Tips for accurate "Tempo Detection"?

I have tried using Tempo Detection on several tracks that were recorded live without a click track (the reason Tempo Detection was invented). These tracks naturally fluctuate in tempo but not excessively (I can tap a steady beat to them with no problem).

Even though Tempo Detection does pick up the overall tempo, and creates many points indictating it is adjusting to every beat, it does not seem to follow tempo fluctuations - as the YouTube video shows and documention suggests. It seems to create an overall straight line tempo that does not follow the audio’s drift (the “smooth tempo” function makes this worse).

I understand there are limits to what Tempo Detection can track and it clearly shows that when the dialog pops up saying their were “multiple tempos detected”, etc. But even when it does create the entire tempo map the metronome clicks I hear afterwords do not stay locked on to the audio tempo. At times it is right on but then drifts ahead/behind then comes back in time again.

I have tried with some success to split the tracks and apply tempo detection to one section at a time. Sometimes that works and other times it just makes a bigger mess - and almost always creates glitches at the section breaks.

Any tips on how to use this tool such that it “locks on” to the audio better? I can’t use it as-is.

Are these the youtubes you were talking about? If not, maybe they will help.

In a different context, I’ve not had a lot of luck with Tempo Detect. I use the Tap Tempo function instead, which always works, though it’s not especially quick. But if you didn’t want to do that, maybe something like a gate adjusted to let only the loudest hits come through would help (assuming they are on the beat).

BTW - for the part in bold, just to be sure are you activating the tempo track (it will be flat if it isn’t activated)?


Thank you for the reply. Yes, the “piano” example is the one I saw. If you notice the example piano track has a very steady tempo so I can see why TD works in that case - it basically found a fixed value.

As for the sentence in bold, yes, I have the tempo track turned on. My next step was to set the track “definition from tempo” and then select a steady (fixed) tempo so I could add some MIDI percussion tracks in steady time.

It works - almost. Unfortunately, “almost” doesn’t cut it. :frowning:

Will give “tap tempo” a try. That might be the best option.

F19 - if ur pretty close w/ Tempo Detection, then “Time Warp” can work as a corrective tool to nudge those few wayward tempo points into the correct position. I use it like that w/ Tap Tempo.

I have worked with Time Warp a bit and found I could make a mess with it real quick!

One feature that would really help would be the ability to “move everything to the right” when a particular warp point is shifted (i.e., “ripple” mode). That way you could fix a dragging or leading part of the track and all the hitpoints after it (that you maybe don’t want altered) would move out/pull in as a group.

Is there a way to do that?

Thanks for the suggestions. Lots of “learning curve” here…

Not quite sure what ur describing … can you post a screenshot or two?

I was hoping to do this over the weekend but didn’t have a chance. Let me try to explain.

If the beats in the audio track vary slightly ahead or behind each click track beat those points can be aligned, one at a time, using the Time Warp tool. Basically what you are doing in that case is manually “quantizing” the audio. The audio tempo already matches the tempo grid, you are just tightening it up.

However, when live recordings start drifting out of tempo they cannot be corrected this way. The entire track has to be stretched or compressed from the point where the drift initially begins. If you try to move each individual beat as above you will end up needing to insert or remove beats because it will eventually “catch up” or “run away” from the desired tempo. The Time Warp adjustments in this case need to “ripple through” so everything to the right of that point moves in/out as well.

Does that make sense? Maybe if I think this through I will figure it out. I’m sure the tools are there, I just don’t know how to apply them (yet).

Hi F19 - There lots of quite different goals that using these tools can help achieve, so before getting too far along … what do you want to have when you’re done? For example:

  1. Do you want your audio to be rock steady at X BPM throughout the song? Or,
  2. Do you want to keep some “live” tempo variation in the tracks (either the original variation, or modified), but just want the Cubase click track to match that variable tempo?

There are other possible goals too, but the suggestions on how to get to each one may vary, so it might be time efficient to clarify your desired end-product now.

Post back, and we can take it from there! :slight_smile:

My goal is to sync new MIDI parts up to an existing live recording - so it could be either, option #1 or #2

Actually, aren’t the two goal options directly related? In the first case you’re warping the audio (via “musical mode” and “set definition from tempo”) in the second case you’re warping the tempo clock. Or is that where I have it confused?

Ah, well I see them as potentially different things, in that syncing new MIDI parts up to an existing live recording doesn’t have to involve warping the audio. For example, I typically do the first (MIDI sync to existing variable-tempo audio) without warping the audio at all. The workflow I have settled on for now is found in my sig, I’d love to read about any “tips and tricks” you may come up with that I don’t use!

There is a fair amount of tedium associated with this, at least in my hands, and I agree it could be easier if the tools had more features (e.g., “rippling”), but in the end it works just fine.

Specifically, re: your question about somehow getting Cubase to “ripple” the tempos to the right in response to changes to prior tempo point changes - I haven’t found a way to do that, maybe someone else here has and can show us. Absent that, I find it does help a lot to have the project tempo set at pretty darn close to the average tempo of the audio, in that there is less “scrunching” of tempo points as the project plays.

Thank you for all your help and suggestions.

I am going to try out your Tap Tempo method. I suspect, being it has human input, it will give good results. Other post-cleanup methods, besides hand tweaking, may be to use “Advanced Audio Quantize” or maybe even Tempo Detect again after rough straightening with Tap Tempo. Of course both of those methods affect the audio and force a fixed tempo which may not always be what you want.

Now I’m starting to sound like a “tool junkie” but hey, the more I know the better, right? :smiley:


I think I found what were we looking for RE tempo map “ripple editing”. From page 470 of the Operation Manual, paragraph “Viewing and adjusting tempo events”:

“You can click on a tempo event in the ruler and drag to move it. This automatically edits the tempo value in the event so that elements to the right keep their positions”.

In other words, it changes the position and tempo value of that point and leaves the other tempo points before and after it in place. You can use this to fix any particular tempo point that doesn’t quite line up to the grid - i.e., “quantizing”.

“If you press Alt/Option and move (or delete) a tempo event in the ruler, the tempo value is not adjusted - this means elements to the right will be moved.”

Ah hah! I haven’t tried it yet but this sound like the “ripple edit” I was hoping for! In other words, it seems that pressing “Alt/Option” while moving the tempo flag should move all the other tempo points after it with it. THIS is what is needed to fix a dragging/leading section of an audio track. :slight_smile:

Cool! Lately I’ve been working on free-tempo tracks where I’m not needing a click track to follow the audio, so it’s been a while since I fired up this whoel process. I do remember that for some reason not all the directions in the manual worked as I expected in my hands, and I had to sort of figure out how things actually worked in my projects. Can’t remember if the parts you quoted were some of those things, but either way … once you dig in you should be able to get it working in a way that works for you. Good luck, and please post back with your experiences :slight_smile: