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Starship Krupa

Did I miss something about "Quantize?"

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Posted (edited)

(In this question I am referring to only MIDI notes and the recording and editing of such)

So, I had a hi hat and snare pattern that I laid down by drawing the notes in the Piano Roll. Had trouble getting the kick drum part down, so I decided to record just the kick using Sound on Sound. Pretty simple, everything is 8th notes, no fancy 16th note stuff, but I think I had the grid set to 1/16th. Whatever, my idea was to play it with the MIDI controller and then have Cakewalk quantize it to the grid.

All goes well, the kicks are about where I want them, this is supposed to be a machine beat with no swing or anything. I'm not a machine, I was a bit off with a couple hits, so quantizing was in order.

Selected just the kick notes (the other notes were already on the grid because I placed them there with Snap engaged), right clicked, got the Quantize dialog. Resolution 1/16, strength 100%, Swing 1%, Window 100%. Left everything on the defaults, so MIDI Event Start Times, Audio Snap Beats, and Only Notes and Lyrics were checked.

Hit OK, and....the notes shifted a hair, but I could see with my eyes that they are not evenly on the grid. So I tried it again, this time with the Duration to 1/8 and the grid set to 1/8. Again, a slight shift, but still a little off.

I clicked on the "off" notes to check them with Event Inspector and they're all 9 ticks later than they should be, given that I told the Quantizer to basically crowbar them onto an 1/8th note grid. Most of the notes made it on grid, but about 20% of them are 9 ticks late.

No amount of repetition of the command, nor change of settings will move the start times of those notes to exactly on the grid. They will get no closer than 9 ticks.

What am I doing wrong here? I thought MIDI quantizing was for putting note start times and durations on the grid. I selected the notes by clicking the note name over on the left (this is using the drum grid). This has always worked for selecting notes in the past.

Am I misusing the command? Expecting too much from it? What gives? Why are the ones that are off all off by the same miniscule amount?

Edited by Starship Krupa

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Posted (edited)

If your Snap settings are strong enough you should be able to draw notes smack on the beat.

There's multiple ways to quantize.

Process Menu:

Capture2.JPG.b185d7a0644df62bdc386573bc5acf62.JPG

Inspector Input Quantize - supposed to quantize as you record:

Capture.JPG.7db13f3b9dce0a37886c01ebeb581912.JPG

Many overlook the MIDI FX plugins that do the same thing:

Capture3.JPG.c84f2f193041359878b7ca62c8e92244.JPG

This video was helpful starting at 4:30.

Where did you right-click to Quantize? Right-clicking notes normally deletes them.

Edited by sjoens

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Starship Krupa said:

Selected just the kick notes (the other notes were already on the grid because I placed them there with Snap engaged), right clicked, got the Quantize dialog. Resolution 1/16, strength 100%, Swing 1%, Window 100%. Left everything on the defaults, so MIDI Event Start Times, Audio Snap Beats, and Only Notes and Lyrics were checked.

Swing Documentation:

Many projects do not have notes positioned on a perfectly even time grid. For example, projects with a swing feel, though they may be written entirely in eighth notes, are often played more like eighth-note triplets, with the first note extended and the second one shortened. The Swing option lets you distort the timing grid so each pair of notes is spaced unevenly, giving the quantized material a swing feel.

A swing value of 50 percent (the default) means that the grid points are spaced evenly.

Edited by RobertWS
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

 Resolution 1/16, strength 100%, Swing 1%, Window 100%. Left everything on the defaults, so MIDI Event Start Times, Audio Snap Beats, and Only Notes and Lyrics were checked.

 

This is not right.

It should be:

Strength = 100 

Swing = 50

Window = 100 

Your duration need to be set according. to your grid. With both Note Duration and Audio Clip Start Time box selected. That's it.

You dont need do any other fancy things. 

 

 

 

Edited by Will.

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1 hour ago, sjoens said:

If your Snap settings are strong enough you should be able to draw notes smack on the beat.

Indeed, I am. My question is about playing notes with my MIDI controller and then wanting to tidy them up.

1 hour ago, sjoens said:

Where did you right-click to Quantize? Right-clicking notes normally deletes them.

In the Piano Roll View, after selecting the notes I wanted to quantize. If you select some notes and then right click (I usually right click somewhere there is not a note) in the PRV you'll get a nice process menu.

1 hour ago, RobertWS said:

The Swing option lets you distort the timing grid so each pair of notes is spaced unevenly, giving the quantized material a swing feel.

A swing value of 50 percent (the default) means that the grid points are spaced evenly.

Well, thank you. I can confidently say that I would never have figured that out on my own. So to have the system put the notes down dead on, I tell it 50% swing. This does not make sense to me, but I don't need it to make sense, I need it to work. If getting it to work requires typing in 50 I will type in 50.

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38 minutes ago, Starship Krupa said:

Well, thank you. I can confidently say that I would never have figured that out on my own.

This is not meant insultingly at all, but that's what the Ref. Guide is for. It's quite clear about how swing works.

39 minutes ago, Starship Krupa said:

If getting it to work requires typing in 50 I will type in 50.

Normally you should not have to type anything; Quantize will default to 50% the first time you use it in  project.

Swing

Many projects do not have notes positioned on a perfectly even time grid. For example, projects with a swing feel, though they may be written entirely in eighth notes, are often played more like eighth-note triplets, with the first note extended and the second one shortened. The Swing option lets you distort the timing grid so each pair of notes is spaced unevenly, giving the quantized material a swing feel.

A swing value of 50 percent (the default) means that the grid points are spaced evenly. A value of 66 percent means that the time between the first and second grid points is twice as long as the time between the second and third points. The following figure illustrates the effect of the swing setting on the timing grid:

EditingMIDI.39.1.png

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I'll admit in my 25 years of using what I do believe is the same dialogue box I have never touched anything but the note selection. I've never even looked at those other settings so they are the defaults as shown in @sjoens first screenshot.

I always play the parts and then I'll change the grid resolution so it matches the closest to what I played and use that as the Quantize setting. 

Oh and for those who don't know the Shortcut is Q to open the Quantize dialogue you have to select first.  

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9 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

In the Piano Roll View, after selecting the notes I wanted to quantize. If you select some notes and then right click (I usually right click somewhere there is not a note) in the PRV you'll get a nice process menu.

Why did I never know this?! :ST H X !

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9 hours ago, David Baay said:

It's quite clear about how swing works.

I checked the Reference Guide before asking here, as I always do. Asking for help in figuring stuff out after one has checked the documentation and still doesn't understand it is what the Q&A subforum is for. 😄 No insult intended. I checked the Ref. Guide before posting and couldn't parse it.

That's part of why I said that I wouldn't have figured it out on my own. I think I, like @John Vere had always been leaving it at 50%, but then noticed it and thought "wait a sec, this is supposed to be a machine beat, I don't want any swing." I might have guessed that something was up when it wouldn't take "0" for an answer.

I'm used to "none, thanks" being indicated by a zero. Now I know that "50%" means no swing at all. In order to figure out what effect other values might have, I'll just have to try some and listen.

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The video link in my previous post explained it pretty well.

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Posted (edited)

You do record your tracks with a metronome right? That should put you in the ballpark, and then using the default settings should work fine. Swing should be 50. If you want it to be a shuffle move towards 60 - 64. 

 

Edited by Michael Fogarty

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-50 to +50 with 0 meaning old-50 would indeed be more logical (but confuse everyone used to it as is!).

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Michael Fogarty said:

Swing should be 50. If you want it to be a shuffle move towards 60 - 64. 

In my world if the song is say a blues or country shuffle I then will be using the triplets. I often have to use both 1/16 and the 1/16 triplets depending on the part. An example would be a drum part is generally right on the 1/8th but Tom fills are triplets 
 It is actually very precise where notes go on the grid and myself I hear something is wrong if they are not. 
Not a fan of thinking a song will sound more human if you place notes in the wrong spots. If your song sounds like a machine that’s because it is!  You want human, then use one.  

Edited by John Vere

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Posted (edited)
On 4/30/2022 at 11:36 PM, John Vere said:

In my world if the song is say a blues or country shuffle I then will be using the triplets. I often have to use both 1/16 and the 1/16 triplets depending on the part. An example would be a drum part is generally right on the 1/8th but Tom fills are triplets 
 It is actually very precise where notes go on the grid and myself I hear something is wrong if they are not. 
Not a fan of thinking a song will sound more human if you place notes in the wrong spots. If your song sounds like a machine that’s because it is!  You want human, then use one.  

actually, I do the same. Since the OP didn't seem to understand the swing level adjustment, I was trying to go a step further to  show that the direction to go would be the other side of 50 and above  -ending up at 64 which is indeed a triplet. So, yes, simply put, leave your swing factor at 50%, and if you want a shuffle or waltz, (When a Man Loves a woman, These Arms of Mine) then just put it on 64.  Then John's instructions above about fast moving parts. If you want it to sound more human, then you can move the Strength button a few increments -less percentage points. (try 95%). It will still be quantized, but a little less than perfect. But one can easily screw it up. 

 

 

Edited by Michael Fogarty

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