Grid Help please?

How to line up grid with instrumental?

I recorded an instrumental from a mix cd on to n-track. Now when I try to adjust the bpm to get the grid to line up, the metronome keeps going off beat seconds later. It starts off at first in-beat for about 10 secs, then it goes off beat. How do I fix this.

Im using the grid so the chorus can be an easy drag and drop procedure.

In all seriousness, you have to make the song fit the grid. It can be very messy.

This is the screen shot of a song I did that to.
click to see a still shrunk enlargment

The second track is a click track that matches the song perfectly. At this point I used the feature to Bounce to a single wavefile. That removed all the splices.

Thanks for your reply.

But I dont get it. I went to a real $50 an hour studio down the street to record a track. I gave him my beat cd, he then loaded it in his protools system. Then the first thing he did was rip the instrum from cd to protools. He then mapped the BPM and grid with the beat in about 2 minutes.

Im trying to do that also to make chorus cuts and pastes easier. Its very frustrating. I cant copy a .wav instrumental and cannot get it to match with the metronome in grid mode.

So when I change the bpms in grid-mode, do I move track each time? Can someone please give me a detailed step by step . Im a n00b at this.:slight_smile:



So when I change the bpms in grid-mode, do I move track each time?

Yes, it also helps to have a reasonable idea of the bpm in the first place as well. I use NTrack’s Tap Tempo function to give me a place to start and fine tune from there.
Bear in mind that if it’s “Real Music” (i.e. actually played by real people and not a machine) then it’s unlikely that the tempo will be constant.
Phoo’s screenshot shows it perfectly.
If it was easy, why do you think people charge $50 an hour? :D



So when I change the bpms in grid-mode, do I move track each time? Can someone please give me a detailed step by step . Im a n00b at this.

Yes you do. You have to line up the first beat in the wave to the first line in the grid. First set the tempo to be exact what tempo you played to, then do the line-up. If you originally played the song to a click track it will be close, and may be perfect for the rest of the song. If you didn’t play to a click track you’ll end up with something that looks like the picture I posted.

Chances are it was recorded on another machine, even tape, so the click won’t be quite perfect. 100bmp on one machine might be 100.25 on another. If they aren’t exact the same it won’t line up. I have ripped songs from CDs that lined up perfectly from beginning to end. It is possible. This process is not finding the tempo of the existing song. It is a process to make a song fit a perfect tempo.

Use the visual clues in wave of the song compared to what you see in the grid. Drum beats are by far the best and sometimes the only cues that can be seen.

Make very short slices and slide the wave to keep the cues lined up with the grid. Work from left to right – Add or remove little bits of wave and slide the right to compensate. Move it so that beat is just to the right of a gridline (first beat as well), but if you find that’s not close enough to start with then the tempo may need tweaking (sometimes within the song when there is an obvious tempo change) or an eighth or sixteenth grid needs to be used. It depends on what it sounds like. Most times doing this per-beat is good enough.

This is sort of important, but it’s a rule that can be broken. Don’t move the right part of the wave any more than 1/128 at a time. If the grid is off more than that when zoomed in then the tempo may need adjusting, or it would be better to back up and do a series of 1/128th changes in a row (1/16 grid) that one 1/32 slide.

It’s difficult to do this without introducing pops and clicks. Manually moving the splice points right or left a little can help with that. Sometimes your stuck with a pop, but usually through diligent editing you can find a good splice point.

To say this is a huge pain to do manually is an understatement. It took almost four hours straight to do the song in the picture. n-Tracks doesn’t have an automatic feature to do this. It’s possible ProTools does. I know some pro-level apps do. They can detect the peaks and map out a tempo map based on it. That is why you pay big bucks for a studio.

I disagree with Phoo’s suggestion, wise person that he is.

For example, I’ll occasionally want to do a cover-copy of something like a Beatles tune, so I line up the grid to match the tune, not vice-versa. It’s tedious and I described it in detail on a thread here (I’ll search).

The problem is that your pro studio engineer doesn’t understand how to produce a truly synchronized click track, shame shame. Well, it’s not uncommon, especially for guys who grew up in analog days. I know a guy – a serious pro producer with an admirable portfolio – who ranted and raved when we told him his track was NOT at 90 BPM exactly. He said he used some very expensive, super-calibrated expialidocious whizbang clock source to feed his top-drawer studio quality drum machine to generate the click track, without realizing that if his computer’s sound card’s clock is running free, the resulting wave file is NOT calibrated and synchronized.

Next time, tell the studio guy to make sure the click track is synchronized to the soundcard’s clock. Generally the best way to do this is using a loops program or else a MIDI sequencer built into the DAW. Get him to show you that his click lines up with the grid in ProTools – in this case, it didn’t or it would for you, too.

I’ll post back later after finding that thread.

The reason I disagree with Phoo’s method is that (a) it just does NOT work for some songs, where the meter fluctuates too widely (probably not in your case) and (b) it generates lots of gaps that can be very hard to patch up. With “sparse” music this is no problem, but if there’s a ride cymbal or pad recorded, the gaps can be problematic and even more tedious to fix than setting up a customized timeline.

Note: it’s not for the wimpy.

Well, I didn’t find it, but fortunately I knew that would come up again so I’d saved the text. I’ll start a new thread on it, for future reference.

BTW, did you try using fractional BPM values? That is, BPM values like 120.223? If the track was recorded with a good clock, it’s probably steady, just not an integral number like “120”.

The box with BPM only displays 2 decimal digits, but you can enter up to 4 and they do matter. Try that first. If it doesn’t work, see my thread on “How to set up the timeline for an existing song”.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the wave file might not have an integral number of ticks before the first beat. That is, the beginning might not be lined up. To compensate for that, I drag the “start handle” (little square at the beginning of the track) to the right (with grid OFF) to line up with the first obvious beat. Then I drag the whole track so it starts at zero. Now try to set the BPM. Once it lines up nicely through the whole song, turn the grid on, slide the track to the right a measure or two, and then drag the “start handle” back toward the left as far as you want (i.e., back far enough so you can hear the beginning of the song).

BTW, leave enough room for at least one measure of “count-in click”. If that’s not already in the mix, you’ll want to add your own to simplify adding new parts.

Jeff, ou aren’t disagreeing as much as doing something different. (You are right on the money wth your thoughts and reasons for not doing what I’m suggesting, though.) The downsides and problems are correct - leaving gaps, etc. Those can be a pain to fix, if not impossible.

I’m forcing a song to match a click track and Jeff is making the click track match the song. What someone is trying to end up with will cause either to be more appropriate. You do have to account for intentional tempo changes and such – get the tempo as close as possible before making the song fit. That will mean doing what Jeff suggests at first then going back and doing my suggestion in a few places.

I think both are a pain in the butt. :)

I’ll also say that setting up a click to a song that’s all over the place will leave you with a click track that will be almost impossible to play to, especially when adding drums. Why use a click at all. Just play along to the song if you want to match the minor changes in it. If the intent is to replace the song completely then fit the song to a good click if you really need a click. It won’t matter if there’s pops in the song if it’s only a guide and will be fully replaced in the end.

Jeff’s other post is a great starting point. If that doesn’t do it let us know and I can put up a few screen shots that will help mangle a song to no end. :)

Quote (phoo @ Oct. 03 2005,15:30)
I think [we] both are a pain in the butt. :)

Gotta agree with you there! :;):

I suspect he doesn’t need to go through all that, and a fractional bpm is all that’s needed here. I kinda went off on a tangent due to, well, when you got a hammer you like, every problem starts looking like a nail.

KICK A$$$$!!!

Thanks man… I finally solved this issue!!! After 3 yrs of not using the grid I finally found the secret. I followed your guide. My problem was I trying to snap the bars to each snare sound. I had the Bpm at first set as high as 500bpm!!! But I found out I had to do that 4 beat measure thing. Took me about 1 minute of patience and measuring!

Im using the sample songs from my audiophile 24/96 right now (5am here trying to crack the code). And Im running the loops right now from snippets from the cd perfectly in beat.:cool:


I hope in future versions of N-track that their would be an auto-bpm finder.