Latency is an evil necessary for certain plugins to work their DSP voodoo. But what if you want to record MIDI or audio into a latency-heavy project while monitoring through the DAW? You could turn off the offending plugins manually… or you could click Cubase’s Constrain Latency Compensation button to disable them instantly. Turn it off when you’re done recording.
Cubase’s MIDI Modifiers tweak the notes of a MIDI or Instrument track on the fly. You’ll find them in the Track Inspector, or you can use the MIDI Insert of the same name. Use it for transposing, compressing, randomising, and limiting MIDI notes. One of our favourite uses is applying Random position to a quantised part, humanising it in real time – try it!
Have you ever cut up, resized or spliced together audio clips and heard digital clicks at their boundaries? You can fix it with manual fades, but that’s a tedious task. Cubase to the rescue! Head to Project » Auto Fades
Settings to configure Auto Fade In/Out/ Crossfades for all clips without manual fades.
Right-click a track header to apply per track.
By default, even the shortest bit of automation creates a fixed-value line spanning the entire project. Annoying, right? There’s a solution. Open the Automation Panel, click the lower-left cog, and enable Use Virgin Territory. Now automation is only written where movements are made and can be deleted with the Range tool. When playing back areas without automation, parameters remain freely tweakable.
Turning audio into MIDI is superuseful – and dead easy in Cubase. Double-click a monophonic audio clip to open it, click the VariAudio section in the Inspector, then Pitch & Warp. Cubase analyses audio’s pitch and timing content. Hit the Extract MIDI button a bit further down, choose your options, and you’re done.
While we mostly associate groove templates with more electronically-aligned software such as Reason and Live, Cubase has had this functionality for years. To make a Groove Map from audio, double-click a clip, open the Hitpoints section, then Create Groove. Your groove now appears alongside the usual 1/8, 1/16, etc, options in the Quantize/Snap menus.
Sometimes the magic happens when the tape ain’t rolling – but it isn’t necessarily lost forever. In Preferences » Record » Audio, and set Audio Pre-Record up to a maximum of 60. Cubase buffers audio from all armed tracks, even while stopped or playing back. Hit Record, then
Stop, then drag the left edge of the resulting clip to go ‘back in time’. Now that’s magic!
Musicians each need their own mix – called a cue mix – when recording, and Cubase’s Control Room makes this a breeze. For fast setup, select the channels you want to send in the MixConsole, right-click your Cue channel in the Control Room, then use the From selected
channels sub-menu to enable sends and copy the levels from your existing mix.
Even when you’re slamming levels right up to the digital limit in Cubase, the meters never actually go into the red. A bit disappointing, that. To do something about it, head to the Preferences menu, and open the Metering » Appearance section. Here you can specify custom colour ranges for Cubase’s meters, for clearer feedback on precisely what levels you’re hitting.
Cubase’s Listen function is an oft-misunderstood cousin of the good-old Solo function. Here we’ll show you exactly how it works, and what real-world uses you can apply it to
A typical automation move is to momentarily increase a parameter, creating a square ‘bump’ on the automation curve. You can draw this shape manually… or do it the smart way: select the Line tool, change it to Square in the dropdown, then hold Shift-Cmd/Ctrl and drag to directly insert a ‘bump’.
Cubase’s Metronome is a simple tool that you get to rely on – perhaps so much that you might not have thought to customise it to your liking. You can Cmd/Ctrl-click the Metronome in the Transport bar (or go to Transport » Metronome Setup) to access a bunch of extremely useful settings concerning metronome behaviour. In the lower-right panel, you can adjust the pitch and level of the default ‘beeps’ metronome. Alternatively, click Sounds to load any samples you like as the Hi and Lo clicks. More cowbell, anyone?
TrackVersions are a super-handy way to try out alternative track edits and arrangements… but did you know they can also work in the same way to give you variations on Tempo, Time Signature and Chord Tracks? It’s true! Not all of these tracks have their own TrackVersions Inspector tab, so click the dropdown arrow by the track name to experiment with tempo map variations, alternate chord arrangements, and so on.
Channel and plugin parameters are easily automatable in Cubase’s Project view, but the master channel doesn’t appear on this screen… so how can you automate it? Here’s how: open MixConsole and click the Automation Write ( W) icon on the master channel (named ‘Stereo Out’ by default), then turn it off again. Voila! Now your master channel is represented in the Project page.
We all know that Alt-dragging duplicates a plugin in MixConsole. But did you know that dragging the Insert’s header copies all the plugins into the channel, and dragging the channel name copies all the channel’s settings?
Alt-Shift-click Channel Edit (the Channel’s E icon) to open all plugins at once. And Alt-click a plugin’s power icon in MixConsole to disable the plugin instead of just bypassing it, helping you to save system resources.
Many producers use multiple sets of studio monitors when mixing, to get a different perspective on their mix. Cubase’s Control Room handles this perfectly in software – no monitor-switching hardware required. Once you’ve configured your monitors in Devices » VST Connections » Studio, you can switch between them in the Control Room Mixer. Each has its own plugin chain, too – extremely handy for monitor/room correction plugins.
Want to emulate the workflow of old-school engineers, adding effects permanently to your audio as you record it? Insert the effects on your input channels in the MixConsole, and they’ll become part of the recorded audio file. This can be great for keeping inspiration flowing while demo-ing up a track, or recording many layers through a CPU-intensive plugin such as a guitar amp simulation, or just to give yourself some creative limitations in your workflow.
When editing audio, it can be super-useful to move the audio content inside the clip without adjusting the clip’s boundaries. It’s called ‘slip editing’, and it’s a doddle in Cubase – just hold Cmd/Ctrl-Alt while dragging left/right on the clip. Note that it works with MIDI too!
Assembling multiple takes into one is a breeze with the Comp Tool ( hand icon). Click the track’s Show Lanes button to see individual takes ( Clean Up Lanes from the Track Header dropdown if you can’t see them). Drag the Comp Tool to split at appropriate points – for example, separating vocal lines – then click on clips to select the best ones.
A sensible track-naming scheme keeps projects organised and your sessions moving forward. Make it quick, though: double-click a track title in the Project page, tap in the new name, don’t hit Enter, but instead use Tab or Shift-Tab to jump the cursor to the next/previous track.
1 To hear an individual channel in the mix, we instinctively reach for the Solo ( S) button, which mutes all other tracks in the mix. During a recording session, though, this can backfire, as it’ll mute those instruments in the cue mix each musician is hearing in their headphones! 2 Instead, we need the Listen ( L) function, available when Control Room is enabled. Listen routes a channel directly to the main output without upsetting other tracks. To make this happen, it bypasses group busses and the master bus – useful for checking signal integrity on the fly. 3 Listen also lets you hear FX Channels in isolation – compare with Solo, where you always hear the source channel too. This is great for EQing reverb and delay returns, for example. Finally, Listen
Dim lets you hear the rest of the mix in the background at a level of your choosing.
Our customised meters show -18dBFS – the expected signal
Audio becomes MIDI in seconds with Cubase’s VariAudio
You can swap the line tool for a square tool to make automation like this easier
If you’re using multiple sets of monitors, the Control Room has you covered, with no need for hardware switching
Reject the best bits and leave nothing but gold using Cubase’s Comp Tool