Advice - Quantizing double kick drums (multi-track drums)

Hi Folks,

Im recording multi-tracked (real) drums and am a reasonably competent drummer - but my kicks are rarely exactly where id like them to be, so I have tried various slicing/quantizing tricks within Cubase (Pro 10) on my PC and Im still not able to get to where Id like to be. Im playing metal and a lot of what Im playing straight forward 16th note double kick patterns, so usually Im trying to quantize to 16ths.

I record my tracks with group editing turned on and all tracks are in a folder. I edit the hitpoints on the kick track, the snare track and maybe a few other tracks (toms, hats), with the highest priority (five *****) going to the kicks. I dont attempt to time align/quantize the entire song - I break the tracks into sections to minimize confusing the system Then I hit slice, quantize to 16ths for the selected section of the song (all tracks are processed) and i cross fade using equal power… and the result is not very useable unfortunately… what i mean is, is that the quantizing moves the beats to some weird sounding location in time, ive tried using 32nd notes - no luck (and dotted notes etc). I noticed that some of the hitpoints weren’t always in the right place so i edited hitpoint locations in the hope that may help, but no luck.

Ive watched a bunch of YouTube videos on this topic and cant spot why its not working for me… maybe it works better with simpler drum patterns only… Ive tried recording some tests with 4/4 beats and it seems to work then quote well…

A separate issues is that if im tracking drums with the lanes turned on for multiple takes, the slice/quantize thing doesn’t work well and seems to confuse the hell out of cubase (and me), so using new track versions seems to be the alternative… anyway, thats a secondary problem. Id really like to get it work with the 16th note kicks and help me produce better drum performances. Of course I could practice for ever and not need to do this - but I dont have the time :slight_smile:

Any advice?

Thanks!
John

Done tons of this work, sounds like you know all the tricks and do everything ‘right’. Was keen on slice/autoquantize/autocrossfade when it was introduced in Cubase 6 I think to get it all done faster.

Sadly no luck - manual correction for the spots where Cubase misplaced hits and natural crossfades without audible phase issues (often happening when the events are moved just a tiny bit) has always been more time consuming than handcrafting it all in the first place.

From my experience all the wonderful automatisms really just work well and fast with simple patterns. Even then it’s often necessary to break up the song in different parts. With the density of hits like 16th or even 32th triplets in doublekicks at 220 bpm there just seems to be too much information for a machine to make a musically correct interpretation of how it all could be meant by the drummer. The space between hits/hitpoints is just too small.

The lane issue: I ‘solve’ it by pre-comping takes & removing overlaps (on a new track version to still have access to other takes, just in case) before I start quantizing. With open lanes there’s too much visual clutter for my eyes.

Thanks for taking the time to respond… it seems im not alone!

The lane issue - yeah I can see how comping would fix this, or simply using “new track version”… anyway, thats only a minor issue.

As for the quantizing thing…yes i agree it works well on simple patterns and have verified this myself… unless someone else has a solution outside of a) actually playing it right to begin with, b) moving each hit individually, or maybe c) recording the kick parts on an e-kit or programming them in midi so they can be easily quantized… out side of these options im stumped as I cant do (a) as well as id like to, dont have the time to do (b) and am reluctant to do © :slight_smile:

john