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Viewing topic "Tempo Matching Audio"

     
Posted on: April 28, 2017 @ 07:34 PM
Michael Trigoboff
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The Cubase 9 Operations Manual has a chapter on Tempo Matching Audio starting on page 488.

I imported some audio, and went through the procedure described on pages 492 and 493, lining up all bars and beats as the instructions specify. I thought that by doing this, I could then get the audio to play at a steady tempo, and to play at whatever tempo was set in the project. And as part of what I thought I could accomplish, I figured that when I was done the audio would play in sync with the Cubase metronome.

I noticed that the procedure moved bar and beat markers on the lower of the two rulers in the Sample Editor. The upper ruler stayed exactly the same. And, surprisingly to me, the Cubase metronome always stayed in sync with the upper ruler. In other words, all the bar and beat adjusting I did as I followed the procedure had absolutely no effect on the Cubase metronome.

Meanwhile, there’s another procedure in the manual starting on page 929 which shows you how to do Tempo Detection. I successfully used this method to tempo-match my imported audio to my project.

All well and good, but it leaves me wondering what the point of the first procedure is. As far as I can tell, all I accomplished with the first procedure was to line up bars and beats on the Sample Editor’s lower ruler, but that ruler does not seem to affect anything. Can someone help me understand what the point of that first procedure is, and how to use the results of it?

Thanks…

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Posted on: April 28, 2017 @ 07:55 PM
philwoodmusic
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Hi Michael,

From having a look at the manual, isn’t the first procedure matching the audio to the metronome? (or tempo track)

It allows you to manipulate and regiment some pre recorded audio (by hand) as if it were elasticated to fit your Cubase project tempo track.

The procedure you’ve actually chosen allows your Cubase project to analyse audio and map its tempo track to that audio, which may well be constantly fluctuating, depending on what it is.

The first manipulates the audio to fit your tempo and the second manipulates the tempo to fit your audio.

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Posted on: April 28, 2017 @ 08:10 PM
Michael Trigoboff
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Hi, Phil. Thanks for the quick response.

The first procedure doesn’t match the audio to the metronome. In fact, I have not yet been able to figure out what it does accomplish, despite having spent many hours trying to figure that out.

The second procedure produces a tempo map of the audio. Once you have that, you do a Set Definition From Tempo, which stores the tempo map in a way which then allows Cubase to play the audio at a steady tempo according to the project tempo. This procedure results in a perfect match between the metronome and the audio.

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Posted on: April 28, 2017 @ 08:14 PM
Michael Trigoboff
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I hadn’t thought of this until just now when I read your post again. I wonder if the purpose of that first procedure might be to make your project follow the varying tempo of the audio. I imagine that could be useful.

I will look into that, and thanks for pointing me in what may turn out to be a productive direction.

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Posted on: April 29, 2017 @ 06:13 AM
philwoodmusic
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The first procedure may not be working as it should if Musical Mode is not activated.

It’s also a manual procedure requiring you to set the bar positions.

The operation manual’s own definition of Musical Mode:

“The Musical Mode allows you to tempo-match audio loops to the project tempo. If you activate Musical Mode for an audio clip, realtime time stretching is applied to the clip so that it matches the project tempo. The audio events adapt to any tempo changes in Cubase, just like MIDI events.

In the Sample Editor, you can activate Musical Mode in the AudioWarp section, the Definition section, and the toolbar.”

To me, it looks exactly the same as what’s on offer in competitor DAWs, such as Pro Tools with Elastic Audio and Logic’s Flex Time. Both of which allow you to manually and automatically manipulate audio to fit your project’s tempo.

With Cubase, it looks as if all of your tinkering with the first procedure is useless unless you enable Musical Mode.

With the second procedure, Tempo Detection, you’ve chosen probably the easiest way to work by allowing Cubase to analyse the audio and map the tempo to that audio without damaging it.

I think there is also an automatic version of procedure one as well, at the bottom of page 489.

The procedure one type of function is not really designed for long audio files and will always work better on short audio clips with a very obvious and defined beat.  It will only sound good when used a few BPM each way and can sound horrible if you double or halve the tempo of a clip with it.

In fact, with any procedures that change the audio, you should only be working with short segments of audio anyway, so if you are (for example) trying to manipulate a 3.5 minute audio segment, then you will run into problems and things won’t sound very good.

I suppose a good question is what’s the nature of the audio you’re working with?

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Posted on: April 29, 2017 @ 08:13 PM
Michael Trigoboff
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What I was trying to do was import a Grateful Dead mp3, Estimated Prophet into a Cubase project so that I could play along with it and learn how to play the song. The song is very challenging because it’s in 7/4 time.

I also wanted to get the song to play in an even tempo, and for that tempo to be adjustable, so that I could play it back really slowly to help me learn how to play it.

Tonight I finally figured out what the deal is with the Sample Editor and the two rulers. The top ruler is just the time layout of the project. The bottom ruler is the “definition” of the audio file, i.e. where the bars and beats are.

The main thing that was messing up all my experiments was that I didn’t understand the difference between Musical Time Base (a track property), and Musical Mode (a property of a particular segment of audio). As a result, sometimes I was setting MTB when I really needed to set MM, and as a result I wasn’t getting consistent results and couldn’t figure out what was going on.

Now I can see that the two procedures are just different ways to set up the “definition” for the audio.

But thanks to this thread, the difference was made clear to me, and it was the clue I needed to figure out what was going on.

Thanks for helping me think in the right direction.

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Posted on: April 30, 2017 @ 10:54 AM
philwoodmusic
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I’m not quite sure I helped you really, but glad you’ve achieved your goal.

Most DAWs will figure out the tempo of audio and adjust it to whatever you want using less complicated systems. 

It seems any time someone needs to do something or learn to do something in Cubase, it’s a drag, and that’s not because Cubase hasn’t got good and useful features, but it just seems like there’s a layer of quite insular and non relatable jargon and nomenclature for fairly run of the mill functions and procedures surrounding it.

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Posted on: April 30, 2017 @ 11:28 AM
Michael Trigoboff
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I agree with you. Cubase is very effective and obvious once you realize what’s going on. But the user interface often doesn’t lead you to that understanding, and the documentation isn’t that helpful either.

In this particular case, using the exact same note icon for Musical Time Base and Musical Mode led me down the garden path and wasted a large amount of my time.

I suppose I could switch to a different DAW. Experiences like this make me think about it. What’s your favorite DAW?

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Posted on: April 30, 2017 @ 12:15 PM
philwoodmusic
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If you’ve put time into Cubase, and money, then I’d recommend sticking with it. 

You’ll know yourself, a serious computer programmer will stick with the same platform and tools, and won’t jump around to whatever is hip.

My own choice of DAW and computer operating system isn’t really governed by me, it’s governed by the last 20 years of music industry zeitgeist.

I actually use two DAWs, with good reason, but I used to use Cubase and had probably the most fun times with it ever, but that’s when I was a hobbyist, and also before Steinberg bolted on audio processing and the whole VST thing.

Nowadays, to be completely compatible and interchangeable with recording studios around the world, I use the professional version of Pro Tools, which is called Pro Tools HDX on Mac OS. They also do a domestic version, called Pro Tools.  It is all notoriously expensive.

http://www.avid.com/pro-tools

Because Pro Tools isn’t that good on the MIDI side of things and is still catching up, I got into using Logic for all my MIDI and virtual instrument needs, in fact I could happily just use Logic for everything, but I would no longer be compatible with the industry. 

Logic is fairly priced, easily as fully featured as Cubase, has one version/edition for everyone and has free updates.  You might not want to use Macs, so it might be a non starter.

Everyone likes what they like, but user confusion over terminology is a recurring pattern with Cubase on every forum I know of and that may be the main reason why it isn’t easily the no1 package any more, and although I couldn’t possibly say what is the no1, everyone used to use Cubase and many people no longer use it.

In terms of value for money and friendliness, you might want to look at DAWs like:

Ableton:

https://www.ableton.com/en/

PreSonus Studio One:

http://www.presonus.com/products/Studio-One

For a really cut price with an incredibly fair update model, and massively fully featured DAW:

http://www.reaper.fm

Reaper has taken the world by storm and I can tell you as someone who has just spent a lot of money to be up to date with other people in order to just be employed, this DAW does everything Cubase and Logic does for $60 and it is friendlier than most.

Reaper is a unique product because the developers take user suggestions and concerns onboard and and frequently update it in response to them, whereas there would appear to be quite a wall between most DAW developers and their customers.

Maybe google for videos on how any of those DAWs would handle what you originally posted about on this thread.  It may be enlightening.  You should be having fun and not really be involved in a research project in order play along to a song you like.

So, key sentences like “changing the tempo of audio” along with the name of a DAW you want to look at, might let you see if the grass really is greener elsewhere.

For example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FK4fb7FT_k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhb8Grj4-WE

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Posted on: April 30, 2017 @ 02:41 PM
meatballfulton
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For tempo matching of audio, I think Ableton Live is the most straightforward to use. It was the first program after Sony’s Acid (which is Windows only) to offer the feature, now most DAWs offer a similar feature but as you discovered with Cubase it’s not always intuitive! Live tries to map the tempo automatically every time you drag a sample into an audio track but you can tweak it if it does a bad job.

The biggest downside of Live for Motif users is no VST3 support so you can’t run the VST editors and there is no proper remote mode support. It also has less depth in MIDI features (no sysex, no event list).

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Posted on: April 30, 2017 @ 05:12 PM
philwoodmusic
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I agree that Ableton is great and probably the best for working with audio and loops at different tempos.

It’s also worth noting there is no VST3 support in Pro Tools and Logic. Pro Tools uses AAX and Logic uses Audio Units.

PreSonus Studio One supports VST, VST3 and Audio Units.

Reaper supports VST, VST3, DX/DXi (Windows only), Audio Units (Mac OS only)

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Posted on: May 01, 2017 @ 09:06 AM
BeeRad
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Michael, if all u are trying to do is slow a song down to learn it, I recommend “Transcribe”.  It allows slowing down waves or mp3 while keeping good fidelity.  Let’s you set up loops to work on hard parts, and in the case of needing to figure out a specific chord voicing, allows you to freeze at any point and it will show the notes/overtones it “hears” and let’s you figure the voicing.  BEST $39 I HAVE EVER SPENT ON SOFTWARE!!

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