Steinberg Cubase SX

Objective: Allow drum loops and similar material to follow tempo changes. Background: Cubase SX offers many ways to time-stretch material; adding Hitpoints is a process like Propellerheads’ ReCycle program that works best with fairly sparse, percussive material (drum loop, bass line). It separates each element in the loop (kick, kick+snare, other hits) into “slices,” which are then triggered further apart for slower tempos or closer together for faster tempos. The advantage over other stretching methods is that the audio is untouched by DSP unless you need to invoke the “Close Gaps” function (described later).

1. Open a loop in the Sample Editor by double-clicking on it, then select the Audio Tempo Definition Tool.

2. Enter the Time Signature and number of Bars/Beats in the toolbar. Cubase calculates the loop’s tempo automatically.

3. Go Audio > Hitpoints > Calculate Hitpoints.

4. Move the Hitpoint Sensitivity slider so that each transient has a hitpoint (indicated by a line with a triangular handle at the top), or at least comes as close to that ideal as possible — we can edit these later.

5. You’ll probably need to edit the hitpoints with complex loops, so click on Hitpoint edit. The cursor turns into a speaker; click within a hitpoint “slice” (it turns blue temporarily) to hear whether it’s a single, discrete sound. If not, it’s time to edit hitpoints.

6. To delete a slice, hold the Alt/Option key, position the cursor over a slice’s triangular “handle” so that an X appears (as shown), and click. To add a slice, hold the Alt/Option key, position the pencil cursor just before an attack transient, and click. To move a slice, click on the handle and drag it.

7. Audition all the slices and if each is a single, discrete sound, go Audio > Create Audio Slices from Hitpoints. This closes the sample editor, and converts each slice into a separate audio clip.