August 17, 2021
Sample Metronome

Playing an instrument along to a metronome is helpful. It’s amazing how far off I realize my timing was, when I try to play with a metronome. It is an effective way to improve timing, and to understand what it is that you are trying to play.

Precise timing

Knowing that the metronome’s timing is true is crucial. How can you even subject yourself to a metronome that you suspect is inaccurate? And what if you simply don’t know? That’s why it’s nice to know that the temporal placement of the ticks is solid.

Even if you are a musician with good timing, there is probably always room for improvement. Rhythmic precision is a valuable quality.

The idea for this app was that it was supposed to be easy to program… what could be simpler than a metronome? That was before I learned of the challenge of precise audio timing, which I solved by creating the PFSeq module (described in another article, here). Sample Metronome is precise to the frame (1/44,100th of a second), and it will stay synced with leading audio software, indefinitely.

Custom sample feature

The original reason for making the app was that there didn’t seem to be a metronome app for which the user could provide their own tick sample, and that allowed the user to change tempo with a dial.

Random samples from sample packs, which get included in many metronome apps, can be irksome, and take you out of the musical zone. Everyone has a smart phone, so it is easy to record samples with decent-enough quality. Place your sample in the Sample Metronome app directory, and you can then select that as your metronome tick. You can load in several and then easily switch between them, even while the metronome is running.

Sometimes I like the sample so much that I want to include it in a song I’m writing. This can serve as the start to a percussion track.

Timing and collaboration

These days, it’s not hard to host and share files. So, in theory, it should be easy for musicians to collaborate. But, there are easily a dozen major digital audio workstations, and everyone does their projects in the DAW that they like.

You could swap raw audio files of takes that you record, but then the other person needs to play along with your timing. If the timing is not well-locked to a tempo, then using the recording in a produced song or a demo is more difficult.

With Sample Metronome, you can run the app, listening to it with headphones, and simultaneoulsly run a recording app, to record your take (which will not include the metronome audio). Just note the tempo, and now you can share your recording with others, who can easily build on it, and even use it in a produced track or demo. It is a good trick to make musical collaboration easy.

Record anywhere

Recording in studios has been done. Do you really want to spend tens of thousands of dollars to remove the context of the performance? And then apply artificial reverb?

Capture the context. Record in the woods, or next to a lake, or in a park. This is another reason why this app was created.


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