Cubase SX Tutorial
This Cubase SX tutorial is your remedy for discovering Steinberg's powerful MIDI and audio software package studio.
With its power and flexibility, comes questions. This tutorial aims to guide you through the FAQ's and get you writing tunes fast. TheWhippinpost has more Cubase SX tutorials to read around the site and there are more planned soon so check them out and get 'em bookmarked!
VST Synth Instrument Dump to Audio Track
Cubase SX Tutorial
- VST Instrument: Dump to audio track
- Timestretch a Sample
- Latency: ASIO
- Use Cakewalk MIDI Plug-ins in Cubase SX
- Cubase SX is expensive: Buy it Cheap
- Shortcut Key - "P"
- Solo Multiple Channels
- AUX Sends
- Setup The Send Effect
- Send Track to AUX BUS
- Convert MIDI to WAV File
- Unable to Export Mixdown
- FX Send Automation
- Differences Between Cubase SL and SX
- Remove Unwanted Audio Files
- Program Change within Song Parts
- Exporting from Fruity Loops to Cubase
- Rewire Reason into Cubase SX
Some VST synth's can weigh heavily on your CPU meaning that anything else playing at the same time may start to "jerk" or stutter during playback. Indeed, you daren't even move the mouse in case it gets worse!
The simplest solution is to remove the burden from the processor by bouncing the track down to a WAV file.
- Solo the track you want to record
- Ensure song locators are at either side of the VST track
- Select File » Export Audio Mixdown
- Activate » "Import to:"
- Follow instructions
Position right locator far enough from the end to include reverb tail or delays
You basically want to create a new audio file and drop the bounced WAV in, VOILA!
Timestretch A Sample
In the Project window, double-click the WAV file which opens the Sample Editor:
- Right click the WAV file
- Select "Process"
- Select "Timestretch" at the bottom of the menu that pops up.
- In the Timestretch window select the output setting you want.
- Select appropriate algorithm for the process.
- Select drum or the sound to be processed.
- Preview and check your settings.
- Click "Process"
There is also an online help button in the timestretch window with more explanations.
Yes I know... this is where those helpful dudes in the forums usually say, RTFM. But as you know, I'm not rude like that. I prefer: Read The Flippin Manual.
Cubase SX3 is out!
Read about the new features in Cubase SX3 and their possible uses when making music
Mixing Audio Tutorial
It mightn't be a Cubase SX tutorial specifically, but there's some cool mixing tips to learn and besides, the principles of mixing are the same whichever audio mixer you use.
Hitpoints - Loop Slicing
Import your sample - From the File menu:
- File » Import » Audio File
Select your sample from within the Project window and hit the character "P" button on your keyboard. Double-click on the sample Event to open the Sample Editor. Then, activate the Hitpoint mode button (Pictured below).
- Maximum bars: Set to length of your sample
- Beats: Select the number of beat divisions to slice; 1/16, 1/32 etc...
- Minimum and Maximum BPM: Give Cubase SX a clue by setting both extremes, upper and lower BPM range.
- Hit Process! Set Cubase to work
Finer Slicing Adjustment
Use the Hitpoint Sensitivity slider located at the top and adjust to match the slice markers to the peaks of your loop, ie... the "beat", or "hit".
For even more control, delete or move the slice markers individually...
Towards the top left:
- Select, and hold-down the Hitpoint Edit tool icon.
- Choose from: Disable, Move or Lock
- Find the delinquent marker and do your worst!
To add a missing marker: Select the Draw Tool and click at the desired position of the sample.
- Right-click » Advanced » Create Audio Slices
Calculating Loop Tempo (for Cubase VST Versions)
Cubase SX users: See above - Calculated tempo is displayed top right of Hitpoint window.
Import your sample, select it in the Project window and hit the character "P" button on your keyboard (to loop it).
Double-click on the Event to open the Sample Editor. Then, activate the Hitpoint mode button (pictured below).
The Hitpoint button within the sample editor
Make sure the Use parameter is set to Sensitivity and use the small slider located on the left to set the markers on the peaks of your loop, ie... the "beat".
Now tell Cubase how many bars the loop is and set the key signature. (The time must be set to zero).
In the Tempo box, modify the tempo of the Project and look at the locators - the right locator should be located on the 3rd bar!
Cubase is expensive - Are there cheap places to buy?
I get asked this a lot - I'd seriously suggest checking out zZounds (link below): They're hard to beat in terms of both price and service.
If you read their website, it's obvious they go out of their way to give us as much info on products as possible. That means we can make an informed purchase-decision before parting with our hard-scrounged cash... Not a lot of online stores go to that trouble and it can't be easy for them to do with the vast array of music gear they sell.
The latest version is now Cubase SX4 - Buy Cubase SX4 cheaply here or just find more information.
Oh yeah... zZounds also have a price promise so you can't really lose anyway.
Latency in Cubase - ASIO
If you're experiencing latency (time-lag between playing a note on a keyboard and the sound being heard) make sure you have the ASIO driver selected. Go to:
- Devices Panel » Device Set Up
- Select your audio-card ASIO driver
Then go to the Control Panel and lower the latency settings by adjusting the "Buffer Size Samples" settings until happy.
(Tip: Try starting out with a buffer size setting of 512 and experiment either side of this number).
- Press CTRL+ALT+DELETE » Processes
- Find cubasesx.exe
- Right click and set PRIORITY to MAX
- More info on ASIO driver and tips on how to setup cubase sx
- Learn more tips and tricks on how to optimise your PC for audio
What is latency?
Program Change - Switch Instrument Mid-song (SX2)
Several ways to change your MIDI instrument within a song-part; here's two of them (Assumes you know the instrument controller number):
Method 1 - Cubase SX2 MIDI Editor
- Double-click on the Part to open the MIDI editor
- In the Controller Lane (lowest pane, to the left), click on the drop-down menu » Program Change
- Change mouse-tool by selecting the Draw tool
- Controller Lane: Click at the time-point you want to change the patch
- Program Change numbers appear under aforementioned drop-down menu - draw until correct number appears
- Alternatively, once (something is) drawn: Select it, then change the instrument number on the Info Line (at the top, enable to view)
Method 2 - Cubase SX2 Project Browser
- Hit CTRL+B (Opens Project Browser)
- Left pane: Locate MIDI Track, clickety-click » Track Data » select target MIDI Part
- Right pane (top): Click the "Add" drop-down menu, select Program Change » "Add" button
- Locate new entry (same as current song position) » change "Data 1" column to patch number
Discover the correct Program Change number by [clickety] Devices » MIDI Device Manager and find your desired instrument in the Patch Banks window - The number should be listed in the right pane.
NOTE: You may need to add/subtract 1 to/from the number displayed when entering the command elsewhere.
Cubase SX tutorial from TheWhippinpost - written for musicians
Use Cakewalk MIDI Plug-Ins in Cubase SX
Download the freeware MFX file called "wrapper.dll"
Unzip and drop the "wrapper.dll" file into the "Components" folder of your Cubase SX directory.
Incompatible Musiclab plug-ins using undocumented MFX-functions won't show up in the MIDI plug-in list of Cubase SX but you should now see all registered ones!
Shortcut Key- "p"
Quickly set the Left and Right locators around a selected part by just hitting "p" on your computer keyboard.
Solo Multiple Channels
In case you're missing it don't worry, just hold down the SHIFT key whilst clicking the Solo buttons on the channels
Save processing power by routing a track to the auxiliary bus for it's effects rather than making an effect for each individual track.
Setup the send effect
- Press F6 to bring up the VST Send Effects window
- Load up an effect
- Adjust global effect level (left/right arrow)
Send track to aux bus
- Open Track Mixer (Press F3)
- Select track and click Edit Channel ("e")
- Far right column = 8 AUX BUS settings
- Click "Standby" button to "Send" track
- Bar underneath sets track send level
- Adjust level (drag left/right) - Play - Experiment
Convert MIDI to WAV File
If the midi track is playing a VST synth, render it to a wav file.
- File » Export Audio
If the midi file is triggering an external synth (EG: Soundcard), you will have to record it to an audio track through your soundcard, then do your audio mixdown.
- Create new audio channel
- Set your soundcard to record MIDI (if necessary)
- Mute any audio tracks (if present)
- Playback the music and start recording into your new audio channel
Unable to Export Mixdown
Error message; `Unable to Export mixdown`
You'll probably won't want to own up to this but if you've been working with Cubase prior to the Cubase SX release, then take heart that you're not the first to suffer this embarrassing (Steinberg) oversight...ya ready?
...The project markers are only reversed aren't they!... HA HAAA!!
Now calm down... and breathe!
... How stupid do you feel now eh?... Pathetic. Call ya self a musician?! Pah!
The two tiny little arrowheads connected with a horizontal line that are used to indicate the start and end of your song, well they're pointing the wrong way around aren't they?! Yes... little buggers they are!
Virtually impossible to see the directions of the arrows but there ya go, that's probably it heheheh.
Automate EQ in Cubase SX
- Activate the EQ
- Activate Write (W) and Read (R)
- Tweak away while recording
FX Send Automation
How can I draw effect-send automation?
- Click the small + sign at the track
- Select the Draw pencil tool
- Draw in automation data
With FX send plug-ins, before the automation sub-track shows up, the "Write" button has to be switched on, when it is, a sub-track will appear in the project window with the plug-in name attached to it. The + buttons on the FX send sub-track will display all the parameters that can be automated for that plug-in.
A good method to use & learn is the Pencil tool. Across the top of SX you will see a tiny arrow on the Pencil tool icon, click (and hold) it for all automation draw options - There are different ones for quickly drawing smooth curves, ramps, on/off "jumps" etc... Very handy tool to befriend.
Go into the main project area, click on the "Write" button for your VSTi track, then open the '+' subtrack.
You will now have access to the VSTi automation subtrack. Find the parameter you want, then the VSTi automation subtrack can be either drawn, or you can just use standard record & move knobs & sliders to create automation events...
More info: See Chapter 11 page 259 of the "Complete Operation Manual".
Using SoundBlaster Live to record a live instrument onto an audio track whilst playing back the sequenced song in Cubase SX, also records the song as well.
It's probable that the card is set to record in "What You Hear" mode - This routes all audio coming out of the card back into the input.
- Open the SBLive mixer applet
- Switch the record source from "What You Hear" to Mic or Line input.
Differences between Cubase SL 1.0 and SX 1.0:
- SX: Track mixer configurable. SL: Not.
- SX: 6 channel surround sound. SL: Not.
- SX: 8 FX insert slots per channel. SL: 5
- VSTi Slots: SX = 32 - SL = 16
- SX: Real time VSTfx plus DeEsser (powered by SPL).
- SX Automation: Touch Fader with X-Over and Autolatch.
- SX: True tape recording technology for tape saturation. SL: Not.
- SL: Offline process history for built-in audio processes. SX: All plug-ins.
- SX: Spectral analysis and Statistic functions.
- Pitch shift and timestretching - SL: 3 different modes. SX: Plus MPEX.
- SX: Full MP3 Frauhofer encoding. SL: Upgrade needed.
- SX: Pro Score layout and printing. SL: Not.
...and probably more I missed too!
Remove Unwanted Audio Files
Open the Audio Pool » Right-click » Remove Unused Media » Empty Trash.
Exporting Tracks from Fruity Loops (version 6) to Cubase
If you are exporting to a WAV file, and you're worried about which bit-depth to choose (within Fruity Loops), go for 32bit.
Consider using ReWire to stream all of your FL channels directly into Cubase... less hassle in the long run!
Speaking of ReWire...
Rewire Reason into Cubase SX
- Important: Launch Cubase first - Rewire applications are launched after Cubase
- Select Options » Play in Background
- Select Panels » Rewire
- In the Active column (next to the channels you wish to activate in Cubase) click the green buttons
- Now launch Reason
No need to create a mixer in Reason; wire the modules directly to the interface.
Note: When you export a mixdown all unmuted Rewire channels are also included.
Cubase Video Tutorials
If you haven't already noticed, TheWhippinpost has some very useful video tutorials for Cubase to guide you even more quickly to nirvana.