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Pro Tools: Tempo Mapping With Beat Detective

Avid Pro Tools Tips & Techniques By Julian Rodgers
Published November 2020

Screen 1: Dynamic Transport Mode makes it quick and easy to audition your selections.Screen 1: Dynamic Transport Mode makes it quick and easy to audition your selections.

We show you how to make a tempo map with Beat Detective.

Beat Detective is normally used for one of two things. The first is to make recorded drums lock in with loops, MIDI or a click track; the second is to leave the timing of a drum recording unchanged, but to use that timing information to create a tempo map so that you can pull other material in and have it locked in time with the drums.

I’ve always preferred the latter approach where possible, but that assumes that the drummer was playing well and holding the band together like a good drummer should, and also that the recording was a traditional band recording capturing a group of players in the room at the same time playing together. Being able to build an accurate tempo map around that recorded performance will let you bring in loops, sequences and other forms of ear candy that can really elevate a track, and while recording to a click can achieve much the same, it’s often very unpopular with bands who are used to playing live. This is where Beat Detective can really help.

In SOS October 2020’s Pro Tools column I covered the biggest obstacle to using Beat Detective on a track which wasn’t recorded to a click: the fact that the session’s grid is unrelated to the audio recorded. There is a feature in Beat Detective which can help with this but I’ve always found it more straightforward to do the first steps manually. Many of the features of Beat Detective are available as manual operations elsewhere in Pro Tools, but as we’ll see the Beat Detective interface is essentially a big macro of these functions, and it can perform many of the tasks semi‑automatically.

On Your Markers

The example of this semi‑automation I’m going to concentrate on here is the generation of bar and beat markers. There isn’t any practical difference between using the Identify Beat command, as used in last month’s column, and using Beat Detective to create bar and beat markers. The only difference is that...

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Published November 2020

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