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2 minutes reading time (320 words)

May 17 Non-Rigid Quantization

MAY-Is-MIDI-Month-2.012

One of the complaints about "MIDI music" is that quantizing everything to the beat sucks the life out of a song by eliminating the kind of timing variations humans make. But that's not the fault of MIDI— the problem is the person doing the quantization. So, here are three ways to make quantization more human-sounding.

Quantization strength. Instead of quantizing to the beat, quantize with 50% strength. This moves the note closer to the beat. If the timing still isn't tight enough, quantize again by 50%. You'll find that often, notes that are ahead of or behind the beat are intended to contribute feel, but the player isn't precise enough with the timing—so the timing variations are too "loose." Tightening up the timing can preserve the intent, but sound less sloppy.


Cubase's quantize panel includes iQ (interative Quantize), set here for 50% and outlined in red. A little bit of swing has been added as well, but randomization is set to 0.

Groove quantization. This feature allows you to quantize to a humanized groove. For example, someone might have converted the audio from a percussion part played by a human into MIDI data, and you can use that as a template to quantize a percussion part instead of quantizing to the grid.

Swing. Even just a little bit of swing, like a couple percent (like 52% or 2%, depending on how the program chooses to calibrate swing), can add a less rigid, more flowing feel to a piece of music.

Here is a link to more details from Cubase expert Matt Hepworth

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Advanced MIDI Quantizing in Cubase 7 : Ask.Audio

Quantizing MIDI doesn't need to make for a rigid, lifeless performance. Using the advanced MIDI tools in Cubase you can improve the timing and keep the groove s
 
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