Audio track overlay on MIDI track

This is the continuation of this topic:

So a while back I have encountered a problem where I had to align the midi drums on a live guitar performance. I didn’t want to variaudio the guitar to the tempo as it had an amazing vibe, but aligning the drums to the transients by hand took me a considerable amount of time as I technically had to create “zone” for both so they could be top of each other (In Cubase 8.5).

Of course you could speed up the workflow with “Analyse tempo” function. Run the function on the guitar track and hope you can create a custom tempo track by dragging audio events. The problem with that tool is that you cannot resume editing the events after commit. You really need to nail the events perfectly first try because -after leaving the event editor-, if you change the beat tempo in the middle of the track after, it will mess up the rest of the tempo track and you need to run the analyse tempo again do everything all over.

After careful consideration what takes me the very least amount of human-time I put down the percussion track based on transients by hand, but in that case I would have really appreciated an audio-track overlay in the background so I know where my audio-transients are relative to my midi notes.

In the past I saw some DAW with this very feature, but not sure which one. The basic implementation was: On the top left corner you choose your audio track as an overlay reference and that track shows up in the background within the midi editor. (See Pic below)
This would let me put the MIDI editor into fullscreen (Reaching larger range of notes), and the icing on the cake would be if you could magnify the “visual amplitude” of the reference track, and you could re position the waveform wherever it is not interfering visually with the MIDI notes. (As you could see it in my included pic)

Please consider adding this feature if possible because even with Cubase 9.5 your best option is that you edit midi and look at audio ref. track in 2 different zones to match the two. That is not exactly convenient, but beats the hell out of nothing.



You can eventually, open your audio clip in the sample editor, adjust the hitpoints, then use the create midi notes function, it will create a new midi item with the audio transients, as note start. So you can put this “references” notes on an unafected midi note or mute them, and create your midi part based on that.

Yea, I mean I did that as well, but in the end going by hand through the whole song was the option I needed actually.

  • Hitpoint detection is highly dependent on the source. If it is highly compressed the threshold tool and you will have a hard time figuring out where the transient is. You need to use your ear, but navigating around without the overlay is a pain.
  • You need to pre-format the sample, bounce it and then re-import it. The glue function is not always working as I expect, if I want to have only a single audio sample. And in 8.5 Offline processing is not available. More track adds to the mess.
  • Adding hitpoints manually as you advised didn’t always yield good results, I need to hear the drum on the playback immediately to be sure the buss compressor is working together with the materials as expected. Adding hitpoints and extract MIDI from that, DID help speed up the workflow, but A lot of times I placed the hitpoints down but later I moved the midi notes around so the comp would engage exactly the right time. So why working twice by adding hitpoints? I had superior results placing MIDI manually and achieved something which was pretty much impossible with automated tools.

The audio overlay tool behind the MIDI notes would have been a pretty cool feature.