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#1147240 - 12/21/18 10:58 AM Transients and timing  
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Martin Lide Online content
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This is a question that I was going to ask Mike in an email.I thought that I would put it up here so that others might read/and or interact if desired.

On the last song that I did in my DAW, I did vocals and guitar tracks. The song's melody line rides the beat in 3 or 4 ways. I had a lot of trouble aligning the vocals timed with the beat. The prosody was working, but I couldn't stay tight on the one. When I went back and looked at in the DAW, it was apparent. So I tried:

Nudging events left and right to align with the ones, but that would just slide one portion into sync and another out.
I tried breaking up the events and then nudging them but that caused trouble at the junctures that I couldn't fix.
Finally I tried setting transients and grabbing them and tugging individual notes to the beat, but that caused squeaks and chipmunk sounds.

Can Mike or anyone tell me how they address this issue with their DAW?

Thanks,

Martin

#1147246 - 12/21/18 01:15 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Well,
When all else fails, read the directions. Ha, Ha. You most likely have instructions in the Program you can find by clicking on start, go to programs and put your mouse on the program you are using. You will find Tutorals listed. You already did all that?
I don't have a Music Program I still use a cassette recorder to do basic vocals and can then transfer them to disc on a stand alone CD Recorder. Your DAW may not have enough Capacity, Memory or whatever to run all your programs so the glitches happen.

In other news my former publisher is moving back to Brunswick to be close to his family. So we will be getting together and working on music. Anybody got a match? Geronimo!


Ray E. Strode
#1147247 - 12/21/18 01:17 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Well Roy,

Thanks for clearing that up for me. smile
Enjoy your publisher and the writing.

Martin

#1147248 - 12/21/18 01:24 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Did you use a click track Martin?

John smile

#1147249 - 12/21/18 01:31 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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Originally Posted by John Lawrence Schick
Did you use a click track Martin?

John smile


Yes. Sometimes I'm able to follow a drum loop better but a click was easy enough to follow on this last song. Timing wise, the song had more complexity than what I usually do and there are two places in the song where the lyrics ride the beat and I had trouble getting them to sync using my ear. I thought that it was pretty close but when I went back and looked in the DAW...not so much.

I fixed it as best I could. Mike has it now and I'm sure that he has some personal techniques for sliding notes over without distortion.

Thanks for the reply

Martin

#1147253 - 12/21/18 03:30 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Hi Martin,

Just now saw this.

I'll tell how I got events aligned on your new piece. Get the foundation solid, first. I aligned the guitar parts first, and this corrected most of the problems with the vocals, and I didn't need to go note-for-note with the guitars except in a couple places, and with your vocals, not at all. Usually, long chunks of phrases stayed close to the beat. But when I'd find a phrase that wandered fast or slow, I'd create a cut one or two ticks (think..the smallest amount your DAW will cut) in front of the errant note in a phrase (that starts where the last edit was made), then cut and then stretch or compress that phrase to the proper length, whereas the offending note, now, falls on the beat, paying close attention to make sure there is NO open space between cuts/edits, cuz that makes a loud click, usually. This moves that entire phrase a little bit, but this usually serves to make that phrase sound more natural, and there's no clicks if the cut is made immediately before the offensive guitar note rings.

Just be sure that when you stretch or shrink an edit, a phrase cut off from the main body, that you are not stretching or shrinking the main body too. I don't know how your DAW works, but this usually means giving the cut/edited part a unique name.

Once the guitars are all in order, then I do the same thing with the vocals, only there's far less work, cuz what was happening was that you were trying to please two masters, trying to stick to the true beat of the song while also acknowledging the guitar parts. With the guitar parts adhering more to the beat, there were still a few vocal phrases that I found I needed to move, but never anything smaller. Moving phrases can sound more natural than individual notes. Always try to find empty space to make cuts, if possible.

Everything sounds great, btw. Still totally natural sounding, too, as the goal wasn't to put everything smack dab perfectly in place, but just to move events "into the ballpark" if they were out.

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 12/21/18 04:09 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1147254 - 12/21/18 03:49 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Bumping myself, as I continued to edit what I wrote and didn't want you to miss any..


Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1147255 - 12/21/18 04:18 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Thanks for posting this, Martin... and thanks, Mike... for your explanation of how you resolved things. Out of curiosity, since I record "live" more or less onto only one track... is it possible for you to "align" my vocal with the timing of the melody...from an MP3 or WAV file? I think the answer is "no" but wanted to ask anyway. Technology changes so rapidly.

Depending upon your answer, I have more questions... but if "alignment" of my miserable phrasing and timing is not possible, the rest is moot!

Regards, ----Dave

#1147256 - 12/21/18 04:26 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Hi Dave,

When everything is on one track you're pretty much doomed. Melodyne can move events that it can isolate, certainly, but it's a crap shoot that it will "hear" your vocal as a separate entity without bits of music attached. Think about how..if you have music playing the same note you are singing..Melodyne can't give you two notes--one that's your singing and one that's the instrumental. And even when it does isolate the vocal from the instrumental, moving the vocal may or not sound natural--sometimes it works, sometimes you can hear artifacts that are a worse trade off than leaving the vocal alone.

Still the only way to even come close to doing this in post processing, like you are saying, is with software like Melodyne, and they get better with every new version.

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 12/21/18 04:28 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1147262 - 12/21/18 05:41 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Thanks, Mike. Interesting. Sounds like there might be a few instances where a recording might be saved if old Driftwood Pete didn't stray too far from the beat or stay on key most of the time... LOL!

#1147263 - 12/21/18 06:34 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Thanks Mike.

I was trying to do it with transients spaced pretty close together and I was elongating single notes which caused chirping. Next song, I'll go at it your way and see if I can get things lined up a little better before I give it to you.

In my DAW I can insert transients which will pin the part of the event (region) that needs moving without affecting the rest or requiring a cut.

Will try that too.

Thanks as always,

Marty

#1147272 - 12/22/18 04:51 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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"The Chirpy Transients" --can't top that for an indie band name!

Yeah, since transients are spikey and usually come and go real fast, their sound changes at the slightest provocation. It can happen with too much compression or having a wall slap the sound back into the mic too fast, or recording too loud, etc. Stretching single notes, unless it's done modestly will probably alter their character as well.

Stretching and shrinking whole phrases, on the other hand, work to preserve a transient's characteristics cuz the stretch is affecting a much greater amount of space, and so the actual percentage of change is much smaller. Also, most timing errors in most musical performances are of the gradual variety, meaning that you didn't just miss a downbeat by 30 ticks while everything around it was okay, but if you examine what came right before, you were gradually getting off the beat with every passing beat, until it was then quite noticeable. When this is true, my method is absolutely the best choice.

Marty, just know that I always spend time getting an artist's G/V in order before I start working around it, and actually love this part of the work, and your parts are generally more solid and in good order than most, so not to worry about that aspect. Sometimes, being an "artist" is hard enough than to add on being one's own sound engineer. But I do understand--cuz it is fun to learn new stuff!

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 12/22/18 05:01 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1147273 - 12/22/18 05:55 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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Nicely explained Mike. Thanks.

My DAW has "bend markers" too. I was taking a look at a video about them last night. Do you have any experience using those to make these kinds of timing changes?

Marty

#1147274 - 12/22/18 06:16 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Bend markers? No, never heard of that. FL Studio has nothing like that.

One other thing, though. I talked about how, if in editing a note or phrase, you've create an empty space between two parts of audio, that this can create an audible click..this is usually only noticeable with continuous sounding things like rhythm guitars and such, or sounds where the room itself is audible. There's no need to worry about a little empty space between audio parts when the volume isn't so loud. I move around little phrases of background vocals, but those clicks usually aren't noticeable. With lead vocals and instruments that have moments of silence, one can usually create edits using those silences as starting and ending points, and then having the audio continuously overlap is not an issue. It's just usually an issue on organs, rhythm guitars, etc., where the break in the continuous sound is easily apparent.

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 12/22/18 06:19 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1147275 - 12/22/18 06:28 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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Thanks again Mike.

And I know that you will tune up any timing issues that I send you, but DAWs are fun. And the more I learn about them, the more they teach me about what musical sounds are.
I suspect you know what I mean.

Marty

#1147276 - 12/22/18 06:29 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Thanks again Mike.

And I know that you will tune up any timing issues that I send you, but DAWs are fun. And the more I learn about them, the more they teach me about what musical sounds are.
I suspect you know what I mean.

Marty

FOR SOME REASON MY PHONE IS DOUBLING MY POSTS. SORRY.

#1147277 - 12/22/18 08:58 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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I don't know what daw you use, Martin. I use Sonar and it has a simple plug-in called v-vocal with it.
You can adjust pitch, dynamics and timing and change formant to compensate.
It's a long learning curve but isn't everything?

Vic


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#1147279 - 12/22/18 09:49 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Thanks Vic

I use Presonus Studio One Professional. Was recommended by a young guy at Guitar Center a couple of years ago. It has a great user interface compared with Protools LE that I started on. Much more intuitive. And I think that all of those things are built in to the program along with Melodyne. As far as a learning curve, yes ,there certainly is one. The basic stuff is easy enough to learn on YouTube, but all the little finesses that the wizards know is harder to come by. If we were 23 and working at a recording studio, that stuff would be bouncing around. Mike has somehow turned himself into a wizard (with great sensibilities) and he gets better all the time...making him a tremendous resource for all of us here..

I think that all of the well known DAWs are good and will get you what you need. Like you said, it comes down to picking one and learning how to use it.

Happy Holidays to you.

Martin

#1147296 - 12/23/18 12:08 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Hi Martin,

I use Studio One 3.56 Professional--newest version is #4. It is a great DAW and one that can be utilized with beginner/intermediate engineering skills, or one can delve into very sophisticated engineering. But Studio One Pro does have a good program for both bend marker stretching and quantizing with the ability to engage from a low to high % of affecting transients etc. I've used this feature more with acoustic guitar tracks, bass, and drum kicks/snares etc. I have experimented with vocals, but with vocals there is more natural modulation, therefore one has to be careful or you'll ruin the sonic vocal sounds in affected areas.

Yes basic Melodyne comes with several versions of Studio One, but an moderate upgrade is necessary to have the capabilities discussed above. I've used Melodyne more as an inspection tool and have found it helpful for "comping" a difficult or awkward melody or phrase within a song; then prefer to use a "re-sung" vocal after listening to corrected examples if needed. The key to "really" understanding Melodyne, is understanding and recognizing the "modulation" feedback given to you in Melodyne--if you just instruct Melodyne to place notes where it "thinks" they should be, you'll not be happy with the result unless you're editing a bass guitar perhaps. Using Melodyne as a "check" is kind of like rehearsing with a piano player in a stage show where the piano player plays your melody with one hand and the chords in the other - if a stage singer is wandering a bit on pitch. I don't use Melodyne too much for timing with vocals, as perfection isn't usually the goal unless on major accented vowels--I look at the bass drum and guitar tracks to see if we're together--that is what is important--some of the rest of the prosody becomes the art of a vocalist---but one can wander or over-stylize quickly if too much liberty is taken. With rehearsing a vocal, if you rehearse a melody incorrectly too much, it will become like a learned "motor skill" and the brain will keep returning to that path........like a golfer practicing a bad swing which only reinforces the bad swing--we need reliable feedback. But I agree with what Mike said above, get the foundation music timing on beat before final vocals--getting it right more quickly thus NOT getting your brain in a bad mental loop.....

I'm not implying that you do not already understand my comments, but throwing them out, and hopefully there may be something positive for you or others.

Regards,

steady-eddie

#1147299 - 12/23/18 12:42 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Great comment Eddie.

Thanks

Martin

ps..Now I know where to go when I hit a snag with Studio One. wink

#1147301 - 12/23/18 06:18 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
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Me again..

I can verify that in my particular version of Melodyne there is an "attack speed" tool. aka "transient shaping" tool. I've rarely used it.

I agree with Eddie, and like him, don't use Melodyne too much for timing issues. There are things pertaining to recording music that one should do in stages--compression, de-essing, and most definitely aligning musical notes and phrases (sung or otherwise) with the foundation which is carrying the beat that one is singing to (or the beat itself).

For lead vocals, I sing multiple takes of one discreet section (one verse or chorus) at a time, while the section repeats on a loop, 'til I've got several "takes" that I think could qualify. When I've done this for the whole song, I then choose the best takes for each part, and if one take is marred by an errant note or phrase, those other takes are then put to use, and it's a simple cross-fade to make the alt take work with the main one. This process alone will eliminate most timing issues, since one has those alt takes and I'm nixing badly timed singing in favor of an alt take's better timed singing..

I take this composite and the next "pass" is Melodyne's turn. Here I am listening for notes' pitch when out-of-pocket, and am nudging notes up and down, mostly. I will occasionally grab a "blob" from the left corner and then drag to the left, and sometimes drag the right corner to the right, to create better and stronger timing. When I'm done, I render out the audio and enter it into my DAW, and kill Melodyne or it keeps playing..

The third pass is aligning the lead vocal in my DAW. Here is where I am moving whole phrases. Sometimes this is just a subjective thing--if I think I am singing too ON the beat, I might want a phrase more relaxed, and so on..

If I've come this far and notice a badly timed note in the middle of a phrase, what should I do at this point? I am usually inclined to go back and find an alt take and splice in (cross-fade) not just that one note---but the smallest phrase around that badly timed note, where there is silence that I can use to create the edits, so those edits are seamless and quiet. But you'd be surprised how "cross-fading" itself can be done very expertly and cover up even single note entries, and make them sound like part of the original vocal. One's ears must always be the judge.

With background vocals, anything goes..completely different ballgame, and a different story.. smile

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 12/23/18 08:06 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1147303 - 12/23/18 06:46 PM Re: Transients and timing [Re: Martin Lide]  
Joined: Dec 2008
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Kolstad Offline
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Kolstad  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,804
Denmark
I use pitch correction as part of the process. I record a temp track first, and then create other tracks to that. Then I mute the temp track.

When I put on vocals I record one best take I can, and then pitch correct the hell out of it. Then I use that as a guide track for my vocals, having it low in the mix when I record. That helps me to sing better in tune, and I find very few edits needed after that.

My experience is that having a guide track with the correct pitch, really helps to get a good performance in tune, so very little needs to be done to the final vocal.

With modern daws we can get creative with our workflow, and do what ever works. Its such a great help.


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