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Cubase Groove Extraction Tutorial
Old 2nd February 2009
  #1
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Cubase Groove Extraction Tutorial

One thing we often want to do is to get our songs or drums to "feel" like other music or styles, whatever that feel may be. It could be a swing for hip-hop or just a really good feel from a good drummer. We'll go step by step here on how to do that in Cubase, how to extract the feel from audio tracks and apply that to your midi loops for a similar timing and feel.

Note: Although the graphics here are showing 8 bar loops, you should use 4 bar loops when extracting. I didn't want to redo all of the graphics to correct that.

The first thing you want to do is find a song or loop or drum track with a feel you like. For this tutorial I'll use TuPac's "Hail Mary", so I import the song into Cubase and locate a first downbeat to start with... to mark. Obviously you can start anywhere in the song you like but I started right at the beginning for this tutorial.

The first downbeat is here...


  • Turn off snapping and trim the start of the audio part to the start of that transient (zoom in to be more precise ) and then slide the entire part back to the very beginning of the project, 1.1.0.
  • Launch the beat calculator, start the song and tap out the tempo on the space bar. In this case it falls to about 82.2 bpm.
  • Close the tap tempo window and set the project to that tempo with the "At Tempo Track Start" button on the beat calculator.


  • Close the beat calculator windows, trim the end of the file to bar 4, set a loop to bar 4 and set the project to loop.
  • Turn on the project click and play the loop to check the tempo against the audio click.



It's all good , everything matches up and sounds good (if not tap tempo again) so we'll go into the editor and set some hitpoints. Make sure you trim the end of the part to the last bar so the working region in the audio editor will only be those 4 bars.
  • Double click the audio part to open the audio editor.



We'll be extracting the "feel" from that 4 bar region ...

*Again, the 8 bar loop in the graphic was an oversight. Use 4.*
Old 2nd February 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
With stereo mixes setting hitpoints is a little more labor intensive than it would be with drum loops as there are more transients there besides drums, but the process is generally the same. The fastest way to do this is to find a section of the song with only mostly drums in the earlier step above to lessen the "transient noise" when setting hitpoints. But you can use other musical elements as part of your groove if you set hitpoints for them also.
  • Select the "Hitpoints" panel
  • Set the general value to start with. Here I've selected 8th notes.
  • Highlight the "Edit Hitpoints" button.
  • Adjust the sensitivity slider until some of the drum transients start to get hitpoints on them, like Kick/Snare/Stick etc.




I usually select the audition tool first (the little speaker icon) so I can play sections without using a key modifier.

Edit the hitpoints to capture any hits that weren't properly auto detected or to remove hits you don't want.
  • To play from the start of any hitpoint to the beginning of the next just click to the right of it (if you have the speaker tool) or Alt-Click on the waveform if you don't.
  • To adjust the position of a hitpoint just move it with the mouse. Zoom in closer than what I have here to verify the placement of the hitpoints.
  • Alt-Click on the triangle at the top to mute unmute existing hitpoints.
  • Alt-Click in space up near the top where there is no hitpoint to call the pencil tool and add a new hitpoint.
  • Adjust them / edit them to capture the hits and timing you want to extract. You'll need to zoom in to be more precise.

When you're satisfied with the positioning click "Make Groove" to send that groove to the quantize menu. I didn't spend the time to edit all of these hitpoints, I'll just go directly to the next step. With full mixes it will take a few minutes. With drum loops it's much faster, fewer peaks. Here, some of the lesser peaks are vocals and some are percussion.

As you can see in the graphic below circled in red, the new quantize value has taken on the name of the audio part/track and is available in the project for use.



To keep that for all of your projects you must store it. Click the quantize menu and select "Setup" to open the groove editor and store it. "Hail Mary" is now a quantize value that I can use in any project. Rather than a name like "Push Groove 1/8", it's named after an actual song that I'm familiar with and is listed that way in the quantize menu.

You can change the name and the other info in that black box before storing it though if you want to.



As you can see in the editor above, some of the hits are a little off the lines, some early some late. The "groove" hits you extract will fall wherever you place the hitpoints, wherever the audio transients for the drums are falling in the original audio track if you place them accurately. This one looks a little wacky (spaces in some parts) since I didn't go through and actually edit all the hitpoints but you get the general idea.

If you were applying this to a midi drum track you could apply it directly from the timeline or play the track and then go into this editor and click the "Auto" button to preview it and hear any changes/tweaks you might do in realtime before applying the groove to your midi beat (or audio file). Velocity, randomize, etc. etc, whatever tweaks you make if you need to tweak those things more. That's all there is to it. With a little effort you can extract and use the general "feel" from any music. If you want that MPC quantize swing feel in Cubase use audio loops made with the MPC at different swing values and extract and store them.

Or you can export MPC loops as midi and use the "Part to Groove" feature in the midi menu or just sync Cubase to your MPC and record midi directly from it at different swing values and then extract/store those as templates. You can also apply these extracted grooves to other audio parts like a live bass track.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
superjc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Great post! Thanks- I've been meaning to walk myself through this after seeing a youtube vid that was good, but to small to see what was going on. thumbsup
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Maybe someone can do the same in this thread with Beat Detective and call it a wrap.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Great post, I do this all the time in Cubase.
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I was just getting ready to figure out how to do this, and now you have a thread. Thanks!
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Great postthumbsup Thanks for sharing!
I can't wait to give it a spin.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Eloheim's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hey this is great man. One quick question though: For a "traditional" swing (hip hop-ish 16th note shuffle) you would need to chop (or put hit points on or whatever; sorry I don't use cubase) the 16th notes though right? Or is that because "swing" is different from "groove" here? What kinds of divisions do you usually find yourself chopping on? 16th's or just 8th's, etc.?

And so, I assume, in cubase you only have to chop the hits that differ from straight timing? In other words, if there's no hitpoint, the sequencer wouldn't change a file at all there, right?

Sorry if these are obvious questions, I usually have just done the old, play a million bars and take the best one deal.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I chop 16ths always when I make a template.

Now the other thing I do is if I am drum stacking..I just find the kick and snare hits for the beat and make sure to line them up perfect. Then I am able to put that MIDI into battery and fatten up the drums. That is my technique for adding power to drum breaks.
Old 3rd February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Eloheim's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab ➑️
I chop 16ths always when I make a template.

Now the other thing I do is if I am drum stacking..I just find the kick and snare hits for the beat and make sure to line them up perfect. Then I am able to put that MIDI into battery and fatten up the drums. That is my technique for adding power to drum breaks.
Nice one! Seems obvious in retrospect cause it makes perfect sense. heh So you're talking about putting other (different) drum sounds on top of the originals, right? As opposed to using battery for "parallel FX-ing," or whatever you'll call it, of the break's original hits.
Old 30th September 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Head
 
MidusTouch's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
any chance getting those screen shots reposted?
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