Working with Groove Templates

You can create quantization grids based on the rhythms of other audio or MIDI regions. These are referred to as groove templates. Groove templates make it possible to capture the small timing deviations that give an audio or MIDI region its feel, and apply them to other audio or MIDI regions.

You can even take the feel from an audio region and apply it to a MIDI region—helping a MIDI clavinet part to sit well with a funk guitar Apple Loop, for example (see Creating an Audio-to-MIDI Groove Template).

To create your own groove template
  1. Select the audio or MIDI region you want to create a groove template from. (You can also select multiple regions to create a groove template, and all of them will contribute their transients or notes to the new groove template. When there are multiple transients or MIDI notes around the same musical position, however, only the first will be evaluated for the groove template.)

    Figure. Arrange area showing audio region selected.

    Tip: Two-bar MIDI regions work particularly well as models for this function, but you can use MIDI regions of any length. Make sure that the source MIDI region actually contains a note at every desired quantization value.

  2. Open the Quantize pop-up menu in the Inspector’s Region Parameter box, and choose a quantization value.

  3. Open the Quantize pop-up menu again, and choose Make Groove Template (or use the corresponding key command).

    Figure. Quantize pop-up menu showing the Make Groove Template command selected.

The groove template, with the default name of the selected region, appears near the bottom of the Quantize pop-up menu, and the Quantize parameter of the parent region is set to it.

Figure. Quantize pop-up menu showing the default groove template name selected.

This function transforms the exact timing of transient markers or notes in the selected audio or MIDI region into a groove template that can be accessed, and used, like any value in the Quantize pop-up menu.

Important: The source audio or MIDI region used for a groove template must remain in your project if you want to use the groove template. If you delete the source region from the project, the groove template name is not removed from the Quantize pop-up menu, but you cannot use this quantization value. If you choose the groove template name from the Quantize pop-up menu, nothing will happen.

To remove groove template entries from the Quantize pop-up menu
  1. Open the Quantize pop-up menu of any region, in the Inspector’s Region Parameter box, and choose the groove template.

  2. Open the Quantize pop-up menu again and choose “Remove Groove Template from List” (or use the corresponding key command).

    This deletes the selected source region from the list of possible quantization templates, removing it from the Quantize pop-up menu. It does not remove the region.

    Without changing the actual quantization of that region (nor of any other region that may use that groove template), the previously selected groove template is deleted, and the region is set to the Quantize value “off (3840).”

Using Groove Templates Across Projects

You can create and retain a number of quantization templates for use in several projects.

To use a groove template in several projects
  1. Copy or create your source regions in one project.

  2. Name these regions with the Text tool.

  3. Open the Quantize pop-up menu, and choose Make Groove Template for each source region (or use the corresponding key command).

  4. Pack all of these regions into a folder (and rename the folder to Grooves, for example).

  5. Choose File > Save As Template.

Use this template as your project starting point whenever you wish to access these quantization templates.

Importing Groove Templates

You can also import third-party groove templates, such as the DNA Groove Templates made by the Canadian firm WC Music Research.

To import third-party groove templates
  1. Choose File > Import (or use the corresponding key command, default assignment:  Command-I).

  2. Choose “DNA Groove Template files” from the Open File pop-up menu, select the file you want to import, and then click Import.

    The groove templates are added as MIDI regions on the selected Arrange track.

  3. To add them to the Quantize pop-up menu, select a groove template and then choose Make Groove Template from the Quantize pop-up menu of the Region Parameter box.

Note: The quantization templates are saved with the project and can be used, even when the project is played on another computer that doesn’t have the corresponding DNA Groove Templates on its hard disk.

Creating an Audio-to-MIDI Groove Template

You can create MIDI groove templates from digital audio material. This allows you to extract the feel from drum loops or rhythmic samples—such as Apple Loops—and use the resulting groove template to quantize MIDI regions.

Note: Make sure to disable the Edit > “Snap Edits to Zero Crossings” setting in the Sample Editor.

To extract a MIDI groove template from a one-bar drum loop
  1. Add the drum loop audio region to the Arrange area (see Adding Prerecorded Media).

  2. Double-click the region to open the Sample Editor, or select the Sample Editor tab at the bottom of the Arrange window.

  3. Choose Factory > “Audio to MIDI Groove Template” (or use the corresponding key command, default assignment:  Control-M).

  4. Select the desired settings in the “Audio to MIDI Groove Template” tab:

    Figure. Audio to MIDI Groove Template.
    • Preset pop-up menu: Contains various presets for the “Audio to MIDI” parameters, which are suited to specific types of audio material. You can use these presets as starting points for your own processing.
    • Granulation (ms): Determines the time span of louder components in the audio material. Logic Express uses these peak signals (or transients) to derive information for velocity points in the groove template. The most useful values are usually between 50 and 200 ms, depending on the tempo of the audio material.
    • Attack Range (ms): Tells Logic Express how long the attack phases of the sounds in the audio material are. For example, drum and percussion instruments have short attack times of less than 20 ms, whereas string instruments have longer attack phases. The best values for the majority of instruments are usually between 5 and 40 ms, with most around 20 ms.
    • Smooth Release (%): Specifically designed to process audio material that contains sounds with a long release or reverb tail. This makes it easier to convert these sounds into suitable quantization points. The value you choose here should generally be between 0% and 5%, except when you are processing passages that contain sustained notes, distorted guitars, or similar sounds.
    • Velocity Threshold: Sets the threshold level. All signals that fall below this value are ignored. In most cases, you should choose a value of 1, except when you are processing very dense, loud material with soft background noises.
    • Basis Quantize pop-up menu: Enables you to add artificial trigger points at positions where there are no trigger points present. Groove templates created with this method are suitable in situations where you need more quantization points than are contained in the audio material. The automatic identification of trigger points in the audio material is not affected by this parameter.
    • Time Correction: Allows you to compensate for any time delays that may occur when external samplers or synthesizers are triggered by MIDI notes. These time delays are sometimes very noticeable, particularly if the connected device is playing a MIDI region (that was quantized with an audio-to-MIDI groove template) at the same time as the original audio material. You should be able to compensate for this effect by using settings between −20 ms and 0 ms.

      While the “Audio to MIDI Groove Template” tab is still open, notice that there are three fields at the bottom of the Sample Editor—labeled Audio, Quantize, and Result.

      Figure. Sample Editor showing Audio, Quantize, and Result fields.
    • Audio: Displays the quantization points identified in the audio file.
    • Quantize: Shows the quantization points selected in the Basis Quantize pop-up menu.
    • Result: Shows the quantization positions in the new groove template, which are produced by the combination of the two values above.
  5. Click any audio trigger point to prevent it from being transferred to the template.

    Manually selected (unused) points will be dimmed.

  6. Click the Try button in the “Audio to MIDI Groove Template” tab to apply the new groove template to all selected MIDI regions.

  7. Listen to the results.

  8. Adjust the parameters until you are happy with the resulting groove, and then click Use.

    This saves the new groove template, and adds it to the bottom of the Quantize pop-up menu. The quantize template name is derived from the audio file name.