If there’s any bleed between multiple audio tracks, then I’m afraid that most of the warping and re-timing techniques available to you in Cubase (or most other DAWs) will force you to make the assumption that timing inaccuracies in one part will be time-coincident with the inaccuracies in another part. Either that or you’ll create a huge mush of out of sync tracks and phasey noises.
Trouble is, you need to somehow create an end-to end referece time base for your edits to follow.
In my experience, the sloppy guitarist rarely follows the idiosyncrasies of the inconsistent drummer, who speeds up after every turn-around. The problem with so many players is that they don’t listen to, or watch, each other - they’re just off in a world of their own, with no consistent time-base between them - often with their eyes (and/or ears) shut. All in the name of ‘feel’…yeah, right.
One pushes, then the others catch up…once (if?) they’ve realised what’s happening. The excited heart-rate effects of inexperienced live performance usually means that much more rarely does somebody drag, followed by the others - hence why so many live performances tend to speed up.
Even simple physics facts of life, like the speed of propagation of sound, make a noticeable difference - especially on a big stage, where the players are not close to each other. Being equidistant from the drummer, or having good, close monitoring can help a lot here. In ear monitors anybody? Headphones? At least some wedges with a click, or the drums in there. Record ‘in the round’? Make sure that there’s not loads of reverby wash or slap-back echo coming off the walls - hence why studios usually have dead/treated areas.
The fact that you think you need to tighten the tracks up suggest that bad playing timing was the cause of the problem in the first place?
I’d be inclined to spend my time getting the errant musicians used to playing in time…preferably with a click, so that your Cubase grid can stand some chance of lining up with the beat/bar boundaries of the track in question.
I know, you’re probably going to tell us that this was a live recording…
There are some other ways to crack this problem.
- better inter-track separation
- record track at a time
- get tighter players
- do it all in (tightly quantised) MIDI, from the off
- charge by the hour for clean-up work
- get the offending musicians to sit in and understand your clean-up efforts. If they know what you have to do, they might want to do something about it. It’s so brutal, A/B-ing between raw and processed material. Hear the out of tune/time singing and playing solo’d, and against a reference beat/pitch.
Sorry to appear flippant, but the saying “it’s a tape recorder, not a magic wand” rarely seems more appropriate.
I’m so familiar with spending days on end, tightening-up just three minutes of poor playing across many tens of tracks. If only the musicians had spent that long, playing along with a metronome before they decided to record.
Like I said, if the client is happy to pay, then knuckle down and humour him.
…and maybe spend some of your profits on a copy of Melodyne. At least you’ll then enjoy some aspects of it in future.
The ‘artiste’ loves his audience to think that the mastered CD is how he really sounds. Generally, I find that the real talent comes from the editor who had the patience to keep going until the money/time ran out. Long after the talentless players have gone down the pub.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention things like eliminating tiredness, drunkedness, not having basic playing technique, and not knowing the songs from the equation.
Or you can just put it in the ‘Jazz’ category.
/Rant over - you really hit a nerve here