Category: Products / pc software / midi/audio sequencer
Added: 29-Dec-98 | Author: admin
New price: £ from 280 ish / Cubasis...£ 125 | S/H price: ??
STEINBERG CUBASEThe above image is a screenshot of Cubase Version 2.8... pretty much the last Cubase before audio was included as standard on version 3 I believe....So this page is about all the cubase as a midi programme, and not the newer versions...
There are many different versions of Cubase around. All current versions now come with audio as standard, and support the use of audio cards
Cubase Audio also has 8 tracks of audio, but also supports systems such as Pro Tools, Session 8, and other multi-out hardware units.
If you're not using audio at all, go for the Atari 1040 & Cubase package. The current s/h price, is fixed (in London) at 150 quid. With this, you'll usually get a crack version of Cubase....Usually it's the famous KCS Crack, registered to Mike Hunter (geddit?!....say it fast).....Don't worry about the fact it's a crack.......This one is well stable, and crashes no more than an original.
If you're working on the PC, and you don't want audio, go for a cheap s/h version preferably 2.8, which is full colour, and is more stable than earlier versions.
This basic review is about Cubase's midi functions, and these are common to all versions and platforms with the exception of the Cubasis range, which scraps the Drum Map feature, (the best bit of Cubase to my mind)
Cubase is a 64 track midi sequencing programme, and in it's basic form is ideal for most dance music.......Now read on......
If you like to compose your drum parts by inputting notes manually into a drum editor, Cubase really scores in this area with it's Drum Editor.
Drum Edit in Cubase, I find to be the best drum editor, mainly due to the BOOT tool, which allows you to kick the drum notes in a given direction, back or forward in time by either fixed time rests, ( 8th 16th 32nd's ), or miniscule amounts.
This is great for just booting the notes around in a given direction to change the feel of for example a tambourine line over a basic beat.
Another great facility in Drum Edit is DRUM MAP, and it works like this:
The Drum Edit page has a horizontaly descending list in which you type your individual drum sounds. The notes are put into the edit grid, working across from each drum name.
So let's say you are puttin a kik drum in the first box in the list, followed by a snare, closed hat, open hat, and tambourine.
Next beside each name, you put in the note number that the sound in the module or sampler is fixed to. You can also specify a different note number to trigger the sound from. SO YOU HAVE IN NOTE, AND OUT NOTE. Now you go down the list setting the in and out notes for each drum sound. Now here's the trick........
Cubase stores the list starting with the first entry as C-2 (the bottom note of a keyboard), working upward. This means that your kikdrum plays as C1 for example, but if it is the first drum on the list, is stored as C-2 (first entry).
Here's a little diagram:
|NOTE NAME||IN NOTE||OUT NOTE||STORED/SAVED AS|
Comprendez ?..............The beauty of this system, is this : Say you have made a drum track, in the drum editor with DRUM MAP switched on, then you get a sampler with all the drum sounds on the wrong note numbers for your sequence. Normally you would have to go into the sampler and reassign all the samples to the correct note numbers. With this system you just go into Drum Edit, and change the NOTE OUT numbers to match where the sounds are stored on the sampler. The drum pattern in Cubase re-routes the stored notes to the new note number destinations, and your drum pattern notes stay just where they were when you put them in.
Also in Drum Edit, you can go to a drum sound, choose a quantise value for that individual sound, and the using the BRUSH TOOL, just drag it across the grid leaving behaind a row of notes. This is great for say putting in a line of high-hat notes at every 16th note, or a cymbel crescendo with notes on every 64th. After the notes are on the grid, you can go along and edit the velocity of each note to give the pattern the correct feel. The BRUSH TOOL is available also in the Key Edit page as well, which makes it a snap to brush in 16th synth notes.
The ease of note movement, and editing in the Edit Windows, make the strong points for me for Cubase. Other programmes force you to manually grab a note with the cursor and drag it back or forward to it's desired position in time. This can be a bloody nightmare in patterns with a lot of short notes, like synth and drum lines.
Another good feature, is the GROUP TRACK, which allows to to create your patterns, say Bassline, Drumpattern, synth line; and group them together in GROUPS. You can then drag and arrange the GROUPS (of patterns) into the correct place in the song. This is easier than having to grab each instrument pattern of a song section, and move them all to the correct places. Also the GROUP PARTS take up less space on your screen. The downside is that GROUPS are not recognised in Midifiles.
As for the audio side of Cubase. People go on about it being the only real audio & midi system etc etc.....Crap !.....I don't like the audio side of Cubase, I found it fiddly, and not so quick to use. All that naming & re-naming soundfiles etc....Who needs it ?!!
OK.....There you have it , a good programme, but it falls down when it comes to ease of manually inputting controller data and the GM section is limited, for that function Cakewalk wins hands down every time, and of the programmes I know, is the best for that job.
The ideal situation would be to have Cubase and Cakewalk, and port the song between the two to take advantage of their best points, and use the better audio qualities of Cakewalk.
Now since this page was written, we have the various VST versions... VST being for the uninitiated, an updated version of Cubase, which includes audio tracks, (32 - 96 depending on version), and a concept.... The VST concept is to emulate a studio mixer & fx rack in software, and it succeeds very well....
Personaly, I'm dubious about VST's timing.... i've seen many un-usable installs.... it's a tough customer..... but if you get it working stabley, and if the timing is up to it, then it's a formidable sequencer & hard disk audio package that can be extended to add many upgrades and new items.... I'll get around to writing a seperate VST page at some point....
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Total stars: 224 | Total votes: 64