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Cubase 7 Review

Wazzup DAWfreaks…
I’m back and today we will have a look at the new Cubase 7.
But before I start, I want to thank Steinberg for letting me do this review.

 

Steinberg_LOGO_RGB

About Steinberg

Steinberg has been providing award-winning, technologically advanced music and media production products for musicians and producers of music, video and film since 1984. Today, Steinberg is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of audio software and hardware, with more than 1.5 million users worldwide. Steinberg also provides business customers with license management and copy protection systems. The Steinberg range of products has long since found world renown in all aspects of modern digital audio processing, and form the backbone of facilities specializing in music composition and production, mastering, restoration, broadcast, sound design, audio post for the film industry among many others.                                        Source

 

Introduction to Cubase

Cubase has for many years been one of the top rated DAW´s on the market and is used by many award winners around the globe. As a DAW Cubase is a complete package that comes with a huge verity of tools for creating, mixing, Scoring and mastering all sorts of music, before we go into the new features in Cubase 7 I wanted to give you who are new to the DAW world a brief introduction to the basics of Cubase and also show some less known features so below follows a list of some of the many tools and features that comes with Cubase.

Note that All images can be clicked for a larger view

The main View

The Main layout of Cubase features A customizable toolbar on top.
In the far left we se the Inspector followed by the Track list and last the Event display.
image Take control of the GUI!
Some of us likes a Dark GUI, Some like it bright.

I prefer my meters to go Green to Red, what’s your preferences? You decide, the choice is yours!

Piano roll  The Piano roll is one of the standard features in all DAW software on the market.

Piano roll Event displayed In Cubase we can choose to show the piano roll directly in the Event display.
Drum editor The Drum editor makes programing drums easier
image In the Inspector of the Editor view we are given different tools and features to aid us in our productivity, these features changes depending on if what sort of track we are working on.

This image shows the tools in a basic MIDI track.

image Cubase features advanced audio tools such as Transient detection, trim, silence, Fade / Cross fade and much more.
image Cubase comes with advanced audio and MIDI quantizing tools.
image A feature often forgotten is the Logical editor, This is a great tool that I use for a verity of things such as humanizing drums.
MIDI-plugins-collage Cubase is known for its extremely strong MIDI features and comes with a nice set of MIDI plugins that helps the user to be creative.
image The MediaBay is a great way to find loops, Audio, MIDI and FX / instrument presets.

Any Steinberg plugins or VSTI will have their presets synced with the MediaBay.

image Cubase comes with the pitch correction feature VariAudio.
image Cubase features an advanced mixer, the mixer has been updated in CUBASE 7 so keep reading and we will get into that shortly.
image for the Composers, Cubase also comes with Scoring features.

Now as we have had a look at some of the many features in Cubase its time to start focusing on what’s new in Cubase 7


 

Cubase 7

Cubase 7 Cubase Artist 7_transparent_RGB

 

CUBASE 7 — THE PRODUCER’S CHOICE

With more musical features than ever, Cubase 7 delivers a truly unrivaled creative production experience. Sparkling with its entirely overhauled mixing console, a new Chord track alongside the innovative Chord Assistance, advanced VariAudio, more instrument content and an array of enhancements make Cubase 7
smarter and faster in every way.

Now Cubase has been around for what may seam like ages, during the years it has grown allot and the feature list is impressive. With Version 7 Steinberg decided it was time for a change and want to improve the workflow as well as giving the users functions that will make a difference.

The Steinberg Hub
06_Touching_base_01_Steinberg_Hub

As we open up Cubase 7 we are greeted with the new Steinberg Hub, It will let you know about news and updates but also comes with links to great Cubase related Videos.
From the Hub we can also get directed to the User forums and create new Projects.

 

The MixConsole is born
The old Cubase mixer was rely outdated and more then anything it lacked flexibility, So with Cubase 7 Steinberg listened to the users and removed the mixer and introduced the MixConsole.

01_Stellar_mixing_01a_Mix_Console_Meter_zones
 
The first time I opened the MixConsole I knew that Steinberg had gone full out trying to add features that the users wanted. Lets have a look at the sections of the new mixer, Remember that all images can be clicked for a larger view.

image In the Top left corner of the MixConsole we find the Setup window layout button.
Here we can setup what we want to shown in the MixConsole.
imageimage The Channel Selector is a brilliant way to find and organize any tracks in the project.
We can also use the Channel selector to decide what tracks we want to show and create different MIX views for different Tracks in the Project.

This is very useful when working on larger projects, then you can have all drums only shown in one view, Vocals in another view and so on making it easy to keep the mixer clean and also letting you se what you want to se.

You can also in the zones tab set what channels alignment left or right in the Mix Console.

image This image shows the main section of the MixConsole with all features showing.
As you can se there is a lot of things that the MixConsole can show.
 
image Each channel have 9 different racks.
ROUTING: Channel routing options
PRE: Lo-cut, Hi-cut, Pre-Gain and phasing.
INSERTS: 8 Insert slots
EQ: graphical and slider based EQ.
STRIP: The new Channel strip.
Sends: 8 Send slots
CUES: Cue send Features
Quick: Quick control features.
Panel: MIDI device panels
image The Channel strip is one of the great features in the MixConsole, it holds slots for EQ, Noise gate, Compressor (Standard / Tube / Vintage), EnvelopeShaper, Tape / Tube saturator and limiter (Standard / Brickwall / maximizer).

The Strip plugins does the job extremely well and there is a load of presets for the complete Strip and for each plugin.

I also want to make clear that these Plugins / Strip slots can of course be rearranged.

image Speaking of presets, everywhere I turn in Cubase 7 there is a load of presets both new and old.

Steinberg brought in the great Allen Morgan to give the user some seriously great sounding presets.

This image shows some of the presets for the MixConsole Strip.

image The Metering section of the MixConsole features a Master Meter and a Loudness meter.

The Master meter is a multi-channel true peak meter with scales for the Digital, DIN, EBU, British, Nordic, K-20, K-14, or K-12 Standards.

The Loudness meter complies to the loudness recommendation R 128 of the European
Broadcasting Union (EBU).

image In the new MixConsole we can now modify the EQ curve directly, if we click on the EQ window it pops out and allows us to change the EQ curve quick and easy.
image Steinberg also made Linking tracks together much easier, You can also set up what parameters you want to link together.
image
image
When I heard about the new MixConsole I was a bit worried that Steinberg would have removed the Edit Channel window.

But not only did they keep it, they enhanced it with the Channel strip and Cue Send Functions.

From here we can also tell Cubase wither we want the inserts to come before or after the Channel Strip.

image The Control room is something I have not used allot, I have it setup so I can listen to send channels without interference from the main channel.

Here is what Steinberg says about the control room.

“The concept behind the Control Room features is to divide the studio environment
into the performing area (studio) and the engineer/producer area (control room)
common to traditional studios. With its Control Room features, Cubase provides all
the functionality of the analog console’s monitoring section, along with many more
features, in a virtual, VST-based audio environment where flexibility and instant recall are expected.”

The new MicConsole relay is a great Update to the old Mixer, Not only does it come with great functionality and workflow enhancements like the one mentioned above.
The MixConsole also features Drag and Drop for nearly anything even complete track settings.

One of the things I like about the Cubase GUI concept is that the users are given the ability to customize things to fit their needs, This goes for the MixConsole as well so I decided to show you a couple of setups that I have used.

image Plain Mixer
image This view is for, moments when I know I will use allot of third party plugins.
image A mix layout that focus on the use of the channel strip feature with EQ Shown directly in the mixer.

 

The Chord track

image
The chord track is a feature that I believe many misunderstood myself included, After I got into it I quickly understood what a great tool this is.

image

If you are like me a self thought musician who haven’t been able to learn all the theoretic´s of music and chord progression that this is your savior. By using the Chord track as a start point when writing a song you soon will find that it opens up a whole new world for us and aids us to be more creative.

image image
To make it easier to set the chords to match the sours, we can set the Chord track Voicing to Piano, Basic or Guitar. We can also tell the Chord track what sort of music your working at so it can adapt even more.

 

imageimage

As you progress with your Song idea there might be a point when you get stuck, Head over to the Chord Assistant and it will most likely help you on your way.

image

Do you fell something is missing in your song? Try adding a midi track that follows the Chord track with Live Transform, then head into the midi plugins and ad a Arpache plugins and just messing around with that.  

The chord track can help you find out Chords in a song AND!! also works hand in hand with the new VariAudio 2.0. Lets say you have a song nearly finished and you find something that does just not sound right, Making changes to the chord track will also make adjustments to audio via VariAudio 2.0 that is just COOL.

VariAudio 2.0

image

VariAudio is the built in Audio Warp and pitch correction tool, With Cubase 7 Steinberg enhanced the VariAudio engine to make it even more Powerful and as I mentioned earlier also work hand in hand with the new Chord track.
VariAudio can not only be used as a pitch correction tool on both single and multiple tracks, it can also be used to convert Audio to MIDI.

Harmony voicing
image
As a sub function to VariAudio 2.0 Cubase comes with a Harmony voicing function that is nice to have around when you need more fullness to things like a vocal track.

 

 

THE ASIO GUARD

Steinberg developed the ASIO engine ages ago, In Cubase 7 Steinberg enhanced the ASIO engine with the ASIO GUARD feature.

image “The ASIO-Guard option in the VST Audio System page of the Device Setup dialog
allows you to shift as much processing as possible from the ASIO realtime path to the
ASIO-Guard processing path. This results in a more stable system.
The ASIO-Guard allows you to preprocess all audio channels that do not need to be
calculated in realtime. This leads to less drop-outs, the ability to process more tracks
or plug-ins, and the ability to use smaller buffer sizes. “
This Information was taken from the Operation Manual.

VST Connect SE
01_VST_Connect_01_VST_Connect_SE a

The VST Connect SE is a truly amazing feature, With it you and your musician friends around the world can record music without having to be in the same studio.
The little I have tested the VST Connect SE gave me a hint that making and recording music has just been simplified…

To be able to use VST Connect SE one of you need to have Cubase 7 on one computer, Both you and the person you connect with needs a pretty fast Internet connection and the one who you want to recorded needs to get the VST Connect SE Application that can be downloaded on Steinberg’s homepage.

This is the first version of the VST Connect SE but it really is amazing, cant wait to se what Steinberg can do with this in the feature.

CurveEQ
Voxengo_CurveEQ

For Cubase 7 Steinberg teamed up with Voxengo and added the their renown CurveEQ.
CurveEQ is a spline equalizer for professional music and audio production applications.  CurveEQ shows you the actual filter response you are designing by means of a spline (a smooth curvy line), so you can actually see what the EQ is doing with the sound.  This, in turn, allows you to get the best from your mix and your tracks.  CurveEQ perfectly suits the needs of mastering.                          Source

 

Conclusion
Cubase 7 is a most impressive update, The new MixConsole is spot on, the channel strip with its plugins is perfect for nearly anything. Steinberg has once again showed why Cubase is among the top rated DAW´s in the world. Cubase 7 comes packed with funktionality, great sounding plugins and flawless virtual instruments, But To me the big newcomer is the Chord track that is such an impressive feature that I believe it will help many songwriters and musicians improve their music creativity and knowledge of chord progression for years to come. I also love the huge library of presets for all the plugins, Channel Strip and Instruments. It is always nice to have a good start point and Steinberg with the help of Allen Morgan has rely succeeded with giving us this!! Music is meant to be fun, and Cubase 7 makes sure it stays that way, Well done Steinberg.. Well done.

The verdict
Editors
“Music is meant to be fun, and Cubase 7 makes sure it stays that way, Well done Steinberg”

DAWfreak.se would also like to award the Cubase 7 Chord track withfeature with!
insp

I would once again like to thank Steinberg for letting me do this review.

And to my readers…..

THANK YOU!!!!

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