I’m looking for a fast workflow with very minimal loss in audio quality to use freely played drum performances to fit to project tempo.
Right now my workflow is: Chop said drums into 2 or 4 bars. Use time-stretch tool to fit them into 2 or 4 bars, using warp markers to line up hits within those 2 bars.
The problem is loss of audio quality. Enter hitpoints.
BUT the problem with hitpoints is that, if the drum performance contains some rolls that contain triplets and stuff, quantizing the hitpoints becomes an issue, altering the performance completely. Another issue is, filling the gaps with time stretch OR crossfade sometimes yields undesirable results. AND if you change the tempo you’re screwed because of overlaps masking transients.
So what is your ideal workflow to have drum loops fit to your project?
Unless your loops are perfect already, in which case you enable ‘musical mode’ in Pool, that method works great and is non-destructive and you have several algorithms to choose from - also without be destructive.
For free-form drum stuff… I can’t say there is really a decent method around. Arranger still lacks (to my knowledge) some features for utilizing hitpoints on audio as well.
I never found the other methods very agreeable to my own liking, but I’m sure others have. We’ve had lots of debates about this in the past. It’s one of the more popular feature requests IMHO, to have better support on the arranger to quickly align small portions of audio.
Most people get confused about the request and suggest something like the map the project tempo to the audio file, which isn’t quite the same thing, but it can work for some situations.
Yeah, but I’ve had on and off results with Musical mode. Yesterday I cut a sample to 2 bars but the clip length was just short of 2 bars. I defined it to be 2 bars and then enabled Musical mode, imagining that it would fit it to 2 bars. NOPE. Did nothing. Reading the manual, I didn’t see what I was doing wrong.
[EDIT] So, it turns out you need to delete the tempo in the sample editor, THEN set the # of bars. Some loops have this pre-built info (incorrectly set tempo) so if it doesn’t fit the bars this is the issue. The manual doesn’t address this afaik. [/EDIT]
I’m actually happy with the way Cubase has a dedicated audio editor page to work with loops. What I WOULD like to see is, when you click the “Create MIDI Notes” in the audio editor, it should slice the audio to hitpoints, load it up in Groove Agent SE, create an ascending midi riff to play the loop in tempo much like Stylus RMX or REX files. THAT would be a killer time saver.
To summarize, my current workflow:
1). Cut samples to bars, bounce (i.e. to trim), delete tempo info in sample editor, press musical mode. Select algorithm to drums (if drums) or similar, and then flatten with Realtime algo.
2). For free-form performance, in the definition do Manual adjust, align grid to bars/beats. Press musical mode. Done.
3). After 1 or 2, bounce again, then Create Slices. Re-arrange them as fit. Bounce, if necessary.
Method 2. also works on straight-cut loops where you don’t know the tempo of the loop. It’s a brilliant feature - thanks Steiny!
Now all I need is a macro to do 1). in one key press and 2). in another.