View Full Version : Need Advice on timing.

04-12-2010, 07:06 AM
(I'm currently using Protools 8 i tell you this because im a noob and the more specific the advice the better)
My biggest problem seems to be timing, probably because i have an good natural ear for music tones so its easy for me to play what i hear or what i hear in my mind. (I'm also using a midi controller/keyboard to input the data) So anyways I'll be working out this Melody that sounds great and then later I'll go to put in a drum beat or something and things just never seem to sync up (probably because i havent been making sure that my notes all line up perfectly on the down and upbeats). I suppose i shouldn't expect them to sync up without work on my part, but my biggest question is what is the typical way to address this issue?

Do i need to manually move each note to the precise location one by one in a painstaking process in order to get that perfect timing im looking for?
What do all of you do to make your pieces turn out so smooth and well orchestrated?

And on a similar note what order is it best to compose/put together a piece in, because to me it seems like it would flow most naturally if you do the melody first, however experience has shown me that my rhythm goes in an out of sync when i do this. Does anyone build a melody after laying down a foundation of the rhythm and drums? because it seems like that would make it easier to stay in sync with it?

04-12-2010, 07:44 AM
It'd help if you could tell us exactly what the problem is. Is the recorded stuff lagging behind, is the rhythm off, are they different tempo...?

Do you have a beat or a loud enough metronome to play the melody to? If you're gonna have drums, you should put the basic beat down before recording anything, it should make it easier to play in sync.

I think I had a bit of the same problem with a recent project mix. I'm not good at playing, I'm better at writing stuff, so I had drums and stuff down before I took on the melodies I wanted to play. Once I had them recorded, I had to go in and edit the timing anyway. Dunno how much is just latency and how much is just me being terrible at playing.

Drums first. And you may have to edit some timing anyway.

04-12-2010, 12:44 PM
Most likely it's latency from your soundcard. What soundcard are you using, what type of drivers if you're on Windows (choices are ASIO, WDM, DirectSound), what's the buffer size set to, etc? If none of those make any sense to you and you only have an onboard soundcard and not a proper, low-latency audio interface, and your recorded notes are lagging behind the ones you're playing back, then the problem is almost certainly latency from your sound card.

04-12-2010, 01:35 PM
If the problem is that your notes are just barely off in time, quantization can help you out, though you may have to do some manual editing depending on the style of your song. But if you're not playing to a metronome or beat, it can be difficult to keep perfect time while recording. Definitely try to use one of these while recording and see if it gives you better results.

prophetik music
04-12-2010, 09:23 PM
lol protoolz

i generally record everything to a click, meaning that you don't have to worry about timing across the board. if there's any point where i want to change tempo, i usually earball it as close as possible.

04-12-2010, 09:41 PM
I'm bad at rhythms too. I hear something like, "Dummmmmm da da da daa- da dum" or whatever. I know what it's like in my head and I know what it SHOULD sound like, but I mess it up when I play on the keyboard because the tempo isn't right or something.

Usually I end up fixing it manually. As Palpable said, quantizing does help. Prohpet also says true, the click-track helps a lot too.

However if you simply can't associate the beats in your head with the tempo on the sequencer it may simply be a matter of practicing rhythms.

04-12-2010, 09:50 PM
ok here we go, sorry for the delay i wanted to post something for you to listen to, i know this isnt the WIP thread, but im not really prepping this for a submission (or i wouldn't be so conservative with it) but i'm new to pro tools (with only a small amount of cubase experience before that) and i wanted to better learn the program. Anyways i'm sure you'll hear parts where the timing is off and i hope this can help you better help me.

http://ocrwip.fireslash.net/img.php?fid=743 (http://ocrwip.fireslash.net/?fid=743)

I have also appreciated all the excellent replies so far- to respond to a few of you, I am currently using the onboard drivers so their is a little delay, but when i was using cubase i still seemed to have the same problem despite the fact that i remember changing from the default drivers to the ASIO4All drivers every time i would play (which did make a huge difference in latency and i should definately install those drivers because i did notice a huge difference)
The metronome and Quantization will help a lot i think i'll try those more,

Could you please explain how to use a click track and what they do for you?
Anyways keep in mind im a total noob :) thanks for the help all!

The bass line after :56 i didn't bother spending enough time to sync that up by ear because i had just recently added that.

04-12-2010, 10:27 PM
Ok, so it's not latency compensation for things you're recording from hardware that are getting in your way; I was just throwing that out there since that's usually the most common problem.

A clicktrack is basically a metronome (and many DAWs will just call it that). Unlike a standard hardware metronome, though, it will be able to compensate for any time signatures or tempo changes that are in your piece. Basically, at least until you have a number of other tracks recorded and you're happy with the timing, you want to play the first few against the metronome to get the timings accurate.

The other purpose for a clicktrack (and almost certainly how it got its name) is that whether by using a metronome or by recording some type of percussive sound, some bands will have a separate track of recorded audio that gets played back, usually just in the drummer's monitor, so that the drummer can keep constant time. The purpose is about the same as it is in a DAW; if you have recorded music that's playing along with your live musicians, you need to be sure that the musicians keep in time with the recording.

04-13-2010, 04:44 AM
Ah thanks for that definition, i think i'll spend some time trying to figure out how to use clicktracks right now, and thanks for all the helpful comments everyone, feel free to keep them coming (as well as any constructive criticism), if you can think of anything that might help me. Thanks much

04-14-2010, 11:52 PM
The way that I learned to play on time was with a traditional metronome. The metronome in protools might accent the first beat in a measure with a higher pitched or louder tone, so if you can check the protools metronome settings and make both tones the same, you can just let the metronome run forever over a looped section and just play without having to worry about keeping with the time signature. A couple days of this and you'll definitely get used to it, then you can change the two tones back to normal and start training your ears and hands for working within different time signatures.