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Matching the Tempo to an Audio Loop

On rare occasions, an imported loop will perfectly match the project tempo, but most of the time there will be at least some discrepancy between the tempo of an imported loop and the project tempo. In years past, fixing this problem in Cubase VST, and in many other programs, was a circuitous walk through some of the most confusing software panels you could ever have the misfortune to use. Thankfully, Cubase SX 2 makes the whole process much easier than before. You have two choices: you can match the project tempo to the loop or match the loop tempo to the project. We will look at both approaches.

To match the tempo of a project to an audio loop

  1. Listen to the loop and count its length in beats.
  2. Select the loop in the Project window.
  3. From the Project menu, choose Beat Calculator ( Figure 3.11 ), which opens the Beat Calculator window.

    Figure 3.11 Open the Beat Calculator with the loop selected.

  4. In the Beat Calculator window, enter the number of beats in the selected loop. In the example here, the loop is four measures long, or 16 beats ( Figure 3.12 ).

    Figure 3.12 The Beat Calculator determines the tempo of the loop after you tell it the duration of the loop.

    The Beat Calculator updates in real time to show you the tempo that will result if the selected loop has the duration you entered. After you've calculated the tempo, you need to enter it on the tempo track.
  5. Usually when starting a project, you should set the tempo at the beginning of the project, so click the At Tempo Track Start button to enter the calculated tempo at the beginning of the project.
  6. Close the Beat Calculator and return to the Project window. You can see that the loop now fits into exactly two bars ( Figure 3.13 ), but it's always a good idea to check with your ears.

    Figure 3.13 The loop in the Project window with the tempo matching exactly

  7. Turn on a metronome or audio click to check the match. It will be obvious immediately whether the tempo is matched correctly.
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