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Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:51 pm

After reading the article where they tapped in the temp track, I decided that this is what I really want:

I want to be able to lay down a tune into the DAW (I use Pro tools) with a click track.

Then I want to bring in the real musicians, but they can't all come at the same time. So let's say we just have the drummer first.

I want to record him while he listens to the session (after I mute my lame drum arrangement), but I want him to control the time, like in a live band. So I would tap on a device while I listen to him so that the music he hears stays with him. So its the other way around from playing with a click track. Instead, the session time moves with him.

Then I can bring in say the bass player and do the same thing. He tries to match the drummer's feel, but is not perfect. But that's OK because I will adjust the time in real time while he is recording.

Then the horn player comes in for a solo, so I let him control the time while we record that section.

This will be wonderful I think. Especially for some younger players that can't help but speed up a little when they get more energy. At least now I can record them in time with the full band and fix things up in the editor.

And after recording, I should have the option to either use the new tempo tapped out as the new master temp track, OR use elastic time (that's what it's called in Pro Tools) to snap the tempo to one of the older tempo tracks, or even all the way back to the first steady click track.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby scw » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:11 pm

Not being funny - I think you should play with better musicians. If they cant play in time then send them away to practise until they can. This is a different situation to having tempo changes in a track which enhances the groove of the music and where all the musicians are playing "in time" with each other.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby BJG145 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:14 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:I will adjust the time in real time while he is recording.


That scenario sounds like a nightmare. But I did think it would be quite neat if you could vary the click/tempo while recording, getting the tempo map down as part of the performance. Somehow I doubt if that's possible in most DAWs? Pretty fundamental aspect of the old-school tape-and-conductor malarkey though.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:23 am

Actually, I am trying to capture some Jazz sessions with skilled players. I am trying to figure out how to change the DAW to make it work better for Jazz. I think there is a reason why many Jazz players don't use DAWs. The music naturally has a freerer expressive time. So it's not so much the skill of the musicians that is the problem. The problem is that I want to capture the tempo as it was played. This flexibility should work for other styles too.

But I would also like to record some less-skilled players too.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:25 am

Yes, you described it very well. Thanks for that.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby The Elf » Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:06 am

I don't see why you would want to do this. Maybe the drummer could play to a click, or you could tempo-map his free-playing, but assuming he's played well enough then the other musicians should play to the drums. Moving the timing around to suit each musician just sounds like a lot of fudging to me, and unlikely to get a result that sounds homogenous.

I'm afraid I agree with some of the postings above. Too often such words as 'feel' and 'groove' are used as excuses for poor skills.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby BJG145 » Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:27 am

The Elf wrote:I don't see why you would want to do this.

The unskilled scenario is a bit whimsical, but the second I can definitely relate to; both working with a band where you want to be able to give a live push and pull to the tempo map rather than having to fix it in advance, and also in an entirely ITB situation where, for instance, you might be listening back to a MIDI arrangement you've put together and record what you might call 'tempo automation' in real time, as a performance, rather than having to program it.

I've wondered about this before. Maybe it's possible with some DAWs, but I've never come across it. Is it what this guy is talking about with Logic...?

http://www.logicproexpert.com/blog/files/3aae5ae401d5dca7cf53cd1d8f3ff3e3-5.html
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby The Elf » Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:37 am

BJG145 wrote:
The Elf wrote:I don't see why you would want to do this.

The unskilled scenario is a bit whimsical, but the second I can definitely relate to; both working with a band where you want to be able to give a live push and pull to the tempo map

Agreed, but then this is something you'd record in free time and tempo-map afterwards - not anything you'd want the DAW to attempt in real-time.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby BJG145 » Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:40 am

Agreed, but then this is something you'd record in free time and tempo-map afterwards - not anything you'd want the DAW to attempt in real-time.


There's a world of difference between recording in free time and recording to a click-track with live tempo control. You'd have to trust the drummer for a start. :tongue:

It looks like you can do this in Logic and Pro Tools, not sure about anything else.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby The Elf » Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:07 am

I clearly work with a better class of jazz musician! Snigger! :D ;)

One trick I've used many times is to get the band to run through the song to give me a rough recording and I tempo-map this recording. I then tidy up the tempo track to get a more consistent result, and then the band then play to the resulting click. This can work really well.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby shufflebeat » Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:33 am

I think the solution to your problem is a workflow one rather than a tech one. There are other issues that you will come up against even if you find what you're looking for. I've conducted similar projects to the one you describe and the best solution for me has been:

Construct your rough mix including rhythm, bass, chord sequence, melodic themes if appropriate.
Export MIDI file.
Export to audio file.
Email audio to the band for individual learning.
Get together, rehearse and record either stereo guide or final multitrack
Tempo map new recording
Import midi from original project if necessary. It'll match the new tempo map.


...or some variation of the above.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby DC-Choppah » Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:01 am

This is exactly what I want.

Is this possible in Pro Tools?

I would love to be able to tap my foot pedal to control the tempo of the DAW.

I am trying to think of the DAW as just another musical instrument in the jazz band. It is a bit rude of him to be so inflexible with his timing that everyone else must adjust to him.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby DC-Choppah » Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:24 am

I want to try and do what you say, but with the step missing where the band gets together.

So there never is a tempo track that everyone agrees on.

I want to treat the DAW like a live instrument that is capable of adjusting to the subtle changes in tempo of the band. It is rude for one band member to be so rigid and non adaptive.

I recently saw Terri Lyne Carrington and separately Gretchen Parlado playing live and Michael Franks. They each had a DAW in at least a few tunes. But I could see them struggling with the fact that the DAW had no musical brain. So they tended to get quieter, listen carefully to it and let it do it's thing, which took some life out of the tune I think.

So in a Jazz context,i think the DAW needs a 'player' for both live and recording, at least within my less than ideal context of the band doesn't get together. Of course though what this does solve is the isolation problem for recording in a small studio.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby shufflebeat » Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:30 am

DC-Choppah wrote: ...but with the step missing where the band gets together.

So there never is a tempo track that everyone agrees on.

I don't understand.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby BJG145 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:03 am

DC-Choppah wrote:Is this possible in Pro Tools?


Try this...(haven't actually watched it yet, behind a firewall at the mo.)

http://www.homestudiocorner.com/how-automate-tempo-video
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby Exalted Wombat » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:31 am

DC-Choppah wrote:Actually, I am trying to capture some Jazz sessions with skilled players.

It's hardly a "session" if the musicians track seperately! Isn't jazz all about interaction?
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby James Perrett » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:46 am

Exalted Wombat wrote:Isn't jazz all about interaction?

Exactly - and the best jazz often happens when the players spontaneously take the piece in a totally different direction. The best use of a DAW in jazz would be to have short sections of sound triggered by the players but to leave the basic track live.

James.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby C.LYDE » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:58 am

DC-Choppah wrote:After reading the article where they tapped in the temp track, I decided that this is what I really want:
I want to be able to lay down a tune into the DAW (I use Pro tools) with a click track.


What you really need is Cubase/Nuendo.. :D

The Cubase click track can follow the drummer's varying timing. Syncing the rest of the band becomes a process of moving their notes to the adjusted, varying grid - the note pitch and timing information is already available via in-built Variaudio.

Of-course its not simple..but with Cubase/Nuendo..its possible. Your biggest challenge is if the bassist decides the song requires a samba feel instead of the last 16 bars of 4 on the floor...!!
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby Dave Rowles » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:13 pm

James Perrett wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote:Isn't jazz all about interaction?


Exactly - and the best jazz often happens when the players spontaneously take the piece in a totally different direction. The best use of a DAW in jazz would be to have short sections of sound triggered by the players but to leave the basic track live.

James.


+1 to both Wombat and James

Sorry, but with jazz you should be recording with everyone playing. I know what you're trying to achieve, and while it sounds like a good idea in theory, you will achieve a far superior result, by several orders of magnitude, by getting them all together somehow. Why can't they all come to together? You don't need them to record together, but they should all be playing with the drummer when you lay the drum track down.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby Richie Royale » Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:32 pm

I don't think Jazz has to be recorded in one session. Herbie Hancock managed to make Mr Hands using multi tracks (and an Apple II)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Hands_(album)

What I'm not sure about is the tweaking that the OP wants to do. I would record in the drums, then you have the timing you want; everyone then records over that.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby VOLOVIA » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:25 pm

I experienced some robust disagreement in past threads for arguing that a drummer linked to a click track is... not very good.. I usually bring the example of Sting, pre-click (The Police) and his click-obsessed solo phase (even with Colaiuta!). Many have argued that a good drummer can make the feel of a song swing and flow even when locked-in. Hmmmm...

Anyway, what I have been experimenting lately is recording my strumming guitar and voice and map the tempo later. This is dead easy in Cubase, you can tap on a key or even on the guitar body (or any sound) afterwards. One or two steps along and Cubase will create a flexible tempo map (have a look at this month's SOS).

The success is relative though: on its own the guitar/voice combo sounds 'good', but when you layer some drums... it's all over the place really and 'weird'. After looking into it it appears that most of these live-played tracks start at one speed, let's say 100 bpm, just before the first chorus goes down to 99, then picking up gradually towards an ending about 102.. This is a great simplification, but you get the point. Difficult nut to crack this one...

In reality, we really got very spoiled: years ago just the idea of being able to record endless multi takes on limitless tracks, and then being able easily to cut and paste the best beats from different takes, instead of resorting to razors and tape would have been already a dream. Now, this is not enough... apparently.

Anyhow, in jazz, why on earth would you need a click? Or a tempo map? Is Opera next?
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby Andi » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:34 pm

What's the benefit of making multiple adjustments to multiple tracks and risking confusing the tracking musician as you do it vs making a single adjustment to each track to pull it in line with with a groove track?

Oh,and I'd suggest that you keep a bucket handy; sounds like you've got a great way to make your musicians sea sick :headbang:
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby DC-Choppah » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:19 am

shufflebeat wrote:
DC-Choppah wrote: ...but with the step missing where the band gets together.

So there never is a tempo track that everyone agrees on.

I don't understand.

I like your work flow. But what if the band cannot get together all at the same time and you want to track them individually?
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby DC-Choppah » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:31 am

This describes changes to the tempo using the tempo track. You have to pre-decide what the tempo should be and then the musicians follow along.

But want I want to do is control the tempo that the DAW plays back and records on the fly. Ideally by just tapping my foot along while listening to the live performance.

It's a matter of who is in charge of the tempo: the 'conductor' or the player.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby DC-Choppah » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:40 am

Dude, I think you might understand me. Thanks for that.

Vinne Colaiuta can definitely rock an swing with a click track. But even if I had him to play on my tracks, I would still want to have a natural time feel with smooth changes in tempo. Not these pre-stamped BPM settings at measure boundaries.

The reason I want to try an do this is to create a Jazz combo recording without everyone present at the same time. This solves two practical problems: musicians schedules, and recording in a small project studio.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby shufflebeat » Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:52 am

DC-Choppah wrote:This solves two practical problems: musicians schedules, and recording in a small project studio.

...but will cause others and may just suck all the life out of the actual music. As a technical exercise it'd be interesting to measure the difference a click would make but the constant micro adjustment everybody makes is the thing that keeps it all together and you're putting the responsibility for this all on 'later' participants.

This is obviously not unmanageable, people were multitracking before clicks, but it'd be a mistake to think there's no issue or that you (how good a musician are you?) can second guess everybody fast enough to compensate.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby Exalted Wombat » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:34 am

James Perrett wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote:Isn't jazz all about interaction?

Exactly - and the best jazz often happens when the players spontaneously take the piece in a totally different direction. The best use of a DAW in jazz would be to have short sections of sound triggered by the players but to leave the basic track live.

James.

In reality, while a composer can take the music in any direction he likes, jazz players tend to be very conservative :-)
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:07 am

DC-Choppah wrote:This describes changes to the tempo using the tempo track. You have to pre-decide what the tempo should be and then the musicians follow along.

But want I want to do is control the tempo that the DAW plays back and records on the fly. Ideally by just tapping my foot along while listening to the live performance.

It's a matter of who is in charge of the tempo: the 'conductor' or the player.

You see, that's the problem with being my age and having been in this game as long as I have! There's nothing new on Planet Earth that someone somewhere hasn't done before. This problem existed pretty much with the introduction of multitrack recording and we solved it by setting up a microphone on the tapping foot and recording that.

Put your tapping foot on a foot stool. Tape an SM57 to the side of the stool, so that your foot comes down on the mic and feed that to a track.

The first time I did this, I taped a headphone capsule to the underside of the musician's foot and he tapped on the floor. A scat singer, if I remember rightly.

If the guy keeps good time, you can even use it to trigger a sample.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby shufflebeat » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:22 am

The way I read it (open to correction) the OP is seeking to 'tap tempo' (in real time while recording subsequent tracks) an existing project in time with the musicians rather than record an alternative click.
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Re: Can someone please invent this: Flexible time recording into DAW

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:42 am

shufflebeat wrote:The way I read it (open to correction) the OP is seeking to 'tap tempo' (in real time while recording subsequent tracks) an existing project in time with the musicians rather than record an alternative click.

Yes, well, to do that, the DAW would have to know in advance what the player was going to do!

You don't need to be Einstein to know that that is physically impossible!
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