When it comes to the subject of whether or not to quantize, many will have their own opinions. When engaging in the process of making beats, we all must come to a realization. That is, will I be satisfied with the end result of the beat itself. It’s up to the beat maker or producer to determine if they like what they hear. We may wonder if the beat flows right or if the sample chop is too off beat from the drums. Here’s my 2 cents if you care to continue reading. (smile)
For those who may not actually be sure of what it means to quantize, here’s my simple definition. It means to put something exactly on beat. If i’m not mistaken, all digital audio workstations have a function called quantize. It could be as simple as pressing a button which could place every last piece of audio directly on beat. Imagine a grid with evenly spaced lines. The key word here is evenly by the way. To quantize is to put an audio sound or midi note on that grid. Technology allows us to change that grid using fractions like 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32… The smaller the fraction the more precise the response of your playing will be according to the DAW or sequencer. Let me stop right here and move on just in case this is sounding too technical or boring.
Keepin’ it Real
Do I quantize? Personally, for the most part the answer is no. I’ve always felt that if you quantize the drums for example, it makes them sound too mechanical. I like my beats to have feeling which means my drums should sound humanlike. Again, just my opinion. I believe this is why most drum machines and DAW’s have a function called “swing” which emulates the human side of playing. To be honest, I think the best swing that I can use is my own. I like to record in real time without any assistance from the computer. Yes, this can sound sloppy to some of you and that’s what i prefer. However, I will admit to sometimes quantizing the snare drum to create some form of foundation. Everything else such as the kick, hihats, bass, and other instruments I will NOT quantize. For those who are interested in quantizing or using a swing function, check out the vid below and thanks for taking the time to read this. Peace!