Tempo Matching in Logic Pro X
Here we'll walk through several options for tempo matching an audio file / sample to your project in Logic Pro X. Some reasons you might want to do this might be:
Using a sample that has a different tempo from your project
Using audio that was recorded without a metronome and has inconsistent timing
Stretch or compress an audio file or sample for creative effect (for example, 2x speed, half speed, etc.)
In addition to this written summary, here's the video tutorial walking through it:
We have a few options for how to handle tempo matching. Regardless of which option, the first step is to bring in the audio file or sample we want to make match our project Tempo. Second, we'll lightly clean up that audio by trimming the ends if needed. And third, we'll review the different methods of tempo matching.
Bring in Audio File or Sample
Here you'll just bring the audio file or sample into your Logic Pro project. There are lots of ways to do this. You can usually drag it directly from another program's window directly into your Logic window. Or, go to the file viewer panel on the right side of your screen to browse files on your computer or hard drive, and drag it in from there.
When you drag it in, you can drag it to an existing audio track, or drag it beneath all your tracks and it should prompt you with options that include creating a new audio track.
Clean Up Audio Start and End
If there is extra silence at the beginning or end of the audio region you brought into the project, click beginning and end of the of region to trim out the silence. This will help Logic recognize the correct audio to be time aligned (especially if there's unwanted background noise outside of the sample you want tempo matched).
Tempo Matching Method #1: Match Project Tempo
It's usually worth starting with this option because it's the easiest. However, please note it may not work as accurately as needed for some cases.
All you need to do here is:
Right click the audio region
Click "Apply Project Tempo to Region and Downbeat"
This will perform some magic by finding transients in the audio and lining them up with the project tempo setting. After this step, listen back to your audio and see if it lines up to your satisfaction. If it can be better, move on to the next method below to customize the timing alignment further.
Tempo Matching Method #2: Use Flex Time for Manual Edits
In this method, we'll use Flex Time (Logic Pro's native time alignment/flexing tool) to line the audio up manually. First, make sure Flex Time is turned on by 1) clicking the Flex Time icon above the timeline and 2) clicking the Flex Time audio on the track header of the track your audio is on.
After that, you'll see vertical lines on the audio region. Click and drag these vertical lines as needed to line up the audio. When clicking, you'll notice that depending on where exactly you click, you may be adding 3 vertical lines ("time handles") instead of just 1. In these cases, the middle line is the transient or point that you're modifying. The automatically added other two lines are sort of like anchors that keep the timing of the audio unaffected outside of the anchors. This is helpful to ensure you don't mess up the rest of the audio by editing the timing of a single transient. To save some time on this step, see the next method below for using quantization to automate some of the manual editing we just reviewed.
Tempo Matching Method #3: Use Quantization on Audio
Once Flex Time is enabled on your track, one way to move the time handles around automatically is using quantization settings. To set this up, you'll need to:
Select your audio region
In your Region Inspector (upper left of your screen), click into "Quantize"
Select your desired quantization note setting (i.e. 1/8 Note, 1/16 Note, etc.)
This will automatically line up transients to the note setting you selected. You can continue to manually edit from there, or adjust some other settings to get a more natural feeling.
Detailed Quantization Settings for Fine Tuning Time Alignment
In the Region Inspector area, you can also customize:
Q-Swing: the swing setting of your quantization
Q-Range: how far a time handle can be moved as part of quantization
Q-Strength: how close to perfectly aligned the quantization will enforce.
Lastly, you can also choose which time alignment algorithm Logic Pro is using in the Flex Time too. To set this, click on the selector beneath the Flex Time icon on your track header.
Between those settings or falling back to manual editing, you have quite a few options for getting the best tempo matching.
Thanks for reading! I hope you found this article helpful. These methods are really flexible and can handle a vast number of tempo matching scenarios you might run into, so hopefully this helps you use samples or audio in more tightly time aligned way. For more content, please subscribe to my email list or follow me on YouTube or Instagram.