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Logic 9 Remove all audio tempo/Flex information?

Discussion in 'Logic 9' started by jstaczek, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. jstaczek

    jstaczek New Member

    Flex has me thoroughly confused. I'm trying to do this:

    - I have a multitrack audio session, recorded without click
    - Want to use beat mapping to lay a tempo map on the audio
    - I don't want audio to follow the tempo map
    - I want to fix a couple drum things using Flex

    Here's the problem. I got the tempo map set up by using beat mapping manually on the kick drum track. Now, if turn on Flex and set any track to slice, it's already a big mix of orange and green, before I've added or moved any Flex markers.

    How do I just get a tempo map and get rid of all the orange?


  3. jonperl

    jonperl Member

    You've found the can of worms to open! Logic keeps track of the audio transients in relation to the original tempo in the session before you beatmapped and created a new tempo map. When you turn on Flexing for the drum track, it assumes that you'd like the transients to stay locked to their bar/beat positions, and since you've changed the tempo map it changes the bar/beat positions of the transients accordingly. Not very expected. You can delete all flex markers for the selected material though -- just right-(control)-click on one of the selected regions, and select the option to delete all flex markers (haven't done this in a while). The audio should return to a non-flexed state with flex still on. You can then start adding flex markers as you need them.

    I worked all this out when 9 came out - Flex in relation to tempo maps - but haven't checked it out in awhile so may be missing some tips. For instance, it's probably best to have Flex off while doing all beatmapping, then turn it on and delete problem Flex markers as above...

  4. jstaczek

    jstaczek New Member

    Thanks, Jonathan. I must still be missing something, or there's something buggy going on. I already deleted all my Flex markers (the orange ones, right?). But if I turn on Flex and select "slicing", the audio completely realigns to the tempo track, before I insert a single marker.

    Logic 8 used to have the "Follow Tempo" region parameter. Is this now gone completely in favor of Flex? It seems like these are really two different things to me. Audio regions can have tempo and follow a tempo map without being Flex'd. Flexing seems like an additional operation beyond following tempo, when you need to adjust individual beats.

    I just wish there were some way to tell Logic, "leave the audio alone--play back exactly as recorded". This is super easy in Pro Tools and Digital Performer, but I'm scratching my head in L9, which is what I usually find myself doing. It's powerful, but sometimes completely unintuitive.

    Hope I'm missing something obvious.

  5. jstaczek

    jstaczek New Member

    One other thing: I've not only removed all Flex markers from the regions, but also removed all transients in the Sample Editor "Transient Editing Mode". Still, these regions completely conform to the tempo map as soon as I turn on slicing. Doesn't make any sense. With no Flex markers and no transients, how is it slicing?!

  6. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    You might try Options>Tempo>Remove Tempo.
  7. jstaczek

    jstaczek New Member

    Thanks, Doug. Already tried that. You get no feedback on that command (did anything happen?) and it doesn't have any effect. L9 seems to want to lock audio to the tempo map, period.

  8. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    I haven't had to deal with (to quote Jonathan) "that can of worms" yet in working with Logic 9. Seems there ought to be something that would work. I'd certainly like to know if you get a successful fix.
  9. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    This issue is almost covered by a support document from Apple:


    I couple of suggestions:

    If you have to cut or rearrange your piece, do this before you deal with beatmapping and Flex. Better mixdown/bounce the cutted tracks to new audio files. So far I know Flex should work with cuts and crossfades but continuous regions will spare you a lot of headache.

    While beatmapping, do not add too many tempo changes. The tempo changes will become "borders" for Flex. And beatmap very carefully or you will hate you afterwards.

    For lyrical pieces set only a few tempo markers and only where they are really needed. Such pieces are usually more generously flexed and the tempo markers may prevent that. You cannot slightly shift the middle of a 16-beat part if you added a tempo change after the 8th beat.

    The support document from Apple does not mention multitrack flexing. For that you want to assign all tracks to a group with the parameter "Edit" activated. You may also switch on phase locked editing if it is desirable for your recording.


    The following may work for you, but I tried it only once and am not sure yet if it works always:

    If you added too many tempo changes with beatmapping and start to fight against the blue lines, you can remove the tempo information from the file(s), move or remove some tempo markers in the tempo track and again export the tempo to the audio file.


    Hope this helps.

    And work patiently, take your time. Many things will sound right after laborious flexing but an hour later they may sound wrong because you had a reason to record without a click, right? :)
  10. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    I feel your pain. And yeah, this kind of thing really is a "can of worms". All the answers and suggestions here are the right things to try. The only thing I might add that _may_ help; and I'm not sure that it will is this.

    Once you've done your beat mapping, either bounce or export your audio files as new audio files and then bring those new versions back in to the session and use those when you enable flex. Theoretically this should serve the same purpose as Doug's suggestion of deleting tempo information from the file. But if deleting the tempo info didn't help; maybe this will, since in essence, these will be new files that have no history or relationship to the original tempo the first ones were recorded at. Then again, it might be a complete waste of time. :brkwl:
  11. jstaczek

    jstaczek New Member

    Good suggestions, both.

    I spent a little time experimenting and came up with one solution. It seems like having one Flex marker at the beginning and the end of each region and set to "neutral" position, protects the region from following tempo/beat mapping.

    You can then go in and add Flex markers at transients at will to move individual beats around.

    The whole experiment (and can of worms!) is documented in this video:

    Interested to hear any comments about what I'm doing in the video. Easier way to do things, maybe? Any thoughts appreciated.


  12. jstaczek

    jstaczek New Member

    By the way, Peter's suggestion that you bounce down to a continuous region per track before Flexing dovetails with the experience I had in the video. It would be a nightmare to try to put neutral Flex markers at the beginning and end of each region at every edit point.

  13. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    Your milage will vary but in the video you missed a lot of functions. I'll take this video to explain the basics. Well, at least I will try to explain them as good as I can.

    To answer your last question in the movie, the reason why you couldn't get rid of the first tempo marker is that you did not trim the regions and move the first beat to before you started beatmapping. The time between start and the first beat does not have any relationship to the bar length dictated by the kick drum. The position of the first beat is "somewhere", therefore the time measured from start to the first beat is "something". As we know, starting at is not a good idea in Logic for several reasons. But it is good for beatmapping. Later on you can always go into the negative area of the tempo line and insert a couple of bars there to shift everything to the right.

    You did not have the two tracks in an editing group. With Flex (and beatmapping) it is always better to do the coarse adjustments first and, if necessary, work down to the details. Without editing groups, moving portions of one track will bring the whole part out of sync. If a kick drum is your reference, put everything in a group and flex the kick. All other parts will follow, keeping their relationship. Then, if necessary, take problematic tracks out of the group and flex them individually. This way you need just a few neutral markers because after flexing the kick in the group there are already markers in all other regions, which keep the time shifting on other tracks under control.

    Your method of beatmapping and flexing individual beats from left to right is about the most difficult and tedious way you can choose. Live is easier and demonstrating beatmapping and Flex on such a short part distorts the picture of the real situation. In a real project you would have many bars and you would not work on individual beats from left to right. You would, let's say, beatmap every 8th or 16th bar, then look if the calculated tempo changes have a musical meaning, then look whereto the beats in between are gone. Maybe most of the individual beats are already correct, because the drummer wasn't as bad as you thought ?

    In the video you missed almost all of the functions that help you with such a job. It looks as if you had never even seen the manual. Maybe this was intention, I don't know. Actually the video is a very good demonstration of what many people do during their first contact with Flex: trying to move things around. But it was definitely not your first time, for that you work too quickly. I believe you wanted to demonstrate how it does not work and this is sometimes as good as the opposite.

    To get a grip on the basic problems, we should remember the basics:

    1. Moving the only single flex marker in a region shifts the audio data of the whole region.
    2. Moving a flex marker between flex markers or tempo markers shifts only the area within the adjacent flex- or tempo markers.
    3. Tempo markers in the audio file act as borders for Flex, they restrict time shifting and cannot be moved with Flex tools.
    4. Following the three rules above we always know what part we are moving, how wide it is and what will happen before and after the moved flex marker.
    And here are the things you didn't show in the video, intentionally or not, which are essentially for "economic time manipulation":

    • You did not trim the regions and move the first beat to
    • You did not beatmap the whole track properly.
    • You did not export the tempo map to the audio file.
    • You did not use the flex marker with the three lines in the icon, which allows you to move one transient within two adjacent transients.
    • You did not use a marquee selection to select the part you want to work on.
    • And last: You did not work from the big picture down to details and therefore messed the whole thing until you discovered the neutral flex marker and tried it as a substitute for all things above ;)
    Not related to the video, but worth to mention: Flexing long sounding instruments needs another approach than drums, in some cases much more planning because with Flex we alter their sound also, not only their timing.

    Basically, I think we should neither see Flex as a music makers heaven, nor talk it down to an unusable function. It works technically, has a brilliant algorithm, even for difficult instruments. It will become a tool as others, good for those people who learn to use it. It may have bugs. I think it has bugs. I think it has many bugs. It must be full of bugs, hey, this must be one big bug, because what I do cannot be wrong :)
  14. jstaczek

    jstaczek New Member

    Peter, thanks very much for the thoughtful reply. This information is definitely very helpful! A few thoughts, below.

    First, hope I didn't give the impression that I was trying to show that Flex was broken or buggy. The line in my first post was that Flex had me thorougly confused. I'm a longtime Pro Tools user who has been making the switch to Logic over the last 18 months, so all my expectations for Flex come from PT's Elastic Audio which works quite differently. That said, I did dig into the manual (wish L9 came with hardcopy...), but your explanations are better than the manual, IMHO. Even with the manual, you can see where I ended up.

    Definitely, and glad to learn what I was missing!

    This is definitely counterintuitive coming from Pro Tools, for a couple reasons. First, assuming the session doesn't just have drums, you have to move all audio on all tracks. That's something that I habitually avoid doing in PT. Audio stays where it was recorded and rulers and timelines adjust to it. This minimizes the chances of slipping one track slightly out of phase, and makes "move to original recording location" useful. You can always get audio back to where it truly belongs. Obviously some different workflow in L9 that I'll have to get used to. Second, it's very easy in PT to move any bar beat location to any absolute point on the timeline. I see you can do this with the "Bar Position" Synchronization setting in L9 which I'll have to try.

    Thanks for pointing that out.

    Agreed, and this was only done for this small, completely manufactured example. I usually do it exactly as you say, every 8 bars or so, then touching up in between.

    Ouch! Was it that bad? My intention was to try to understand Flex behavior and hoping that folks would pitch in to show me what I was doing wrong, so thanks!

    This is great, and I wish it existed in the manual somewhere as clearly as this.

    Again, I'm definitely not trying to put Flex down. I just want to figure out how to use it.

    Seems like the very biggest thing I missed was "remove tempo information from audio file" and then "export tempo information to audio file" after beat mapping, and before turning on Flex. That was the key. Is there any way to visually see whether a region has tempo information, or even see the actual tempo information that it includes?

    Thanks very much for the thoughtful and detailed response, Peter. I am getting closer to understanding this stuff.


  15. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    I do not know Pro Tools but I don't see the logic in Logic neither. As long as you have no other tracks I think the only reason for that maneuvre is to get the tempo before the first tempo marker right. If there are other tracks starting before the part to be beatmapped, I think they should be beatmapped until the point where the other regions start.

    However, I avoid giving Logic a chance to mess things up. Therefore I do most arranging and cutting before beatmapping and bounce all tracks to get continuous regions of equal length as if that were the original recordings. This may sound ridiculous to many people and it is certainly not always possible but if I can, I do it. One reason for that is, that I never really understood beatmapping with multiple regions on a track. Maybe it is dead easy but my regions jump around as if I were not here, watching them.

    Yes it looked like an adventure game where the prince finally kissed the princess after he built some walls (neutral markers) against the dreadful monster (Flex) :)

    But the demonstration was ok, you just had no plan how to get your result. This happens to all of us when we check out new complex functions.

    And it obviously worked. It was a good idea, better than whining about broken Flex. This way we could clearly see where the problems are. And those are not only your problems, I believe you helped a lot of people with this movie.

    Traditionally the Logic manuals tells how things work, sometimes why, but they seldom tell how to use them.

    When you are in Flex view and have the tempo exported to the file, the tempo markers are shown as blue vertical lines. Like transients, but blue. And if there is still the global tempo track, the blue lines are exactly at the positions of the tempo changes in the tempo track. You can see the values there and in the tempo list.

    Btw, you can also import the tempo information from a file to the Logic tempo track.

    This tempo stuff is rather new in Logic. I think we all have to learn to handle it. It is a good thing, just not easy to understand and not obvious to work with.
  16. Ginger

    Ginger Member

    Some more or less random comments:

    • Using Beat Mapping with Flex has to be 'a can of worms', because they do two opposite things. There are many combinations of what the user wants to do that definitely may cause confusion for poor Logic, which doesn't know if we want to adjust the grid/tempo to the audio (Beat Mapping), adjust the audio to the tempo (Flex) or both.

    Orange means that audio has been stretched/altered, which Flex pretty much is about. Even if Flex and Beat Mapping would be 100% perfectly implemented, Logic doesn't know what you want to do...

    • Group tracks if you want to edit tracks that belong to each other.
    • (Take single tracks out of that group/use Group clutch later, if needed)
    • Don't add Flex markers if you don't have to.
    • If you want to remove more than one Flex marker, consider using Remove all Flex Markers, or Remove All Manually Created Flex markers.

    There are transient markers in there even if you haven't added Flex markers...

    Follow Tempo is there still.... Flex is a newer, better and different feature, which is better at making regions follow tempo and about adjusting lengths of regions or parts of a region according to the tempo list and to manual 'instructions' from the user.
    Maybe Flex'ed regions should have a Follow Tempo button as well.

    To get that: set Flex to Off for that track.
    Or: delete all flex/transient markers/reset the region length so it matches the original length (there should be a key command for this).

    I also have the feeling that Logic doesn't always remove all tempo info from a region even if I use "Remove Tempo Information from audio file".

    It would sometimes have been a litte easier to understand what you do if the video would show a larger portion of the screen... :)

    IMHO Logic should do this when the user tries to (using Beat Mapping) drag barline 1111 to the first played note in the region. That doesn't happen here.

    Still, for some reason - Logic often behaves more as I expect it to if I manually place the region where I want it to start before I do anything.

    Maybe Logic needs a feature that does this with one click, with a name that explains how this somehow protects a regions from unexpected stuff?

    I've never done that myself.... when is it needed? If it's needed in certain situations, maybe a dialog box could pop up in these situations and ask if the user wants to do it (and why he should)?

    Lots of useful response from Peter here, but/and I'm sure the confusion documented by jstaczek's video can be very useful for the developing team to see how things can be made easier. One example of potential simplification: an optional window that contains all the Flex-relevant commands which now, in some cases are 'hidden' in various menus (eg in Options>Tempo).
  17. Ginger

    Ginger Member

    Hint: In the Sample Editor, *if Transient Editing Mode is enabled*, you can select all the transient markers with Cms-A and delete them with Backspace.
  18. Beat Poet

    Beat Poet New Member

    I was just trying to remove all the beat mapping I had done and found you are able to set yourself on your way by opening the tempo list and deleting everything there.
  19. Ginger

    Ginger Member

    Yes, that will remove all tempo events. (But if you Beat Map MIDI, it won't be enough to remove all tempo events if you want to go back to scratch in a Beat Mapping process – because Beat Mapping MIDI is about more than creating tempo events, namely "reclocking".

    Regarding my own question: "I've never done that myself.... when is it needed?", I know a little more about Beat Mapping now, and here's an example of when the import/export tempo from/to audio file features are needed (see post #8):

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