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Click Tracks - I think I'm Going Insane

Member for

21 years 2 months
Hello Everyone,
I've been recording a folk artist that sings and plays guitar. Everything is sounding great except for one little thing, the tune seems to fall out of beat every now and then making it impossible to overlay any other instruments. In comes the click track and many problems. Her music has some pretty sporadic tempo changes. Her style is very similar to Ani Difranco in both lyric and music. I've had thoughts of a custom click track but it almost seems like it would be too chaotic to follow.
Any ideas or pointers? Is it me? How do real engineers make click tracks? Is it the artists style thats untameable by the click track? These clicks are driving me insane.
Any help would be appreciated.


Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Fri, 08/08/2008 - 10:23
Some musicians I work with can't play to a click. It's not because their musician ship sucks, it's just they lead, and can't follow. What I do is record without a click, then add a tempo map. It is easy with Pro Tools.

If you have a PT keyboard it's the ' and l keys. They are labeled ||If not, turn on tab to transient and use the Tab key.

Change everything to sample based instead of tick based.

Move the cursor to the first clear beat with the tab key or ->| key Press Ctrl-I and type 1 for the first bar, first beat.

Go to the next down beat press Ctrl-I and type 2. Now most of the bars should be in place. Find the first place where it deviates significantly and use the Tab key to move exactly to the down beat and type Ctrl-I and enter the correct bar number.

This normally takes me about 15 minuets. After all the bars are in place change everything back to tick based.

To record other parts, straighten out the out of time playing by View->Transport->Midi options. Then Window->Transport and click Conductor mode.

Record other parts. When you are done, make sure everything is in tick mode, and turn off the conductor mode.

Obviously If you are recording audio and not MIDI, elastic audio will be used, and you will loose some quality. It can save the recording, and if you are doing low budget stuff, with mediocre musicians it happens.

I'm not at my DAW now, so this is by memory, but it should be pretty close.

OOps. I didn't realize I was digging this thread out of the grave.

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Sat, 08/09/2008 - 21:15
If you're in pro tools, you can just use Beat Detective, I'm not sure but I believe Logic and probably Cubase has a tempo mapping plug.

Hey, let's face it...some music doesn't go to a click.

Funny thing though...whenever I play to a click, I can never hear the damn disappears under my note attacks.



Member for

13 years 10 months

BrianaW Sat, 08/09/2008 - 23:28
She sounds on to me... just changes. It's got a theatrical timing scheme to it, but it really does sound like she could be dead on if she wanted to. Let her do her thing and have the other instruments play along with her. If you have good players it wouldn't be hard at all... especially with punch-ins. :) Just another opinion.