I left a comment yesterday re the Zoom 1202 rack multiFX I got, which has a pitch shifter that can sound like a really convincing Bass guitar, so thought I would let you know what else I found when trying to use it with a riff that its sound spawned. (You’re not getting the whole track yet of course!).
A recap of some old FLS functions and meeting some new ones won’t hurt either.
The Bass loop I recorded was all over the place time wise but sounds really good, so what to do about getting it back in useable sync with a click track tempo?
The initial loop on its own sounded like this:
Believe me, if you heard it against the metronome – you would laugh.
Trying to get it sync’d with the BPM click track was impossible just by shifting the BPM counter bit by bit and re-importing the .wav each time.
I’d played along (badly) at 150 BPM. This is partly due to the tracking of the Zoom unit as it samples then converts to 44.1kHz, then pitch shifts down an octave, and FLS recording latency issues (even with the new Focusrite sound unit which has a Direct Monitor function to help with this).
You can try doubling the BPM to give you more room to change the tempo to help fit a file to a BPM, then drag the wave back in for each tiny BPM change, but its trial and error and will only work over small sections of the playing if it is that far out over the whole recorded piece. You would have to chop and loop it in small sections to save it. All decent DAWs have wave analysis function these days, so may as well learn to use it.
For this you can use Edison and do your whole recording in looped sections so you can move them around later in a composition. I will have to do a lot of this as I recorded bass lines in E, A and A-B as a basic 1, 4, 5 progression for this bass riff.
Once the wave is in the Playlist, it is in the sequencer also:
It was possible to loop this small section in the Playlist above, and it sounded fine, but it is across fractions of a bar (2 and ¾ in this case). The problem, remember, is having whole bar loops so moving them around in future is easy.
Right click the wave form in the Channel window for Edit, which opens it in Edison, then from the Regions menu select Detect Beats:
As you see, every bar is marked in green. Now it is easy to drag a red marker section for 2 and ¾ bars (it’s not the whole riff you are hearing at this point is why), hit the orange Loop button in the top left, and get it to play that section:
Now the really stupid bit is having to copy this highlighted region into a New file, as the export region to Sampler did not work for me. Once the sample section was copied and pasted back in Edison as a New file, it did export!? Don’t ask.
Anyway, it is now in the Sampler and the Playlist window and can be looped there, as it could before – so what is the gain? It is now in sectioned BPM Regions which will be seen later in the Sampler and Playlist windows:
Note the beat Regions displayed above.
Another point with this file is that it was recorded from the cab with one microphone straight to one input of my new Focusrite Scarlett 2 USB module (the M Audio unit finally burnt out the output stage in the hot weather). This is a great unit that I will cover another time, but it has 2 combo mic/line inputs (with 48V Phantom power option for condenser mics). This means it is mono but recorded in stereo in FLS, so is in one side of the stereo field only:
To centralise it you have to move the pan buttons OFF centre to get it in the middle. Not good for mixing later. This can also be fixed in Edison by re-sampling it to mono now in the Format window (2nd top left).
This has effectively shrunk the amplitude by half but sent it equally to both stereo L/R now.
Just export to Sampler again, or Save As to have it in this mono format as a useable loop.
One other thing that I needed was Edison’s best guess at the timing, as I initially recorded to a click track of 150 BPM, which was a bit too fast for me, so difficult to play to, hence bad timing in the first place, partly.
In the first sample’s window (before editing), there was a BPM time at 1198 BPM after the beats had been detected, and if this is right clicked, it opens a window for tempo related options like rounding off to the nearest BPM etc.
Here you can set the original sample to 8 beats per bar, which may have been a good thing to do first, before editing? You can save to mono here also.
Edison says this edited loop is 162.55 BPM. Let’s round it. 163 BPM.
So now that all that has been done, where am I?
Well, the whole point was to try and get these loops to fit a click track/metronome so the rest of the track can be built around it – drums etc. – but IN TIME, in movable 4 beat bars, or easy multiple chunks.
The thing to check now is re-import this saved .wav into a new Project after this 163 BPM has been set that supposedly fits it. So, try it…new empty Project, set to 163 BPM:
Well that seems to work ok. I have to say, I’m really impressed with that Zoom pitch shift tone! It’s got a real 70’s Rickenbacker tone to it, ya think? (Or is it a Fender Precision?)
If you get clicking sounds from the Sampler window, uncheck the Load Regions box:
I thought something was odd because the Sample clicked the Regions in the Playlist playback also, but not in Edison. This solved it.
Now it can be sent to Mixer 1, Parametric EQ2 added – topped and tailed for hi/lo frequencies as usual:
and compressed and boosted in Fruity Compressor as a starting point.
After compression ratio at say 8:1 to start, then the ceiling is at about -7.5dB. Lowering the ceiling to include the tops of the peaks:
then makeup Gain back to 0dB:
Then I can search for an FPC drum groove that fits it and carry on writing the track. Hmm. 163 BPM is going to cause problems for the drums though! Now, I’ll have to learn how to change the FPC tempo separately…or not? I just have to remove 8th or 16th hi hats and trim the kick and snare drums, effectively halving the BPM of the original midi drum loop:
You know the rest – EQ drums per channel etc., reverb, blah, blah. Something like:
Sounds even better!
Off you go and get a cheap Zoom 1202 – or buy a Bass guitar?
Just to finish it off so it makes sense why I had timing issues in the first place, is because the riff has 2 bars of triplets and one 1/4 note bar at the end before it repeats or changes key. I did this last bit without Edison as it was easier and less time consuming to move the waves by eye, and lose the constant hi hat tempo which gives away the timing inaccuracies for this section more so. It is still out of time a bit here, but gives a more real feel, like a jam session. It would take ages to do the other parts in Edison for the A and B keys, but it’s a compromise between technical “perfection” and life!
Just to REALLY finish off and show that with a combination of Edison AND the razor blade, Snap to None with Max Zoom in the Playlist window and tiny movements of samples, you can jiggery stuff enough to get key notes to start in the right place, against kick drums etc. so the rest falls in line better – it can sound quite tight in the end. See all the mini gaps and cuts made to sample sections to get stuff to fit better?
The walk down triplet was too sloppy, but now its much better:
Just a shame I didn’t record the E and A parts with the same guitar pickup! Doh!
Notice that even thoguh all the bass parts went through the same EQ and compression track, they sound VERY different, due to normalizing different initial recording levels, and different pickups for different keys. These are the possible inconsistencies that come with overdubs, samples and tweaking knobs at different recording times, with a different mood, headphones levels, picking strength etc. There’s a BIG lesson there for recording over long periods in a studio, say.