Ripping and using Timing Information from a Drum Beat

Rip timing and feel information from any beat and use it as a quantise template on your beats.

Beat Construction


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Groove timing and quantise have always been a major issue for beat makers. Some naturally understand it others struggle with it. I am from the latter camp. I don’t have good inbuilt rhythm so have relied on micro editing quantise grooves just to get my beats rolling along nicely. We now have tools that can help us achieve rock solid timing and to apply any type of groove we want to a beat. But it doesn’t end there. We can now rip/lift the timing information from any beat and use it in our own drum beat compositions.

The process is actually quite simple in theory and even easier in application.

It involves importing the audio drum beat you want to rip the timing information from into your DAW. The audio is then analysed and hitpoints are detected, using the DAW’s tools, which are then converted to slices. These slices are detected from the software searching for peak transients which makes perfect sense as drum hits within a beat have high peak transients. Once these slices are created they can be transferred into either midi note on data or used to create a groove template. In other words we are using the placement of these peak transients, which denote the attack responses of all the sounds within the beat, as timing markers to be used as a quantise template that can then be applied to any beat or sequence.

In the video I use a commercial drum break – Ice Box by Timbaland. I use Cubase’s audio editor to locate all the peak transients and to convert them into slices. These slices are then converted to both midi note on data that can be used to trigger new drum sounds and as a groove/quantise template that can then be used on any sequence. I explain how to use Cubase’s audio editing tools to locate and convert hitpoints into slices. I explain how to use all the various editing tools to perfect both the timing of the drum sounds within the drum beat and to create new midi note on data to be used later to trigger new drum sounds. I then show you how to place the ripped midi note data in the exact positions they were played in using the key editor in Cubase. I trigger the new drum sounds using NI’ Battery soft-sampler. I end by showing you how to take the new midi data and convert it to a groove template that can be saved in Cubase as a quantise template.

Plugins used in this video:

Steinberg Cubase

Native Instruments Battery

Topics covered in this video are:

  • Rip timing and feel information from any beat and use it on your beats
  • Midi Input and Key Editor
  • Understanding Timing and Length
  • Timeline and Grid Syncing
  • Note and Sample Allocation
  • Soft Sampler Import and Edits
  • Slicing and Saving
  • Creating a Groove Template
  • Understanding Swing and Shuffle
  • Magnetic Quantise
  • Working with Transients
  • Using Sensitivity
  • Setting up and Manipulating Quantise
  • Understanding Start End Sample Points
  • Using Lanes