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Logic 9 Flex on Entire Drumtakes

Discussion in 'Logic 9' started by HKC, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. HKC

    HKC Senior member

    Hi I am in the middle of recording a band with good material but not so great musicianship (strangely it's often the other way around). The first hurdle is getting the drums down. We are doing them to a click and they are not bad but not brilliant either so I decided to give Flex a shot. I grouped them (12 tracks) with samplelock and chose slicing and quantized the whole lot in 16ths. It was almost perfect but at a few points the drummer does something similar to the beat in Chilly Peppers "Californication" with some "ghost" drumrolls in an 8th beat. He does it numerous times but on some of them I get a very artificial sound on the roll. I have tried moving markers but it doesn't seem to work, any ideas.

    PS Obviously I could just copy one of the successful ones (and I have) so it's more out of interest than actual necessity.
  3. Markdvc

    Markdvc Administrator Staff Member

    I would tend to approach drum fills with flexed drums with a "as little as possible, as much as absolutely ncessary" attitude. Try removing more transient markers on your Q reference tracks where the fill is taking place until it is no longer getting overly quantized (I am assuming that is what is happening, and it isn't sounding right. There are some very useful KCs for increasing and decreasing the number of transients in an audio file in the sample editor:

    Increase number of tranisents
    Decrease number of transients.

    My expereince using these on Kick, Snare and OH tracks indicates that decreasing the number of transients gives better, smoother results.

    You might also find setting a Q value of 1/4 is adequate enough, another thing to try is reducing Q strength.

    BTW, there is a very helpful Apple KBB doc about flex and multitracked drums amongst others here .

    Look for the second doc, "Tips for phase-locked drum edits".

    kind regards

  4. HKC

    HKC Senior member

    Thanks a lot, I spend some hours with it last night and found out a few things myself. The manual is not very deep on this so I appreciate the link you mentioned.
    The drums was made using take folders and has many crossfades. I found out that it doesn't work really well so it's best to make a "bounce-in-place" with the tracks you want to work with. Also make sure the bounce is starting exactly on 1 which means that you probably have to have almost an empty bar before the song starts. If you don't do this the quantize function will occasionally do strange things.
    I don't think you can call it a bug more like a computer meets mind kind of thing and it happens with midi too if you try to quantize regions that doesn't start or end on full beats.
  5. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    Mark's suggestions are great - I have two more ideas for you that might help also.

    You are correct that you need to render your tracks to contiguous files in order to get maximum control applying flex. The first idea is - as Mark suggests, set as low a quantize value as you can get away with. But alos, don't forget about the Q-Range parameter. This is very powerful when working with flex on multi tracked drums. As a starting point suggestion, try a value of 1/16th in the Q Range field. This means that any notes (transient markers) that fall farther away from the grid than 240 ticks will be left un-quantized. And notes that fall within 240 ticks will get quantized.

    The other idea is simply to snip the regions in the Arrange Window to isolate the fills in question, and then disable flex for those small sections from the region parameter box.
  6. HKC

    HKC Senior member

    Done and it worked very, very well. I wish there was a way to delete all transients on a track though instead of just decreasing them because it takes a lot of decreasing to get them all away.
    I found out that having only transients on selected tracks gave the best result. For example I had three bass drum mics and two snares. Eventually all I used was the top snare and the outside bass drum. I realize that I would make better sense to use the kick mic inside because it's closer to the actual hit but in this case it just had a better feel this way.
    I choose to only have transients on the actual hits on the two drums so that the bass drum didn't have any transients in common with the snare. For this particular song I had to use 1/8th for quantizing but that was because the basic rhythm was based around an offbeat snare.
    After I cleaned up the transients the were no artifacts whatsoever and the band who didn't know I had messed with it said "it's much better than I remembered". I just may keep it a secret.
    Too bad that the bounce in place doesn't include the flex, it seems to be an unnecessary strain to put on the computer to keep it in flex mode. You can't go back anyway as soon as you start overdubbing.
    Actually I also found a way to crash Logic 9. After editing the transients in Sample Editor if you scroll back too fast by dragging the bar below the window Logic crashes every time. I would report it if it wasn't because I still use a G5 and since it's not supported I cannot fill out the form without cheating.
    Thanks for the input.
  7. michaelo

    michaelo LUG Emeritus

    Why not freeze the track then?
  8. Markdvc

    Markdvc Administrator Staff Member

    - or even something along the lines of how strip silence's threshold works would be useful to roughly set the number of transients. Fine tune with the increase/decrease KCs and you are fixed. Hmm, better have a look at the KC list again - I have been caught out often enough wishing for something that in fact logic already had.

    Now, THAT is surely the real purpose of Flex. If it makes the band feel that the studio they are working in makes them play better, well, then it is a hugely beneficial new feature ;)

    I would still send the crashlog in - I am sure you can add a note about your system. If they don't see it, they have no way to react to something, and you never know, there might just be some useful information in it?

    kind regards

  9. HKC

    HKC Senior member

    Hmm I suppose I could freeze them but the bounce in place is so much faster and I just wondered why that particular option wasn't included when it's possible to include automation and plugins.
    Another thing that puzzled me is why doesn't the "bounce in place" bounce to the very end of the audioregions. There seem to be some kind of threshold that makes Logic think there's nothing on the track. In this case it was a cymbal that it just didn't catch. Obviously you can just put a sound after the actual files which I did but surely it's not supposed to cut off the last two bars of a ringing cymbal.
    Also it would be nice if it ie didn't bounce muted tracks so it would be possible only to bounce maybe 10 out of 15 tracks.
    Anyway it's way better than the old bounce method with one track at the time, it's just not perfect yet.
    To get back to multitrack flexing, I also found out that adjustment to the transients is best done with flex-mode turned off. Otherwise it keeps updating the fadefiles which takes forever if you have 12 tracks each lasting 4 minutes.
  10. daveyboy

    daveyboy Senior member

    I'm digging this thread up after just having worked on drums this week. My comment or question is: how are you guys rendering the flex tracks so as to conserve cpu? I found that the only way to do this "easily" is to record a short snippet of new audio at the end of each track and then use the glue tool and glue the flexed track to the new snippet. Then the flex changes get committed and flex is disabled. I seem to remember that if I just bounced in place that it didn't commit the flexed changes. Another thing I do is put the pre flexed drums in a big old folder and label that "original drums." Then I duplicate that folder and do my comping and flatten each take folder. In that folder I may also fix things with flex and then commit it. finally, I'll then copy that folder and mute it and on the 3rd folder I'll do clean up stuff, mostly on the tom tracks. I don't know if this is over kill but since I've come from working in DP and PT I always make a duplicate take before I start screwing around with major surgery. How do you guys do it?
  11. HKC

    HKC Senior member

    I do it the same way as you do pretty much.
    Often when the song is finished, especially if there are many trackfolders and flexing going on, I clean up the project and save the song and add "final" to the title. This is mainly because in case you open the project again in 3 years time, it becomes very difficult to remember what everything is. In the final version only the used parts are included. In reality the final and the version before final sound identical, the first just have way fewer tracks.
    I still don't understand why the bounce in place doesn't include the flex editing but having one of the new 8 cores I currently don't have any need for saving CPU.
  12. daveyboy

    daveyboy Senior member

    I don't know if I was asleep before or something changed in Logic but, bounce track in place and bounce region now commits the flex edits! I could have sworn that that didn't work on earlier versions of L9. Who cares, it works now and will greatly simplify things. Doing the glue tool trick is fine but one usually has to create a fresh audio snippet so it works correctly. BTW, I was prompted to try this again after watching some of Eli's Logic quick tips videos at (highly recommended). I was renting them again to learn PT 8 (again by Eli, this guy must know every DAW!) and am now brushing up on other stuff.
  13. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    Hey Dave,

    Thanks for the props; glad that you are enjoying the videos. And thanks for mentioning the Quik Trix videos specifically. I am particularly proud of these ones. As far as knowing every DAW, umm, not so much :) I am busting my ass with the new version of Sonar right now. Wouldn't you know it - Cakewalk of all companies, is supplying me with a beta so I can get videos ready for the new release. Now, if only Apple would be so co-operative!!!! FWIW, Logic is my first and truest love:cool:

    But back to Flex - I'm glad it's working out for you. Honestly, I can't remember exactly what the behavior with bounce in place on Flex files was - I haven't bounced any flexed files in a long time.
  14. daveyboy

    daveyboy Senior member

    Hi Eli,
    Bounce regions used to not commit the flex edits (from what I remember). I didn't even know about the bounce option underneath the track menu until your video this morning. That's the hot ticket for me as many times I just want to commit something and not make a new track, etc. I'll be using that a lot. Also, I'll typically want to commit the flex edit when I'm all done so this seems to be the best way to do it. Very cool.
    I know 3 daws fairly well but if I don't use one of them for a while I do get a tad confused. DP is the one I used to know the best. Now that I have DP, PT and Logic all incorporated it's interesting in seeing what's good about each one as they don't necessarily have the same options. In watching your PT vids it's interesting seeing what PT now has in common with Logic and what it does better and worse. DP has a ton in common with PT but could use some of Logic (and now PT's) midi tricks such as midi regions.

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