P{lease help me on tighten up a recording from tape

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Roger Starr
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P{lease help me on tighten up a recording from tape

Post by Roger Starr » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:07 pm

Hi there,

I have Cubase 6 on a PC with XP. I have imported a stereo audio track from an old 4-track recorder. The track is around 4 minutes, more or less 54 bpm and a 6/8 beat. In Cubase a singer has added his vocals to this imported stereo track. Now I want to tighten up as well re-arrange the song and have a problem:

- it seems as if the imported stereo track is floating around 54 bpm, it is not constant
- I don't know the exact bpm.

What do I want? I wish to have this imported stereo track including the recorded vocals against it to be nice tight and fixed on 54 bpm in Cubase so I can quickly edit and re-arrange the song. Now it is not, 120 and not fixed. I think with audio warp or vari audio as well some quantizing I should be able to get what I want? I'm not very familiar with this. I think you can do this with one track (how?), but can you do this also with several tracks at once? You see, the added vocals are in fact recorded against the imported stereo track of which I don't now the exact bpm (around 54) which also seems to be tempo floating a bit. Can someone please help on this? Thanx a lot.

Regards,

Roger

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Re: P{lease help me on tighten up a recording from tape

Post by Conman » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:35 pm

This is quite complex and really not explainable in detail from here (that will goad someone to try ;) ). You need to really get down to reading up in the manual about Variaudio etc. for about a week (well, a day or so) and then get back here if you need clarification on some points.
All I can tell you is that it is doable and it will take you some time the first time you do it.
Do just the one track first and then see how you go when you create template which you can then apply to the other tracks. Take care lining them up.

About 3/4 the way through doing this is when you will usually come across something that does not go to plan. That's probably where you need the forums.

If you want to know the track drift then use "merge tempo from tapping" to create a tempo track map. Usually used for lining up midi tracks against live audio but it's also handy for tempo checking.
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Re: Please help me on tighten up a recording from tape

Post by knuckle47 » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:44 pm

This is a good question from the standpoint of some musicians who have tracks on reels of tape. Those days are long gone. Not from a technical point but the fact that these tapes that I have were made from 1969 to 1975. some of the people who I had played with are simply unreachable for any number of reasons including the ultimate non-contact reason

The music is old, the tapes are old but the digital possibilities are staggering with someone who really knows the ropes. I don't ... so these tapes continue to sit. I am a player and not really a recording guy. I just happen to have a great piece of recording software in Cubase

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Re: P{lease help me on tighten up a recording from tape

Post by Roger Starr » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:10 pm

Thanx for the replies. I understand reading the manual, but, that takes to much time now for me. Isn't it possible to give in a few steps how to do that with the one stereo track? Would save me a lot of time. Thanx.

Regards,

Roger

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Re: P{lease help me on tighten up a recording from tape

Post by Roger Starr » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:37 pm

Or a link on a YouTube video how you can tempo detect a stereo file, beat 6/8 original tempo around 54 bpm to a fixed and tight 54 bpm 6/8?

I tried with automatic tempo detection, but it does it all in 4/4.

Regards,

Roger

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Re: P{lease help me on tighten up a recording from tape

Post by Jarno » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:45 pm

Roger Starr wrote:I understand reading the manual, but, that takes to much time now for me. Isn't it possible to give in a few steps
No! What you are after is a complicated task. Not just hitting few buttons. Reading the manual does take fraction of the time of the real job. Sorry.
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Re: P{lease help me on tighten up a recording from tape

Post by Conman » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:37 pm

Roger Starr wrote:Thanx for the replies. I understand reading the manual, but, that takes to much time now for me. Isn't it possible to give in a few steps how to do that with the one stereo track? Would save me a lot of time. Thanx.
Jarno is right. It's not a button pushing job. You could, however, find a local studio to do it (and also sit in and see how they do it) if it's a fairly urgent job. Time or money.

On my home decorating forum I find it's also very hard to explain online how to wallpaper that little Byzantine chapel in Scotland that the newest member has bought which needs to be done tomorrow for his new bride. :mrgreen:
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Re: P{lease help me on tighten up a recording from tape

Post by Roger Starr » Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:05 pm

OK, thanx.

Roger

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Re: P{lease help me on tighten up a recording from tape

Post by beerbong » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:37 pm

Actually, it is a one-button pushing job IMO, in that you push the detect tempo function, select either smooth or not and either it works or it doesn't

1) As far as 6/8 time, after running the TempoDetect function you just set your time signature to 6/8 on the first 1 beat. Add any other changes as needed, I've found the beat detection is mostly accurate.

I have have tried this with mixed results it's very hit/miss. IMO this technology still isn't evolved on Cubase yet (or other DAW for that matter), it's 'next generation' processing technology still in infancy. This is without a doubt going to be more common in future DAW/remixing software.

I've tried doing 'manual' adjustments but the results are terribly destructive in editing I find... The process is not at all easy or even logical IMHO. Maybe with some extreme editing like suggested you may finally get decent results.

2 ) Also the other method is to use hit-points and 'Definition' on your file (single tracks only) to manually define where measures should be located - then use 'Flatten' function to 'print' the changes VIA Audiowarp technology.

In this day and age if Cubase can't be used for remixing like this it's time for some serious improvements IMHO.

3) You may have other program alternatives, which I've considered but not used fully yet - so don't run out buying software swearing that someone saying that someone said it could be done.

Run your audio (single audio file) through traktor DJ while sync'd to Ableton (lots of DJ's do this) and record the results in sync to Ableton - export - import to Cubase

Traktor afaik has the unique ability to 'flatten' some audio removing some timing imperfections as well as sync'ing to a timing master. Ideal for remixing! It might be possible to sync Traktor to Cubase using Cubase MTC output via internal midi-router channel driver. Not hard if you are already familiar with these things.

Sorry if this is getting OT on alternate methodologies, I hope SB will further improve this process in 7.0, as the jump in 5.5 to 6.0 was a large improvement.
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Re: P{lease help me on tighten up a recording from tape

Post by Conman » Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:49 pm

It's a one-button job on a drum track but not so certainly on a live stereo recording.
In this day and age if Cubase can't be used for remixing like this it's time for some serious improvements IMHO
Pro remixing is done using the original (separate) master tracks and the beat-mapping is laid down via the drum track.
I doubt any DAW could reliably do remixing from stereo masters 100%. Certainly not on a one-button pushing basis.
If I was Steinberg I'd wonder where the serious improvements need to be. I'd suspect that that may be the users in most cases. :mrgreen: In my superior opinion that is. :mrgreen:

Certainly there's no law says the OP shouldn't try it and see what happens. He could get lucky sometimes.
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Re: P{lease help me on tighten up a recording from tape

Post by beerbong » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:00 pm

Conman wrote:It's a one-button job on a drum track but not so certainly on a live stereo recording.
Have you tried it yet?
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Re: P{lease help me on tighten up a recording from tape

Post by HowlingUlf » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:21 pm

Hello, just popping by to share a link to a tool that's very on topic and even more expensive. Depending on a lot of things somebody reading a topic such as this one this far is bound to be interested in at least the technical aspects of this tool.
Celemony Capstan

So ... it's possible! :o 8-)

***
BTW anybody who says this is not something you attempt the first weeks (or year depending on how much time you are prepared to invest and how much audio you've got stored in the gray matter) with Cubase is ... right!
Last edited by HowlingUlf on Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: P{lease help me on tighten up a recording from tape

Post by Conman » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:23 pm

Yes. Mixed result depending on spike quality. I'll try it again as that was ages ago and they may have improved things but physics tells me that the algorithm needs clear spikes to work reliably and remember that the OP is doing this for the first time too.
If he has a good prominent drum track he may get away with it. If not sod's law always applies.
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Re: P{lease help me on tighten up a recording from tape

Post by beerbong » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:30 pm

HowlingUlf wrote:Hello, just popping by to share a link to a tool that's very on topic and even more expensive. Depending on a lot of things somebody reading a topic such as this one this far is bound to be interested in at least the technical aspects of this tool.
Celemony Capstan

So ... it's possible! :o 8-)

***
BTW anybody who says this is not something you attempt the first weeks (or year depending on how much time you are prepared to invest and how much audio you've got stored in the gray matter) with Cubase is ... right!
Cool, I want those guys to make a version more for editing audio similar to audio quantizing and realigning to the grid.

The most important thing is for it to recognize where the '1' beat is all the time. It's not hard maths to do that even if there is no hard downbeat on the '1'.
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HowlingUlf
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Re: P{lease help me on tighten up a recording from tape

Post by HowlingUlf » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:42 pm

beerbong wrote:
HowlingUlf wrote:Hello, just popping by to share a link to a tool that's very on topic and even more expensive. Depending on a lot of things somebody reading a topic such as this one this far is bound to be interested in at least the technical aspects of this tool.
Celemony Capstan

So ... it's possible! :o 8-)

***
BTW anybody who says this is not something you attempt the first weeks (or year depending on how much time you are prepared to invest and how much audio you've got stored in the gray matter) with Cubase is ... right!
Cool, I want those guys to make a version more for editing audio similar to audio quantizing and realigning to the grid.

The most important thing is for it to recognize where the '1' beat is all the time. It's not hard maths to do that even if there is no hard downbeat on the '1'.
Time to moving on after the installation process.
Menu > Help > Documentation
Hints:
Audio tempo detection
MIDI merge tempo from tapping
Tempo track
Signature track
Audio warpi ... naw, takes too much space! ;)

Getting software to keep track of the downbeat (!) won't happen until 2019 ... at least!
Poke around a little and Cubase can do it now!


Besides we're drifting oof topic :oops:
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Re: P{lease help me on tighten up a recording from tape

Post by beerbong » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:48 pm

Cubase only currently will recognize audio spikes for 'hitpoints' which is uses to align with, not meter-detection for the 'auto' detect process if you read my original post. Nice try.
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