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Or: about time...

So, with all this mucking around with timing tabs, one might ask what they are for. Glad you asked, they are for this...

Laying down a beat grid

Add a track to a new mix and press the 'down' button on one of the tabs...

You can see the beat markers have been pushed 'down' and onto the grey strip at the bottom. This sets a beat grid across the entire mix. Ensuring that the metronome is on (the button next to "preview" or press 'z'), play the track and let the playhead enter the region where the new grid is. Hear the "PING ping ping ping" exactly like when we listened to the timing tabs? Go further along to where there is no timing tab and the metronome will continue and will continue to be in time with the beats in the music. This beat grid is the crux of all beat matching in MixTape.

Let's do the next bit: take another track, approximately the same tempo; and place a timing tab above the beat grid...

So we can see that the beats kinda match up but if we play them both together the mix sounds awful.

The magic part: press "up" on the new timing tab...

We see an arrow coming up into the timing tab, and this forces "Acetone" to sync itself against "Talismantra". And when played together they sound great. Actually, those two don't sound great, but you should now be able to take two of your own tracks and beat match them. Go ahead, give it a go.

The next thing to notice is what happens when you drag the 'synced' track (i.e. the one with the 'up' arrow). You'll see that instead of moving smoothly it hops from one beat to the next. This is a 'snap to grid' effect that works just like it does with graphics software. Obviously the aim is for MixTape to help you keep your beats and phrases aligned so the mix sounds great. If you try at different levels of zoom you'll see that MixTape snaps in the manner it deems most appropriate: either one beat at a time; one bar at a time; or across four bar phrases. Again, and as ever, just give it a go. Also try soloing tracks (by clicking on them, remember) so you can hear the two tracks separately - and also together.

The final thing to try is dragging the 'sync provider' i.e. the one with the arrow going down. See how the dependent tracks stay where they are relative to each other? This also works with playback speed - alter the playback speed of the provider (using the double-click properties box), and the dependent tracks will change to remain beatmatched.

One final hint: It generally helps to put tracks of similar tempo together and MixTape makes this easy. Ensure the playhead is over a gridded part of your mix then sort by tempo in the library list (click the BPM header). See the column next to it shows the difference between the grid bpm and the track's bpm? By scrolling up and down the list of tracks you can now see easily which are closest to the grid in terms of tempo. For instance, this is a list of tracks where the grid is at 95 bpm...

There, that's it. You can now make beatmatched mixes.