How to get 100% synced project?

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How to get 100% synced project?

Postby harryharry » Sun Nov 24, 2013 1:07 am

Hello,

what is the best way to get multiple tracks perfectly rythm synced? Every track in my project was recorded with a click - and they're pretty accurate, but I still find some off-beat spots when its played together. I tried time warp tools, but it makes strange effects (especially on guitars) - almost like a chorus.

Any tips or advices? Both mixing and recording.

Thanks, Harry
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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby marQs » Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:35 am

Warp can be cool, there are different algos for it. Try different ones if it doesn't sound good.

The most phase coherent/natural sounding method for timing corrections is cut > slide (hold ctrl + alt then drag) > crossfade. If you have multimic'd recordings (drums, guitars on more than one track etc.) check out the group editing button (found on folder tracks).
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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby harryharry » Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:29 am

Thanks for reply!

I've tried the slice method on drums and it was OK, but time warp did a better job. Maybe I just used it wrong - I am still a beginner in Cubase.

Wouldn't that sound bad to have a tiny silent parts in rythm guitar? But I will definitely try that.

The thing is I mainly work with cubase 5, because I have only the lite version of cubase 7. Is it true that the older Cubase doesn't have a group editing?
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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby marQs » Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:34 pm

harryharry wrote:Wouldn't that sound bad to have a tiny silent parts in rythm guitar? But I will definitely try that.


Cutting + crossfading produces no silent parts except the viable information of the event is far from the previous/next event. Try it this way: cut the part you want to move left and right, hold ctrl+alt and drag it. There will be no gaps between the events, instead the content of the event you drag is sliding through that cut piece.

harryharry wrote:The thing is I mainly work with cubase 5, because I have only the lite version of cubase 7. Is it true that the older Cubase doesn't have a group editing?


Group editing was introduced in Cubase 6 I think. In former Cubase versions you can group events though (i.e. all drum tracks) and use the same slide through method. Of course you can also move the grouped events and fill the gaps with crossfades. Both methods do the same actually.
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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby harryharry » Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:40 pm

marQs wrote:Group editing was introduced in Cubase 6 I think. In former Cubase versions you can group events though (i.e. all drum tracks) and use the same slide through method. Of course you can also move the grouped events and fill the gaps with crossfades. Both methods do the same actually.


I am not sure that I understand. Let´s say that drummer on my record missed the beat and the whole drum set is delayed by 1/32 note. So I use the scissors tool, cut the track right before his first hit in the bar and using alt+ctrl I move all tracks to the beginning of the bar, so It'll be good timed. Is that what you mean? But I need to cut track before next hit as well, so I dont have the delay in whole song. (?)

I am sorry for my English - I am not a native speaker, hope it's understandable.
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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby Grim » Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:54 pm

Yes that's right....you cut before all hits (or only those you need to move and the one directly after)

There are a few Cubase Slip Editing videos on Youtube.
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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby harryharry » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:38 am

Thanks! One more question - I am trying to sync a really complex rythm guitar. I am not able to do anything with amp signal - it is just too fuzzy. Fortunatelly, I have a clean signal from microphone, that was directly recording guitar strings (player was in different room then the amp). This signal is much more readable - can I edit this signal in time warp and have the amp signal affected by the same editing? I tried that crossfade/slicing method and it works fine, but it is too slow.
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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby marQs » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:18 am

harryharry wrote:Thanks! One more question - I am trying to sync a really complex rythm guitar. I am not able to do anything with amp signal - it is just too fuzzy. Fortunatelly, I have a clean signal from microphone, that was directly recording guitar strings (player was in different room then the amp). This signal is much more readable - can I edit this signal in time warp and have the amp signal affected by the same editing?


What you're asking for is multitrack time warp. It's in the feature request section already but not included in Cubase yet. If one track is warped there's no direct way to tell another track to follow the warping.

There's a workaround. Export your two channels hard panned L/R to a stereo track and warp this. For monitoring (L/R might not be pleasant) insert Mix6To2 and set to your liking. After you're done you can split the track by exporting it to two mono tracks again for mixingl. (If you have more than two you can use an LCR, LRCS, 5.1 track as well, up to 6 tracks can be exported to a single, phase stable, warpable track. Not available in Cubase Artist.)

harryharry wrote: I tried that crossfade/slicing method and it works fine, but it is too slow.


Yes, that's good old handcrafting. Not too quick but very often with much better results than using warp. Especially if you're still using Cubase 5. The elastique + elastique pro algorithms were introduced with Cubase 6 and are a huge step forward compared to the old standard algos (they often sound warbling, lots of unwanted artefacts depending on the stretch factor).
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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby harryharry » Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:28 pm

Thanks again, you were very helpful.

To sum up this topic - I have three options how to get a perfect projects.

1) Spend many hours in my old Cubase trying to get everything sliced, moved and crossfaded smoothly
2) Buy newer Cubase (or other DAW) which makes my work a bit easier
3) Make a perfect records, that don't require any editing

How do you think that professional audio enginers do this? It's so hard to get perfect records and nearly ipossible in my opinion. I've recorded a very good guitarist, but as I said before - the record is far from perfect. Especially acoustic guitars have so many bad noises such as fret ringing, string slides etc..

From listening to some track I get a feeling that sometimes the acoustic guitar is just a loop of perfectly played part - do you think that is possible?
For example The Smashing Pumpkins - Landslide http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5bznN76xRY or Green Day - Good Riddance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnQ8N1KacJc
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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby marQs » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:01 pm

harryharry wrote:Thanks again, you were very helpful.

To sum up this topic - I have three options how to get a perfect projects.

1) Spend many hours in my old Cubase trying to get everything sliced, moved and crossfaded smoothly
2) Buy newer Cubase (or other DAW) which makes my work a bit easier
3) Make a perfect records, that don't require any editing


1/2) To break it down: Cubase 6/7 have group editing which is cool and useful. What you can do with it is exactly the same you can do with grouping events in former versions. It's not faster or anything, just a different way of grouping that can be more convinient in some scenarios.

3) Yes :mrgreen: My experience is that even on 'perfect' tracks there's some editing possible to make them even more perfect. But the better the musical performance the less troubles you'll get. Editing very good recordings can take the life out of it.

harryharry wrote:How do you think that professional audio enginers do this? It's so hard to get perfect records and nearly ipossible in my opinion. I've recorded a very good guitarist, but as I said before - the record is far from perfect. Especially acoustic guitars have so many bad noises such as fret ringing, string slides etc..

From listening to some track I get a feeling that sometimes the acoustic guitar is just a loop of perfectly played part - do you think that is possible?
For example The Smashing Pumpkins - Landslide http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5bznN76xRY or Green Day - Good Riddance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnQ8N1KacJc


Any trick required is done. I have looped cool passages of guitars, drums, whatever. Sometimes intentionally (artistic decision), sometimes just because the rest wasn't usable. Some superprofessional engineers might call superprofessional musicians for the night and replace their clients' takes to not start an editing madness :lol:

Noises, frets and other unwanted artefacts are more a thing of micing techiques. You can't avoid them with a real acoustic guitar (why should you) but all of that can be tamed to a good ratio of noise + non-noise so to speak by experimenting with mic types + positioning. I like M/S recording very much for all sorts of acoustic instruments.
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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby harryharry » Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:39 pm

Hello again. I am sorry for a delayed response. Unfortunately, I don't have as much time as I want to have to improve my cubase skills.

I tried the time warp tool with just terrible results. It's pretty useless, if you want decent and pure guitar sound.

I also tried to record a perfect take, and I have a better results than before (experimenting with different open/closed headphones, different click settings etc.), but the result is still a little bit off beat sometimes. Maybe I am just too big perfectionist.

I have pretty good results with the slicing and crossfading method, but I would like to post here some printscreens. Just to be sure that I am doing it right.

Any addional tips or advices to make it even better, more accurate and naturally sounding?
Image
Image
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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby GargoyleStudio » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:08 pm

You've got the right method there. Most of the time I use Auto-Crossfades because it saves me creating the crossfades!

Another tip you could use is to 'slip' the audio within the part using Ctrl-Alt-Click, and this can be used to make the crossfade work better. A very very small slip can fix an out of phase obvious crossfade without harming the timing (particularly useful with bass).

But I'd have thought that if you were to record 5 takes and pick the bits which are best in time from each one then you'd get a perfect take very quickly...

Also you can always replace out of time bits or dodgy bits with bits from other parts of the performance. This type of replacement is a staple when tidying up live performances because you don't need to get the musician back!

Finally, you'll be surprised what can be hidden in a mix. For example, if you're struggling with a cross fade but it's on the beat of a snare it's quite unlikely you'll hear it in the final mix. Or take that a stage further and actually use another instrument to cover up the problem area! Been there, done that...

Oh, finally again, yes, even though I have the latest Cubase version and I work with excellent musicians, I spend hours tidying up takes towards perfection, and it pays dividends. Sometimes people ask me to listen to their CDs before release and my usual comment is that it's not bad but it needs tidying up, vocals and solos tuning, pops removed, timing tightened, bum notes fixed, etc. So for me, it's a way of life that I picked up working with a top mixing person - to tidy things to a great degree, I think it's worth it. Also your average listener doesn't always know why a song sounds better or worse but chances are if it's off tune or out of time then they'll know that it's not so good. Things just come into focus when you address all the details.

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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby harryharry » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:28 pm

Thanks for very helpful post, Mike.


Regarding the use of 'slip' - you mean that I need to avoid 'non zero crossing' of the waveform? In the first printscreen there is an example od 100% grid accurate guitar track and the second is slightly moved to have a zero crossing (but it is just a tiny bit off beat). Will I get a better results with the second solution?

So should I watch the waveforms crossing insted of trying to make it 100% grid synced to get a more natural, 'ear friendly' sound?

Image

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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby marQs » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:44 pm

GargoyleStudio wrote:Oh, finally again, yes, even though I have the latest Cubase version and I work with excellent musicians, I spend hours tidying up takes towards perfection, and it pays dividends. Sometimes people ask me to listen to their CDs before release and my usual comment is that it's not bad but it needs tidying up, vocals and solos tuning, pops removed, timing tightened, bum notes fixed, etc. So for me, it's a way of life that I picked up working with a top mixing person - to tidy things to a great degree, I think it's worth it. Also your average listener doesn't always know why a song sounds better or worse but chances are if it's off tune or out of time then they'll know that it's not so good. Things just come into focus when you address all the details.

Mike.


My thoughts exactly!
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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby marQs » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:47 pm

harryharry wrote:Thanks for very helpful post, Mike.


Regarding the use of 'slip' - you mean that I need to avoid 'non zero crossing' of the waveform? In the first printscreen there is an example od 100% grid accurate guitar track and the second is slightly moved to have a zero crossing (but it is just a tiny bit off beat). Will I get a better results with the second solution?

So should I watch the waveforms crossing insted of trying to make it 100% grid synced to get a more natural, 'ear friendly' sound?

Image

Image


It's not necessary to check for a zero crossing as long as it sounds good when crossfaded. If it doesn't (i.e. you get a phasey transition) a tiny bit of slipping left or right usually fixes the problem. I never look at it until there's an audible problem.
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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby GargoyleStudio » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:00 pm

That's why I always switch on auto cross-fades... Because then then I don't have to worry about discontinuities or zero crossings. (And I don't use snap to zero crossing because I like my parts to start and end exactly on barlines, better for duplicating and cut/paste I find). I don't generally look at the waveform, I use my ears and the Play (audition) tool if I need to check the crossfade in isolation.

But in mentioning slip, it's due to phase cancellation not zero crossing (for me anyway). Mostly noticeable on bass instruments because the waveforms are long (low pitch), which can mean that you can very easily get a dip in volume during the crossfade if the phase of both clips is opposite and they cancel out. So I use slip to move one side along so they're in phase. Can happen with long crossfades on guitar notes too or vocal notes, but that's more difficult because the phasey sound will usually not go away so easily (hah, I reach for time-stretch in these situations, really!!!). Still worth a go though if you have a phasey problem, and in this case, well wroth eyeballing the offending section because you will see the displayed waveform height change as you slip one of the parts...

Just one more thing... The advice here in this topic is excellent :) It may seem like an uphill battle trying to wrestle with all the different aspects of music and recording, but it gets easier the more you do!

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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby harryharry » Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:45 pm

I am very sorry, but I have to open this discussion again.

After a lot of hours in Cubase I am finally able to do decent mixes. The thing is - I still have some problems syncing the instruments.

Using cut-slip and time warp methods, I did a 99% accurate drums and bass guitar.
SNARE DRUM
Image
BASS GUITAR
Image
And it sounds amazing!

I also have GREAT sounding solo guitars. Had to do some cleaning in the fast parts but it wasn't complicate at all. Very accurate as well and naturally sounding.

But I still struggle with rythm guitars. I am starting to think that when I don't record a perfect take, later edditing makes it sound even worse.

GUITAR (RYTHM) - bad take - one guitar (mic and line input) -> both quantized -> guitar loop
Image
GUITAR (RYTHM) - very good take - two guitars (one overdub) - raw recording
Image

Surprisingly, the second example sounds MUCH better though it looks that the guitar player strummed too early. So I decided to use raw recording without eny editing. It sounded very good (better than before with those guitar loops). But thanI played the mix in my car and I still thought it sounds fine, until I switched to the radio and heard some mainstream song. It sounded much more tight and accurate. So I need to edit my tracks anyway.

Please, I feel very desperate so I'd be greatful for any advice. I am sure that I am doing something wrong.

Lot of great producers say - listen with your ears, not your eyes. But I think it is more guessing, when you are trying to find a sweet spot by delaying your track by less than 5 ms. I also don't have top end equipment, so I'd rather do a rough correction and than check the waveform than depending on the sound from my small monitors and studio headphones.
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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby marQs » Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:50 pm

The ears-not-eyes comment of course fits. It doesn't matter how it looks but how it sounds.

But thanI played the mix in my car and I still thought it sounds fine, until I switched to the radio and heard some mainstream song. It sounded much more tight and accurate. So I need to edit my tracks anyway.


That doesn't necessarily mean you have a editing problem in that strummed guitar. Consider a mix a complex scenario of volume, frequency and dynamic relations. If the elements 'sit well' (timing) in a well made arrangement (songwriting/producing) and are recorded at good quality (engineering) you have the basic ingredients to make it possibly sound like that mainstream stuff. Be sure, that's a long way to go. Apart from the fact that it doesn't have to be 'good' (which is subjective anyway) but surely impressive. The mainstream kind of sounddesign is overly loud still, the art of a skilled engineer is to create a mix that can be pushed to that level without distorting too much :mrgreen:

Well, that's all just theory. I don't know what kind of stuff we're talking about. Upload a mix maybe?
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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby harryharry » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:07 pm

Well that would be great to have outside opinion on my mix. The thing is I promised to the band I won't let the mix out until they are satisfied with it.

Well I've watched countless tutorial, lessons and webinars. I really enjoy working on my project. But the timing is something that I still can't figure out. It takes so long and my results are far from my expectations.
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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby GargoyleStudio » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:46 pm

One thing I find about correcting timing is that you can often be led down the wrong path, for example you might think a note is out of time but it can actually be the previous note(s) that are wrong. Worth looking, tweaking and listening before and after the bit that sounds odd. Say someone is rushing into the chorus and that makes the chorus sound slowed down but in fact it's the rush that needs correcting.

Another idea would be to double track a section, this can disguise the discrepancies. A quick way of double tracking is to dup/cut/paste the same track but different bars, e.g. swap two choruses in the song (only works it recorded to a steady tempo of course!).

Finally, once you've started to time up some instruments it will usually reveal problems in others. I proceed methodically through the tracks: drums, bass, guitar, keys, vocals, BVs, whatever, and it takes time. I use the screen to do things quickly but I always use my ears to review the result.

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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby marQs » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:00 pm

GargoyleStudio wrote:One thing I find about correcting timing is that you can often be led down the wrong path, for example you might think a note is out of time but it can actually be the previous note(s) that are wrong. Worth looking, tweaking and listening before and after the bit that sounds odd. Say someone is rushing into the chorus and that makes the chorus sound slowed down but in fact it's the rush that needs correcting.


+1, it's not so easy to get it right sometimes. Right doesn't always mean everything has to be on the grid. Unless you're workong on robot music maybe.
My experience on heavy drums was often all or nothing. Organic/real parts after parts edited to technical perfection may seem more off than they actually are. Instead of all-or-nothing I try to do some conscious 'groove gardening' more often today (which eats a lot of time still - but no soooo much).

GargoyleStudio wrote:Another idea would be to double track a section, this can disguise the discrepancies. A quick way of double tracking is to dup/cut/paste the same track but different bars, e.g. swap two choruses in the song (only works it recorded to a steady tempo of course!).


Yeah, let's get dirty 8-) Sometimes such methods can work wonders. Sometimes they produce a lot of smear in the time domain which is fixable just by another load of time. But definately worth a try.

GargoyleStudio wrote:Finally, once you've started to time up some instruments it will usually reveal problems in others. I proceed methodically through the tracks: drums, bass, guitar, keys, vocals, BVs, whatever, and it takes time. I use the screen to do things quickly but I always use my ears to review the result.

Mike.


+1. Send anybody else home after drums are recorded, get them back in to record to edited drums. Makes things much easier most times. Adds a little more precision and punch right from the start. Takes out a little life maybe, depending on genre and desired result.
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Re: How to get 100% synced project?

Postby Buchanan » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:28 pm

Just a suggestion for getting the tracks timing tighter initially so as to save stretching and manipulating tracks into tight corners later.
From one of the OPs earlier posts it seems that the tracks are laid down to a click but still being played too erratically to be acceptable. This might be due to monitoring the click and I suggest that attention is needed to get the balances right as it is fairly easy, if you're not used to it, to "get out of the way of the click" ie: in playing one avoids the click so you can hear it so any notes will be before, after or both. One drum practise technique is to make the click disappear and then you know you're spot on. For guitar that's not always easy when (double?!) tracking a staccato "chuck" rhythm part.
I'd suggest trying out different (percussion) sounds, clap, shaker. Anything wider than the plain click which tends to polarise some player's timing to too far out. Anything so you can hear both click and the notes you play.
If I'm right or wrong all the previous suggestions and what you have been doing are good practise for track manipulation anyway. Sometimes it's just got to be done.
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