviates from the beat time ruler, double click on the transient you want to move:
This turns it into a proper Warp Maker. Drag it into place. Now advance through the song until the next point where you see a clear divergence. Double click to create another Warp Marker and drag it into place. Unless the timing of the song is really wild, you should be able to go 8, 16 or even 32 bars into the song before creating the next Warp Marker.
If you put a good long stretch in between Warp Markers, the song may not always be perfectly aligned with the grid, but so what? It never gets too far off, and always comes back before too long. Unless you’re mixing it with something else that demands that level of metronomic precision, it doesn’t matter.
This approach of doing the minimum amount of tempo correction has the advantage of preserving the original groove of the song as much as possible. Even if you’re mixing the song with something else, listen before deciding. Remember, the push and pull of timing variations can create all sorts of subtle musical excitement.
That said, preserving the original groove sometimes isn’t the point, and can cause all sorts of problems. More on this in another tip.