In this How to quantize audio in Steinberg Cubase lesson, we are going to learn how to quantize audio files. Quantization is a process used in audio production to align notes and beats that result in a more accurate timing. It is widely used on Midi applications, but how about we use it for audio files? When should we apply quantization to an audio file?
Let’s say, for example, that you have some audio files recorded from a drum session to mix in your studio. Then you hear the files and notice that some drum parts are slightly out of beat. Depending on the music genre, it can’t happen. So, you will have to apply some quantization to the drum part. Cubase has a great way to doing that.
1. Open a new project and import the audio files. You can do that by clicking on File > Import > Audio File:
- Select the folder where the audio files are located and click ‘Open’:
- Cubase will open the Import Options window. Click ‘OK’:
- Then you will have the option to open all files in a single track or different tracks. Choose ‘Different tracks’:
- Cubase will now open all the selected tracks into the project:
- Let’s use the kick track to apply quantization. Double-click on the kick sample to open the Sample Editor:
- In the Sample Editor, notice that Cubase creates hitpoints in the audio file. Hitpoints will be the reference to quantize audio. You can even move, delete or add hitpoints. In the image above, notice that the last kick doesn’t have a vertical line along with the hitpoint. It means that it is disabled. We need to enable it, by holding the Alt key and clicking on the hitpoint:
- Now that we have all the hitpoints, let’s click on the Create Slices button:
- The audio file was renamed to ‘kick sliced’. Let’s open the Audio Part Editor by double-clicking on the audio file:
Notice that Cubase cuts the audio on the hitpoints that we set previously. Now we are free to move any part that is out of beat. There’s also the possibility to apply quantization to the whole track.
- To open the Quantization window, click on the little button shown below:
11. Notice that you can set several parameters, such as grid, swing, etc. For now, click on Quantize (you can also hit the Q key):
Cubase will quantize all the slices. You can manually change any part.
- Click on Crossfade, which will smooth the transition between each slice:
That’s it! You can do the same procedure with the other tracks.
Steinberg Cubase makes it possible to keep audio tracks on the beat as well.