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DAW tip from a small-stepper

Wanted to share something that worked really well for me the other night.

The "producer" and I sat down a few weeks back to do things like setting tempos and prepping all the song files for recording. We also laid down scratch tracks (vox, rhythm guitar, bass) to the click so's the drummer had something to help him follow along.

When the time came to track the drums for one particular cut, the drummer balked; the tempo was too slow, and the rather complicated beat he was playing required a specific tempo to match the rebound on his snare rolls. The "producer" and I realized that he was right, and that we had tracked all the scratch tracks at the wrong tempo.

So, what to do? We didn't want to redo the scratch tracks, and we certainly couldn't just ditch the whole cut. I suppose I could have spent a few hours messing with my DAW to time-compress the audio, but I really didn't want to.

On a whim, I tried something, and it worked perfectly. The scratch tracks had been recorded at 44.1kHz, so I set Cubase to 48kHz. The 8.8% speedup that this gave was just about perfect, and brought the tempo from 220bpm to 239.456bpm.

The drummer got to play along with the chipmunks, but it was the right tempo, and we didn't have to do any re-recording or time-shifting. The only thing I had to do was to calculate the exact ratio and apply that to the tempo setting in Cubase's transport bar.

Next time you have audio that's a little too slow, try it! The only downside is that when I send out the final mix for mastering, they'll have to resample it to 44.1kHz, but that doesn't bother me...much. :)


Deafen Thu, 10/25/2001 - 13:02
Hey, I just push knobs around and strum guitars. What do I know from drumming? :)

Excuse or no, he was right; the tempo WAS too slow, and it all worked out in the end. And his tracking is done now (except percussion), so now my only worries are the bass player, the singer, and myself.


Ang1970 Fri, 10/26/2001 - 19:25
I agree totally with what Greg is saying... but I also appreciate that Deafen is thinking "outside the box". We don't always have the authority to fire the drummer and bring our own guys in. Most of us have to work with what we're given, and try to accomodate everyone as much as possible. When you have a long list of better clients... then you can tell the unmotivated talentless lazy c***s to get the f*** out of your studio. Until then, any tricks you pick up along the way will help you develop that list of better clients.

Patrick Sat, 10/27/2001 - 18:29
Kind of lucky that the change in sampling rate brought you to about the right tempo. Odds are a little better than winning the big lotto, I suppose.

"We also laid down scratch tracks (vox, rhythm guitar, bass) to the click so's the drummer had something to help him follow along."

I hope he didn't need the click as well! :p

Deafen Wed, 10/31/2001 - 05:15
We're going to finish that cut at 48k. If we were to finish it at 44.1k, it would be too slow and the drums just sound...wrong. Too boomy. And the cymbals sound kinda strange tuned down by 8%.

Since this is the only song in the album project to be downsampled, I'm hoping that any quality differences that might result can be smoothed over in mastering.

Ang1970 Thu, 11/08/2001 - 15:52
Go easy e.. hehe

It is entirely likely that the mastering eng. might choose to dump everything thru analog eq and compression, which would be a perfect time to do sample rate conversion. If the same processing happens to all the songs, there will be no substantial difference between them once they're all in 44.1.

anonymous Thu, 11/15/2001 - 08:38
I am going to play the analog bigot and say:
If you were tracking analog then all you would have to do is varispeed it up a few ticks. Boom, instant tempo change. As far as sample rates go, why are you recording at consumer 44.1? You get better resolution at 48 and everything goes through at least 1 AD DA coversion along the way. Even if you don't, downsampling to 44.1 with today's dither and rate conversion algorithms is cake.
Also, here's a tip for not pissing of your "producer." Don't put quotes around his title. It just negates it. He is the producer so call him that. Or try doing it yourself.

Deafen Fri, 11/16/2001 - 06:08
Thanks for the input. If I could afford analog, I would; I blew my money on getting a halfway-decent monitoring system and proper acoustic treatments. And there wasn't that much money to begin with.

The reason I don't track at 48 kHz is that I can't hear a difference. No one in my band can hear a difference. The producer (no quotes, see) can't hear a difference. I'm not saying that I think it's wrong to do so, but if no one I know can hear a difference, and I hear from all over the place that downsampling from 48 to 44.1 can be worse than just tracking in 44.1 to start with, I'm going to save the disk space and go 44.1.

Besides, using 44.1 gives me 8% more of everything than 48 does. I get 8% more tracks before my disks overload, 8% more effects processing power, etc. I'll take the tradeoff.

The reason I used the quotes around "producer" is that he uses them himself. He's the lead singer and songwriter, and this is his first try, just like this is my first try at engineering. He calls me the "engineer", and I call him the "producer". For someone who wasn't a friend of mine, or who did this professionally, or had serious experience, of course I wouldn't be that disparaging. I'm not THAT much of a moron. Don't confuse playfulness with malice just because someone doesn't use a smiley.

So, anybody else want to take a shot? Anything else you folks think the I should have to defend myself for? Any other detail about me or my post (or my rig!) that you find personally or professionally offensive? Anybody else want to try their hand at scaring people away from posting? Ang's quixotic efforts at being civil notwithstanding, I think it's working...

Guest Fri, 11/16/2001 - 10:57
Hang in there, Deafen! I've been the butt of a few barbs from the big dogs myself, but I've also gotten some great and informative responses here - info that would have been hard to find anywhere else. I'll go out on a limb and agree with you - I think the difference is negligeable between 44.1 and 48k, and whatever advantage you get is probably more than negated by rounding errors in the conversion and the inconvenience of larger file sizes, etc. Like it or not, everything is going to end up at 44.1 for a while anyway - so I'd rather do 44.1 or 88.2 than 48 or 96 if it comes down to a choice. At least the math works. And there's a rather large and influential dog up in Portland, Maine that agrees. :cool:




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