Lining up vocals over a kick drum

show more Lining up vocals over a kick drum provides you with in-depth training on Audio + Music. Taught by Josh Harris as part of the Remixing a Song in Logic Pro show less
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Lining up vocals over a kick drum

When receiving vocals for a remix, it's extremely important to check and see if the vocals actually line up properly against the grid and when I speak of the grid, I'm simply referring to bars and beats. Measures 1, 2, 3, 4. You see the actual grid on the screen here, these lines and the screen. I know for this remix of the vocals were sent to me properly and that all I needed to do was import them onto the Arrange window when they lined up. But for the purposes of this lesson, I misaligned the vocals. In other words, when I drag the vocal out on to the Arrange window, it will not line up against the grid.

So, in order to get into the Audio bin, I hit B. Underneath Audio File, I choose Add Audio File, and I choose the misaligned vocal file. Drag that onto the Arrange window, close the Audio bin by hitting B. And I will use Logic's metronome at this point which is not the click track I prefer to listen to, but just to listen to the vocals against a tempo reference point, I'm going to use Logic's metronome.

You simply press the button here and you'll hear its metronome going while the vocal track plays. (Music playing) So it's easy to hear that those vocals are not in time. Let's go back to the original for a moment just so we can double check and here where that vocal phrase actually comes in, what beat it comes in on. I am going to play the original now. (Music playing) Essentially, it enters on the end of Beat 3.

So I mute the original, go back to the vocals and at this point I'm going to add a 909 kick drum with the EXS 24. I've gone ahead and opened up the EXS24, I have chosen a 909 Kit, and I will simply draw in the quarter notes on the Piano Roll here. Most kick drums in the drum kits that are set up in Logic have C1 as the first kick drum of the kit.

I access my pencil, which is a secondary tool, so I hit Command and I just placed my kick drums on each downbeat or quarter note of the measure. I close the Piano Roll, I hit L which creates a loop and now you'll hear a looping kick drum against the vocals. (Music playing) So it's pretty obvious that these are not lined up.

How do we line them up? Well, we simply expand this audio file, the vocal audio file, and we're going to find a section of the file that actually lands on a downbeat. And when I say downbeat, I mean either Beat 1, Beat 2, Beat 3, or 4. Some part of the audio file that I can zoom in on, cut it, and in order to get to the scissors, I choose the Scissors as my secondary tool, I zoom in, I hear that snare drum right here and I cut it.

I delete the left side of the file, but it's non-destructive editing, so we can get that file back. And now I need to take this snare drum and line it up on Beat 2, because I know the snare drum actually lands on Beat 2. Expand the screen to make sure that I'm actually on Beat 2. And I'm using the Command key after I click and hold the audio file to really get in on the fine increments there. So now when we play it against the kick drum-- (Music playing) --we can hear that it's lined up a little bit better, but let's be certain.

So let's go into the song where the actual first verse starts. (Music playing) Now I can hear from this that the downbeat is actually falling on Beat 4 and that's not what I want. So I need to slide this over another beat. So let's zoom out and we click and hold the Audio Region and you can see 2121. Let's try that.

Slid it one quarter note to the right. (Music playing) That's much better. Now, let's bring back the left side of the audio file that we deleted. All I do is drag it to the left and it opens up. So as you can see, this is a bit of a process, and I can't stress enough how important it is to find that downbeat within the vocal file.

Once you have that and you line up against the grid, it's off to the races, and you really can't make any progress on your remix until the vocals are sitting nicely over a kick drum. You'll find as you build your track and add more drums that some slide shifting and massaging a vocal timeing it needs to occur. But if you're able to have the vocals locked in at around 95%, you'll be in great shape to move forward.

Lining up vocals over a kick drum
Video duration: 5m 37s 3h 19m Intermediate


Lining up vocals over a kick drum provides you with in-depth training on Audio + Music. Taught by Josh Harris as part of the Remixing a Song in Logic Pro

Audio + Music
Logic Pro
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