Stop quantizing your beats

Unless you are making an electronic track e.g. House, dance, techno etc. There is no need to be quantizing your beats.

What does quantizing mean? It’s when you have a beat or instrument automatically snap to a fixed point like you would do with a drawing software. There are two ways to quantize, one is to play live and have the software automatically snap you playingto the beat, or play the note first, then select all and quantize.

Doing this in music can make your tracks sound very mechanical and bland. Especially in the Neo Soul Jazz genre.

Better to simply play and record at the same time. You may need to manually move the beats around afterwards but never snap them onto a grid. The snare drum doesn’t always need to be exactly on the metronome. For Neo Soul, try pulling the snare forward so its a shade early to get more of a swing feeling. Also keeps the hi hats as raw as possible and make sure they too are not quantized.

2 thoughts on “Stop quantizing your beats”

  1. Well said. Beats sound just too robotic if you quantize, but then again it all depends on what genre. I believe at a lot of 90’s hip hop had quantized loops made on the MPC, however it was the dirty and often slightly out of time samples what made the beats interesting. You can do one or the other.
    1. Have a simple beat with a loose dirty sample
    2. Have a simple programmed melody with a raw, un-quantized beat

  2. Generally I don’t read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very nice post.

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