Fix MIDI Tempo

MIDI Help!
So I am collaborating with a drummer who got an E-kit recently. I sent him guitar stems with MIDI that has tempo changes, meter changes, etc.

Anyway he messed up and tracked his MIDI drums just to the guitar and audio click at default 120bpm. So when they come back into Cubase they are all out of time.

Is there any way to save this situation? Or are we screwed and he has to start over?

I think Reaper you can go to item properties and set the tempo of just the midi track to 120bpm. Is there something similar in Cubase?

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  1. Export the drummers data as MIDI File.
  2. Open your original project.
  3. File > Import > MIDI File. Select the drummers MIDI File.
  4. In the Import Options dialog, enable the Ignore Master Track Events on Merge.

The drummer MIDI data are in the project and they sit in the Grid.

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Thanks for the response! So I tried that as that is how I normally import MIDI in an already created project. The problem is the MIDI gets remapped from 120bpm to the project tempos. Similar to an audio file in Musical mode if that makes sense.

If I don’t check Ignore Master Track Events, then the tempo of the project gets set to 120bpm messing up other things.


OK, in this case do one more step before the 1st I wrote… Open the drummers project and delete all tempo changes. Then set the tempo to 120BPM. Then export MIDI File…

My expectation is the drummers MIDI data sits in the grid (plus/minus) in the source project. Our am I wrong?

Hi, @DecibelFoundry , following along, thanks for your question.

Can you clarify please?

  1. What tempo were the drums played at?
  1. Don’t you want the drums to match the project tempo?


Thanks for the responses, let me see if I can clarify with a simpler example.

So the source project is 160bpm. I exported MIDI, scratch guitar, and an audio click track at 160bpm. Audio click meant as a double check.

The drummer took this, didn’t import my MIDI file to set the proper project tempo, and just used the scratch guitar and audio click. So he tracked all the MIDI at 120bpm in the project but the audio file and click track are at 160bpm overlaid onto the 120bpm timeline.

So exporting the MIDI track from Reaper it is all at 120bpm.

So importing that back into my source project, if I “Ignore Master Track” then the drums come in at 160bpm but coming from 120bpm it is waaaay too fast compared to the audio files since it is sped up. Does that make sense?

If I don’t ignore master track, then it sets my project tempo to 120bpm and moves everything around.

And in reality there are multiple tempo changes in this case. 30 bars at 120, 10 bars at 140, 3 bars at 124, etc. But the drums were tracked to an audio file with all the changes but the project tempo is at 120bpm. So the hits don’t line up to any sort of grid as expected.

It will not be possible to fix, at least without hours of manual editing.

Yeah that’s what I am afraid of. I am told in Reaper, there is away to lock the the tempo of an individual midi file. Does Cubase have a similar function?

I am going to get his raw Reaper files to try it. But he already messed up by sending me the reaper files and not the audio files :(. He is a very talented drummer, but obviously newb engineer. We are working on it LOL.

I don’t use Reaper, and have no ideas about it.

Considering what you have already said, I would just ask them to do it over, and teach them the steps needed to do it correctly. There is not enough aspirin in the world to treat the headache you are about to have otherwise, and I do need some myself from time to time!

Hahaha… I’ve killed a bottle already dealing with this.

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I think I understand it now.

Then you can stretch the MIDI Parts accordingly (use math to know, how much do you have to; or maybe displaying Time might help too).

aspirin and ibuprofen?

Ok so I have a solution and I couldn’t figure out how to do this in Cubase so I had to do it in Reaper. But I figured I would share in case anyone runs into this problem.

I took the source material and MIDI from Cubase and imported it properly into Reaper. So I have a clean Reaper session with all the tempo changes and everything done properly.

Then I took the MIDI exported at 120bpm from the drummers session and imported it into Reaper. Then in Reaper, select the MIDI, go to Item->Source Properties->Ignore Project BPM and set it to 120 BPM.

It will then all line up with the audio with all the tempo changes and the proper measures/etc. in Reaper. Re-export the MIDI. All the tempo changes and such are embedded properly. Then it imports into Cubase just fine.

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That’s a nice feature in Reaper, setting a specific tempo for a midi track.

For future reference, in Cubase something similar can be done by setting the track time domain to Linear, then changing the tempo of the project, then switching the track’s time domain back to Musical.

This approaches a bit what @Martin.Jirsak suggested, and perhaps had the topic elaborated, this suggestion might have been made. But it’s a bit of a brain twist the first time using it.

Great that you found a solution! Aspirin can cause ulcers when overused!

Can you change the time domain of a midi track to Linear? I thought they were always in Musical? At least I couldn’t find that option for MIDI.

EDIT: I found it.

In Cubase Artist and pro, yes. It the quarter note icon in the track header or the top tab of the Track Inspector.