Recording a click track

Help!

How would one go about recording a click track? What I want to do is to record a click track on one track and a melody track on another.

AlphaClet

I have an inexpensive electronic metronome (I think it’s a small Boss unit) and I use an adapter cable to go from the headphone jack on the met into the line in on my board. I then record how much click I need on the first track. I then have the click for all subsequent tracks.

Try doing a search back in this forum. OK, it’s not always very easy, but it’s worth it.

This question has been asked several times before, and replied to in great detail.

So, try doing a search. :)

I’ve used the freebie program called .Weird Metronome with the cowbell as the sound and created wav files at various bpm.

Paul

Firstup, if you can, use the inbuilt metronome in n-Track and record that to a wav file if you can.

This will mean that your click track should line up with your grid in n-Track which will make editing a LOT easier (ie if you cut/copy a whole bar you should get a whole bar and not half of one and half another or something like that).

If you have a soundcard with inbuilt midi synth use that, or an external drum machine/sound module. Or even use a softsynth/VSTi/soundfont if that is your last resort and your PC is able to do this without too much lag (you may need to manually move the resulting wav file to line up with the tempo grid if there is lag).

Using another metornome (either hardware or software) you can try and line up with the tempo grid but there may be fluctuations between the beat created by the third party metronome and you may not get it to line up along the whole length of a long click track.

Using the inbuilt metronome in N avoids these sync issues…

I use the inbuilt metronome routed to my SB Live inbuilt synth and record the click and it lines up with the tempo grid without having to move the wav at all

Rich

I have never suggested this but I will now. It’s one of those things that just seems so obvious in hindsight, and something I guess I’ve taken for granted for a long time.

Ever studio - EVERY studio - needs a good general purpose external MIDI synth module. It doesn’t need to be great but it can be used for all kinds of things that onboard hardware synths could be used as but takes some load off the CPU and that’s a LOT off when compared to software synths and VSTi plugins. It also solves that problem that most semi-pro multichannel soundcards don’t have hardware synths onboard.

To make a click track select a MIDI out in the metronome, set it to play when recording, then record the output of the synth as an audio wave while playing the song. Make sure the tempo is right. Make sure you let it go well past the end of the song (theoretical end is nothing has been recorded) and make sure recording is started at the beginning of the song. The turn off the metronone all together and use the wave. (Yes, I forgot to do that once and it was a bit odd.)

This will even work with software synths including the Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth. The down side is that once a software synth click track wave is created it will have to be manually realigned to the grid. This may be as simple as sliding it so the first not is right on the grid. If it’s the MS Synth there may be a few clicks that need fixed to align as well - very likely and more than a few actually. This is done with splices and sliding th individual clicks. It can be a pain and more trouble than it’s worth sometimes. When the tracks is fixed then freeze it or flatten it to a single wave.

I’d be willing to bet that the same methods could work to create a MIDI click track without having to paste each note. Once recorded it ca be quantized, then recorded using the same method.

Doing this isn’t very difficult at all once you see how to do it.

EDIT: WOOHOO, Rich! You beat me to it. Maybe I would have beat you if I wasn’t such a dagone slow typer. :)

Quote (phoo @ Nov. 22 2005,14:53)
Ever studio - EVERY studio - needs a good general purpose external MIDI synth module. It doesn't need to be great but it can be used for all kinds of things that onboard hardware synths could be used as but takes some load off the CPU and that's a LOT off when compared to software synths and VSTi plugins. It also solves that problem that most semi-pro multichannel soundcards don't have hardware synths onboard.

Agree totally Phoo.

I have an SB Live that I used to use for both audio and midi but now that I have a better soundcard don't use it for audio anymore but still use it for the internal midi synth.

I also have an external GM keyboard but often couldn't be bothered turning it on and the sounds in the SB Live whilst not excellent are certainly good enough to track with or use as guide tracks.

Even is I'm going to use a VSTi/softsynth for the sound I want I will always just record the midi the midi track using the SB Live or my keyboard onboard sounds to avoid the latency of using softsynths. Just get a similar sound so you ucan play with the same expression.

You can pick up SB Live cards so cheap these days and they should live happily alongside another soundcard if you just want to use it for a midi synth.

Cost you $20 or less on ebay....

Phoo, using a soundfont VSTi is easier than an external MIDI synth, and the latency is insignificant for this purpose.

8th note, I agree with what Rich says: this is not the best way to make a click track because it will not line up with the grid in n-Track. This makes things difficult for internet collaboration especially (swapping files, where someone is using MIDI and wants an aligned grid for editing).

A guy once posted a track for collab, and I pointed out that the tempo wasn’t really 120, it was 119.003 or something like that. The guy, a professional producer with an impressive resume, practically got red in the face explaining that he had some really expensive calibrated MIDI time code generator, so it couldn’t possibly be off. But he ignored the fact that his soundcard wasn’t calibrated or synced to the MIDI time code generator, so the result was less than perfect, and a bit of a nuisance for others to work MIDI on.

There should be a simple program for generating a click from a couple of wave files, frankly. It’s quite a bigger hassle to do in N than it should be.

I would go VSTi myself. Freeze the track and any CPU/latency worries are moot.

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if you can, use the inbuilt metronome in n-Track and record that to a wav file if you can.

This will mean that your click track should line up with your grid in n-Track which will make editing a LOT easier (ie if you cut/copy a whole bar you should get a whole bar and not half of one and half another or something like that).


Wow! Thanks for all of the feedback folks! Many hoopy froods here obviously!!! One question though. The above quote; are you saying to play the metronome and literally record that via an external microphone to a track?

Thanks everyone for the input! I haven’t done any music collaborating via the net but this may open some windows. Anyone interested can check out what I’m working on though. I’m in a band that plays traditional Celtic music and we have some sound files online at http://www.olta.biz/ . Those are two years old though so they are not a good representation of what we sound like now. We’re looking to correct that!

AlphaCelt

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Phoo, using a soundfont VSTi is easier than an external MIDI synth, and the latency is insignificant for this purpose.

For most things, yes.

Latency isn’t an issue when using hardware of course, but it is if the only synth someone has is MS GS.

The fact that a vsti can’t be selected as the device to send the metronome to at all is a major limiting factor. Vsti is fine when using a MIDI track of course, but that means creating a MIDI track. There’s no way that using a vsti is easier than using a hardware module the way I’ve done it for years.

I’d like sending to a vsti from the metronome as a new feature, and I’d also like to be able to trigger any selected user supplied (short) wave or waves as the metronome.

I make a click track by setting the tempo, selecting the input that the module is going to, and hitting record. That’s about as simple as it gets.

I agree with RichLum. The n-track metronome is very useful.

It’s a bit tricky to figure out how to record a wav file with it because every sound card I have used has a different input that sends the metronome click to make the wav file. However, once you figure this out, like Richlum says above, the grid lines mark off one measure of music, and cut and paste options are easier in some cases.

Another trick is to just record a short wav file of 8 or 16 beats then copy and paste as many as you need for the song. This technique saves hard drive space.

Thanks folks!

AlpaCelt

Quote (phoo @ Nov. 22 2005,21:06)
Phoo, using a soundfont VSTi is easier than an external MIDI synth, and the latency is insignificant for this purpose.

For most things, yes.

Latency isn't an issue when using hardware of course, but it is if the only synth someone has is MS GS.

The fact that a vsti can't be selected as the device to send the metronome to at all is a major limiting factor. Vsti is fine when using a MIDI track of course, but that means creating a MIDI track. There's no way that using a vsti is easier than using a hardware module the way I've done it for years.

I'd like sending to a vsti from the metronome as a new feature, and I'd also like to be able to trigger any selected user supplied (short) wave or waves as the metronome.

I make a click track by setting the tempo, selecting the input that the module is going to, and hitting record. That's about as simple as it gets.
Hi Phoo. I had bad experience using external synths clock. The problem i found is that there exists very little diffrences between the external clock of my YamahaPSR and my rendered midi files (trough vst), they, after 1 or two minutes become slighty out of sync. I cant explain the technical reason of that, but i have read that is is not an un-common issue (not only related to psr`s)

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I had bad experience using external synths clock.

I’m not sure what you are getting at. An external MIDI synth doesn’t do anything except blindly play MIDI events sent to it in real time. There is no clock involved. If a VSTi and an external MIDI synth get outof sync then there is something else going on, and it’s probably a problem related to why wave tracks get un-synced over time.

Right – Marce, I think you misinterpreted phoo. I usually do the same thing he does. I’ve been planning to set up a soundfont for the purpose of doing click tracks, but never got to that point and didn’t realize I couldn’t specify a vsti for the metronome. It would be handy because my synth is often in its box due to playing live every week. (It sure would be nice to have an extra synth!)

But you’re completely right that using an external MIDI sequencer with its own clock will cause timing discrepancies. Of course, there are ways to synchronize but that’s beyond the scope of this topic.

Sorry mi confussion, reading better, phoo is right, no timing problems sending a midi to a external synth, i had in mind when time ago i render a midi file using the internal clock of my psr, and surprise! when i mix the wav file with the VSTi rendered ones, i found that the clocks dont matched (using a constant 120bpm), but like Jeff said, is not the topic now.

I always add a blank MIDI track, then click-in the tempo on the piano roll. This way, it’s always in synch with your wav tracks, and it’s saved with each sng file. No VSTi is involved.

This seems too simple based on the other replies, but has always worked well for my click tracks.

Man this problem really threw me for a loop when i upgraded from my SBLive to the External M-Audio Firewire 410.

Suddenly I was left with no way to generate a click track!

For awhile I would just use the N-Track metronome with the onboard sound on my motherboard, but that caused a couple serious problems, 1: recording anything with a mic was tricky because now I’m using two sets of speakers, and 2: N-Track seemed to have some serious synching issues with this setup.

These days I just use loopazoid and copy/paste a few minutes of ticks and then (if I’m really serious) render it to a wav file.

Still though … I think the ideal solution would be for N-Track itself to generate a wav audio metronome in addition to the MIDI one.