How do people make mashups?
October 27, 2004 9:43 AM   Subscribe

I'm a big fan of mashups, but only recently wondered what software people use to make them. Specifically things like:
A Night at the Hip Hopera, The Grey Album and more recently the Scummer Mix (scroll down for link)
Vocal stripping, beat matching, sampling, the ubiquitous handclap track... Help me AskMe, where do I begin?
posted by FreezBoy to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Here's an interview with Eric Kleptone--Soundforge among other programs.
posted by gramcracker at 10:15 AM on October 27, 2004

DJ Reset has some fantastic wget'table mixes. Also, Z-Trip does a great job.

Another thing to look into is Beastie Boys live shows-They always replace their own beats with those of other artists.
posted by neilkod at 10:23 AM on October 27, 2004

Best answer: I don't do mashups on a scale like these, but there are a number of consumer-level tools that are useful for it. First, lets be clear that, for the Grey Album, at least, those vocal tracks were released by the artist/label. This is a fairly common practice these days, usually as a concession to DJs who do this sort of mashup thing live with vinyl. It's pretty much impossible to extract vocals from a song. You can (sort of) extract "just music" by inverting one of the channels and mixing it with the other -- this cancels out any sounds which are identical on both channels (bass, vocals, and many drums fit into this area). This, however, doesn't sound very good.

As for sampling, pretty much any audio editor will let you extract bits of songs (I use SoundForge). Import it into your sampler of choice (in the low-low-end, FruityLoops is quite good) and there you go. Samplers/sequencers like FruityLoops are also good for your basic drumloop creation (your handclaps, for example).

Beatmatching is somewhat trickier in the digital realm. Sonic Foundry's ACID does a fairly good job of taking loops and matching them to a specified tempo. Import a loop (which you've sliced out in your audio editor), tell it how many beats there are, and off you go. You'll need to tweak if you want to change the tempo or pitch too much, but you'd be surprised at the results.

In any case, I don't know what the "pros" use, but on a hobbyist level, the software I mention is useable (read: easy-to-learn) and useful.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:28 AM on October 27, 2004

It's great fun to see mashups done live by someone like Z-Trip who is ONLY using turn tables to produce these mixes. It's a totally different experience than just staring at the Apple logo on the back of the DJs laptop as they push buttons and nod their head.
posted by Voivod at 11:25 AM on October 27, 2004

Regarding the Kleptone interview: JAPANESE-ONLY KARAOKE RELEASES!1!! I knew I was missing something.

It's kind of a bummer though. I know a lot of great older tunes that would be perfect for mash-ups... but without a cappella and karaoke releases, the quality achieved by some of the aforementioned mixes is simply unattainable.
posted by Eamon at 11:59 AM on October 27, 2004

Best answer: For mashups, cut up some samples from your song/songs using a simple audio editor like cool edit (now it's adobe audition, i believe) or sound forge. I prefer sound forge.

Then use those samples in something like Ableton Live or Acid. I prefer Ableton Live.

If you can't find proper a cappella versions of the songs you want, try some creative EQ'ing and you should get something usable for something as 'non-glossy' as a mashup.

For lot's of good information on these softwares and electronic music production in general, check out

Then you can post up your mashups/non-mashups for some good feedback.
posted by Espoo2 at 2:46 PM on October 27, 2004

Check out the Jay-Z Construction Set - a CD's worth of samples and software. Great place to start.
posted by Gortuk at 4:47 PM on October 27, 2004

Cubase? ProTools LE?
posted by Lleyam at 9:02 AM on October 29, 2004

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