Rick Beato on grid-based music (quantisation)

Someone's Dad

Senior Member
Sorry, posted prematurely - was going to say that I’ve recently been revisiting a whole bunch of bands from the 90s that I wasn’t into first time around. And I think this is part of the phenomenon. I find it much easier to get into pre-2000s band’s than their modern equivalents. Maybe it’s just my age, but maybe it is a genuine preference for music that was created before modern production techniques became ubiquitous.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
Yea, I'm becoming a Rick Beato fanboy lol.

I thought he did a great job on this one.

Enevitably there will be comments that will point out all the trickery that went on like tape splicing etc. "50 years ago"...

But What Rick is demonstrating is in a whole other league in my opinion.

And I truly believe that analog black magic is more human than digital black magic...

Thanks for the link!
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
Saw this yesterday, and I agree wholeheartedly.

My favourite part is the end where he lists the tempos in some famous songs which have a solid groove. Even within a tempo some notes should be pushed and some should be relaxed.

I’ve always argued that different sections of a song should be allowed to move. I think its because my day job includes conducting orchestras and concert bands, and expressive music like that changes tempo constantly.

Really enjoying the Beato videos.
 

Someone's Dad

Senior Member
But What Rick is demonstrating is in a whole other league in my opinion.
I agree. I don’t even think digital manipulation is a bad thing - it offers so many creative opportunities. But it’s too easy and clearly overdone in modern recordings. By comparison, splicing tape is time consuming and an art in itself. I guess the effort involved helped the guys (of twenty plus years ago) know when to stop.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I have a double standard when it comes to the Q word.

I prefer a studio recording to be gridded. Zero problem with that

I really don't want to hear metronomic time at a live show. I want human time please.

I do understand that some bands have backing tracks, and need to do that.

But I still reserve the right to not prefer it.
 

Someone's Dad

Senior Member
My favourite part is the end where he lists the tempos in some famous songs which have a solid groove.
It was surprising to me to see the tracks analysed. As an average listener, I never put on Roxanne and thought “my god, this is all over the place!”
Similarly, I don’t listen to modern music and think “this was recorded by a Stepford Wife”, but something is missing (for me). There’s got to be a reason why I’m picking up on bands like Dinosaur Jnr and I’m immediately hearing something in the recordings that’s making me want to listen to more. Definitely a band that passed me by back in the nineties, even though I had a couple of mates that were well into that scene.
 

Someone's Dad

Senior Member
I have a double standard when it comes to the Q word.
I don’t think a click track or some level of quantisation is a necessarily bad thing. I just think my idea of perfect is less than perfect. I’m not sure that I’d fare that well in a test of “this was recorded with a click, this was recorded without, this was gridded”, but I think I have a subconscious bias for the human element.
It’s amazing how you can watch a recording of a live show and pick up on inconsistencies that you simply weren’t aware of when you watched it live. I guess it’s the energy that a human performance can give. Having said that, there are EDM acts that can lift the roof off, so it’s not as simple as “humans good, computers bad”.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Larry just playing along to a click track doesn't qualify as quantization. Digitally snapping things to a grid is what Beato is getting at. Piecing together songs on the literal on-screen grid.

I've always been quite sensitive to it. The more "human" element I can hear in something the more emotion and excitement the more I'm likely to get into a recording.
 

theindian

Senior Member
Interesting video. I tend to agree. The way modern rock & metal albums are produced is awful. It all sounds like the same sterile crap. No one has their own sonic identity.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Well, at least now I know why the stuff from 2000 forward has been mostly non existent in my collection!
 
It was surprising to me to see the tracks analysed. As an average listener, I never put on Roxanne and thought “my god, this is all over the place!”
Nor I, but I remember an interview with Stewart Copeland from some time in the 80s where he specifically said you need to speed up a bit going into the chorus or else it'll feel like you're slowing down. In other words, Copeland actively believed the tempo should breathe a bit, but he's so good that it simply feels organic and right when he does it.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
Thanks for the link, This video is really great. It explains a lot of thing, it explains the lifeless feeling I've got when listening some songs.
 

trickg

Silver Member
My son's other band project is getting ready to go into the studio to record, but because of what they are and how they play, they can't really put things on a click track - while they "could" do it, it would take more effort than it's worth, so they are going to go in and live track it.

I think that having this ability is a good thing - bigger mistakes can be fixed, but I agree that a general feel/groove shouldn't be messed with. That feel is what makes us what we are as musicians. With that said, I don't think that tracking with a click track is necessarily a bad thing - it allows for some consistency with time without killing basic feel.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
My son's other band project is getting ready to go into the studio to record, but because of what they are and how they play, they can't really put things on a click track - while they "could" do it, it would take more effort than it's worth, so they are going to go in and live track it.

I think that having this ability is a good thing - bigger mistakes can be fixed, but I agree that a general feel/groove shouldn't be messed with. That feel is what makes us what we are as musicians. With that said, I don't think that tracking with a click track is necessarily a bad thing - it allows for some consistency with time without killing basic feel.
There seems to be some confusion... Using a click track during recording isn't what Rick is talking about here. It's the actual quantizing and snapping performances to the grid or cut/paste production that results. Humans playing along to a click isn't even in the same category as the computer-cobbled-together music he's complaining about.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
About click,
I thought click track were the norm for ages but it doesn't seem so, Rick Beato shows example from the eighties were the tempo fluctuates : Back in Black,.. and Eye of the tiger is known to accelerate throughout the title.
When does Click became the absolute norm ? I never used Live BPM to check out old Marillion, Rush or Iron Maiden records, I should give a try .

Edit : I just tried Lady Writer from dire Straits : it keeps fluctuating from 147 to 151.
Throw down the Sword by Wishbone ash fluctuates a lot - but damn it's good... :)
 
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Mongrel

Silver Member
The real question isn't when did he "click" become tbe norm.

The better question is-when did record people start to care so much about tempo fluctuations?

Maybe when those fluctuations made it too difficult for producers and engineers to "hide" imperfections with tape splicing and digital manipulation?
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I could be wrong about this, but I suspect the main reason why the click and grids have become the norm is the options it offers the producer. As you saw, Rick was able to basically reconstruct a song after all the parts were played. Without quantizing, that's much harder, if not impossible.

Hearing so much music played in perfect meter has had the effect of making us all more sensitive to tempo changes. Back in the 70s, session drummers had great time and it made them stand out. Today, a lot more drummers have it. I mean, how many drummers have metronome apps on their smartphones? Probably most of us anymore, right? It's just more of a fact of life for even the average drummer compared with 30–40 years ago.
 

trickg

Silver Member
There seems to be some confusion... Using a click track during recording isn't what Rick is talking about here. It's the actual quantizing and snapping performances to the grid or cut/paste production that results. Humans playing along to a click isn't even in the same category as the computer-cobbled-together music he's complaining about.
No confusion - I know what he was talking about and I agree - I watched the whole video, beginning to end.

What I was referencing is what he posted at the end of the video with the songs "Back In Black" and "Roxanne" and the deviation in tempos because they didn't record to a click, but rather, they live tracked sans click as a band....kind of like what I said about what my son's band is getting ready to do in the studio soon. I don't know if those songs would have been better or not if they had been recorded to a click. (And thus, possibly still retaining the essences of feel and groove.)

Man - have I don't something wrong here recently? It's like everyone wants to pick apart my posts and prove to me that they know more than I do. It's been bad lately.
 

Someone's Dad

Senior Member
Man - have I don't something wrong here recently? It's like everyone wants to pick apart my posts and prove to me that they know more than I do. It's been bad lately.
I can't speak for the collective, but I always try to bear in mind that "typing on the Internet" isn't my first language and a lot can get lost in translation. I got what part of the video you were referring to and how it related to your son's music (on a side note - exciting times, eh?). Always hope/assume that no-one is trying to be dismissive - if they are, it's on them, not you.
 
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