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Creating useable loops from imported audio

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Dear all, I am having no end of trouble.This is only an experiement but I am trying to create short loops of audio to incorporate within tracks created within Cakewalk. I have absolutely no idea what the loop construction tool is aimed at doing or what "slices" are nor why I would want them. I have tried using this and it comes up with some loopy (pun intended) results by playing the audio at crazily slow or fast tempos or stuttering and replaying bits of it.

Ideally I want to create 2 or 3 audio loops I can drop into a track, hopefully adjusting themselves to the tempo of the track in each case.

I would welcome advice as to the workflow to achieve this. 

Thanks

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This may help:

Cakewalk's own tutorial:

@Gswitz's  tutorial (the guts of the actual loop construction it are about 11 mins in):

 

 

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1 hour ago, EDT said:

I have absolutely no idea what the loop construction tool is aimed at doing or what "slices" are nor why I would want them

I guess its time to learn the tools you want to use. I do not know how in-depth you want to go, but when i create a loop, i do not use the Loop Construction  View. I just edit the audio in the track view and i adjust the zoom to my liking and i edit the audio clip and when i'm done, i 'right click' the clip  select 'Apply Trimming' and then I right click it the audio clip again and enable it as a 'Groove Clip' -https://www.cakewalk.com/Documentation?product=SONAR X3&language=3&help=Looping.07.html

CJ

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Posted (edited)

First video (Sonar loop contruction) was all way over my head. It told me that I can slice up audio and do things to the slices and create and move markers around but I've still no idea what the practical functions do or more accurately I'm not au fait enough with audio production to see what it does in layman's terms. 

For example I can kind of understand why it might slice up audio as one might want to isolate a bass drum or snare hit and then re-pitch it/do something else with it (is that what this is for?) but would I not just copy/paste the individual drum beat from the main project track anyway? Sorry for the stupid questions!

My main aim is to create some audio loops which work in time with whatever tempo my main project ends up being but I'm stumped on working out how to do it. I believe from the 2nd video I need to create Groove Clips...is that the right idea? 

Edited by EDT
Clarification

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Posted (edited)

Ok, in laymans terms...

The reason you would normally want to create groove clips, is so you can change the key and the tempo of some audio to suit your composition.

Normally, to increase the pitch of an audio file, you would speed it up - however this also affects the timing, as you're now playing it faster. Decreasing the pitch of the audio means playing it back slower, but this also affects the timing, as it's now playing back at a slower tempo.

For example, to make the pitch an octave higher, you play the audio back at twice the speed. However, now the audio is now also twice the tempo... probably not what you wanted.

What groove clips do is store where the various beats (or quarter notes, eighth notes or 16th notes) lie within your audio clip, and store this information inside the audio file. In effect, you're "slicing" the audio up into the beats (or fractions of beats) that it contains.

This means that if you're increasing the pitch of an audio clip, although it still speeds the audio up, it speeds up the individual "slices" in such a way so that each individual slice always ends up on the same beat it did in the original file.

So for the example of playing something an octave higher, a groove clip will play back each individual slice twice as fast, but stretches the the audio in such a way that it fills up the whole slice. It also uses a formant preserving algorithm so that only parts of the sound are sped up, and the formants are left at the original pitch (to stop it sounding like the chipmonks when sped up). This has the effect of making it sound an octave higher, but it plays back at the original tempo.

This only works of course if the slices are in the right place. You don't want slices in the middle of a note as it can corrupt the sound of the audio, and you certainly don't want the slice to span over several notes, as in the octave above example, this would mean it played the first part really fast (i.e. out of time) with only the last part of the clip playing in time.

The whole groove clips creation process is about identifying where these slices are. 

Cakewalk does a pretty good job of guessing where they are using transients within the waveform (especially in the case of drums, where the transients are more obvious). It doesn't do a perfect job though, so you use the groove clip editing process to tell Cakewalk where they are.

I hope this makes sense!

Edited by msmcleod

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That is a very very helpful explanation thank you!

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Ok...still getting nowhere with this. I am getting to the point where I don't really get why this is so difficult so bear with me.

Track 1 - I have an audio track of a hardware drum machine and piano line played over it on the same track.

Track 2 - I have a short 4 beat clip (bass snare bass snare) recorded from a different drum machine, which I want to marry up with the beat and tempo of track one. I have this saved in my brower.

I have tried (I think) to create a Groove Clip and reimport it to Track 2 but I'm just not getting anywhere.

Am I missing which settings I need to have on or off to achieve this? Is it because the project tempo defaults to 120bpm and neither of my Track 1 or Track 2 clips are 120bpm.

 

I have also tried to use (I think) the quantize functions but it's just gobbledygook to me. I have opened up and shown audio transients in Track 1, using the drum machine jntro bar(no piano over it)but then when I go to open the Audiosnap palette it won't switch on Audiosnap and let me use it...

I was assuming I could copy the groove from Track 1 and apply it to my Track 2 clip....or is that not how it works? Or do I first need to create Track 2 as a Groove Clip before that works?

Also whilst I'm on this, with audio tracks recorded externally and then copied into a project how does the snap to grid function operate or is it best to only use that if I am recording solely using virtual instruments. Again sorry but I am finding getting things to line up in time extraordinarily difficult and I imagine it is not supposed to be thus. 

EDT

 

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2 hours ago, EDT said:

... Is it because the project tempo defaults to 120bpm and neither of my Track 1 or Track 2 clips are 120bpm...

This will have a lot to do with it.

Try dragging the recording of your drum machine on to the time line (where you see the bar numbers, right at the top of the clip area). This will detect the tempo of your drum beat.

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Couldn't get that to work either! Maybe I need to uninstall and reinstall? 

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16 minutes ago, EDT said:

Couldn't get that to work either! Maybe I need to uninstall and reinstall? 

What do you mean - you get an error?

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It just came up with a circle with a diagonal line through it when I tried to drag it over the timeline.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, EDT said:

It just came up with a circle with a diagonal line through it when I tried to drag it over the timeline.

 

Ok, you probably need Melodyne installed and a Melodyne license.

[Edit] - Actually, I don't think you need a Melodyne license. I've got the trial installed on my work laptop, and tempo extraction works fine.

You can install Melodyne from the addons menu within BandLab assistant:

image.png.258c61241ba1f28fcb9aa164c833db93.png

Edited by msmcleod
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Thanks s much for your further help.

I am generally at a loss as to whether Cakewalk does or will permit me to do what I want it to in terms of getting drum and other loops into the right tempo to match the other tracks.

Maybe I am "too complicated" for it as I use external hardware (synths and drum machines, pianos and guitars...via midi and audio) and often simply record this in real time on my Boss recorder and then import it to Cakewalk. Most of my recordings are not triggered to start them so they have varying lengths of silence at the start. I imagine this messes with the notions of beats and setting project tempos etc in turn makes it difficult to adjust things later. Oh well!

 

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11 minutes ago, EDT said:

Thanks s much for your further help.

I am generally at a loss as to whether Cakewalk does or will permit me to do what I want it to in terms of getting drum and other loops into the right tempo to match the other tracks.

Maybe I am "too complicated" for it as I use external hardware (synths and drum machines, pianos and guitars...via midi and audio) and often simply record this in real time on my Boss recorder and then import it to Cakewalk. Most of my recordings are not triggered to start them so they have varying lengths of silence at the start. I imagine this messes with the notions of beats and setting project tempos etc in turn makes it difficult to adjust things later. Oh well! 

 

This is a perfectly reasonable thing to want to do. Check out @Craig Anderton 's interview with Sweetwater... 4 mins in, he talks about/demo's tempo extraction:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsbVAykvZBg

 

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12 hours ago, msmcleod said:

This is a perfectly reasonable thing to want to do. Check out @Craig Anderton 's interview with Sweetwater... 4 mins in, he talks about/demo's tempo extraction:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsbVAykvZBg

 

That is so helpful thank you...that is exactly what I want to be able to do (both ways as described in the video).

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My video is definitely not the best for how to do this.

I have some 10 year old videos (I think by Craig) that are really good describing how to do this.

@Craig Anderton Do you still sell those old vids?

I have a nice X1 video by Craig and another by Groove 3. The Groove 3 includes how to quantize and loop.

Craig? I know you have some awesome examples. I remember one where you took a complex jam and then made it sound awesome taking the tempo from 80 to 160 and back to 80. I think it was you. I never got good at that technique.

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Posted (edited)

When I try and do this (all I can find is the tempo map view from the menu) it shows the tempo then I can click to add new tempo at any given point.

However all that seems to do is alter the tempo shown in the project tempo box and change the metronome.

Does it therefore only work to change the tempo of midi tracks (which are by their nature flexible) but not imported audio?

The vid suggested it would do both...perhaps I'm missing a trick ory version doesn't have this function?

Clicking and dragging the clip over the timeline definitely doesn't do anything on mine.

Edited by EDT
Clarification

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Firstly, it won't work on MIDI tracks, only Audio tracks.

Secondly, make sure (a) You've got Melodyne installed (using the BandLab Assistant), and (b) You're definitely dragging on to the timeline - if you move too far up, you'll get the no-entry cursor.

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