Multitrack Drum Editing-without those nasty crossfades!

I was on the verge of jumping to another platform when Steinberg released Cubase6 with it’s suite of multitrack drum editing tools. I always work with a live drummer and I was over working like a forensic scientist when it came to meshing a live drum track into an existing project. So C6 was a breath of fresh air. The tools have a 3 step process - Slice, Quantize and Crossfade. The Slice and Quantize tools work really well, however I found that the Crossfade process played havoc with ride Cymbals and other high frequency sounds that decay into the crossfade. The result is audible artifacting which took the sizzle out of my cymbals! I was just about to give up when I woke up in the middle of the night with the idea that the process could be completed using the timestretch algorithm instead of the crossfade. Using time stretch on high frequecy sounds in a multitrack context usually results in phase distrotion. The algorithm affects each track slightly differently so after processing the drum overheads sound like a phaser effect is running through the audio when you play them back. The breakthrough was that I realised that this is a high-frequecy issue. By recording my overhead drum mic’s into a single stereo track they are effectively “phase locked”, allowing me to use the time strectch algrothim without any audible effect. By setting the EQ so that that no other high frequency sounds are audible in the kick, snare and tom mic’s the time stretch algoritm can be used to great effect.
Here’s how I do it.
I mic up the Drum Kit using mic’s for the kick, snare, toms and two overheads in an X-Y configuration. Not everyone is an X-Y fan, however I find it gives a wonderful stereo effect which I like. All the mics are mono with the exception of the overheads which are fed into a stereo track. Once the recording is complete I load all the tracks into a folder in Cubase6 and turn on the multitack editing feature. I then create and edit hitpoints on the kick and snare (Tip: by holding down the shift key you can disable multiple hitpoints in a single sweep of the mouse. This saves heaps of time and you can tidy up the hitpoints in a very short time). Next I set up the qantize and launch the Multitrack Drum editing tool. As I am not going to Crossfade I set the offset to zero in the Slice Rules. This means that the slices will be right on the hitpoint and right on the beat which makes life easier later. Then I set my priorities, I usually prioritise the snare over the kick which is my preference. Then I Slice and Quantize. Then I exit the process without crossfading. The drum track is now sliced up and quantized. I now select all of the tracks in the folder and from the Audio-Advanced menu I select “Close gaps using time stretch”. Cubse now runs off and closes all the gaps and overlaps using the time stretch algorithm and stitches the audio together into a seamless drum track. The added benefit is that because I set the slice offset to zero, the slices are right on the bars and beats, making it easy to cut-and-paste to rearrange sections of the track if required. I find it pays to go over the track afterwards bar by bar to make sure there are no errors in the quantising. If I need to fix any positions I make sure I have selected “time stretch” from the cursor drop-down so that any minor adjustments can be stretched to fit. I guess I would recommend that “closing gaps using time stretch” would be a good option in the multitrack drum editing tools for those who want an alternative to Crossfade, hoever, I am just happy that I now have a quick easy to use process for multitrack editing that does not present any audible artefacting - so now my cymbals sizzle once again! Let me know if you find this artice helps. Cheers Rob.

Hey thanks for the tip. I actually tried this years ago but the old time stretch algos definately didn’t cut it. I’m sure with elastic algo things are more happening with this method.
I can’t help but wonder… when stretching files the exact same amount why would the phase go out. If 2 files start off in phase and are then stretched the exact same amount its seems logical to me the phase should be retained. But then what do I know.
I’ll give this method a try but hold low expectations especially when using overheads and 3 room mics.
Anyone for multitrack free warping from the project page with phasing preserved?

It’s due to the way most time stretch works, it cuts the file into many many little bits and either invents info or chucks some away and crossfades, the trouble happens when all the many many cuts don’t occur in the same place for each file, hence the mistiming.

Ok nice one. Thanks split. I’ve had a fair amount of success using crossfades. Where it really doesn’t work I have rescued some takes using multitrack stretching in protools. I have to admit it really works a charm there. They’ve obviously figures out a solution to the stretch phase problems.
Of course I’d love to always work with drummers who play in the pocket and never have to quantise anything, but more and more lately budgets are cut, hours are down and people expect the producer to pull off miracles. If I want to keep my work flow up I need to be able to pull the rabbit out of the hat so to speak. Currently I can do this by knowing and using many different softwares. I look forward to the day when all of my needs are met by one system. Cubase is my first choice , I know it so well and its lightning fast for me so I hope the features I miss currently are on the workbench back at Steiny headquaters.
Only time will tell.
Peace to all. Over and out.

Quote "Warp this way
Cubase 6.5 fuses the hitpoint and AudioWarp system and embeds warp quantizing directly into the dedicated Quantize panel. By creating warp markers straight from hitpoints, both single audio loops as well as the entire arrangement can be non-destructively quantized with a single mouse click — just like MIDI parts! Thanks to the smooth integration into the Quantize panel, it’s also possible to warp-quantize multiple tracks instead of slice-quantizing. Based on transient priorities between tracks and the newly introduced warp rules, a common set of warp markers is created and then used to quantize all tracks of an Edit Group* at once. Also possible is sampling a groove pattern from your own MIDI parts and applying it straight to a host of audio events! And because the Audio Events are warped instead of sliced, they automatically follow any tempo or pitch changes of your project while remaining unclutterd for easy arrangements. It’s never been easier to lock those grooves together!

Fusion of hitpoint and AudioWarp system
AudioWarp quantize integrated into Quantize panel
Create warp markers from hitpoints automatically
Warp Marker rules support transient priorities for multi-track quantizing of Edit Groups*
Non-destructively quantize single audio loops or the entire arrangement just like MIDI!"

Thank you steinberg :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: I am one happy Cubase user today…downloading 6.5 asap