Trifonic: Using Flex Time and Groove Templates in Logic 9

5 Feb

If you’ve spent any time programming beats, you know that getting a track to groove just right isn’t always easy in the digital world. Perhaps, from time to time, you’ve tried to rip off emulate a great beat in someone else’s song, but found that you couldn’t quite capture the same feel…

If that’s the case, you may want to check out the Flex Time tool in Logic 9.

In this video, Brian demonstrates how you can use Flex Time to study a beat you love and create a similar groove of your own.

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  • emeidos

    Thanks again Brian, seeing some really useful and even more esoteric uses of this groove template function already… and I'm also a fan of Burial myself! It seems perfect for extracting the 'feel' of a track to then analyse and use in your own tracks – as you have shown here. But it might even be interesting to see how the groove template can be used to extract the rhythmic content ANY audio file – I'm thinking more along the lines of using a variety of field recordings to influence off-kilter rhythmic gestures in a track… many possibilities to explore!!!

  • nylarch

    Thanks for another cool tutorial. A bit off topic but do you guys ever notice that Ultrabeat has a tiny bit of a lazy attack no matter how you set the attack – i.e. if you play the same midi file (straight quarters lets say) and the same sample in UB and in EXS and bounce them the EXS one is right on and the UB one is a few ticks late. Wondered if you ever notice or cared and how much you guys like UB for drums.

  • Stas

    Brian, definitely cool topic and thanks for all your tutorials. I discovered re-cycling and examining grooves from transients from audio loops for me just the other day (brought to it by an Aaron Funk interview where he told how he would take a break and just replace all the individual drum hits by his own – which technique indeed can be a heap of glitchy fun).

    In case someone is struggling with how to recreate this in Ableton Live (I doubt it, but still), here's a short recipe:

    1. Drop the loop you want to extract the groove from onto an audio track
    2. Make sure the transients are set correctly, just as Brian does in the video.
    3. Right-click and click “Slice to new MIDI track”, selecting “Create one slice per transient”. Given you're using the “Built-In” preset, Live will create a new Drum Rack with all the new slices and, hooray, a new MIDI clip containing the slices in preserved order – one note per transient! In our case (given you followed step 2), one note per drum hit.
    4. Now right-click in the MIDI track and choose “Extract Groove(s)” – you have thus created your newly found groove (it shows up in the groove pool) and can save it. Note the different parameters whcih you can adjust individually in your project.
    5. Applying a new groove works by selecting the groove in the clip view. The “commit” button actually “writes” the groove to your clip, moving the notes as defined by selected preset & parameters in the case of MIDI or stretching your audio file with warp markers in the case of audio.
    PS: When applying your new groove to audio clips as Brian shows at the end of the video, make sure you mess a bit with the warp algorithms. Some might give less desired results than others.

    Brian, have a load of thanks for your videos again, very inspiring, too – almost anytime you upload something new I open Live after watching and start building stuff. What I really would like to see in some future video is you talking about arrangements and transitions – how you go about them.


  • briantrifon

    Thanks! Definitely lots of possibilities to explore with groove templates! It really is a whole other world being able to apply it to audio and not just MIDI tracks.

  • briantrifon

    Outside of these tutorials, I haven't dug into Ultrabeat too much and I haven't compared it's timing to EXS. In the past (more than 5 yrs ago etc) a lot of plug-ins had latency so I got into the habit of bouncing things to audio and correcting offsets etc. Before I mix, I usually bounce everything to audio and slide things around to get everything locked in. I'm curious about it's timing… I'll probably do some tests.

  • briantrifon

    Thanks for posting the method for Live 8. The groove features in Live 8 are fantastic! It is really exciting to see how far all of the DAW's of come in terms of extracting and working with grooves.

  • nylarch

    this thread refers to the issue I'm seeing in UB:

  • Simon Revill

    another great video! keep them coming – i watched a whole tutorial on the flex time feature yesterday so this has come at the perfect time for me. i'm gonna give the grove templates a try – never done that before.

    any info on what software you are using for the video? cheers

  • subtraktr

    I was just going to say the same thing, nylarch. UB is a bit too… buggy for me. I've noticed when loading samples that it does tend to cut the first split second of audio from samples. Some users have stated to add “dead air” at the beginning of each sample… but my external library for drums is a few gigs… at just a few hundred KB each, hahahaha! That's a tad bit too many samples to “edit”.

    I primarily use Battery 3 from NI for my basic beat machine because it's quick, easy to use and has a few tricks to “fine tune” some of the samples a bit more on the fly which is nice. As Brian has stated – bouncing tracks (especially drums for effects) is my new route.

    Brian – thanks a bunch for these tutorials… they are extremely helpful.

  • lion

    how do you get this acid sound on track 1 and 4 ? with time-stretching and then cutting parts ? tx.

  • emeidos

    I think he's using screenflow for the videos…

  • briantrifon

    Lion, you are correct! All of the sounds are from the stretched out measure of the 'Burial' loop. I was trying to see how many interesting sounds I could make out of the one piece of audio.

  • briantrifon

    oh and the wobbly bass bits the end of the bar were made from the free bass patch that is available for download on this site.

  • Beldragim

    I can't get enough of your vids man! Invaluable stuff and great advice. I'm still a bedroom producer on my spare time and its great to have an inside of how you guys work. Its funny how I've had put my music aside for a couple of months and the other day decided to quickly cut some drum samples from youtube drum videos… then I layered some down as a test and in no time i was dropping in synths like crazy. The goal of my test was to create a very 2-step-garagey very syncopated tune with lots of swing… I didn't use grooving in Reason, just simply moved beats around in the sequencer. I've been showing it to my friend and they all say its too messy. I've heard it so many times myself that probably I've lost perspective, but I kind of like it… and I was wondering what do you guys would think of it… mind that it definitely needs cleaning and some of the drum roll samples need replacing as their original tempo is totally different (and no such thing as easy time stretching in Reason!) but what do you guys thing about the overall grove of this?

  • Simon Revill


    Thanks for that link. Much appreciated!