The number one reason it can be tricky to get an acapella working right is that it has an odd amount of space at the beginning. You might have the overall tempo set correctly, but the vocals don’t land in the right place relative to the other clips you’re playing.

Fixing this is similar to the process discussed in an earlier tip, nail down the downbeat. You need to listen to the vocals, count along, and find a word that occurs on the downbeat of a bar. Depending on your musical training and how familiar you are with the song that you’re warping, you might be able to do this with the acapella, or you may have to go back to the original song so you can hear the vocals in relation to the beat.

As an example, I grabbed an acapella at random – “Ch-Check It Out” by the Beastie Boys. Here’s the first verse, with the first word that appears on a downbeat capitalized:

All you Trekkies and TV addicts
Don’t mean to dis don’t mean to bring static
All the Klingons in da f*ckin house
GRAB your backstreet friend and get loud

Once you’ve figured this out, drop the start marker at the very beginning of this word grab in the acapella:

Picture 89

Now you can work your way backwards, bearing in mind the issues raised in “the negative bars.”