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Gerry 1943

Quantizing audio tracks.

Question

This is my first trial at audio. ( guitar )

Is there a way to quantize an audio track the same way we can quantize a midi track.

I am having difficulty starting a riff on time.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Regards

 

Gerry

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There is but it's a bit fiddly (but works great if you can bear with it). Audiosnap is what you're after:

https://www.cakewalk.com/Documentation?product=SONAR&language=3&help=AudioSnap.01.html

I'd tend to spend the time dropping in your own manually inserted markers rather than letting Audiosnap try and detect things. It's more work in the beginning, but you'll get much better results in the end.

 

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Unfortunately the best answer is probaly more practice on the guitar :|

You can chop up the clip and tweak things by eye / ear..slide the start times of notes to where you need and use crossfading to smooth over the edits to the next note.

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As a guitarist, I whole-heartedly endorse the "more practice" suggestion 😋

But as a producer, sometimes:

  • The end justifies the means, in that if you want to get to a certain point and you don't have the ability to do it at the recording stage yet, we luckily have the tools to help get a vision realised. Sometimes the goal is to get a song written or demo'd rather than having to become a competent player first.
     
  • There's some things that even a great guitarist might not be able to do, like sample-accurate locking in with loops and sequences, where if you quantize your part, you can get a level of tightness that a certain style of music might need (I'm all for the excitement that a human element can bring to a part but sometimes you need it to sound super tight).

I personally wouldn't use the slice/crossfade method on this, I'd be inclined to use stretching instead, just so you're not getting odd artefacts as notes loop over each other. That can work for drums but for guitar it can be really iffy on the sustain of notes.

But this all said, quantizing is great and will get you over the line, but there's a magic in someone just nailing their part. It's  those little human variations that add so much excitement and thickness to a part that makes it something special. I'd definitely recommend doing a bunch of takes and editing together the best parts rather than quantizing once you're up to the ability to do that. The part will really come to life!

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And don't forget that between 0-100% you've got 99 variations. Sometimes quantizing by 20% will do great job.

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If the start time is the problem, and if the whole performance is off by the same amount, then it is not quantizing you need, but just shifting the performance to the right start time.

If that's it, the root cause could be that there is some inherent latency in the playback of whatever you are playing against in the project, be that a metronome or a prearranged accompaniment. Usually, a recording is aligned (after the fact) when played against a project with latency, but sometimes things can go wrong with that.

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Dont forget about the pre-count in to get you into the groove before the actual recording starts.  And practice.  some day very soon, you will be surprised when your music starts exactly with the beat, and the metronome just disappears into your music.  

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I would practice alot. Also I would record in loop mode to choose good takes. Audiosnap is your friend to check transients and move some.

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You'll want to be aware of the stretching algorithms using AudioSnap. The Elastique algorithms will give you the best bang for your buck for online rendering (what you hear during real time playback). You can set the defaults for this in the Preferences or change per clip via the AudioSnap Palette or Clip Properties.

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On 1/10/2019 at 3:08 AM, CosmicDolphin said:

Unfortunately the best answer is probaly more practice on the guitar :|

You can chop up the clip and tweak things by eye / ear..slide the start times of notes to where you need and use crossfading to smooth over the edits to the next note.

I thought the same as L Tim Audiosnap is a great tool for this very purpose, however I agree with you on slicing and shifting clips vs using Audiosnap (on simple fixes) I don’t like stretching audio and avoid it at all costs. Tim is really good with Audiosnap and is probably a lot better than I, but I can always hear stretched audio vs non stretched audio. Maybe it’s in my head 😂

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I typically start playing (or singing) a prelude or the starting riff over and over before the punch-in starts. By the time the records starts, I'm already in the groove.

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On 1/11/2019 at 9:46 PM, Chuck E Baby said:

I can always hear stretched audio vs non stretched audio. Maybe it’s in my head 😂

Me too..I hate artifacts 

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It's all a trade-off in the end.

I've gotten great results with stretching for most things, and like Jon said, choosing the right algorithm is super important, and so is bouncing down the audio when the stretching is done, so you're not using the less CPU costly online algorithms that have less quality than the bounced offline ones.

I've found that slicing and crossfading on guitars does all kinds of weird stuff to note decays. If you're most of the way through a sustained note and you crossfade at the wrong point, not only is the level going to be an issue but the whole timbre of the note can change dramatically over a couple of milliseconds. It can sound super stuttery.

If the timing is so bad that it's hard lining up a start time of a phrase, you're going to run into huge issues trying to fade between stuff that's so far off the beat, IMO. Stretching, while it'll never be as good as actually playing the part, will mitigate that to a point, especially with the right algorithm.

But some great suggestions in this thread! I definitely agree that pre-roll to get into the groove and comping the best of many takes will give you the best results, I'd say.

Edited by Lord Tim
Autocorrect hates me 😑

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