Editing Tech

How to Tighten up Your Tracks with Rhythmic Editing (2 Easy Ways)

How to Tighten up Your Tracks with Rhythmic Editing (2 Easy Ways)


To me, the most important issue of a music sounding “pro” is the band’s efficiency. Even probably the most non-musical listener can inform between a hobbyist storage band enjoying out of sync and the well-rehearsed, sold-out-arena band.

Merely put, if the band sounds “locked in” with one another, your viewers will probably be a lot happier.

In Half 2 of our collection on modifying, you’re going to find out how to “lock in” your recordings with rhythmic modifying.

[This is a part of my series on audio editing. Make sure to check out Part 1 (The Importance of Editing) and Part 3 (How to Tune Your Vocals)]


Earlier than We Begin…

An important factor in making a band sound tight is recording a fantastic efficiency!

I extremely encourage everybody to do as many takes as mandatory till the band is as naturally locked in as attainable. The extra in-sync the recordings are, the better the modifying course of can be. You’ll thank your self later.

The simplest approach to get high quality in-time recordings is to be sure the musician(s) have a very good headphone combine. Make sure that they will hear the remainder of the band clearly in order that they will play in time.

When you’re monitoring a number of gamers on the similar time, attempt to have good “lines of sight” in order that they will see one another and see bodily cues.

I additionally encourage you to ALWAYS use a click on monitor. Particularly in case you are going to be doing rhythmic modifying later. It’s MUCH simpler to have a tempo grid to reference!


What Ought to I Focus On Once I Edit?

Whereas modifying your tracks to make the band sound tight, there are 2 key elements to bear in mind:


A number of engineers and musicians (and certain various you studying this) are very cautious of modifying as a result of they don’t need to “kill the groove.” As a pro-editing engineer, I couldn’t agree extra!

Editing ought to by no means kill the “feeling” or “vibe” of the track. It ought to solely improve it. Getting every instrumental half locked in to the precise groove makes the listener “feel” that groove extra.


The most effective “groove” on the earth doesn’t matter or really feel good until the band is enjoying it collectively! When you’ve established the groove and really feel of the music, be sure that every half is enjoying the identical factor.

Every musician is including their very own private piece to type one track. The band ought to really feel synchronized and act as one entire, cohesive unit in creating the music.

Once more, any listener can inform if a band sounds out of time with one another in contrast to being in-sync. That is how you’re taking the storage band and make them sound just like the touring execs.


The Editing Course of

The simplest approach to strategy modifying is to begin with your rhythm part (which is often what units the groove of the track).

In an ordinary band, it’s greatest to begin with the drums. If it’s a extra stripped down acoustic recording, select whichever instrument appears to set the primary rhythm of the monitor. Edit whichever a type of tracks first, after which have the remainder of the band comply with.

The 2 principal parts to preserving the groove & forming cohesion are associated to the efficiency and elegance of the track.

If the band is already tremendous locked in and gave a killer efficiency, you in all probability solely want to modify a pair notes right here and there. If the band was a bit of on the sloppy aspect, you may want to transfer most (if not all) of the notes to make the groove really feel proper and the band really feel cohesive.

Ensure you’re modifying to the fashion of the music.

If it’s a pop leaning monitor, you may want all the things to be “on the grid,” or completely lined up to the tempo and meter divisions.

Then again, if it’s a extra pure/uncooked sounding style, you may want to depart sure notes a hair behind the beat, or simply depart them usually if the efficiency sounds good.

Keep in mind: Belief your ears, by no means your eyes!

There isn’t any “right or wrong” when it comes to retaining the groove. Typically you want to mix each the pop and pure approaches.

For instance:

Final month I used to be engaged on a track that was very RnB/bluesy, however the artist needed to lean as “pop” as attainable. If I edited the whole lot “to the grid,” it sounded very pop, however misplaced the emotion and feeling that got here from the “raw” facet of blues and RnB.

I ended up modifying the primary beat of every measure (the kick drum) to the grid, however letting the remainder of the drums within the measure (the snare and hi-hat) be looser and barely behind the beat. This balanced each types and maintain the groove of the music sounding superior.

When you’ve established the groove and really feel of the track, be sure that every half is enjoying the identical factor.

If the drummer has been completely locked with the groove (whether or not that be “to the grid” or one other really feel), however the bass or guitar participant isn’t matching up, it can kill that really feel. Make certain to align every remaining monitor to the preliminary edited rhythm monitor.

As with the groove, you’ll need to think about the type of the music and use your ears. Perhaps everybody wants to be completely in time with one another. Perhaps it sounds cool for the bass or guitar to be juuuuuust behind the beat. All of it depends upon the wants of the music.


Method #1: Guide/Hand Editing

There are two foremost methods to edit the band to make them sound tight:

Guide or “hand” modifying…

…and elastic/warp/time stretch/flex modifying.

Whereas many argue for one or the opposite, I consider that neither is “better,” however every has strengths that make it higher in a single state of affairs or one other.

The extra time intensive of the 2 methods, guide modifying can present probably the most pure sound when in a position to be used. I say “when” as a result of tracks that want their notes to be moved additional than shorter, guide modifying is probably not in a position to do it.

*aspect word*: When modifying drums, ensure you ALWAYS edit them collectively in a gaggle. View them as one instrument, since all microphones have been recorded on the similar time (one efficiency of 1 instrument). Editing just one monitor of the drums (i.e. ONLY the kick or snare) will sound very dangerous and trigger plenty of rhythm issues.

Guide/hand modifying consists of slicing your recorded audio file and dragging it to the place you need it to be. When doing this, ensure you reduce each ends of the word you need to transfer, or else you’ll finish up shifting your whole monitor.

As soon as your audio file clip is moved to the specified timing, trim the ends of all the encompassing clips to be sure that no notes are minimize off and there’s no empty area. Then crossfade for a clean transition.

I personally discover this system most helpful on drums or different percussion associated tracks, as a result of they take to crossfades extra naturally than making an attempt to fade between chords or melodies on “note-based” devices.


Method #2: Elastic Editing

Elastic modifying, or Warp/Flex/Time-Stretch modifying (relying on what DAW you employ), can permit for faster and extra drastic edits when wanted, however can even degrade sound high quality if accomplished incorrectly or too far.

Elastic modifying takes a computerized strategy and digitally stretches your recorded audio file to make the notes on time. Consider a slinky and how one can stretch it out longer or compress it shorter to suit your wants.

Every DAW could have totally different names for his or her modifying instruments however all perform primarily the identical. The under examples are completed with Professional Instruments’ Elastic Audio on a bass monitor.

As with Hand Editing, don’t bounce to shifting the notice you need to modify, or it should shift the remainder of your monitor. Make “Warp Markers” on both sides of the world you need to edit – these are the small blue arrows and features within the instance.

Then, create new warp markers on every word inside that vary you need to regulate.

Drag these warp markers to the specified timing.

Upon getting your monitor edited, you possibly can commit your elastic modifying (which saves a brand new modifying audio monitor as a substitute). Every DAW may have alternative ways of doing so, so do a fast google search to learn how your specific DAW does it.


What Algorithm Ought to I Use?

Every DAW could have totally different algorithms for his or her elastic modifying program. Use the chart under to be sure to choose one of the best one for the very best high quality outcome:

Elastic Sort Which means Utilization
Rhythmic Non-melodic, percussive Drums, Tambourine, Shaker, another percussion
Monophonic 1 observe at a time Bass, Horns, Vocals
Polyphonic a number of notes at a time Guitars, Strings, Keys
X-Type (Professional Instruments particular) Avid’s real-time rendering algorithm – use ONLY for changing after modifying Changing any of the above after modifying

What’s Quantizing? Ought to I Attempt It?

When you get accustomed to elastic modifying, I’d advocate experimenting with your DAW’s “Quantize” function. As you are feeling snug and skilled with figuring out what to search for and the way to edit the “warp markers,” this can assist save time and do a few of it for you!

Warp markers are these “edit lines” we created within the earlier phase when utilizing elastic audio. They make begin and cease factors at transients (notes) to outline the place to stretch the audio clip.

Quantizing is a DAW’s automated “one-step” command to transfer a whole recording precisely to the tempo grid. It routinely creates warp markers at every detected transient and strikes it to the closest grid worth (which you’ll be able to set to ¼ notes, ⅛ notes, 1/16th notes, and so forth).

ALWAYS double examine quantizing. It should get a lot of the notes on time, however with out fail transfer some to the flawed spot/create warp markers in incorrect spots (forward of the word often, pushing the notice off time).

It’ll additionally typically miss notes if the transient isn’t robust sufficient or too well-defined.

Quantizing additionally has a tough time with particular sources – particularly strummed guitar chords or arpeggiated piano chords. It’s going to decide one observe out of the slowly performed chord, and it won’t be the word you need on the beat!

Additionally, quantizing is especially helpful for adjusting notes “to the grid” (together with in case your track is a swing or shuffle). In case you’ve left notes on the drums or bass barely off the grid to create the groove, be sure to’re manually dragging your warp markers to match these notes, not the grid.

Most DAWs (Logic and Professional Instruments included) have a “Quantize Strength” function that may transfer warp markers shut to the grid however not ON it. This can make for a extra pure efficiency, however gained’t essentially line up every instrument precisely with one another.

Experiment with this to see if a less-perfectly locked in efficiency matches the type of the music! If quantizing (both full power or not) doesn’t get the sensation fairly proper, manually drag the warp markers on every monitor to match one another whatever the grid.


Conclusion: Rhythmic Editing

Now that your band sounds TIGHT, let’s get that vocal sitting RIGHT! (Lame rhyme absolutely meant).

CLICK HERE to learn the subsequent article on this Three-part collection, How to Tune Your Vocals.

Or head again to Half 1, The Significance of Editing.

Jared Conrad is a monitoring and mixing engineer based mostly out of Nashville, Tennessee. He has spent a few years working at studios throughout the nation, together with Catch This Music on Nashville’s famed Music Row, alongside with freelancing out of his house studio.

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