31st January 2008
Tips & Techniques:Drums - Time align - quick technique
I'm the lunatic who wrote the article that got that great 7 - 8 page scuffle going!
(RECOMMENDED READ! -Jules GS admin)
I need to put up new audio examples - it really makes a difference in a big room.
Anyway I can now do it in like 3 minutes. here's how:
Easiest way is to get a Sony Oxford console which lets you delay any track and actually shows the delay in feet or meters!
But if you don't have that then:
Have the drummer hit each close miked drum once, hard. Don't ferget the hihat.
Switch the time display in protools to samples.
Let's start with the kick. Zoom in on your one kick hit and use the I beam tool to select the space between the transient attack on the kick rack and the same transient on the OH tracks. If the two OH tracks look different in time maybe use the sooner one. Up under the rulers in PT it says (I think) "length" and a number. This is the length in samples of the space you have selected. Slap that sample accurate delay plugin (i ferget what its called - not the one with feedback and mod) on the sooner track and enter that number and yer good to go.
Also look at the polarity (polarity and phase ain't the same thing!). As you go through this process flip the polarity of all the tracks that produce a downward initial attack (negative polarity - drum head moving away from the mic). This will include the overheads. BE CAREFUL! Make sure you get positive spikes from all drums including overheads.
Anyway do that fer each drum. Takes me just a few minnits and is real easy. The cool thing is that now you can place yer drum mics and room where the sound best and not have to scoot them around looking for a random phase alignment that still leaves the transients completely un aligned. Takes me way less time to align than to move mics all over the place after they already sound good solo'd.
It gets more complex when say, two kick mics. Delay the sooner one to the later one, bus them both to an aux, and delay that aux using the time between later one and the OH. Same for top/bottom snare mics.
As for beat detective, now that the mics are aligned with plugin delays I analyze the kick and snare tracks to create my beat map, or whatever it;s called in PT, then conform all the other drum tracks to the beats that came from the kick/snare. So all the drum tracks move exactly together and your alignment os not altered. I duno that BT is gonna be accurate enough to be used for alignment. That would be a PITA I think. I just use it for the groove.
(I also time align a bit when mixing live sound, but by guessing and by ear. Generally same delay for all drum tracks just to align the acoustic sound and the mains to the FOH mix position. I know, every seat in the house hears a different time relationship, but I dont care - I do it for me!)
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