Cubase tutorial: in the beginning...
I have used Cubase for years and it has only got more stable and more powerful. It is a great program to learn on.
Now to do some learning.
The best way to learn about Cubase is to do a few basic things like sequence some audio and program in some midi data. Come be a geek with me and read my Cubase tutorial.
Let's start by looking at the page that first pops up when Cubase loads.
This is the arrangement window where you arrange the blocks of audio and midi. See how the colored blocks are set out. These are sounds coming in and out. The gray bar on the right is called the "track info" this tells you details about the currently selected track. You can apply audio effects if you have an audio track selected by clicking on the little blue and green buttons. (Effects are discussed later in this page when we deal with the mixer.)
Right and left locators:
these set the loop point in your song. You often want say 4 or 8 bars to repeat while you make changes so you can compare. You left click in the grey bar at the top to set the left locator, and right click to set the right locator.
these are the mono or stereo channels in which you place chunks of audio such as your drum loops etc. You can also record audio into these channels by pressing the record button on the transport bar. The recording will be as long as the number of bars between the locators.
This is where you place notes to control midi software and hardware such as virtual instruments and drum machines. Midi is just like music notation instead of giving sheet music to a musician you give midi to a synth.
This bar is always on top. It is where you ste the tempo of the track. Where you press play, stop and record. You also set the song to loop between the locators by pressing the button with a circular arrow on it.
Let's have a look at editing and arranging audio in Cubase. To import an audio file into Cubase click on an audio track and select import from the file menu. This will bring your loop into the track at the position of the left locator. Double click on this block/segment of audio to edit it. A window like the one below will pop up.
You can slice up the segment in this window and copy and paste the new segments. Use the scissors tools to slice up the segment. This editing doesn't change the actual audio file. It just changes what plays in the arrangement window.
These tools can be accessed in any editing window including the arrangement window.
In the main arrangement window your segments can be copied and pasted to repeat parts. Cubase can sequence 40 or more audio tracks but to use all these you'd need a huge number of musicians to create all the music. If you don't know that many musicians you can still write your own music using midi.
To make your own tunes with Cubase you will need to sequence midi and use either external samplers and synths or special software called a virtual instrument to ceate the actual sound. These virtual instruments can be drums or samplers that will play the notes you write in midi. I'll cover midi sequencing next.
To start making a midi segment set the left locator to bar 1 and the right locator to bar 5. This will create a 4 bar loop. Double click between the locators on any midi channel to create a blank segment. Double click on this segment to bring up the midi editing window like the one below.
Here is a simple chord progression. Simply draw in the notes using the pen tool.
Midi editing is easy. However, to hear the notes you are putting in you will need to set the output of the midi channel to sound making device.
Cubase comes with a few simple virtual instruments built in. Go>panels>virtual instruments>VB-1 to load the virtual bass instrument. Choose VB-1 from the output drop box in the track info panel on the left of the main screen. Now the midi data for this channel will go to this instrument and you will hear the notes. Just experiment with the notes looping over and over until you're happy.
Remember midi data can be copied and pasted and the notes can be transposed easily. You can load other virtual instruments and copy and paste the same notes to another midi channel to hear the same notes on a different instrument.
There are lots of virtual instruments coming out all the time. Some are very powerful samplers and synthesizers. I have made a few tutorials on the ones I use.
Back to audio again with mixer power:
Since Cubase can handle heaps of audio channels you need to know about the channel mixer. This is where you adjust the levels of all your audio channels and do my favorite thing which is playing with effects.
To bring up the mixer go panels>mixer. Here is what it looks like.
The mixer is simply just a big list of identical channel strips. Stereo channels have two faders and mono channels only one. The red arrow points to the effects buttons. Clicking any of these buttons will open the channel window where you can add the effects to that channel.
The little buttons above the volume faders (red arrow) open the channel window. Let's have a look at the channel window and learn about my second favorite thing in the world (after quality time with my girlfriend)EFFECTS!
The channel window is a cool place to be. The eq window is like a graphic equalizer. Kill the treble and boost the bass - you know what to do. Insert effects apply only to that channel. Send effects can be applied to many channels and are loaded by going panels>send effects. They are applied by turning up the blue nob.
Dynamic effects are special effects like compression and gating. Click the green DYN button and play with all the nobs and buttons there as well.
Every time you turn on an effect it is loaded up and starts taking up your computer's power. Send effects are great cos you can have one reverb loaded and have 10 or so channels going through it. Since I've got a kick-ass computer I have channels with delay or other cool effects and just drop in audio segments to that channel when I want.
Well, that about wraps up Cubase VST V 5. There's a lot more I'll cover in future post about sx so bookmark and come back for more.... next is reason