Matching VST instruments to Audio Recording


I’ve recently recorded a solo piano piece that I plan to orchestrate through Cubase’s VST instruments. While the manual makes it clear how to use hitpoints to change the tempo of your recording to the project tempo, I can’t for the life of me figure out how to do the reverse. The recording I made has a lot of push and pull with the tempo and I’d like to keep that, but also match the VST instruments to that tempo fluctuation. How would I do this???

Thanks in advance!!!

Bump! I changed the question to be more relevant and easy to understand.

So if I understand correctly, you want the project tempo (click) to change in order to follow your piano recording? That’s fairly easy:

  • The tool you are looking for is called the “time warp” tool. It enables you to “grab” the bars in the timeline and move them around so the project tempo fits your recording. Check the manual for details or watch this (older) video:

  • Cubase can also automatically recognise the tempo of an audio track and create a tempo map. However, in my experience the quality of the automatic recognition depends a lot on the analysed material (generally works better with drums than jazz piano). See a tutorial for this approach here:

You can also record a midi track and tap the tempo out. Then convert that to the tempo map using the tempo detection.
For my piano recordings I find that tapping it out, detecting tempo and then using the “time warp” tool tends to get me where I want to be. Note also that the tempo detection can work better on sections of smooth flowing tempo fluctuations. Abrupt changes are best done either side of the boundary.

You may also want to embed the tempo map into the audio recording.

Cubase does a pretty good job of all of this tempo stuff but it does take a little while ot get your head around it all.

Thanks to both you guys for answering! I discovered the tempo detection while looking through the manual and it was essentially automatic. I think I’m moving on the right track here, but will let you know if I have any further questions.

So I managed to get the project tempo (mostly) under control. The problem now is that in time warp mode, I can’t change the location of the measures and beats relative to the music itself. I can obviously change the tempo between each beat in the project tempo, but the project won’t move the beat to line up with my recording. Here’s a couple screenshots showing what I mean:

Project starts in tempo:
…but shortly becomes misaligned:
I tried to fix m. 16 beat 2 and m. 18 beat 1, but everything just stretches: