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Logic X How do you combine a midi project and an audio project?

Discussion in 'Logic Pro X' started by edurbrow, Mar 27, 2016.

  1. edurbrow

    edurbrow Senior member

    I have the same song in two versions I would like to combine them without changing the performances. All the audio files are in a project with a tempo of 120 bpm throughout, they were imported from another program recorded at a different tempo, but they sound correct. The midi project has slightly different tempos virtually every measure between about 126 to 128. It also sounds correct as it was just a SMF made from the original project.
    When I copy and paste a midi track into the audio version, the notes are at the right measures, but are in the wrong place relative to the audio. If I try to copy the audio tracks into the midi version it is a complete mess. I guess I could probably freeze tracks from measure 1 to the end and import, but that is a tremendous waste of HD space and a redundancy. That may have been how I got all these files in the audio to start with.
    This keeps coming up as I transfer 30 years of projects into Logic X, so I want to know how to solve this issue.
    Thanks in advance.
  3. bayswater

    bayswater Senior member

    I guess the MIDI and Audio versions were not recorded in the same sessions, and so do not have identical tempos. This is pretty much the situation when you have freely recorded audio, and want to add MIDI tracks that follow the same tempo as the audio. There are two basic approaches: 1) quantize the audio to the tempo in the MIDI tracks., 2) quantize the MIDI to the tempo in the audio tracks. I think for most situations, the second option is best if you want to keep the feel present in the audio tracks. If the audio is quite percussive and you don't need to keep the feel of it's tempo, just quantize the audio to match the MIDI. It will be robotic, but if that's what you want, fine.

    There are a few ways to approach quantizing the MIDI to the audio, and while the ideas a simple the process isn't that easy to get through. One way is set up a tempo map using the transients in the audio, and set that as the tempo master for the project, then quantize the MIDI to this new tempo layout. At some point you have to find downbeats in the audio and MIDI and set things up so they both start at the same point. In theory, if you do that, and then quantize the MIDI, things should line up for the length of the project. But in my experience, doing this with a number of DAWs, it never quite works out on the first attempt. It is likely you'll have to make a few adjustments later in the song to keep things in time.

    A second approach is to record a tap track. This is simply recording a MIDI track using something like a hihat, by playing along with the audio. You then have a MIDI track with very clear beats that lines up with the audio track as long as your timing is right on. You use this as a groove or tempo reference to quantize the other MIDI tracks. This approach is better, and essential if the audio doesn't have clear and easy to find transients.

    That's the high level explanation. You really have to spend time with the manual to read up on the details of the process. The process here is pretty much the same in Logic, DP and Cubase. Cubase is not that good at this task --- it tries to simplify the task for you, but makes poor decisions about the critical timing points. Logic and DP take a similar approach and work about as well as each other, but you have to be careful creating a tempo map with Logic -- the interface makes it very easy to make a stray click that completely pooches your work. If you take care it will work.

    I understand the new version of Melodyne is very good at creating a tempo map from audio. I don't know if it will then export a MIDI tempo map, but if it does, that might be the best way to do this -- process the audio in Melodyne, then bring the tempo map into Logic and use it to quantize the MIDI tracks in the project.
  4. edurbrow

    edurbrow Senior member

    Sorry, I didn't explain this better. The midi and audio both came from the same DP file. They should sound the same. DP has not been working properly for me for months. I cannot save. I've even reinstalled it and i can't get it to save properly. Hence, I need to gett things into Logic if I want to get any work done on my old projects. I can sometimes save SMFs and I can bounce audio files so that is what I have to do to get them to Logic.
    Your explanation is also very useful for me in some situations. I still don't really know how to make sure nothing moves in audio land when bringing in the "proper" midi time map. RTFM, like you say, I guess.
  5. bayswater

    bayswater Senior member

    All I can suggest is that you make sure that all the tracks you export from DP start at the beginning of the project (1-1-0). Pad the audio if necessary. The MIDI doesn't matter.

    But I don't understand the comments on tempo. In DP, the sequence is at one tempo or another. It can't have the audio at 120 and the MIDI at a 126 to 128. If the Logic project is running at 120, the audio doesn't care, but the MIDI will move too slowly and lag behind the audio even if you follow the earlier suggestion and have them start at the same time.
  6. bayswater

    bayswater Senior member

    BTW, you can also connect DP and Logic with something like Soundflower and DP's interapplication MIDI or the IAC buss. Set all DP outs to these busses, and Login inputs to them. Now when you play the project in DP, MIDI and audio will appear in the Logic inputs and can be recorded.

    Not the place to debug your installation of DP, but have you posted at Motunation or Motu tech support? Inability to save would suggest permissions need repairing.
  7. edurbrow

    edurbrow Senior member

    Right, you've grasped the situation. So how can I combine the two projects so the midi is running at 126 to 128 and the audio is in there too, unchanged, WITHOUT bouncing the audio from beginning to end making new files? I want to keep the edits. Maybe it is impossible?
  8. bayswater

    bayswater Senior member

    "how can I combine the two projects" ??

    Didn't you say the MIDI and Audio are both from the same DP project?

    Are they from one project where they play back together properly, or are they from two different projects where they were not played at the same time?

    If the former, simply transferring them from DP to Logic by exporting MIDI and Audio with the complete MIDI info, including the tempo track will work as long as you have all tracks starting at the same time. Edit: I just tried this with a simple two track DP project and it came up fine in Logic.

    If the latter, you have to follow the earlier more complex process I outlined above and establish a tempo track from the audio to align the MIDI.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
  9. CSeye

    CSeye Senior member

    Just to add to this conversation...
    If the MIDI and audio are from the same the DP project, then first, Save the MIDI and conductor tempo as an SMF. Next, export the audio as an AAF file.

    In Logic, Open (not import) the SMF, then import the AAF. I've had good success with this in the past (and OMF if available). If this works with everything in alignment, then you can delete the AAF file to save disc space.

    DP: 1. Save As SMF, 2. Export to AAF
    Logic: 1. Open SMF, 2. Import AAF

    Just did a quick test. It works!!!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016
  10. sonnykeyes

    sonnykeyes Senior member

    Just hazarding a guess here, but when you say the audio was from a project at 120bpm, you may be adding confusion where none need exist: if the audio was recorded as a full pass live, then it will be an audio file at 44.1khz (for example) that will play the same no matter what the tempo of the session you imported it into is set to. If importing the audio into the MIDI session creates 'a mess' then I have to ask what kind of mess, and how are you importing? If you're simply importing the audio files in the audio window and dragging them onto new audio tracks in the Arrange window, they should be able to line up with the MIDI tracks ok, but if you're importing tracks using the Import menu item to import from the 120bpm session, Logic might be trying to rationalize the conflicting tempi and creating 'a mess.'
  11. edurbrow

    edurbrow Senior member

    I had an insight today. In the midi version with the tempo map, I created a new tempo set at 120 bpm. I copied all of the audio from the audio version (120 bmp) and pasted it into the midi version then changed the tempo set back to the original varied tempo map. It looks like it worked except I could not hear any of the new tracks. In the screen shot everything below flute solo is from the audio version and I cannot hear any of them. Anything obvious I am missing?
    I tried again. I made sure to select all the headers this time. Still, the Drum folder was not copied. I don't get that. Anyway, I could hear the audio and it is a complete mess.
    Oh well. I thought it was a good idea.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
  12. CSeye

    CSeye Senior member

    You indicate the DP project tempo was 120 bpm, but the audio is from another program was recorded at a different tempo.
    This has already been asked, but do the MIDI and audio playback in sync within the same project in DP? It would be helpful to know this.
  13. edurbrow

    edurbrow Senior member

    The original DP file had varying tempos of around 126 to 128 bpm. Somehow, the audio got into Logic in a 120 bpm version. I must have cut it up and edited it there in Logic because I don't see how I could have gotten all those edits into a 120 bpm Logic Project without them being off.

    I guess we've beat this dead horse enough. Hopefully this is a one off problem. I'll just bounce all the audio from beginning to end and put them into the midi version. (I hope that will work) Thanks for your help. Sorry my explanation couldn't get the story across better.
  14. CSeye

    CSeye Senior member

    If the MIDI and audio are in sync within the DP project, Bayswater's recommendation before me, and my recommendation to save as SMF/export audio as AAF is worth a try. No harm in trying this.

    Otherwise, if the audio already has embedded tempo information from the original source it may still out of sync when you import the audio files into Logic. Or maybe bouncing from start to end in DP embeds the DP tempo information so this is not an issue.

    Post results when you figure this out.
  15. bayswater

    bayswater Senior member

    DP will embed tempo information in a sound file if you have that option active (and let you copy that to the conductor track). But you can also clear the tempo information in a sound file.

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