Exactly aligning vocals with the beat in the mixing proc



I'm a 17yr old guy who produces rap beats/instrumentals and is trying to get involved in recording. So my "studio" is just my computer and a mic I bought at radioshack. I'm not trying to hit professional quality, but the closest thing to it...

I'm asking what can I do to make sure I get the vocals aligned exactly (or almost-exactly) with the beat if I play the beat on one computer and record on another computer and then mixing them on one computer?

I have some friends who wanted to put down some tracks to some of my beats. So I grabbed Cool Edit 2k with the 4-track studio plugin from a friend.

The problem I'm having is that the noisefloor on my computer is very high, so I do the recording on my laptop, which has a considerably lower noisefloor. Then I transfer the recorded vocals to my main computer and insert them into an empty track in cool edit, and the beat is already in its own track.

Now since I'm using 2 different computers, it's hard pushing play on one and record on another at the exact same time, especially since my laptop is a Pentium with win95 and my main computer is a 500amdk62 withwin98. So I just press record on the laptop, then a few secs later I press play on the PC.

Then, by ear, I move the vocal track in cool edit left or right trying to put it on beat, but I'm never going to get the exact spot since I'm always going to be milliseconds off.

This really even isn't a computer problem; I guess I just need to know some techniques/tips on how it's done in an actual studio. thanks.


I see what you're saying but the problem is moving the vocals around so that they're on-beat.

So to clarify, in a professional studio, after the vocals are recorded, how do they manage to get them on beat with the instruments, or is it all "by-ear"?

I sometimes also use "N-track" which gives you "n" tracks, but I prefer Cool Edit since it has its own built-in wave editor.


Well-Known Member
Mar 28, 2001
Well, barring some advice from a cool edit user...I'd say go to digidesign's web site...download and install ProTooslFree. It's very easy to use, and can do what you want to do. Install it on the computer that has your cool edit program. Export a stereo mix from cool edit ...import it into ProToosFree...sing/rap into PTF and edit. It's very easy to select regions and move them to the beat in PT.