I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

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A.j.
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I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by A.j. » Sun Aug 28, 2011 10:34 pm

After working with C6's redesigned lanes for a couple weeks, I'm beginning to get it. It's different, but - in many common situations, like vocal comping - it's more efficient than the old way (IMO). Just takes getting used to.

I've also been able to use the lanes feature with more "complicated" comps where I create whole new arrangements by copying/pasting existing audio clips. It works - differently, but it works. [Although I do wish I could drag-copy audio clips onto a new lane (at the bottom). That should be fixed - otherwise, we're forced to drop clips onto existing lanes which causes the lanes to shift, a visually jarring experience which many users will likely find confusing.]

However, there is one problem with this new system that REALLY worries me, and has kept me from using C6 thus far with paying clients. It's so problematic, that I can't believe it wasn't addressed during C6's internal design phase. Specifically, after I've completed comping a track (or group of tracks) with lanes, HOW DO I RECORD ADDITIONAL TAKE(S) WITHOUT INSTANTLY LOSING MY COMP (and all that hard work)?

[Edit for clarity's sake: The audio takes themselves are not gone, rather the highlighted choices of which sections of audio I've carefully chosen for playback by clicking on them - e.g. the comp itself - are no longer visible).

Here's a recent example:

I've finished comping a complicated set of drum takes. This kind of stuff can take hours.... thankfully now with Group Edit, it's easier - but it's still often painstaking work. Before the client signs off on the drums, the drummer wants to try playing "just one last take!" before we settle on the final performance. I hit record, the drummer plays the tune one last time. When he's done, MY ENTIRE COMP - which took hours to create - is GONE, replaced by the drummer's new take at the bottom of the lanes. [Edit, again for clarity: Just to be clear - the earlier takes are still shown (they haven't disappeared), rather they have all become transparent again. All evidence of the comp choices I made - that is, the comp work I did earlier by clicking on various audio segments in the various lanes - is gone.]

This is unusable for me. I need to be able to comp, record some more, comp those new takes, and then - perhaps - record more and comp again, all the while building and refining my comp. The old lanes behavior allowed this. C6 does not. And I simply cannot wait until all client recording is done before creating comps. It's not how things work here in the real world with clients, where we often comp as we go (and then record again - as most engineers know, it's often the process of comping that reveals what areas need to be re-recorded). Yes, I know there are workarounds- creating an entire set of new tracks for recording the post-comp takes sort of works. But that creates other frustrating problems, which aren't even worth mentioning as they are obviously just workarounds.

Steinberg's products have always been known for their industry-leading non-destructive editing. So this new lanes design - where recording a new take instantly removes the entire comp, with no undo available - is a real head scratcher. What say you, Steinberg? Every pro audio engineer I know works this way. I'd say this problem is a high priority to fix.

Aj
Last edited by A.j. on Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by toader » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:23 am

Very good point. Also, it is still buggy (at least on 6.0.2 - I have been afraid of 6.0.3, so I have not installed it). I have had problems with lanes multiplying like bunny rabbits. When I slice up a few vocal takes for example - I may only have 3 takes on 3 lanes... I save the project, reopen, and suddenly, there are 28 vocal lanes! Very crazy...
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by Kev Vin » Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:30 am

A.j. I could agree more.

Steinberg how do you "protect" your comping work when adding overdubs or new takes to already comped stuff?

Toader, I haven't experienced the problem you describe, but i remember reading a thread on it and someone suggested it may originate from using templates built in a pre 6 version.
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by Kev Vin » Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:45 pm

err i meant 'couldn't' agree more

but since i'm here...bump
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by A.j. » Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:38 pm

Yes, as someone who has used Steinberg's DAW products for years, I was astonished when I discovered this flaw. Comping and recording are the bread-and-butter of most DAW users. Seems like something that would have shown up during user-testing (if not earlier, during product design).

Again, here's the problem in a nutshell:

After a track is comp'ed, recording a new take ERASES that comp.

Sadly, there is no workaround for this issue that I know of - aside from recording all your new takes (post-comp) onto new/different track(s). Which, of course, largely defeats the purpose of Steinberg's otherwise impressive lanes/comping feature set.

Aj
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by Guest » Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:55 pm

Maybe this would be a workaround?

CTRL-C to copy the new recording, then CTRL-Z to undo it and restore the comp. Then you can CTRL-V to paste the new recording somewhere else.

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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by A.j. » Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:19 am

FunkyDrummer, yep you can do that. It will work (so to speak). However, once you paste the new take back into the track's lanes, the whole comp disappears again. So you're back at square one.

Really, when an artist wants to record new takes on top of an already comp'ed track, there is no viable workaround that correctly works within C6's Lanes paradigm. The current design is a dead-end street (in this respect). A robust and permanent solution to this problem will require Steinberg to tweak something in Cubase 6 - perhaps adding some new way to lock and/or "save" an existing comp so you can safely record more takes onto it.

[It might also be cool if newly recorded take(s) were automatically split at the same locations where earlier takes were split across all tracks, but that's an approach/option for the program designers to puzzle through.]

I am curious though: how do other similar DAWs handle this potentially process-breaking issue? Don't Vegas and/or Reaper use a similar comping/lanes set-up? I can't imagine they're having the same problems (or are they?)
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by Kev Vin » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:49 am

Okay curiosity got the better of me. I downloaded the latest reaper version and gave it a go.
Record three takes, split and comp them into a random mix of all three. Record a fourth over and...Poof! gone just like cubase 6. Reaper does create splits in the new take at the points where the previous takes had them, but still, very undesirable behaviour. I haven't dug deeper to see if there is a preference to change this.

I know this has been dicussed to death on another thread but here is a completely new scenario leading to the same conclusion...We need 2 modes for comping in lanes. Please, please and pretty please Steinberg.

Mode = Auto...exactly as it is now. very nice, it works for some situations, but clearly not all.

Mode= Manual... exactly as it was in all previous versions of cubase. The bottom lane gets play preference and the user chooses when to mute, by using the mute tool. Muted objects stay muted until unmuted by the user. This way when adding an extra take after comping, a simple muting of the new take restores the previous comp.
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by Guest » Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:17 am

A.j. wrote:FunkyDrummer, yep you can do that. It will work (so to speak). However, once you paste the new take back into the track's lanes, the whole comp disappears again. So you're back at square one.
Not if you paste onto a different track 8-)

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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by Kev Vin » Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:17 pm

Best solution for me so far is to duplicate the tracks (or folder in the case of drums) to preserve all the takes.
Then delete overlaps on the duplicates to get to just one lane again.
If you need to go back to the set of comps you've got it backed up, otherwise you're free to record and comp the new take into the 'old' comped takes.

or

when the client asks to do one more take after comping tell them " no, sorry my software doesn't allow that anymore " :? ;)

Please admin guys, is the old "manual" comping mode worth hoping for or is it gone forever?

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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by A.j. » Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:44 pm

Kev Vin wrote:when the client asks to do one more take after comping tell them "no, sorry my software doesn't allow that anymore " :? ;)
This.

I actually said something similar to a client last night. We had finished comping a vocal track, and the singer wanted to try a few more passes - which inevitably led to 45 minutes more of full and partial takes on top of our existing comp. When we were done recording, we finished the comp.

Time is money for my clients, and they don't like to wait. Since I have not yet upgraded to C6 (for in-person client work), we were able to do this easily - and quickly, which is key here. No need to duplicate tracks, arm new ones, copy lanes back and forth, or any of those time-taking workarounds. Just record/comp and record/comp again, as many times as needed, all done "in place" on the same track.

My client had seen my C6 box sitting on top of the Wurlitzer, and asked, "Would this have been quicker if we did it in Cubase 6?" I smiled, and told him the truth.
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by mr.roos » Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:31 pm

OK, funkydrummer uses 6.0.3, let it be known, and 6.0.3 regarding Lane comping is quite different that 6.0.2.

So, funky, when you suggest a solution, is it possible that it might work in 6.0.3? You never said that you DID NOT have the problems AJ was having.

And AJ, you obviously loade C6 at one point - did you update to 6.02? 6.0.3? You didn't say.

OH - funky, I see you list 6.0.2 in your sig? I just finished reading a post with you and crotchety singing the praise of 6.03 in regards to Lane comping. Did you run into problems?
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by Guest » Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:38 pm

mr.roos wrote:OK, funkydrummer uses 6.0.3, let it be known, and 6.0.3 regarding Lane comping is quite different that 6.0.2.

So, funky, when you suggest a solution, is it possible that it might work in 6.0.3? You never said that you DID NOT have the problems AJ was having.
Yes I have the same problem as AJ is having and I'm on 6.0.3...

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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by A.j. » Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:46 pm

FunkyDrummer wrote:
mr.roos wrote:funky, when you suggest a solution, is it possible that it might work in 6.0.3?
Yes I have the same problem as AJ is having and I'm on 6.0.3...
I'll update my sig to reflect my set-up. I'm using 6.0.2. The issues we are discussing are inherent in the new takes/lanes work flow (and how the feature is currently designed). With respect to this, there aren't any differences in 6.0.3.
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by Crotchety » Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:03 pm

mr.roos wrote:I just finished reading a post with you and crotchety singing the praise of 6.03 in regards to Lane comping. Did you run into problems?
I wasn't referring to any upgrade in particular, just C6 lanes in general. I've not had anything horrible happen to me. As far as I remember, takes just follow on lane by lane but I don't recall doing much if any comping in between.

Just as an afterthought: when you do this comping of takes that later vanish, have you been moving events between lanes? This changes their proirity and often results in things turning up in unexpected places. I've found it more predictable to leave things where Cubase puts them until I'm ready to tidy up when I've finished the job.

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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by A.j. » Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:35 pm

Crotchety, no I'm not moving things around.

Referring to my original post... we're not saying the lanes themselves vanish (and/or the audio they contain goes away). It's the CHOICES made when comping that are gone. This is a real "nuts-and-bolts" workflow problem that happens all the time.

For example: Imagine I have a tympani track with 7 takes (lanes). To begin comping, I split the lanes every couple of bars. Then I click on whichever audio segments I prefer best in order to make them active and audible. This is what I mean by comping. Perhaps I click on the first 8 bars of lane 1, then I click on lane 3 for 4 bars, and so forth. When I am done doing this, my lanes view of the tympani track looks like a mosaic of clicked audio segments, up and down across the various lanes, that reflects my choices to create the best composite tympani performance.

Comping like this takes time. When finished, the client and I listen back to our in-progress comp, and the tympani player would like to try some more takes. I enable the tympani track, hit record, and he plays a new take. When finished, the comp we worked on (that is, the mosaic of active audio segment choices I described above) is gone. Yes, the splits I made are still there, and of course the tympani audio still exists - but the actual segment choices I clicked on to create the comp are no longer highlighted. Instead, all of my clicked choices are transparent and now inaudible, and the only active, audible take left is the new one the tympani player just played (and - worse still - Cubase's recollection of that mosaic of earlier comp choices is instantly gone too, unless I undo the new tympani take I just recorded).

Hope that explains the problem better. Previous versions of Cubase (and Nuendo) didn't exhibit this issue - new takes recorded on top of an in-progress comp were simply added at the bottom of the lane stack, with all previous comping still intact in the lanes above them. The engineer could then continue comping, and build on the already in-progress comp.

Aj
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by Crotchety » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:14 pm

Right, I see what you mean now and yes, I have come across it and cursed it roundly. Apart from the suggestion you've already had, of copying previous comps to a new track, the other workaround I use is to colour-code the events I was using. The new track suggestion is probably better.

Train of thought, probably reiterating a lot of what's been said, 'scuse me if you already tried and rejected it: If you did a "Delete Overlaps" on the comps you were happy with, you're only losing stuff you've already rejected, but now it's all on one lane and you will always know what's what. Also you can easily switch between takes using the lanes' Solo buttons or Mute them (i.e. with the [X] tool). From here you can accept a comp in full or make a comp-of-comps. Perhaps that's how it's intended to work and part of the conversion process (that I am yet to personally investigate...).

Maybe all we're asking for is a Mute button on each lane as well as the Solo.

Does that help? :)
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by Conman » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:29 pm

HOW DO I RECORD ADDITIONAL TAKE(S) WITHOUT INSTANTLY LOSING MY COMP (and all that hard work)?
You alt +drag the track below itself (into empty space, so put it at the bottom) which creates a duplicate track with the same settings & FX. Delete the copied comps and start anew on the new track (Vocals2, say).
I'm sure it's not ideal for all but it's the simplest I've got for you so far.

Does it not work like this?:
the manual p76 wrote:If you record a cycle recording in the "Keep History" or "Cycle History + replace" modes etc.
I don't do too much comping at the moment as I've got a good crew who prefer single takes so give me some slack but that's the way I'd try it if I got stumped. If I've got this right if you come back the next day after saving and closing the session you cannot then "refresh" the existing comp track with any new ideas. Or, from the OPs description if you then leave that comped track and do some others then you cannot then then add to the comps without Cubase thinking you are Replacing the whole track.
Could this be down to a simple "overdub / replace" Transport button oversight on the users part or even the default was changed in 6.0.3 and hasn't been spotted?
I'm just trying to work out if what's been changed has an option somewhere that you could use to get the behaviour back to more like what you're used to.

Cheers me owl Crotchety. I think you nailed it on the last post. At least that's where my head was heading.
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by A.j. » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:31 pm

Crotchety wrote:If you did a "Delete Overlaps" on the comps you were happy with, you're only losing stuff you've already rejected, but now it's all on one lane and you will always know what's what. Also you can easily switch between takes using the lanes' Solo buttons or Mute them (i.e. with the [X] tool). From here you can accept a comp in full or make a comp-of-comps. Perhaps that's how it's intended to work and part of the conversion process (that I am yet to personally investigate...).)
Thanks for the suggestion Crotchety. I understand what you're suggesting and I've been exploring using "Delete overlaps" as a workaround too. This operates as you describe, and can help things - however, like all workarounds, it limits the user in ways the standard work flow doesn't.

The biggest issue is that "Delete overlaps" effectively discards all earlier take sections that weren't active at the time you comped the track (they are discarded from the Lanes view, that is - the earlier take sections haven't been destructively erased of course, but they are now unavailable to you for ease of comping using the Lanes feature).

This is a significant limitation. When working with a client, even after doing a rough comp (and then recording new additional takes), the player invariably asks to hear some of those earlier (and previously unchosen) takes again. This is understandable, and is a natural part of working with any DAW to arrange music. Once a new performance is added to a track, older previously unused takes often suddenly become useful, as sections of these earlier takes may now work well with parts of the newly recorded takes.

For example, imagine a saxaphone player adding additional takes to an already comped sax solo. Perhaps the first half of a new take will work perfectly with the second half of a previously unused early take. If the engineer already used "Delete overlaps" on the track, those earlier takes are no longer readily accessible on the current track. This is by no means an isolated example. In my experience, musicians - particularly session players - remember their earlier takes, and will regularly ask to hear them again while comping. I will repeat - this was not a problem with earlier versions of Cubase. It is a new issue with Cubase 6.

Anyway - glad to hear some good conversation is going on about this issue! I have confidence Steinberg will come up with a effective solution, and I hope the ideas here can add some value to that effort. I would also imagine many Nuendo users (who often work in client situations with session players) will have a particular interest in seeing this addressed.

Aj

P.S. Conman, we're not talking about overdub/replacement issues... this is a thread specifically about issues that arise when creating iterative comps with Cubase 6's redesigned Lanes function. I've edited the initial post to make that more clear.
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by Crotchety » Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:23 pm

I take your point entirely, it was in the back of my mind as I wrote the last post. I too like to keep even the 'rejects' alive as long as possible.

Scratch, scratch... Can you remind me: how did C5 do it?

PS: I don't think we should call "Delete Overlaps" a workaround, the designers will be offended ;)
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by Conman » Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:38 am

Cheers AJ. Thought they might have added an obscure option somewhere. Haven't found one yet.
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by A.j. » Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:44 am

Ah, a history lesson... how quickly we forget! :D

Earlier versions of Cubase (pre C6) handled comping takes quite differently - C6's new system really is a big departure from what came before, and it operates more like Sony Vegas or Reaper now.

In C5 (and earlier), Cubase handled comping on any given track by always playing back the bottom-most take that wasn't muted. Thus, you could have multiple take segments active at any given vertical point in the project window (up and down the screen). And as long as the bottom-most unmuted lane was the one you wanted to hear, your comp would play back flawlessly. Because of this set-up, you could create a comp and then record multiple new takes without the old comp going away (each new take would appear active in the bottom-most lane, but the old comp would still be active above it).

C6 doesn't allow this, as we all know well - this is by design, and it's one of the reasons why the new system is such a departure from the old. Only one take segment can be active at any vertical point in time (up and down the screen), and recording a new take makes THAT the active take (thus causing any/all active take segments above it to no longer be active or "comped" - again, with no option to recover your comp choices short of undoing).

That's not to say that the new system is bad. It's actually more efficient in many situations (such as vocal comping), and I'm really warming up to it (particularly when paired with Group Edit). If this problem with "losing your comp choices when doing additional tracking" was fixed, I would likely become a full-on convert to the New Way.

Aj
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by Crotchety » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:07 am

Thanks for the reminder but I'm still struggling to cast my mind that far back... :roll:

I've found the new comping method is so much better than the old - edits that used to take 'hours' now take minutes - that I don't want to go back. I didn't feel that at first, of course, but I think that was more to do with inheriting 'messy' edits from C5 lanes, many of which I unpicked and did again with unbelievably little fuss. This was my 'Road to Damascus' moment.

I know where you're coming from, AJ, but I'm not finding it easy to even think of a feature request to deal with it. For me, simplicity has been the key with the new lanes and perhaps it may be the solution to your problems.

Perhaps a combination of 'Delete Overlaps' and saving a backup to a new lane might do the job. Next time I have the opportunity, though, I'll put myself in your shoes - comp-as-u-go - see how I find it and post back. In the meantime I'll keep an eye on the thread but don't think I've got anything new to add.

Good luck,
C ;)
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Kev Vin
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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by Kev Vin » Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:19 pm

I thought of a possible solution here.. In fact, I gave it a try hoping it would work and we were all on about nothing but alas...

perhaps locking a track after comping should (but currently doesn't) lock the comped takes as well.At the moment in 6.03 you can comp, lock a track, and still record more takes over the locked track. All that happens is the new take is automatically selected and locked. The old comped regions become muted and the selected bits become lost forever.

I use 6 in my studio, but lecture on 5.5.3 at a media university (they've just upgraded all the machines with protools 9, so cubase 6 will have to wait till next year). I'm aware of the changes made between the two versions on a daily basis.

Generally I love 6 and the new method of comping, but every now and then you bump into a new feature that has lost functionality whilst gaining aesthetics and this troubles me. (Automation points come to mind)

We've lost the ability to record, comp, record some more, comp some more, all while saving, and having quick access to each and every take. This is a step backward in my opinion.

First prize for me would still be 2 modes of comping
Kev Vin wrote:We need 2 modes for comping in lanes. Please, please and pretty please Steinberg.

Mode = Auto...exactly as it is now. very nice, it works for some situations, but clearly not all.

Mode= Manual... exactly as it was in all previous versions of cubase. The bottom lane gets play preference and the user chooses when to mute, by using the mute tool. Muted objects stay muted until unmuted by the user. This way when adding an extra take after comping, a simple muting of the new take restores the previous comp.

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Re: I'm finally a "new" lanes convert (Except...)

Post by Conman » Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:43 pm

crotchety wrote:I know where you're coming from, AJ, but I'm not finding it easy to even think of a feature request to deal with it. For me, simplicity has been the key with the new lanes and perhaps it may be the solution to your problems.
and
KevVin wrote:We've lost the ability to record, comp, record some more, comp some more, all while saving, and having quick access to each and every take. This is a step backward in my opinion.
I think these sum up these two styles of working here. I go more for a simplistic approach but I think aspects of the second style need looking at if only to clarify a method to work which reduces the clutter involved in avoiding loss of options to redo and / or change the takes without losing any work along the way.
It has to be as simple to use your way as my way.
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