Need help aligning midi w/ audio

New to drum replacement and I used hit points to create them.

Ive had to go back in and meticulously move some of the midi notes to match the audio better.
Its quite frustrating as it can be difficult to hear when its off.
Im using Steven slate drums 5 as my instrument.
I’m considering getting trigger, after I try the free version.

my question is- the way that some of the more obvious hits line up with the midi is downright confusing. Im not sure if its a visual thing, a latency issue that’s being corrected or what. But ill be looking for the “transient” to line up with the very beginning of the “midi note”. I would assume.

When I look at the audio waveform a majority if the midi notes don’t start when the audio starts to pass “zero crossing” . My kick and snare both have a few small round waves, when the audio hit starts, and then an aggressive, squarer looking portion.
That seems to be the point where all of my midi notes are, and I just can’t tell if they are late, or if that’s the correct place for them to be.

Idk if my explanation is good enough and like I said-it can be hard to hear what sounds better.

Should I be lining these midi notes up with the point they leave zero crossing, or trusting cubase’s hitpoint detection a little more than I currently am?

Most drum replacement techniques assume you have multitrack drum recordings, so if you’re trying to do this from a single drum track (i.e. all the drum hits on one track, whether mono or stereo), there will be pain.

Trust your ears. Hitpoint detection is just a tool, and you have other tools such as the drum editor, logical editor, quantization etc.

No, it’s not that simple, and you just have to learn what works best for the specific material that you are working on. Remember, what you see is only intended to help you visualise what you hear.

A “square” waveform suggest overload distortion – check your input levels. A distorted recording will make it difficult to determine hitpoints.

I have SD3 and the drum tracker within it is very good. I use it all the time to do drum replacement. I say replacement but I don’t replace, I augment whatever is there.

I only use with multitrack and not a full drum mix so not sure how well it works in that respect. If the Steven slate one works similar then it should be good. Much quicker than splitting and using hit points or manually lining up.

Thanks for the reply, I needed that.
Im augmenting my snare top track specifically- we ran 12 mics on the drums and whittled it down to keeping about 8 of them-
It was our first recording in a new space so it was helpful to run all those mics whether we used them or not, if only to hear their potential.
Thats kinda what I’ve been doing- just listening for anything that sounds off and fixing it there.
My waveform was by no means square or overloading - I put a lot of time into getting proper levels before recording-
by "squarer " Im referring to the obvious peak of the transient. Less smooth I suppose and the highest point. It makes sense, I suppose, because sound takes a few milliseconds to get to its maximum amplitude…
I would assume my drum samples are the same way if -and when I do drag them to the beginning or “zero crossing” it sounds tight and full.

So now I’m wondering why my hitpoint detection was a little late so often. And I really wanted to ask the question to see if anyone knew if the midi note or “block” tended to be off with the audio visually or not- I would hope not , and im pretty sure Cubase automatically compensates for any delay, but after you helping me pull my head out with your advice- I realized there’s so much more to it than that…

Even if you could visually align it all perfectly, that still wouldn’t guarantee the best phase relationship for one.

I apprenticed; 8 years ago; -(for a 3 year period) helping run a studio that ran Pro tools- And although I was given a lot of editing work- unfortunately, audio to midi is something I never had to do.

So now I have my own studio running Cubase Pro and I’m augmenting my drums with samples.
Any advice at all is very welcome because I’m diving in as deep as I can trying to find what works for me.
Thanks for helping me process this.

As I said above. Get a plugin that does it well. I use SD3

… of anything. The visual representations are only tools, in the same way as a thermometer tells you what the temperature is, but it can’t give you any sense of how warm or cold it feels for you. The greatest recordings were made without any concept of what their waveforms might look like.

… but remember what paddling on the surface is like. Sometimes all it needs is a little EQ :slight_smile:

To get back to your original issue though, which I’ll summarise as “can I do good drum replacement using only Cubase’s tools, or should I buy e.g. SSD Trigger?”

I’d have to say, at the moment, if Trigger is within your budget, go for it. If I understand correctly, you have multitrack recordings, Trigger is designed to do just that, and SSD has the sounds. Yes, it’s possible to get equivalent results with Cubase using hitpoints, but if you’re charging for your time, then Trigger will soon pay for itself.