Tempo Detection for Quantizing Drums

I am fairly new to Cubase and need some help. I have been struggling trying to get tempo detection to work right for me. I have drum tracks for 12 songs (recorded without metronome) and upgraded to 6 to be able to get tempo track and quantize easily. These tracks are not way off time but thought it would be easy to get perfect. I have tried detecting tempo on every track and it never seems to work accurately the whole way through. I have tried cutting and detecting again with poor results. If I get it to work for the majority of the song, the intro is off (obvious stick cues in 4/4, but no tempo info at all from detection). I cannot seem to figure out how to ‘fix’ the issues with the results. I have watched the videos and read the manual many times, but cant figure out the best way to get a tempo map to the slightly out of time tracks so that I can quantize. Is there a productive way to manually create a tempo track? I am a drummer so it would be easy for me to click a mouse at every beat to set at least a starting point.

There has to be an obvious step, technique , or tool that I am missing here. Sorry for my ignorance.

Thanks in advance!


Are we talking muti tracked drums?

Dont use tempo detection, put all drum tracks into a folder track, switch on group edit, put the kick track into sample editor, select beat detection, do the same for the snare and maybe toms then once happy, select the quantise panel from the edit menu and slice at hit points then quantise then cross fade. Of course you may need to cut the drum track up into sections first,

Tried that, but I thought that the only way it can quantize is to have a tempo (bars and beats) to quantize to? When I did all that, every section was split apart in a really f***ed up way. Or did I miss ‘Beat detection’? Maybe that’s what I missed.

Just had a similar post earlier where it wasn’t clear what you are trying to do. Cubase has quite a few ways to do tempo maps, quantizing, group quantize, etc…

So, you need to explain exactly what you have and what you are trying to do.

Start by answering this question. Do you have individual drum tracks. i.e. kick track, snare track, overhead, toms … all on separate tracks? YES/NO Don’t explain anything else… just answer that question.

Ok, I must be lost. I see no selection referring to ‘beat detection’.

Yes they are multi-tracked drums:
Drum Tracks.JPG

Awesome, …
have you seen this video?


EDIT: the main part that you want is about half way in.

Another question then… Is your project already at a fixed tempo and you want the drums to quantize to that tempo? OR

Are you trying to get a tempo out of the song it is in and you want to quantize to that?

Thank you! The project is set at the default 120bpm. Yes, I want to get a tempo out of a song and quantize to that tempo. Actually, would like to-after quantizing- to make the tempo consistent. I thought I needed to create a tempo ‘map’ to be able to quantize drums or add any other midi instruments later. In other words; songs were recorded without a click track and or pre planned tempo.

Wait, I did mean quantize to the recorded songs tempo. Not the default 120 bpm.

Sorry for not being clear. :confused:

Perfect, now we’re getting somewhere.

I’ve got some bad news though. You have the hardest of situations. In order to build the tempo map, you need a track that has good transients that define the tempo. So, if the kick/snare suck… you have some work ahead of you.

If you know the bpm you want to map the entire song to, it’s much easier. But, it’s still track by track in that scenario because you need to warp the non-transient tracks to the bpm. The drums you can do together.

If things aren’t totally jacked up, you can do what the dude shows about 3/4s the way through where he builds a map from the kick track. However, what he doesn’t show you is that after setting the time sig, you can also move those hit point marker at the top. So, if you want the transient map tied to a slightly different location on the ruler you can move the warp marker. Once you have all that done you can group the drums and slice like the first part of the video.

What I have had much better luck doing in your situation is just making the song tempo the one you want. Edit the drums to THAT tempo as a group. Then for the rest of the tracks, warp them to the tempo one at a time.

Thank you soooo much for your time JMC! You rock man!

That is something that leaves me wondering what steps would I use as a guide so that I don’t waste time editing these recordings. I have the opportunity to quantize these drums before tracking of other instruments now. In future I will try to demand ‘with click track’ performance. I still am lost for an outline as to how to “Edit the drums to THAT tempo as a group”. I am truly still learning and ‘ass’ ume the newb position.

Here is a mix that I had to use time warp to fix timing after mix, showing time warp usage artifacts to remedy drum based ‘feel’ issues that should have been played to click track. I do not want to have to do this in the future. Thus my questions about drum editing. I can hear artifacts at a few kick hits as well as timing issues with guitars, that during original tracking, were compensating for poor drum timing. After warp, guitars seem to be out of time. I am really just asking how to avoid compensating for poor timing issues before they become an issue by ‘fixing’ the timing of drums before tracking the rest.

Lately I keep hearing “we want to keep it real and sound live”. But when play button hits on final their like “why does it drag?”. Like I’m put my finger on the edge of their MP3 to slow it down. :confused:

Thanks so much for your help man! I am trying to shorten my learning curve without missing the basics. Impossible-I know!



No problem, the tempo stuff is one of the hardest, if not the hardest set of features in Cubase to come to grips with. I still don’t think I’m an expert by any stretch. I’ve just been able to get it to do some of things I want.

In your situation …

Set the project tempo to the desired speed. Add a tempo track and a sig track by the way. The tempo should be as close as possible to the drumming speed. In other words, you shouldn’t have to adjust the drums too much one way or the other. Don’t worry about the “NON-DRUMS” yet. Just set the tempo on the tempo track.

Once the tempo is set and the time sig is set, select all the drum tracks. It looks from your picture that you have already put them in a folder track and enabled group editing. That is good. But, you needed to set the project tempo before you do any editing.

You should then align the first beat of the anchor beat (probably the kick) to the first beat of the tempo grig.

Disable group editing. Open the kick track, detect hitpoints … do the same for snare and hat.

Now enable group editing (k)

Open the Quantize panel and you should have a priority list at the top and a quantize settings at the bottom.

Now, click the little down arrow thingy on the Quantize toolbar and you should get the quantize popup panel. I’d give priority to kick then snare then hat. SLICE

Now Quantize.
Then Crossfade.

This should have the drums dead on to the project tempo. I’ll have to explain what you do with the other tracks in a different post. But, I’m out for the night. I’ll try to do it tomorrow afternoon.

But, basically you will open each track and do a Definition for it. I’d say RTFM on that for now. I’ll try and explain better tomorrow.

Thanks man! I did not expect such a detailed response. I will RTFM as well. I sometimes feel it would make more sense in another language tho. It may have a diosrdre of sorts. see?

Thank you!

The relationship between tempo & time signature is very important.

As an example, while something can be played in 4’s it may be more appropriate to use 8’s. For purely compositional purposes other time signatures can be used but ultimately it is best to “reduce” your music to a common signature/denominator.

In fact while the maths works out in the end, the actual mapping is the most time consuming aspect of the whole endeavor.

As a musician, you can map out rhythm tracks using midi drums (or triggers) and/or play live (guitar) along with the clicker and you will see what the time sigs need to be and where the tempo needs to change.

Once you know the basic framework of your song, you can then program the bass and use that to define your song structure and replace midi parts with acoustic recordings as necessary until you have a complete song.

I recently did 6 songs of multi tracked drums, the last one was not recorded to click and had multiple tempo changes in it! to map the tempos for quantising I used the tempo warp tool to find the average tempo of each section. Simply warp the grid to the first downbeat kick and last for each section. You will end up with a tempo map of the major tempo changes then I used the multi track drum quantise technique outlined above.

The result actually amazed me!!!