Auto aligning a multi-mic recording

Does Cubase 12 Pro have auto alignment feature to alight multiple tracks to eliminate phase cancellation issue? I have an acoustic guitar recorded with 5 microphones and need to adjust their timing,
There are plugins like MeldaProduction MAutoAlign or NUGEN Audio Aligner that can do that, but was wondering if Cubase has something built-in for it?

Hi, Actually there is the audio alignment panel.

From the manual

Audio Alignment
The Audio Alignment tool allows you to automatically match the timing of similar audio events
or selection ranges that you want to play back simultaneously.
Audio Alignment allows you to match the timing of different instrument or vocal tracks. You can
also solve phasing problems that occur when using different microphones on the same take. In
postproduction contexts, you can match the timing of a voice recording take or an alternative
take to the production sound, for example.
The tool analyzes the audio of overlapping events that you have selected for aligning and either
uses the warping function of the Sample Editor for time stretching or shifts the audio.
The Audio Alignment Panel provides a Match Words option for aligning audio that contains
identical wording. Its algorithm detects phonemes and syllables and allows for an exact word-toword synchronization.
The Prefer Time Shifting option is especially suited for audio that results from the same
recording, for example, in case of a multiple microphone recording. It avoids time stretching
if possible. However, if necessary, time stretching is still used.
NOTE
● If time stretching is necessary, Audio Alignment uses the warping algorithm that is selected
in the Sample Editor.
● If the audio already contains real-time effects, Audio Alignment allows you to bounce it first,
keeping the existing effects, or to overwrite the existing processing.

● If the reference and target events only overlap partially, the target track is split and only
its overlapping part is processed. If necessary, a crossfade is added and existing fades are
removed automatically.
● If the audio is in Musical Mode, you must bounce it first.
● Audio Alignment only works as intended if the audio to be aligned and the project have the
same sample rate.

There is more info just go to manual page 227

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Hi, thank you, but I’m not after rough aligning of different audio sources (e.g. vocal takes), but rather a compensation for the differences in multi-mic recording of the same source. So for example if I record an accoustic guitar with two mics and one mic will be close somewhere around the sound hole and the other mic will be distanced lets say by 1m, then there might be phase cancellation issues between these two signals because the mics were not in the same distance from the sound source. I hope that makes sense.
What it does to the audio tracks is it shifts the tracks by certain amout of samples and that’s it, it doesn’t strech it or anything else, it just shifts a bit.

I was wondering if Cubase has this feature or do I have to help myself with a dedicated plugin :slight_smile:

The option I suggest also offers the process you’re describing.

Quoting from manual:

The Prefer Time Shifting option is especially suited for audio that results from the same recording, for example, in case of a multiple microphone recording. It avoids time stretching if possible.

And it will not use time stretch since the audio material will be identical

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You’re right mate, it worked fine with two tracks. I can use one as a reference to fix all the other. Cheers :slight_smile:

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For future readers that look for an alternative to the a/m solution:
Individual track timing can be adjust in the Inspector…
grafik

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That’s a time offset and can’t be used for fixing phase cancellation issues. When this is adjusted the waveform does not move, so there is no way of seeing if tracks are now matching or not.

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Correct, works only by ear, not by eye.

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The track offset setting in Cubase is set in milliseconds. Depending on sample rate of the track, one millisecond for example equals 48 samples (for 48kHz). Phase cancellation issues can’t be eliminated by such huge millisecond jumps. Sometimes it will be 16 samples difference, sometimes 172 samples, it’s a lottery when recording with few microphones. If you’re lucky, you might hear a difference when setting up the track offsent, and you might think it’s maybe better, but that has nothing to do with a precise elimination of phase cancellations in these tracks. The track offset that measures in milliseconds was absolutely not designed to combat phase issues, and it would be practically pointless to even try.

Alright, I was a bit wrong about the track offset - it can be actually adjusted with a centi precision (0.01), but good luck with moving it left and right and trying to cancel the phase issue this way :slight_smile:
The whole point of my original question was to know the way of doing it good and fast, and, by what I’ve learnt so far, the only option inbuilt in Cubase to do exactly that is Auto Alignment feature.
Thank you guys for your input. I saved some bucks too!

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Auto-alignment has made the process of aligning audio tracks very easy and fast nowadays. However, I am used to doing it manually since there was no such feature available back in the day. My routine involves zooming in at the beginning of the tracks, setting the time lane to samples, and using the range tool to select the first big peak of one track’s waveform to the other’s. I then read the samples for the selected range, for example, 150, in the info lane. From there, it’s just a matter of simple mathematics. For a 96kHz sample rate, the calculation is 1000/(96000/150)=milliseconds. This helps me to offset the tracks accurately.

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That’s right, that’s what I used to do all my life too, until now!
When I saw these plugins popping up I thought what if Steinberg took care of it already and I’m just not aware, and bingo, they did.

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