Manually Adjust Beatgrid = Varying Tempo/Pitch

After spending MUCH TIME manually adjusting beat grids on A LOT of songs I was dismayed to find EP played back every one of them at a varying tempo as a result!! Disable “Key Lock” and it’s even more noticeable, as the pitch gets changed in portion the tempo.

I was not happy to (finally) get my tracks on to my brand new Prime 4 only to discover that none of my “warped” beat grids I had spent years adjusting in Serato survived the migration over to Engine Prime. I play classic Rock/Pop & Funk; there is almost no such thing as any material from that genre having a steady tempo. Many Effects sound stupid if the grids are off the actual beats, especially things like Echo. And forget Roll, it won’t even work.

It seems that Engine Prime is locking on the BPM value and playback is then determined by how many milliseconds is in between each Beat Marker to maintain that value, regardless if the Markers have been adjusted…If the Beat Marks are closer together the song is played faster, further apart and it gets played slower.

The Beat Marks in EP are “elastic” as to being able to adjust each and every one of them, (as opposed to Serato/RekordBox-you can only adjust/anchor the first beat) but then playback is faster or slower as EP tries to “push” the tack along to where there’s the same amount of time distance between each one.

Try this with Stevie Wonder’s Superstition. Just played straight you can tell the tempo changes in the song. I wish I could watch the expression on your faces as you try to adjust the Beat Markers as the song goes berserk, especially as you get closer to the end.

I know this isn’t the first time this has come up; it’s just that when it has it’s been buried in a paragraph. The purpose of this post is to put the issue as a topic, front and center. Many, many others have hit on it over the years in this Community. SonnySeven lists it as the main issue for abandoning EP and selling all his Denon gear, (see “Engine Prime 1.2 is here but it’s time to say goodbye”). THAT WAS ALMOST 1-1/2 AGO!! Denon acknowledges that this is a “known issue” but it’s still not fixed. I just downloaded 1.3.3 hoping that the “BPM Issue” is fixed. Well, it ain’t.

I hope Denon comes out with a new update that fixes this SOON. Until then, I suggest you “Reset” all of your manual adjustments to any track.

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But that’s normal, in old disco/funk songs for example, if you modifie yourself the tempo grid many times, it changes also the tempo. That is the case in rekordbox with dynamic sync

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I tackle this issue differently. Since every DJ program has it’s own/proprietary/different method of solving this problem and one method usually does not work on the other DJ programs, I decided I would “warp” my songs with varying tempos by processing them through Melodyne 4. It’s not cheap, but it works all around.

Good idea, melodyne is a very good software

No Marco, it is not normal. I’ve been “warping” Beat Grids since Serato 8, going on 5 years now and it’s worked flawlessly. Rekordbox is in my opinion the superior software but I decided to stick with Serato only and specifically because it’s easier to place beat markers exactly where I want them. I obviously wouldn’t have spent so much time doing this if it was normal for the tempo to be affected anywhere near the adverse way I’ve described above.

Long time Serato user here as well.

The difference in approach is

  1. EP fixes the track to one tempo. The Pitch algorithm is not near how it is compared to using Ableton + Complex Pro to do the same task. So you can hear the track speeding up and pitching as well if you warp in EP.

  2. Serato does not warp as such. When you place beat markers it only tells the software where the bpm changes are. So the track still plays at its normal pitch but you can see the tempo changing but everything still stays in time. It’s one of the reasons one can grid a transition track in Serato and not EP.

I’m playling a lot of classic rock, and believe it or not, a lot of traditional music. I have always been a Denon user, but now that I want to buy new equipment (Prime 4), this problem with dynamic beat-grid is getting very important to me. If this is not solved, I won’t buy the Prime 4.

There’s a certain element, and they may well chip in later, with their 2 cents (and getting about 2cents change) who would say that If you can’t DJ without auto this, auto that, beat grids, bpms to 56 decimal places etc, then don’t be a DJ.

However, the feature should be made available to prime and the sooner the better in my opinion.

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Hi Stedwards. You’re right off course. But allow me to reply. When I started dj-ing, it was with vinyl. Not because it was cool, but because cd’s didn’t exist yet. And then, with the arrival of cd’s, I changed myself a home-cd player to get an autocue. Then there was the first good dj cd-player: the Denon 2000. I bought it. Then the Denon 2500 with the possibility to change the pitch without changing the key. I bought it. I played as a mobile dj about 60 times per year during 25 years. Festivals, some real bigs (at least once a year for 8000 persons). People like my style because of my unconventional style of music, and because of my technical capacities (beat-mixing of music that nobody beat-mixed). The last 10 years of my active carreer was off course on pioneer. And now, after a pauze of 10 years, this old man want to make some fun. I don’t want to go on the road again, every weekend. But I do like to play now and then on a festival, or for friends (who got old together with me and still like to party). So yes, if you can’t auto this and auto then, you are perhaps not a dj. But fact is that on pioneer you can use dynamic grids, and on Denon you can’t. That’s a pity. If some things get done automatically, this gives you the time to be creative with loops and effect. That’s all what I meant. And if you look to the suggestions for updates, about 20% here is about that (but explained in another manner). Looks like I’m not the only one with this question.

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I agree with the above posts. I too started DJ-ing back in '89 on vinyl. Yes, I’m three million years old now. I also had a manual gearbox car then. I now have an automatic car and if I can use the Sync function then I will BUT I can always fall back on manual beat mixing a record should I need to, just like I can manually change gears on a car if I need to!

If the function is there then it should work, that’s what it’s there for, but if it doesn’t I can always fix the problem quickly myself anyway. It’s all about the music, the setlist, the fun you have and therefore give to your audience whilst DJ-ing right? The audience couldn’t give two hoots if you are manually beat mixing or not, are they having a good time? Then you have done your job, simple as that. Here ends this edition of ‘My Two Cents’ :wink:

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Trying to manually grid some old disco tracks has been driving me insane!! Just as the OP has already stated, you can go through the entire track, but when you start to reach the end of the track, it starts speeding up & going haywire!! This is honestly the absolute worst implementation of bpm analyses / adjustment I have EVER used. Even when trying to place a manual downbeat marker, the damn thing jumps to the nearest beat marker anyways, so what the point? I am sooo hating Engine Prime right now, I almost regret buying the P4! Denon please sort this out! I’m so frustrated - I wanna throw my mac against the wall!