If you want to get tight timing in your tracks there are a few things you can do to make sure your performance is on the money. Here are my top 5;
- Get The Metronome Beat Right
One trick drummers use, especially on slow tempos is to make sure you metronome is running at 8 clicks per bar rather than 4 clicks per bar. This helps to keep your playing super tight.
- Get the Metronome Sounding Right
The sound of a click can make a lot of difference, thankfully Pro Tools 11 features Click II that will offer many more click sounds to chose from. Even if you don’t intend to upgrade then you can modify the click to trigger any MIDI sound, you can also simply create you own click drag by dragging clips onto the timeline and lining them up on the grid and then looping them.
- Get Your Monitor Mix Right
Spend time making sure you have both the mix and the metronome right in your ears. Too quiet and you won’t play in time, too loud and it will bleed into your recording. If you are working with clicks then make sure you have good quality enclosed headphones, especially around drums as there are multiple mics the click can bleed into.
- Practice Makes Perfect
I’ve worked with human metronomes who seem to be tight as a drum machine, but ask them and they will tell you they spent hours learning to play to a click. The good news is that you can improve your timing with practice, the bad news is you have to put in the work.
Sometimes you get performances that were played live, without a click or you just have a someone who has sloppy timing. If you can’t get the performance you need then you may have to resort to using the excellent tools for getting stuff in to time such as Beat Detective, Elastic Time or good old fashion cut and nudge - but if you can use these as a last resort, a great performance is always more musical.
So there we are, 5 ways to get tight timing in Pro Tools. If you have any of your own, please comment.