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If you want to quantize a MIDI performance and you're not confident in your quantization skills or you prefer the sound of pre-made quantization maps derived from real musical performances, you can use groove quantization. You can choose from a variety of pre-made groove quantization maps or groove templates. If we go to Event > Event Operations > Quantize, go down into the Quantize Grid, we can see the groove templates listed in these folders. Now it's difficult for me to describe how these templates will affect the sound of your track, but fortunately you can get some information about the template if you click the Show Comments button.
So first I'm going to choose this MPC 57% 16th notes Swing, and you'll see template contains 1 bar(s) of 4/4 time. I can click on Show Comments, and it'll show some more information about this template. By adjusting the Timing, Duration, Velocity, and other parameters, you can alter how the groove templates affect your MIDI performance data. At a setting of 100% the default setting for timing, duration, and velocity, the MIDI data will follow the groove template's feel exactly.
At 0% the MIDI notes will not be altered from their original state. Thus the groove template will have no effect. At 200% the MIDI notes will be altered twice as much as the groove template would usually alter them. Velocities and durations will become exaggerated versions of the groove template settings, and the timing of the notes will be moved to twice the difference between the original note locations and where they would normally be placed within the groove template. You can also choose to pre-quantize the MIDI notes, which hard-quantizes the notes to a 16th note grid before applying groove quantize.
This is a great thing to use if the rhythm of the MIDI performance that you're trying to quantize is a little dodgy to begin with. So let's apply a groove template to some MIDI notes, and I'm going to turn this Pre-Quantize off. Choose the Grabber tool and select this Drum Beat, and before I apply it, I want to press play, so we can hear the before and after. (Music Playing) So I've already selected this MPC 57% 16th note Swing template, so I'm going to change the timing here to 100% so that it follows the template exactly, and now I'm going to hit Apply. Let's listen.
(Music Playing) That sounds pretty good actually. Now you can make your own groove templates using Beat Detective. Let's close this up. So if you go to the Event menu and choose Beat Detective, now Beat Detective can analyze audio and MIDI data to define dynamic and rhythmic relationships in a performance, and create a groove template from that information.
Beat Detective generates triggers for bar, beats, and sub-beats that map the rhythmic relationship of a groove, as well as the amplitude of audio tracks to MIDI velocity. The Beat Detective window has options for working with both audio and MIDI. Here we'll choose MIDI, and I'm going to choose Groove Template Extraction, and I am going to create a groove template from this drum beat. Now I know that we just applied a groove template to this already, but imagine that we have a track here than want to extract a groove from, and that's what we're going to do.
So we've got the Groove Template Extraction. We're going to capture the selection and time, so we've got exactly 16 bars selected here. If you need to change your selection, you can just go into these fields and change them. Next, we'll go onto the Detection area, and we'll choose Normal Detection, and we'll choose to analyze the lowest note. So this will have Pro Tools focus on the kick drum from the groove to give us the basis for this groove template, and now I'm going to click Analyze. Let's go zoom in on this track.
Now as I drag this sensitivity slider, you're going to see Beat triggers up here on the beats and sub-beats of your selection. Bar trigger lines are the thick lines, and beat triggers are medium lines, and the sub-beats are thin lines. Now since we chose the lowest note, it's really only analyzing these lower notes. And to show you this, so the thick line here is at the bar line, bar 2, and this thin line is a sub-beat trigger shown at this particular 16th note.
I'll go up here now and choose Extract. So we have 16 Bars, Time Signature 4/4, and I'm going to save this to disk, and this automatically puts us right into the Grooves folder. I am going to create a new groove folder for my grooves and then call this groove1. So now we've extracted a groove, and if I go to the Event Operations > Quantize window, you can actually choose that groove right here.
Now I use groove templates a lot. I prefer the MPC style ones mostly. Sometimes I'll make my own from audio files or from drum loops that I will bring into Pro Tools. They are a terrific way to get your MIDI tracks quantized really quickly, using proven quantization feels.
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