I received this response from my last email/post (“Why I don’t use elastic audio or beat detective”):

My impression of this email is that it is written for the sole purpose of selling more tutorials, and not for actually offering any constructive advice.

I would much rather see you encourage the proper use of the awesome technology we are now witness to, instead of generating fear, and using that fear to make money.  I hope that isn’t too harsh.  I am still a BIG fan of homestudiocorner, and will continue to recommended you and your ideas to my friends and coworkers.  I was just rubbed the wrong way by your message here.

Here’s my response: (I thought you may find it helpful.)

You’re completely right that there’s nothing wrong with elastic pitch or beat detective, but I’m just giving my honest take on why I DON’T use them. They’re great tools when used properly, but I simply like my simple way of editing better.

Using elastic pitch and beat detective certainly don’t guarantee that you’ll have some sort of adverse results, but if you’re not careful it IS possible. The way I edit doesn’t leave anything up to software. There’s no time-stretching, so the audio quality doesn’t get touched at all.

My way is certainly not the only way, but it works really well for me, and it works well even when I try a different DAW that doesn’t have elastic audio or beat detective.

The point of that last email was to simply explain why I choose NOT to use some tools, even though they’re totally adequate. It’s kind of liberating, you know?

And yes, I do sell a training video on editing. The thing is — if someone was expecting to buy that video and learn how to use beat detective and elastic pitch, they would have been disappointed.

You wrote, ‘I would much rather see you encourage the proper use of the awesome technology we are now witness to, instead of generating fear, and using that fear to make money.’ That’s exactly what I’m doing, encouraging people to use the technology of simple editing to get great-sounding tracks.

If anything, people are really confused and overwhelmed when it comes to fancy editing tools. I’m encouraging them that you DON’T have to be a master at beat detective or elastic audio to get great results.

I think that’s BETTER than jumping on the latest technology just because it’s there.

I teach a very simple, basic, but effective method of editing. It’s not for everyone, but it’s the way I like to work, and I enjoy it.

Thanks for the email!

That’s my honest opinion on the matter. I was editing that way long before Elastic Audio came into existence. And I enjoy it!

By the way, that editing video is here: www.understandingediting.com, if you’re interested.

Happy chopping!

  • Pingback: Editing manually – don’t let the computer do it for you! | Kim Lajoie's blog()

  • Roger

    Hi, Joe. I would like to share a few thoughts on this subject. I can’t agree with someone that accuses someone like you of trying to sell tutorials, especially when there’s so much free content available (thank you again). But regarding the use of technology, I believe that we must realize that there’s a HUGE difference between the Home Recording “land” and the “Big Studio Old School”. If you were in a big studio back in 1985 tracking and mixing a new song of Madonna, you’d have the time and money to try again and again until you have a take where Madonna would be in tune. 😀 I mean, back in those days, what kind of editing was possible besides punch in/out?
    Today, in the ‘home recording’ land, I often record vocalists at the end of a working day (for both of us), and the energy/feeling/tune isn’t as good as it should. So, is it better to ‘fix’ that timing/pitch on the DAW, or is it better to stick with the “good old way of doing things”?
    I have no doubt that if you have the time, we should do everything we can to get the best performance, but most of us take this as a hobby. It may be a serious hobby, but if I have a decent version of a song, should I (as a hobbyist) try to make it 100% perfect, or do some more advanced editing and move on to the next one? 🙂
    Thanks for all your invaluable share of knowledge.

  • From experience, EA is awesome for certain things and not so awesome for others. I used EA to edit the drums on mu new record, and if I could do it all over again, I totally would and edit manually using beat detective. Far too many artifacts for my liking. Luckily, it came out in the mix, but it doesn’t always swing that way. I was able to use EA though for tuning a few notes and stretching some electric guitar parts 1/8 of a beat or so, which worked fine. Also worked for some shaker parts. So, it varies from instrument to instrument and song to song. Overall, I think a solid understanding of manual editing is first and foremost the crucial thing here. From there, choose your weapon and go from there. In my case with drums in the future, I’ll default to Beat Detective and work with the cuts manually so I can pocket exactly what’s necessary. Some may choose EA, but after my experience (taking about 3x as long to smooth out the artifacts), I’ll never do it again!

    • Wow – sorry for the typos. It’s too late for proofreading.

  • Andrew

    I don’t like using technology like beat detective, elastic audio, and pitch correctors either (There are situations when I will use it, but only where I am back into a corner to use it).

    trying to get the source “correct” during the recording stages in my experience creates more outstanding results and I find OVERUSE of technology sucks out the “organic feel” to my music. Some technology sometimes even creates artifacts.

    So I can totally relate Joe.

    I love the flexibility of technology, but I hate the cost.

  • Wayne Johnson

    I would like to agree with Joe on editing. All the new tools are useful if not overused and make the music sound too mechanical. I tend to chop cut and move even though I know how to use the tools. I use three different DAW’s and it’s interesting to see the subtle differences how there time stretching or ability to detect beats.
    I use SONARX1, Pro Tools 9, and Studio One Pro V2. They are all great and basically all do the same thing except Pro Tools still needs offline rendering and bounces. My opinion here is that everyone chooses the way they work the best and in there own comfort zone. I come from the days of analog where cutting and chopping audio brings a whole new meaning. Joes videos are great and I recommend to everyone I know that records. Keep up the good work and consider giving away free crying towels. This my opinion on this matter and have fun no matter what tools you choose to use. Just have fun recording.

    • Sad Panda

      Surprised to hear you imply Sonar doesn’t need offline rendering (by way of saying that PT does). AudioSnap, at least on my PC of the day, is what eventually drove me away from Sonar and to Pro Tools full-time. That was back in the Sonar 7 days, but real-time playback was AWFUL, and I’m talking about a high-end PC for mid-late 2008; Core 2 Quad and 8GB of memory. Stuttery, choppy playback that was useless IMO because I couldn’t tell if it was “good enough” to bounce to a clip. With PT LE8 (and now PT9) I could at least understand what the warp markers were doing to the audio and make a decision about rendering it.

      • Wayne Johnson

        I Started on a 4 trk teac with 1/4″ tape.Then Tascam 38 to a Fostex E-16 Reel to Reel and 1/2′ tape. If you think editing was slow with the way Joe does then you have no idea of slow. You could punch in and out. You could choose to splice the tape which was fun. Sonar X1 is great I have the expanded version with the pro channel updates that you can configure and save your settings for every track and buss. It had some bugs when it came out as they all do there upgrade was reasonable @ 99.00 so I did it and it’s 64 or 32 bit. I might consider Pro Tools when they do a 64 bit version if the Price isn’t unreasonable. I think X1 is a great improvement and the work flow is great and has track folders which I really like. I also use pro tools for projects but I find myself with Sonar or Studio One Pro and it is a very good and easy DAW to use. That’s my take on it. If we all liked the same thing life would be awful boring. Have a great day and keep on recording. The audio snap has improved and is easier to use and access from the track pane. I know Joe has studio one and uses it for offline rendering. Have a great day.

        • Sad Panda

          To be honest, I’m not really interested in going back to the bad old days of editing audio on tape. Every time I hear someone say “oh if you want slow, you should try this, you don’t know how good you’ve got it” when in reality, I just want to make music. I always make an effort to embrace workflow enhancements (which EA is) and try to work with them. I *can* chop it up by hand, but if I don’t have to, I don’t *want* to.

          If AudioSnap has improved, that’s great for Cakewalk users. If PT fails to let me make music either because they flub it on Windows 8 or because new versions screw things up (and I’m also not interested in getting into what’s x86-64 vs. what’s 32-bit x86, etc., because it doesn’t matter a lick to making music), I might go back to looking at it.

  • Sad Panda

    For drums, sure, chopping up the tracks makes sense. But this weekend I found a really great use for elastic audio – handbells. I didn’t change a lot, but what I did change is quite seamless because of all the automatic stretching that PT does. Once I had that section corrected like I wanted, I set the rendering to X-Form and on my i3 system it took around 10 minutes to render while I went to the bathroom and got some coffee, and when I came back I was done.

    Don’t just assume that because Elastic Audio is relatively new that it can’t do a good job. I got a freebie 30 day pass to Groove3 when I bought my MobilePre/MP9 combo from Sweetwater and watched Kenny Gioia’s Elastic Audio in Action videos, and they were very useful.

  • dan

    Have to agree with my good friend Joe here.

  • Eric Jean

    I totally disagree with the person who wrote the above email to Joe. How can you accuse Joe of trying to generate fear by discussing a technique that he spends a whole video tutorial explaining? Anyway, Joe delivers a great video tutorials, and they are well worth the money!

  • Andy

    There are tools such as flex-time in Logic that use slicing to shift the transients, avoiding any time stretching artefacts.

    I understand that knowing how to edit manually is probably beneficial when it comes a standard method across different DAWs, but using tools designed for the purpose have enormous benefits too.

    Tools such as flex-time are essential to get a good result quickly. With things the way they are at the minute, bands are wanting more and more done in less time. They aren’t interested in the fact that I can edit drums by hand, when they can go to the guy down the street who uses the tools available and is able to produce two songs in the time that I can do one because of it. As far as they are concerned the end result is the same, but they are getting more for their money.

    • Good point, Andy. When things need to be done REALLY fast, these tools can be helpful.

      I will say, though, that I’m able to edit really quickly. Manual editing doesn’t HAVE to take longer.

  • Dar

    Joe,

    I agree with you! Yes, they’re great tools, use them if you want to. But I like the way I’m doing it now. It’s just like tracks…get it right at the source! :-)Want it faster? Play it faster! Want a different key? Do it. All of this can be done in record mode…at the source!
    I enjoy editing, so I like hanging out with the music. That person gave their opinion, but “it ain’t common with all the folk!” especially this one! Keep up the great work!!

    • “All of it can be done in record mode.” <--- love it. 🙂

  • Christopher w

    I think your doing a better job saying you like the way you edit more than just saying “yeah, I press this button and the computer does everything… I don’t know what, but it does it”

    I now use beat-detective type tools more than manually chopping and editing, but I think people should learn these other (foolproof) ways. going back to basics and learning the process of why they are doing this editing and what it does to the song. If you leave all the editing up to the computer then where is your input in the process?

    Now if you know this sort of stuff and it fits your workflow more, sure go into all this computer-fixing-audio tools but only if you understand what its doing and how to have more input in the process otherwise you may loose the feel of the song… if your doing it all by hand you know exactly what the feel of the song is and instinctively edit to that groove.

    • Sad Panda

      Elastic audio can (and should) be done by hand as well – for anyone to say “it does this automatically and just moves stuff around” betrays a fundamental ignorance of what the tool is and what it’s for. It CAN do things automatically but you SHOULD do it by hand. That’s what the warp marker view is for.

      • Christopher w

        That’s the point I was trying to get across in my last paragraph, but reading back on it I have put it very badly. You have wrote it a lot better.

        Ever since it made my drums on a prog rock track sound too much like kraftwork (not that that is bad… if its what you want, but it didn’t suit the track at all) I abandoned the automation you can do with it and now do it all by hand.

        • Sad Panda

          Ya, in that way we definitely agree. If I was stuck on MP 8 Essentials (which was bundled with my Fast Track) I’d have abandoned Elastic Audio entirely; that entry-level software is purely quantizing. Giving you and me fine control over what we do is what makes Elastic Audio really awesome.

      • Agreed. It should be done by hand. I just don’t personally like all that time-stretching. It’s almost never necessary, and there’s the risk of artifacts.

        • Sad Panda

          You’re right, there are risks, but that’s why your ears are the final judge. 🙂

    • I 100% agree with you, Chris (as usual). Maybe one day I’ll use the automatic tools a bit more, but learning the basics is so crucial, otherwise you really have nothing to base your decisions on.