I have been looking into the best way to add live drums to a piece created using a sequencer drum track. The issue is that no matter how good the drummer is it’s very difficult to lock into a click track and the result is usually less than ideal. I reverted to the traditional “drums first” approach for a while, however, recently revisited doing “drums last” as having everything locked to the grid opens up so many production possibilities in the final mix. I discovered the fantastic timestretch algorithm in Cubase makes it possible to slice-up a drum track bar-by bar and correct all the minor timing errors by cutting and then snapping the drums to the grid. Cubase recalculates the bar size without altering the pitch so the result is seamless. While this is very effective, however, it is a major editing task that takes many hours to complete. There are also side-effects such as phasing issues caused by the qantising process. I am wondering if you know of any tools or plug-ins to make this task easier, or if you have any other suggestions on this topic?
Drums last is always going to be a problem.
There are a couple of things you can do.
First, C6 has far better multi track drum editing…
Time stretching multi tracks (in Cubase) will always lead to timing/phasing issues and is basically a no go.
Otherwise, if the drums are good to the click then you can move the grid to the drums using the time warp function, this is not time stretch but allows you to make a tempo map of the drum timing by moving the grid onto the drum hits then all midi and snap functions will be in time with the drum tracks.
Or you can do the slice/slide/crossfade method.
This is where with snap off, cut all the drum tracks at the same time using control G (group tracks) at the beats then slide the sections using Ctrl, Alt and slide the tracks to the grid, then correct any double hits, once it’s playing correctly then use X to crossfade (use a very small crossfade) to eliminate clicks. That should result in quantised drums to the grid.