Computer Music - - Make Music Now -


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

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