Working With Free Time Performances
I’ve written about this before, and I’ll most likely write about it again, but there are MANY potential cases where a click track may not have been used during recording. Some basic examples of this could be anything from simple scratch tracks, to soulful performances by skilled musicians who let the music define the tempo. Not to mention decades worth of musical performances that were recorded without a click.
Personally, I’ve seen this many times, and in certain genres it’s actually completely “the norm”. And to be honest, I embrace the concept, and have no problems with it. BUT I WILL SAY THIS.. I sure do love having the luxury of having a song mapped out to (at a minimum) Bars in my DAW! It makes my life so much easier even if it’s just for basic navigation and thinking in musical terms during playback or editing.
The Battle In A Modern DAW
Having said the above, I will also say that many times I have opted to NOT tempo map a free-time performance simply because it’s “usually” a huge pain in the ass. So I’ll end up with tons of markers all over the place and I just force myself to think in terms of time based locations vs Bar/Beat based locations. (After all, I did this for years before I started working in a DAW).
But the issue really becomes evident if you want to incorporate things like Audio Loops (With Tempo metadata) or virtual instruments. Essentially without a Tempo Map that represents the musical performance in our timeline - we can’t really make full use of all the amazing tools a modern DAW such as Studio One allows us to use.
A Little Help From 3rd Party Applications
I think its worth mentioning that there are 3rd party applications such as Melodyne which can actually perform miracles (on the right material) and I have used them from time to time to help me out with the above. But I’m also a firm believer that a DAW should handle this process Natively - and that process should be relatively painless if it’s implemented properly.
Native Manual Tempo Mapping In Studio One
First off, I’ll say that in the past - Studio One has been able to do manual tempo mapping, but there was definitely room for improvement. There was a specific way you had to go about it, and in the end, you could get there if you had the patience..
But when they released Version 4.1 it became increasingly more user-friendly. In fact they were SO CLOSE to really nailing it with the exception of one area! And that was snapping to transients. Needless to say, I think PreSonus listened to the that feedback provided by their user base and as a result - we now have a really streamlined workflow for Manual Tempo Mapping In Studio One as of the latest maintenance update. 😊
In this video I demonstrate the basic workflow of the amazing Manual Tempo Mapping Improvements that were added in the Studio One V4.1.1 update.
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