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Odd possible playback problem

Discussion in 'Recording' started by AToE, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. AToE

    AToE Active Member

    Hi, got a bit of an odd one here that I'm not sure I trust my ears on. I'm working with a band right now, and since their drummer's feet are all over the place in regard to velocity (pretty typical metal drumming, light on the fast stuff hard on the slower) I've been experimenting with a new technique.

    I zoom in and make a slice between every kick hit (or every two hits, depending on how much I want to preserve the two-foot feel of a part), then crossfade the slice, highlight a whole pile of these and have been normalizing to -5db. It seems to be fairly effective, though if I try to normalize too many at a time Cubase (5, haven't gotten 6 yet as I'm on XP) freaks out and crashes, not surprising really.

    The first issue is just that scrolling the screen left and right seems really jumpy after this is done, I'm thinking all those edits are slowing it down and confusing it?

    The bigger issue is that during playback, the kick drum seems to be played sloppily. At first I thought the volume normalization had just uncovered bad drumming, but after going back and listening back and forth between the normalized and original tracks, I'm actually thinking it seems to be a playback issue. It sounds like the drummer is just tripping up a bit, some hits too late, some too early (the part in question is a straight double kick part), sounds fairly sloppy.

    My question is two-fold. I'm liking this normalization trick so far, it's not the ideal, but it's getting the kicks to a more level playing feild so I don't have to crush the hell out of them with compression, I can just use compression to control the envelope of the hits - which I like.

    So A: is it possible that this is actually a playback problem? I've heard Cubase have playback issues before when I was taxing my comp hard, but it's always been ALL the tracks that were playing back. In this case, all the other drums, guitars, etc are all still nicely on the click and fine, it's just the kick drum that sounds like it went to hell.

    And B: is there a way that I can merge the sliced up kicks into one event for the whole song, retaining the volume normalization for each hit? And I guess question B.2: might doing this help out at all to correct what to me seems like simply asking too much of my computer's processing?

    This is a new one to me! Any help would be massively appreciated.

    EDIT: One more thought, it just occured to me that this newfound sloppiness might have to do with the crossfades between hits as well. I'm going to experiment with tight gating to get rid of everything between hits and see if that resolves much. Either way, all the edits do seem to be taxing my DAW/Comp, so I really do still need to find a way to resolve that problem, especially as I start doing this to the entire 8 songs...
  2. jimmys69

    jimmys69 Active Member

    Bounce the kick track bro. All those cuts and Xfades are taking their toll on your CPU. If you are reaching the limits of your PC, bounce more often and freeze some tracks if you can. When Cubase starts acting sluggish, you should take measures to lessen the load. And make sure you have your buffer all the way up while mixing.
  3. AToE

    AToE Active Member

    Buffer eh? I'll have to look into that, didn't even realize it was adjustable! (That's embarrassing, I can mic stuff and mix decently, but I'm horrid with computers...) I take it there's a way to bounce that doesn't involve playback (if the playback is sketchy I can't just loop it back into another track and record it real time I'm thinking?). I forgot about freezing entire tracks too, thought I could just do it to individual FX... I'll spend some time with the manual, thanks for your help!
  4. jimmys69

    jimmys69 Active Member

    Buffer adjust: Devices>Device Setup>VST Audio System-your interface>Control Panel>adjust. Low buffer (latency) size for tracking, high for mixing/editing.
    Bounce Selection: Select event(s) to bounce then Audio>Bounce Selection. This creates a new audio file with edits included without having to export/import.
    Freeze track only works for insert effects on channel tracks. Not on FX or Group tracks.
    Reading the manual is a good idea, but these little bits will get you going now.


  5. AToE

    AToE Active Member

    Thanks, I really appreciate you taking the time to spell that out for me, that's a lot simpler than what I'd planned to try to do to fix this!

    I'm also realizing that my buffer settings might have been too much for some of the tracking I was doing, I was always suspicious that the drummer didn't play everything THAT behind the beat, after some more tracking today I'm pretty sure some of it I will have to slip to the left to compensate.

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