click trak

Learjeff…how do you record a click trak…I’ve been tryin and can’t get anything but a flatline.


Here’s how it works for me in version 3.3 of the program. I select the metronome settings icon from the tool bar. The info box opens and I’ll hear the click track preview if I punch the ‘test’ button. My PC Speaker option, Recording, Playback and MIDI note device check boxes are all selected. Now if I leave the info box open and press record I’ll get a click track with the bpm etc. that were displayed.

Hope this helps you somehow.

Urscumug :)

I never bother with the PC Speaker option, since that “click” is nearly useless – it’s too long a beep and sounds like crapola.

I don’t have n-Track loaded at the moment (just reloaded my computer – twice! – last week). But let me see how much I can do by memory.

What MIDI devices do you have on your system? Hopefully, you have a soundcard with a hardware MIDI synth. However, if you don’t, you still have the dreaded MS Software Wavetable Synth with somethingorother from Roland. We generally tell folks to avoid using that, but it can be used to build click tracks – there’s a workaround for its problems.

Go to Preferences -> MIDI -> Devices and see what shows up in the list. Select 'em all so you can play with 'em, and let us know what you see.

Now go back to that Metronome panel Urscumug mentioned. In there you should be able to select any of the MIDI synths that you selected for use in Prefs. Check the “Midi note device” box.

Click on Test to hear the sounds, and play with the MIDI note numbers to get a nice sharp click sound. Yes, it’s best to accent the first note, so check that box. Once that’s working and you like it, hit Stop. Make sure the “Recording” box is checked, and close the metronome box.

In the timeline view, rewind all the way (that’s important – some versions of N won’t play the metronome unless you start from the very beginning).

Now, depending on what MIDI device is making the sound, you need to set up to record that. In some cases, you can use “View -> Soundcard’s Mixer -> Recording Controls” and pick, hmmm, I think it’s “Wave”, but it might be “MIDI”. If it’s the right one, you’ll see n-Track’s recording meters jump when you hear the click.

For some hardware MIDI synths, you might have to loop the soundcard’s output back to it’s input and record it that way.

In either case, when you’re done, zoom way in and make sure that the sounds really do line up reasonably with the grid lines (set the grid to “Always Display”). Ignore the very first click, because that’s usually off. It’s generally best when the grid lines preceed the click by 5 to 15 milliseconds, which is about half the screen when zoomed all the way in, IIRC.

There’s a nifty little trick to see times in milliseconds. Let me know if you’re interested. Meanwhile, tell us what soundcard ya got, what MIDI synths show up, and what happens when you poke around.

i never mess with midi much for click tracks. i’ve got a selection of stick and rim shot samples that i use.

this is how i build a click track. you can use this technique to create an assortment of clicks at various tempos saving them into a folder for later use.

use the insert wave file menu option (i’m using ver. 3.3),
set the song tempo where you need it,
turn on the grid and set it to the resolution you need (i usually use quarter notes),
highlight the wave file you’re using and hit cntrl-c,
using cntrl-shift-v, paste 4 copies of the wave (4 copies for one measure, 8 copies for 2 measures)
while holding down the cntrl key, drag each file to a grid line so that each falls on a count of the measure,
make sure that the last copy of the wave ends right on the first line of the next measure. (any gap or overlap will cause timing problems when copying and pasting the resulting rendered track)
render the track labeling the file with the tempo in the filename,
you may have to adjust the waves back to the grid lines after a song tempo change,
wash, rinse, repeat
now starting with a new song file import your 1 (or 2) measure wave file with the desired tempo,
using cntrl-c & cntrl-shift-v, paste as many occurances as you need to cover the time of your song.

sounds a lot more cumbersome than it is. i haven’t done this in a while because i use acid a lot to make clicks.



That’s also a perfectly good way, and it guarantees there won’t be any jitter in the timing. Though, I find the jitter I get with n-Track MIDI is quite acceptable, less than 8 msec.

Either of these ways is better than recording an outboard metronome or beat-box. While the latter also works, it makes it much harder to align the grid, because it introduces a new clock and two clocks are rarely close enough for good synchronization. So you end up with a tempo of 119.92 BPM, rather than 120. It also makes it a bit more of a hassle for collaborators, if you swap files.

Additionaly, if you use always a constant bpm, you can do it with audacity, you tell it the bpm and the amount of measures, and you get a nice click track to import in n.

Hey, that’s a good idea! I didn’t remember it would do that. BTW, creating a click track with a loops program or anything that works in wave files will work just great and the clicks will line up perfectly in n-Track.

For what it’s worth I use Fruity Loops. It’s really simple to make click tracks with. But I find it better than a click track if I use “closed HiHat” and “snare”. This gives me a bit of a groove. (Easier to stay in sync with.)

I’ve recently discovered the power of nTrack’s midi features. I currently trying to import a Fruity Loops file into nTrack. I think this will be the ultimate solution!


Cool, now that we’ve got that established, does anyone know how not to record a click track?
I’m recording different tracks, Drums, bass, guitar, Vox, keys.
I usually start with the guitar/vocal which later becomes a scratch track.
When I go to do the drums I need the headphones to be really loud in order to hear the click over the drumming.
Not too much of a problem during the loud parts, but when things break down, you can hear the tail tell trail of beeps.
Same problem sometimes with vocal tracks, but the bleed is the music that creeps out of the headphones and is picked up by the vocal mic.
I have to have one headphone on, and one off so I can hear my voice and make shure I’m in tune with the song.
Are there special headphones or something that allow you to hear yourself, without the click track bleeding out of them into your mics?

BTW steale,
I used to bring fruity files into Ntrack all the time.
Just click Export file inside fruity loops, Export/ wav.>
sned it to My music, or whatever directory you can find it later.
The go into Ntrack, click Import file> (find your file) and that’s it. This only works with tht e full version of loops though. To export a file with the unregistered version is a much longer process involving 10 sec clips.



Quote (jeremysdemo @ Nov. 26 2004,20:16)
Are there special headphones or something that allow you to hear yourself, without the click track bleeding out of them into your mics?

Hey, Jeremy...

In case you didn't know, a basic thing to look for is "closed-back" instead of "open-back" headphones. "Open-back" lets sound in and allows bleed out of the phones. I got some $99 closed-back Sony's that fixed my bleed problems, but I'm not drumming, either, so depending on what your needs are, you may spend more or less (don't forget durability, freq. response, etc.).


Jeremy, closed back is the way to go. Musiciansfriend has pro head phones closed back starting at $49.99 U.S.

Sure, closed back are ideal – keeps room noise out and click and backtracks in. However, I have open headphones and don’t have any trouble with it. Then again, I don’t need a super loud monitor – depends on what I’m recording. Drummers would probably need a loud monitor.

Anyway, what I find IS important is a comfortable pari of headphones, because they’re going to be on your head for a long time! Generally, the closed ones are more comfortable – especially the ones that sit on your head rather than your ears. I use wireless phones to avoid hassling with the cable all the time. They’re not the best for sound but they do the job and they’re comfortable enough.

jeremysdemo -

I’ve been doing it that way for years now. What I’m trying to do now is import fruity loops as a midi file instead of a wav file. I haven’t tried it yet but I anticipate my problem will be matching up the imported midi to General midi. I.e. snare to snare, cymbal to cymbal etc.

Ever tried doing that??

It’s a shame to have to limit yourself to GM drum key maps. A good drum “kit” should have more than one key for a single instrument like snare, open hihat, closed hihat (and inbetween). For example, a flam sounds terrible when the same wave file is used for both hits, but sounds great with two recordings of the same drum (hit in slightly different spots). I sure wish I’d been in the room when they designed that GM drum key map!

Regardless, I’ve converted between GM and Ensoniq drum key maps in n-Track. It’s doable but tedious – not too bad if you’re not using too many instruments. However, there are programs that do this; if you post a new topic asking for MIDI key remappers for drum kits, I bet you’ll get an answer. If you’re only going to do it occasionally it’s not bad in n-Track, but I wouldn’t want it as part of my normal routine.

What synth are you using that has a GM drum key map?

Why don’t you use the wave file from Fruity? I’d think that would sound better than any GM drum kit.

Just got back from T-giving holiday and found all these replies…Thanks a lot for all the time. It looks like the Audacity solution for me for now. I was able to create one witnin minutes…thanks a bunch. I was thinking of making a bunch of click traks of the 90 - 150 range and have them at the ready but with the Audacity thing I can make them specific to the song in no time.

How to hear a click in head phones… use a cow bell sound.

Thanks Tony, Yaz, and Jeff,
I guess closed back is the way to go for me, now to squeeeze it out of my budget, less lobster, more headphone money! :D

Btw steale, I didn’t know you were tryin’ to do a midi transfer, in that case i would have cept my big trap shut, since I know virtually nothing about that type of recording.
(Just a guy and his intruments here…)

keep shinin’ guys…