Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Waveform Wednesday: Understanding Advanced Quantize in Logic

Logic has a very advanced quantize engine, but yet, there aren’t many who can really appreciate every and each function and get the most out from it. Although each term and function are quite well explained in the manual, here’s a bit more detailed explanation along with its practical usage.

Q-strength:  Be aware that no musician will ever play in perfect timing or even if they do, we - as a listener - wouldn’t like it since it will only sound like a machine. Main purpose of Q-strength is to defeat this fatal flaw of quantizing. It will adjust the amount of the quantization. At the default setting of 100 percent, quantized notes are moved to exactly the correct timing, but with a 50 percent setting, for example, the recorded events will be moved just halfway to the correct position. To tighten up the timing of a performance without destroying the groove, try a Q-Strength setting of 85-90 percent.

Q-range : Logic 9 user manual defines Q-range as : A very musical quantization strategy that requires a certain amount of technical musical prowess. Q-Range is ideal for recordings that already have the right groove but are too hurried or laid back in places.” In other word, if you very much like your groove but only want to fix a few sloppy notes that are too early or too late from the timeline), only those notes can be fixed through this engine.
Q-Range enables you to choose a boundary for the notes you wish to quantize. You do this by setting a timing threshold with the Q-Range value. Anything that falls inside (or outside) this threshold is quantized leaving the other notes untouched by the quantize engine. Setting Q-Range to a positive value will quantize anything within that range.  Setting Q-range to a negative value will quantize anything outside the threshold but leaving notes that were almost in time untouched. This is great for retaining a human feel to your performances while only correcting really duff timing on certain notes. Use the lowest value you can get away with or set a slightly higher value and use Q-Strength to adjust the amount of quantization.

Q-flam :
Q-Flam is useful for separating events that fall on the same timing value. It spreads out the notes and essentially creates flams. Setting a positive Q-Flam value will offset the notes in the chord by the set value from bottom to top. Setting a negative value will offset each note by the set value from top to bottom.

Q-Velocity and Q-Length
Let’s say that you have a bass line that’s leading the rhythm section and want the other instruments to follow its groove so that the rhythm section can be locked-in nicely together. It can be done through creating a groove(quantize) template out of your bass groove then quantizing your new instrument by adopting time or velocity or the length from the original bass groove template . You can use Q-velocity and Q-length to set the amount of the groove template affecting your new quantization, using a percentage. A value set to 0% has no effect, whereas at 100% the notes adopt the exact velocity & lengths of the template region.

-by LC Tech blog contributor Jay Lee