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Fixing drum timing

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Fixing drum timing

Postby BJG145 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:24 pm

How would you approach cleaning up the timing on a mixed drum track that you couldn't redo...? I was about to start chopping it up and looping bits, but I wondered if there were any easier ways. (I saw a suggestion about Melodyne being used for this.)
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby The Elf » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:41 pm

I'm sure other DAWs have similar facilities, but it's something I do all the time in Cubase and it's a doddle in there using slice or stretch, including the option to add a leading offset to slice points.
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby James Perrett » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:08 am

In Reaper I'd be looking at stretch markers to do this. Try a few different stretch algorithms too in order to find the most transparent algorithm on your particular source.
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby Jack Ruston » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:02 am

Corrected below
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby Jack Ruston » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:06 am

In terms of the tech, you can either use one of the various time warping / stretching algorithms which are built into DAWs, or you can avoid stretching, and use cuts, nudging for alignment, and then ‘pulling the front’ of separated clips back out to cover the gaps. This is how ‘beat detective’ works.

Warping stretching - there are no gaps. It’s often easier to work with once the markers are in place. But stretching audio can sound odd. It affects the phase relationships between the waveforms as they change shape. You could lose impact.

Beat detective style - phase is always maintained. But the gaps need to be tidied up. In cases where things are really out of time, it may be impossible to cover the gaps without stretching something, or replacing a hit.

Either way you must always process all the source tracks together. Never try to adjust one mic separately from the others.

A pitfall with these corrections is that once you start fixing bits, you tend to need to continue. It’s easier to lock things completely to grid, killing any feel, than it is to make subtle natural adjustments. Obviously that’s not so much the case where the drums are basically great, with just the odd waver, or dodgy fill. But where they’re bad, where there is no decent groove to preserve, you either grid them, or do them again. If other parts have been tracked with the drums, or playing against the ungridded drums, you will likely need to do them again.

It can be a lot of work. After all that work, the results can be average. Sometimes it’s better to start again. It just depends on the sonic and production goals.

J
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby Sam Inglis » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:16 am

With a mixed drum track, ie just a stereo stem of the drums, Melodyne would absolutely be my first port of call just because it's so quick. Make sure you try out the Universal algorithm as well as the Percussive one, though -- that often gives better results but it's a bit unpredictable.
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby BJG145 » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:21 pm

Thanks for the tips...I'll give it a try...
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby Humble Bee » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:56 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:With a mixed drum track, ie just a stereo stem of the drums, Melodyne would absolutely be my first port of call just because it's so quick. Make sure you try out the Universal algorithm as well as the Percussive one, though -- that often gives better results but it's a bit unpredictable.

What version of Melodyne would one need to be able to timing fixes like these? Would essential be enough?

Cheers
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby Sam Inglis » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:28 pm

Looking at the Celemony website, it seems that you'd need Melodyne Assistant.

If you want to ping over the drum track I can give it a whirl and see whether it flies. As it were.
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby Watchmaker » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:52 pm

Well, if you can't do it right the first time, do it again...I'm always disppointed when trying to fix timing issues in the mix. It's like asking the chef to lay an egg.
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby Humble Bee » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:49 pm

I see Melodyne essential is £85 and upgrade to assistant is £45 so that’s £130 ish...

I might go for this since I don’t really like the flex stuff in logic. It will be significantly better after what I hear. And well discounted until the end of the year. Or am I wrong here?

I’ll have a go at the demo this weekend.
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:09 pm

Watchmaker wrote:Well, if you can't do it right the first time, do it again...I'm always disppointed when trying to fix timing issues in the mix. It's like asking the chef to lay an egg.

No problem Image
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby Humble Bee » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:12 pm

:bouncy:

Chefs lay eggs all day in the music trade!

And watchmakers lay time?
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby Terrible.dee » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:16 am

Watchmaker wrote:Well, if you can't do it right the first time, do it again...I'm always disppointed when trying to fix timing issues in the mix. It's like asking the chef to lay an egg.

RIGHT HERE!

You shouldn't be thinking about timing corrections at this point...not at ALL.

But you didn't mention the circumstances, is this a straight mixing job? Did you engineer the recording? Are you volunteering to "Save" your buddy's failed attempt at recording his own band?

Either way, if everything has been approved by the client up until this point, I strongly suggest leaving this alone. The fact that you are asking tells me you aren't experienced with this sort of thing, it's a major pain in the ass, change one thing and now its relationship to everything else is changed, you can go down a dark rabbit hole doing this kind of stuff "Just cause"

When I was engineering professionally, I had unbreakable studio LAWS to navigate me through the soul-destroying world or time and pitch correction (Also known as "The talent button")

1. Thou shalt control thy cymbal velocity fastidiously, or thou shalt lose the right to record your drums and cymbals at the same time.

2. Thou shalt have listened to me and understood when I told your dumb-ass to PRACTICE TO A CLICK and keep consistent and intentional velocities on the kick and snare.

3. Thou shalt GTFO while I am editing, and your "Opinion" on the edits will neither be asked for or accepted.

Editing drum, tuning vocals, clients wanting to do laborious, pointless layer upon layer of sounds and the overall nose dive of musicianship caused me to quit producing/engineering/mixing as my "real" job about 10 years ago, now I have other people record ME. And when I do make recordings at home, I do them like a MAN...ON TAPE!
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby Terrible.dee » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:21 am

Humble Bee wrote:I see Melodyne essential is £85 and upgrade to assistant is £45 so that’s £130 ish...

I might go for this since I don’t really like the flex stuff in logic. It will be significantly better after what I hear. And well discounted until the end of the year. Or am I wrong here?

I’ll have a go at the demo this weekend.

Nope,

There's no "Better software" that makes everything OK,

Everyone is just doing different versions of the same thing, If you don't like how it goes down in Logic, then Melodyne won't satisfy you either.

Back in the stone age we did this little thing called "TAB TO TRANSIENT"

If you MUST edit those drums (And I suggest you DON'T) Chop them up. It will ALWAYS sound better than a time stretching algorithm, which just adds another generation of gamey digitized "bleh" to the sound.
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby Dave B » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:14 am

Terrible.dee wrote: when I do make recordings at home, I do them like a MAN...ON TAPE!

I must be terribly wrong then as I use either a digital mixer + hard drive or straight into a DAW + interface.

I think this must mean I do them like something else. Hamster? Aubergine? Toucan? Daffodil?

So much still to learn ....

:bouncy:
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby Wonks » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:57 am

Sam Spoons wrote:
Watchmaker wrote:Well, if you can't do it right the first time, do it again...I'm always disppointed when trying to fix timing issues in the mix. It's like asking the chef to lay an egg.

No problem Image

Sam, you do understand that cockerels are male and don't actually lay eggs?

It's probably about time your parents had a quiet word with you about the birds and the bees etc... ;)
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:23 am

:bouncy: :bouncy: :bouncy:
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby Humble Bee » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:55 am

Terrible.dee wrote:And when I do make recordings at home, I do them like a MAN...ON TAPE!

I hate tape! My Studer is going to the scrap heap this afternoon! What a waste of space... :sick:
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Re: Fixing drum timing

Postby Humble Bee » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:55 am

Terrible.dee wrote:And when I do make recordings at home, I do them like a MAN...ON TAPE!

I hate tape! My Studer is going to the scrap heap this afternoon! What a waste of space... :sick:
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