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I want to make music where I layer samples over one another. I don't just want these to be samples of notes--I have samples of drum breaks and guitar riffs that I'd like to sequence.

For example, let's say I have a one-measure 4/4 drum sample at 110 BPM and a two-measure 4/4 guitar sample at 125 BPM. I would want to have two consecutive measures of the drum sample on my percussion track while the guitar sample is going on another track, with either the guitar slowed to match the drums or the drums sped up to match the guitar.

My OS is Windows 7. What Windows-based DAW will enable me to do this? Ideally I want a free one, because I'm just getting started making sequenced music and want to play around with the tools before I start putting a lot of money into this. I looked into LMMS, but that seems to be designed more for sequencing individual notes. I've also worked with Audacity for stretching samples, but Audacity doesn't have the ability to enter samples in blocks.

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4 Answers 4

You could look at getting demo versions of Cubase, Sonar or almost any other DAW. This is common functionality for almost all DAWs on the market.

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Ableton Live is probably going the be the easiest DAW in which to accomplish your looping goals.

You can setup two different samples in clips in two different tracks and adjust the speed at which each plays in real time. There are several different algorithms for changing speed. Some work better for drums, others work better for melodic material, etc.

On the hardware side, this is fairly easy to do with the Elektron Octatrack. You just setup your two samples on two different tracks, and then set a one-shot trigger on each. That way, the samples loop indefinitely and independently of the tracks they are embedded in. But you can adjust the length and pitch of the samples in real time on the Octatrack as well.

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For this specific task I would use something like Geist:
http://www.fxpansion.com/index.php?page=120

A drum-machine, slicer and sequencer in-one.

It's a stand-alone application as well as a plugin which mean you can use it without a DAW - if you later want it integrated with lets say Cubase, no problem either.

From their promotional text:

Sample, slice, sequence, mix, arrange, effect, resample. Geist is FXpansion's next-generation sampling drum machine, designed to create evolved, custom beats and grooves, freeing you from the limits of pre-packaged loops and over-complicated DAWs.

Geist fuses creative sample-sculpting tools with fast pattern step-sequencing and arrangement. Browse through sounds with lightning speed, slice and assign loops to pads with a single click; sample, resample and build beats in a slick unified environment. Geist makes fiddly tasks with multiple apps a thing of the past.

(I also see they have an offer until 31/12).

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There's a free web based solution that will accomplish what you want. It's still in Beta and has a lot of features that needs to be added but it can do all of what you required above. The only limitation is it requires Chrome. Here it is, mashandmix.com.

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It's good that you reveal your association with the web site, but this is not the right place to ask for critique or comments on your product. –  Bart Arondson Dec 30 '12 at 18:35
    
Sorry, I agree and removed the critique –  Manny Dec 31 '12 at 19:35
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