Aligning audio file to bars/beats

I have a large number of backing tracks, all recorded to clicks, that mostly stay cleanly in time with Cantabile’s bar/beat counter. However…

The backing tracks are not set to begin on a bar start, so although they remain in time with the counter, the start of a bar does not match.

I really don’t want to have to go back to creating all the backing tracks again to align them to a bar start, so is there any way I can manage things within Cantabile to line them up?

A ‘reset counter on crossing point’ would be a useful feature. Or maybe a per-file bar/beat counter offset in the Media Player?

Given that my songs often have time-signature (and tempo) changes, a ‘change tempo/time signature’ on crossing point binding would also be a big help.

Or is there a way of solving this of which I’m not yet aware?


…and as soon as I ask the question I come up with an idea.

I set the Media Player as ‘Slave’, rather than ‘Master’ and I bind the Media Player to begin playback at any Transport crossing point I like. That gives me the opportunity to line up playback. It means I have a bit of a pause at the start. It also screws up when I jump around in the Timeline, which knocks my Timeline Song State changes out of kilter.

And it doesn’t solve variable tempo/time signature, so I’m still open to ideas.

Hi The_Elf,

I think there are ways to do it but I am not quite sure about the nature of your backing tracks regarding what condition they are now. Is there extra dead time at the front end of the files before they hit their first click aligned beat from when they were recorded? If so I think there is a way …

First you could use the left hand range bracket in the media player timeline to align the track start(s) so the Bar aligns with the transport start bar.


now stop takes us to the range bracket position


Then you could set the transport to Metronome and then add some bindings to allow the transport to work in sync with the media player and vice-versa and 1 to initialize the range bracket ( the Song On Load binding at the top)

Not sure if this fits your requirements though so I only hope it might help. :smiley:



Thanks for the thoughts - similar to some of my own thoughts.

My backing tracks are just stereo audio files (not MIDI) that run from beginning to end. I have Song State changes bound to Timeline points - these change patches, mix, FX sends and other elements for me.

The problem with starting Media Player from Transport is that it knocks my Timeline Song State changes out of time when I want to jump through the backing in practice. That’s not really going to work for me.

Putting the Media Player back to ‘Master’ I tried moving the start point of playback on the Timeline, but it makes no difference, since it is not the Media file that defines the starting point reference for the Metronome - it is the Transport.

So I’m still stuck with this one. It’s not a huge deal - just a niggle.

Interesting. I have the same difficulties… my export audio files are not perfectly in sync with the metronome. And it depends on the daw I use. From cubase it’s in sync… in FL studio it is not perfect… why? I didn’t find…

It would be great to move the audio file directly in the mediafile part and align then directly.

It could be a great option to edit audio files a bit directly in cantabile…
Maybe it’s possible ?


Just my two penneth worth, but it may be too much work if you have so many tracks…

For my backing tracks/clicks, I also export a MIDI file from my DAW (which also has the note triggers for DMXIX cues and chords for my TC-HELICON voice processor), and I have that as the master track, which is then driving the tempo/timesig of the master transport - essential in songs with mixed time signatures.

All audio tracks are slaved to that.

Yeah, it’s not really an option. The tracks and backing tracks are not of my own making - and going back to try to create something all over again would not get a good reception.

I can live with it. I think that being able to mess with the bar/beat display in some form would be useful, maybe as binding targets - Counter Reset (or set to any value), Time Sig, Tempo?

But in no way a priority! :wink:

Having this problem again. I have backing tracks with a bit of silence before they begin and I need them to line up with bars and beats. I see no simple way.

Best I can come up with is a binding to kick off the Media Player at a time that makes it in sync when it catches up. But it’s a bit of a bodge.


I’m noticing that, though I’m setting a time signature of 7/4 for Cantabile, the bars/beats (‘musical’) ruler along the Timeline is stuck in 4/4.

Can anyone offer any solutions?

If I recall the time signature is embedded in MIDI files and it is what determines what the Cantabile timeline sees and you’d have to alter it in the MIDI file for Cantabile to show it in the Timeline pane. In audio files it should change to what ever Cantabile is set to in the Time Signature settings if the loaded audio fileis slave mode is set to Slave(Musical) or the timeline hamburger menu entry “Musical Time Format” is checked.

Thanks for responding.

I’m not using a MIDi file - it’s audio files only. Given this I would expect Cantabile to show the time signature and tempo I’ve given it? But that doesn’t seem to be happening. Hopefully this screenshot shows the whole story.

Putting the Media Player into slave mode brings me back to the original problem of not being able to align the audio backing track to the Timeline. This really is a thorn.

V4170 x64, BTW.

Well, I was wrong. On audio files all you need to do is open the audio file editor in Cantabile and set it to what ever time signature you want it to be. It is independent of the Metronome time signature & it not required to be a slave.

While you don’t need to slave it for the timeline display to correct to the new time signature you do need to make sure you’re in Musical mode in the timeline menu to see the time signature markings.

Thank you for that!

Now at least the Timeline shows the correct time signature. But I still have no way to align the audio and the Timeline.

Plus… when the Media Player is set to ‘slave’ all my loop points set in the Timeline are ignored. Sigh…

I don’t want the audio file to be master as I will be running a number of them throughout the gig, stepping from one to the next. I really wanted just to run the master transport and have the Media Players kick in and out as I feel the need.

This is a tough nut to crack.

Please excuse this post if not relevant but since it’s something I do so I can record midi tracks to add them existing audio recordings I thought I would mention it.

In Reaper I use the Reaper SWS Extension (Reaper add-on) command “Move closest grid line to the play cursor” and then bind that action to a shortcut key.

In Project Settings I set both Timebase options to “Time”.
Turn off the Snap to Grid option.
Line up the recorded media with the first bar.
Play the audio and tap the keyboard shortcut on the 1st beat of a measure if it starts to move off - this aligns the nearest grid line to that audio.

What you end up with is a tempo map that keeps the measure gridlines aligned with the music. This is more an overview than a step by step guide.