Monday, May 22, 2017

Rendering issues.

I thought I have completed two new cover songs but for some reason the drum loops are going completely out of sync when I render them into a stereo track.

Recording Screen Shot
What's rendering you ask?  Is it applying plaster to a wall?  Is it yielding?  Is it making something appear three dimensional?  I am actually a little curios to see what happens with the SEO for this post.  Maybe someone interesting in the art of plastering will find their way here?

In this case, rendering is part of the recording process.  In a digital format, each instrument is given a separate track (see the photo of the Recording Screen Shot).  I mix and master the tracks so they sound good.  Once that is done the tracks are "rendered from the multiple digital tracks down to one stereo track, suitable for videos, cd's, mp3's.

Drums have been a long-time challenge for me.  A drum kit is loud and hard to mic.  I find drum machines give my songs that "home made" sound.  Even if it is home made, it doesn't have to sound that way.  In 2004 I ditched the drum machines for a set of V-Drums and they were a huge improvement.  I'm not a very good drummer so my beats were pretty basic.  The other problem was that it took me a long time to record really basic drums.

Enter drum loops: Professionally recorded drums by professional drummers.  I bought several gigs of loops for very few dollars.  Drag and drop a few loops into a song, set the  tempo to match and boom!  I have drums better than my wildest dreams.  The first time I tried them they were awesome and took a mere 30 minutes.  See my cover of Possum Dixon's 'In Buildings' in the video below:

This weekend I finished a video for my next cover song, rendered the audio an...the drums were out of sync.  Confused, I listened to the non-rendered recording.  Sounds good so I rendered it again.  The drums start in sync but then it go from a 124 tempo to a 125 tempo when the verse breaks into the chorus.  Three hours later, I stripped all the loop tracks and re-did them from scratch.  Everything sounds good, render the project and they are out of sync.  

Problem solving time.  "Is there something I am doing wrong or did I embed something into the digital time code that's sending it out of whack or other?"  Luckily, I have that second tune ready to go.  Drum loops all line up, render it down and... they go out of sync about 25 seconds in.  Okay, I have my answer.  It's not an embedded time code.  Now what? 

Fast forward another two hours and this Scooby Doo mystery is still unsolved.  My latest guess is that the loops are playing through media explorer and something in that isn't staying in sync when I render the track.  I thought I could just convert the loops to wav tracks and drag and drop them into an audio track.  This won't work because they are at 125 beats per minute (BPM) and my track is 124 BPM.  Try stretching them to fit.  Doesn't sound right.  I'll eventually figure this out but the V-Drums sitting in a Tupperware bin may again see the light of day soon.