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Cubase Pro: Audio Alignment & ADR | Audio

Hear For Yourself
By John Walden

Cubase Pro 10's Audio Alignment Panel can do more than just deliver tight backing vocals!

The Audio Alignment Panel (AAP) in Cubase 10 lets you align the timing of multiple audio clips almost instantly, by automating its AudioWarp and Hitpoints/Slices facilities. What proved a manual chore in the past now takes just a few clicks. Listen to these audio examples to learn what can be achieved and refer back to our main Cubase workshop article at www.soundonsound.com/techniques/cubase-pro-audio-alignment-adr.

Audio Examples

Audio Example 01

Double-tracked vocal. Two passes of the same double-tracked vocal performance are presented in this clip.

In the first pass, the two tracks are unprocessed and panned left/right.

In the second pass, the Audio Alignment panel settings shown in the screenshot of the main article have been applied. The result is a much tighter match between the two tracks.

Audio Example 02

Stacked backing vocals. Two passes of the same multi-tracked backing vocal performance are presented in this clip.

In the first pass, five takes are included, panned at various points across the stereo field (note that the performance contains two phrases with similar wording).

In the second pass, one track has been used as a Reference and the other four as Targets within the Audio Alignment Panel. The settings used are shown in the screenshot within the main article. While there are still a couple of spots where you can hear timing differences (and these could be manually edited within the Sample Editor if required), the result is a much tighter match between the various tracks while still maintaining a natural sound.

Audio Example 03

Automatic dialogue replacement (ARD). Three passes of the same spoken phrase are presented.

The first contains the 'on-set' audio with the voice and a certain amount of ambient background noise picked up from the location by the boom mic.

The second pass contains both the same on-set dialogue and the replacement dialogue recorded in a studio situation (panned left/right) but without any other processing. There are some obvious timing differences between the two performances.

In the third pass, the studio dialogue has been timing matched to the on-set dialogue by using the Audio Alignment Panel. This results in a much tighter timing match between the two performances. Further manual editing of the timing might be required in a mission critical work context, but the AAP has done much of the work. The studio dialogue could then be subjected to suitable processing (EQ/reverb, etc.) to 'place' it in the location of the on-screen action.

Audio Example 04

Double-tracked guitars. Three passes are presented of the same double-tracked guitar performance with the guitars panned left/right.

The first pass contains the two performances as recorded.

In the second pass, the Audio Alignment Panel has been used with the settings shown in the article screenshot. This produces a tighter timing between the two performances, and this is perhaps more noticeable in the riff section within the first part of the performance.

The third pass is presented simply as an experiment. This compares the unprocessed Target track to the processed version of the same track (the track used to reference the processing is not included). This produces an interesting result with (unsurprisingly) a very tight tracking between the two performances. While you might need to listen carefully for phasing issues, or perhaps where the two versions are exactly time locked (no time shifting has been done) and the stereo image folds into the centre (as seems to happen on the last chord), this might offer an interesting alternative means for generating double-tracked parts.

Published August 2019