Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

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apessino
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Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by apessino » Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:38 am

Sorry to break up all the negativity for a moment... :D I must sing the praises of Cubase! I used Cubase for the better part of a decade back in the middle ag... I mean, the 1990s; all the way to 2003 when I started my company and put music on hold for a while.

Well, after a 10 years break I spent the last couple of months building a new studio and I started writing music again (yeah!). Since I was in no rush I took my sweet time and researched all I could in significant detail (I wrote at least one quick piece in each of my “candidate” DAWs). The candidates were Cubase 7, Digital Performer 8 (beta for Windows), Studio One 2.5. Several other offerings were discarded because they obviously don't fit my needs (FL Studio, Reaper, Sonar). I write orchestral soundtrack type stuff and I have specific requirements, VSTis and lots of huge sample libraries are what I deal with most.

Anyhow, after all of the above I find that Cubase is on other level when it comes to features and workflow. There are certain things it does that nothing else comes close to emulating. Example one: freezing of VSTis! Almost all DAWs support freezing tracks to various extents, but nothing that I found does it the way Cubase does, where one click on the little freeze icon on the VST Instrument slot does the following: all unmuted MIDI tracks targeting that instrument render to a hidden file (optionally with the VST inserts), are then muted and locked, and optionally all samples used by the VSTi are unloaded.

Best of all, one more click and the whole thing is undone! When dealing with libraries where a SINGLE program can take 3Gb of memory it is impractical for most of us to keep all instruments in memory at once. The freeze VSTi feature allows me to use much larger instruments and get more out of my libraries than I could otherwise and with minimal fuzz – it is so practical to freeze/unfreeze I do it all the time so that when I need to load the project file times are minimized. This one feature alone would be enough to make me stay with Cubase for good. ;)

Another example are the amazing time warp tools. The way I work is by recording a performance of a piece on the piano to create a “conductor track,” then use time warp to polish the beats and generate a tempo track. In a matter of minutes I can create a full tempo track, with smooth, live-performance based tempo of any complexity (including time signatures), and then start scoring to it. It is so damn BRILLIANT and well implemented I am speechless! :D

Cubase definitely presents the most challenging discovery phase and the most “retro” user experience of the candidates I tested (with DP being the best and Studio One the most intuitive and streamlined), it’s even a bit anachronistic with the single window approach – I wish I could at least have the workspace cover multiple monitors instead of just one. I hope Steinberg modernize the UX part of the program for the inevitable version 8 (nothing TOO drastic, but rethinking the workspace in terms of more than one window would be a start). Still, even if they don’t as long as the features are so awesome, so complete I will stick with it.

So, let me share the results of the Cubase “learning project” I mentioned earlier. Since I was rusty in my sequencing and I needed to get deep into Cubase again I decided to do a mockup. It was a chance to experiment with technique and workflow without the “distraction” of having to, you know… compose!

I chose the Preludio to Verdi’s opera Attila, which I think is just impossibly beautiful. It was also very challenging because it is so lyrical – and ahhhh those strings in triple octaves!

No quantization anywhere, tempo created from tapping a virtually conducted performance, then polished into a tempo track. I think this is the most important factor of all for an expressive performance – can’t play concert music on a metronome! Just for fun I restricted myself to libraries from EastWest, so that’s all that’s used. There is no “cheating” or layering anywhere either. It’s not perfect (at all) but I am just amazed by how far along sample libraries have come in the last 10 years. An instrumental mockup like this would have been damn near impossible a decade past, without some serious trickery and massive expenditure at least. Here of trickery there is none and expenditure was minimal.

The sound I was going for was that of a live orchestra - I wanted the dynamic range associated with concert music, as opposed to the squelched, mega loud stuff that people expect these days, even with orchestral music. Anyhow, here it is:

http://soundcloud.com/andrea-pessino/ve ... a-preludio

It was a fun experiment, now back to writing music and feeling like an insignificant nullity in the shadow of composers such as Giuseppe Verdi. :D Cubase never crashed on me (although EastWest’s Play VSTi certainly did – one more reason Freeze VST saves your butt, buggy VSTis are not stressed as much). Sure Cubase has a few bugs here and there, but nothing that I could not work around with a bit of experimentation, and I am sure Steinberg is going to address the issues eventually. I really like the new mixer (but then again, my mixing needs are fairly basic).

At the end I really appreciate a lot of what Steinberg has done to Cubase in the decade that I spent away from it. I am glad to see that it is still THE program to beat when it comes to innovative features and workflow optimization.

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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by sampolfonz » Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:45 am

I, too appreciate Cubase, how well it works. It is just slick. It works well, and does not stutter, VSTs load well, it just works.

A few things I think can be better are related to the workflow:

1) show/hide tracks. I know there are folders, but I still think that tracks should be able to be selected to appear or not appear on the screen based on what we as user want to see at the moment.

2) automation being able to be ON TOP of the audio/midi track. Having to have the automation lane open for every track while working on it takes up TWICE the amount of screen real estate that Studio One or DP does for the exact same process.

3) Vari Audio analyzation should only analyze the part of the track necessary instead of the entire audio file. I work with a lot of audio files that are 1/2 hour long each, 26 tracks. It takes a very long time to analyze those files to pitch correct only a couple of parts

4) A consolidated window. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be able to have a the project window open in the top half of the screen, while I am working on a step input of a drum track part open in the window below. This way, I could edit in one window, duplicate parts in the main window on top and keep working away on edits in the bottom.

5) Audio automatically recorded to parts, like the days of VST 24 and 32. So dang handy. I would much rather double click open a part than to have to record, select it all, turn it into a part...and if I need to change anything, dissolve the part, then select everything again and convert it back to part. This would make it tons easier for doing radio production work when only needing to change a line or two in an already completed commercial to have a quick edit inside the part, without all the converting and dissolving.

Other than these issues, Cubase is still fast and easy. After using it these past couple months, pretty steady, I have my chops going on this and it has gotten pretty easy. I loaded Cubase 7 on a brand new computer, built just for audio work. My first Windows PC in my entire life, been a Mac guy since the late 80s, and I, too have been using Cubase since it was Midi recording only. In fact, I used to have Cubase transport run my Fostex R8 recorder from a SMPTE track stripe and the system connected so that the reel to reel could be controlled by midi commands. Ahhh, the memories.

Anyway, I am agreeing with the original poster here about Cubase. I am really liking the new mixer too. I have to say, that it is running flawlessly on my Windows 7 64 bit pc. Its fast, tight and quick. Studio One 2 and DIgital Performer are also in my arsenal of DAWs, but I keep coming back to Cubase.

Enjoy....
Last edited by sampolfonz on Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by BriHar » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:34 am

+1
The Cubase 7 development cycle is predominantly about the windowing mechanisms and it's not finished yet.
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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by Neurosis » Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:52 pm

:P I to am pretty much happy with V7 apart from a few frustrations.
What i am impressed with is the glitch free playback & record. Also the latency which for me is totally un-noticible (this will be my gear as well of course).
On the whole it's a big thumbs up from me :o
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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by Centralmusic » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:38 pm

sampolfonz wrote: 2) automation being able to be ON TOP of the audio/midi track. Having to have the automation lane open for every track while working on it takes up TWICE the amount of screen real estate that Studio One or DP does for the exact same process.
.
Oh, for that I use special Shortcuts "show/close automation, only selected tracks"
sampolfonz wrote: 3) Vari Audio analyzation should only analyze the part of the track necessary instead of the entire audio file. I work with a lot of audio files that are 1/2 hour long each, 26 tracks. It takes a very long time to analyze those files to pitch correct only a couple of parts..
.
solution is to cut a long region (and transform in a new audio file) before you analyze with vari audio.
sampolfonz wrote: 4) A consolidated window. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be able to have a the project window open in the top half of the screen, while I am working on a step input of a drum track part open in the window below. This way, I could edit in one window, duplicate parts in the main window on top and keep working away on edits in the bottom. .
hm... ok, but you can use Cubase´s Midi "In Place Editor" - very helpful!

http://macprovid.vo.llnwd.net/o43/hub/m ... cture6.png
with more than one midi track:
http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/ee27 ... inline.png

another screenshot:

Image
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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by Puma0382 » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:14 pm

Hey Central.. how did you get your pic to display directly in the page (so I can see it without having to log in)..? :?
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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by Plasuma » Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:35 pm

Puma0382 wrote:Hey Central.. how did you get your pic to display directly in the page (so I can see it without having to log in)..? :?
It's an embedded image hosted on another site.
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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by apessino » Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:49 pm

sampolfonz wrote:I, too appreciate Cubase, how well it works. It is just slick. It works well, and does not stutter, VSTs load well, it just works.

A few things I think can be better are related to the workflow:

1) show/hide tracks. I know there are folders, but I still think that tracks should be able to be selected to appear or not appear on the screen based on what we as user want to see at the moment.
Some great points! That would be really useful - since you can already show/hide tracks in many ways using the mixer all we would need is an option to "link" the visibility state of the track from the mixer to the project.
sampolfonz wrote: 2) automation being able to be ON TOP of the audio/midi track. Having to have the automation lane open for every track while working on it takes up TWICE the amount of screen real estate that Studio One or DP does for the exact same process.
Yes! :!:
sampolfonz wrote: 4) A consolidated window. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be able to have a the project window open in the top half of the screen, while I am working on a step input of a drum track part open in the window below. This way, I could edit in one window, duplicate parts in the main window on top and keep working away on edits in the bottom.
Indeed - the UI in DP is really great (for the most part - they do love their tiny fonts, though... :D). I use the in place MIDI editor but it's still not the same thing. I think if Cubase just extended its workspace across monitors and let you carve up that space with views (a "consolidated desktop," if you will) it would rock muchissimo.
sampolfonz wrote: Anyway, I am agreeing with the original poster here about Cubase. I am really liking the new mixer too. I have to say, that it is running flawlessly on my Windows 7 64 bit pc.
Same here! Other than a few mostly cosmetic bugs here and there it has been very solid for me.
sampolfonz wrote: Enjoy....
I am... :)

Thanks!

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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by Plasuma » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:16 pm

apessino wrote:I think if Cubase just extended its workspace across monitors and let you carve up that space with views (a "consolidated desktop," if you will) it would rock muchissimo
Hey man, saw you in the EW forum, and I'm still loving that piece! Even with the particularly bold piccolo at the end. ;)

Just wanted to point that you can "restore down" your Cubase main window and stretch it across multiple monitors. In this screenshot [attached] of a new template I'm still wiring up, I have the key editor on the bottom display, the project window on a vertical display to the left, and the mixer in fullscreen mode on the top display. The only way I can get the key editor and project window arranged like that is to not use Cubase maximized.

I'm hoping that all windows will be full-screen dock-able like the mixer in future versions of Cubase, so there won't be any wasted space by Windows' title bars and the like. For now, I can hide the key editor's title bar under the mixer, but it still bugs me a little that there's still some fringe around the sides.
Cubase non-maximized layout.png
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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by curteye » Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:15 am

apessino wrote:Sorry to break up all the negativity for a moment... :D
Aloha a,
and thanks for the post

IMHO
C7 = +1.
Not that there aren't prob for some users. I get that; but for me unless it is a major prob,
'one monkey can't stop the show'.

My last three $$$ projects have been with C7.x (bye C6.5) and my clients are happy
with the results. (I really love the Hermode tuning feature)

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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by apessino » Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:32 am

Plasuma wrote:
apessino wrote:I think if Cubase just extended its workspace across monitors and let you carve up that space with views (a "consolidated desktop," if you will) it would rock muchissimo
Hey man, saw you in the EW forum, and I'm still loving that piece! Even with the particularly bold piccolo at the end. ;)

Just wanted to point that you can "restore down" your Cubase main window and stretch it across multiple monitors. In this screenshot [attached] of a new template I'm still wiring up, I have the key editor on the bottom display, the project window on a vertical display to the left, and the mixer in fullscreen mode on the top display. The only way I can get the key editor and project window arranged like that is to not use Cubase maximized.

I'm hoping that all windows will be full-screen dock-able like the mixer in future versions of Cubase, so there won't be any wasted space by Windows' title bars and the like. For now, I can hide the key editor's title bar under the mixer, but it still bugs me a little that there's still some fringe around the sides.
Cubase non-maximized layout.png
Hey! Small DAW world... :D

Thanks for the tip! I did try stretching the window across, and yeah... it kinda works but it's still a bit clunky. I too am bothered by all the title bars and window borders, it's hard to make it look organized. At the end I went back to just having the mixer on the second monitor. Maybe I gave up too soon - I'll give it another shot.

That's one big template, btw... :D Interesting that you keep your MIDI tracks flat - I first divide into section folders (brass, strings, etc.), then a folder for each "instrument" (violins 1, bass trombone, etc.). In the instrument folder I have a track for each articulation of that particular instrument (I try to avoid key switching and keep each articulation on its own track).

Cheers, and again, sorry about the piccolo blast... :mrgreen:

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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by apessino » Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:54 am

curteye wrote:
apessino wrote:Sorry to break up all the negativity for a moment... :D
Aloha a,
and thanks for the post

IMHO
C7 = +1.
Not that there aren't prob for some users. I get that; but for me unless it is a major prob,
'one monkey can't stop the show'.

My last three $$$ projects have been with C7.x (bye C6.5) and my clients are happy
with the results. (I really love the Hermode tuning feature)

'Don't look back. 'Somethin' might be gainin' on ya'.
—Paige

{'-'}
Aloha right back at ya... Yeah, I too realize I only use a subset of the humongous set of features Cubase offers, and I am sure there are places where its star does not shine quite as bright, but as far as sheer power and flexibility I don't think other DAWs come close (that I have tried, at least).

Plus, I am glad Steinberg is at least still experimenting and coming up with new stuff. I have no real use for the chord track, but hey, it is pretty damn cool. :) Same goes with things like Expression Maps and Note Expression - these are interesting ideas that have the potential of revolutionizing scoring. Sometimes they are winners, sometimes they aren't, but at least Steiberg is still innovating - with the other DAWs the differences seem to be mostly about focus, user experience and content, not much in the way of innovation that I could find.

Cheers!

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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by Plasuma » Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:44 am

apessino wrote: That's one big template, btw... :D Interesting that you keep your MIDI tracks flat - I first divide into section folders (brass, strings, etc.), then a folder for each "instrument" (violins 1, bass trombone, etc.). In the instrument folder I have a track for each articulation of that particular instrument (I try to avoid key switching and keep each articulation on its own track).

Cheers, and again, sorry about the piccolo blast... :mrgreen:
Oh, heck, I'll forgive it this time... but next time, you better keep them crazy flutists on a leash! ;)

Yeah, the template is totally unorganized right now, but I was intending to leave it all flat like that. I like to use expression maps to switch between all the different articulations in there; and with a padKontrol for key switching, it's pretty darn fun to improvise and keeps the MIDI simple. I really love the expression map control in the editor window itself: note needs to be stac instead of stac slur? One click and it's done! Awesome.

You know, now that you mention it, I could definitely use some folders to keep stuff compact. Might section them off in regions: big ol' orchestra region, drums n' crap region, gee-taurs region, synth stuff, ethnic stuff... yeah, sounds good :lol:
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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by StormyGal » Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:41 am

@OP: The orchestral track sounded really nice.

Hello, and this too is an intro. I'm finding this product amazing. You'll notice 7.0.2 in my signature. That's because I started my project in the demo in 7.0.2, and so when the official product arrived I only updated to 7.0.2. I've learned my lesson on updates the hard way. If it's not broke, don't fix it.

I've been playing with Cubase 7 demo for 2 wks since my copy of another DAW is having a conniption due to a recent upgrade with some older files. So instead of learning Cubase 7 the normal way I got to jump in with both feet into a 30 track MIDI orchestral composition with EWQLSO and Kontakt Player. Fun times. It was difficult at first, but the longer I've worked with it the more I've liked it. Obviously I ended up buying the full version otherwise I wouldn't be posting here.

I'm in the Seattle area, and I'm sure I'm going to have a ton of questions over the next two to three weeks as I try not to tear out my hair and not go crazy, since the insanity is starting to show in the music already as the deadline is approaching. Stuff like routing busses, effects and stuff that's in the manual that I'm going to get totally confused about. Oh, and bouncing all this MIDI to audio tracks. That's going to be interesting.
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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by strinxx » Thu May 23, 2013 10:56 am

Hey guys,

this is one encouraging thread here!
I too do a lot of scoring, using ewqlso, maybe vienna symphony in the near future...
Since I had some (I think) serious troubles with Cubase 6 and ewqlso, I actually gave up trying C7.
Maybe you guys can help me, or give me a hint where to look at.
I actually loved Cubase since it came up in the nineties.... and would love to get back to it..

So basically, when I load say a full strings section, violins 1 + 2, violae, celli, d-basses, everything is fine.
Playback is just fine, no hassles.
But whenever I add a second play instance with a full brass, or horns section, it sounds like playing a damaged Audio-CD.
Can't explain it any better, hope this makes sense for you guys...
It's not like running your project with too short latency settings or the like, it just "stuttering". (bigger buffer doesn't change anything!)
And I'm NOT talking 'bout playing back huge brass-arrangements, this stuttering appears as soon as the section is loaded, no matter if the new added instruments are actually being played or not...
Are there any explanations for this behaviour?

So I tried Reaper on the same machine - no problems here, everything flawless, until I'm running out me system's ressources. Even on my old system, no probs.

I'm running a Win7 PC, no unneeded services running, audio-optimized, i7 3770, 16GB ram, samples on a seperate HD of course.
I would so love to work with Cubase again, especially for scoring..

Any hints?

Thanks for any help or tips in advance!

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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by apessino » Fri May 24, 2013 7:11 pm

Which audio interface are you using? I have found that the interface (its driver?) makes a big difference not only to overall performance but also to Cubase's overall stability, especially when using Play (which is still a lot more unpredictable than Kontakt, I don't thing I've ever had anything at all go wrong with Kontakt, ever... ;) ).

I have an old Lexicon Omega (still works well), a Steinberg UR28M (also works well and has low latency with the latest drivers) and I just got a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 which is BRILLIANT. Very low latency, great sound, more features and flexibility than I can ever use and so far it has been rock solid. It's also really pretty...

http://us.focusrite.com/usb-audio-inter ... lett-18i20

For me and for what I do Cubase 7.0.4 has been completely reliable too - the last of the cosmetic and functional issues I had with 7.0.x have been corrected. Totally loving it... :)

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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by strinxx » Fri May 24, 2013 7:22 pm

Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 on my side here.
Nice interface, great sound, lowest latency, really good.
So... I don't think this has anything to do with my play - issues here...
And as I said, with Reaper - no probs - everything as you would expect.

And yes, Kontakt is much easier to handle... used to work with the older Kompakt-player libraries, and switched to Kontakt then.
But the play engine is somehow able to get a lot of stuff (like different attack and release settings) out of ewqlso, which Kontakt can't unfortunately. So I found it more naturally sounding.

Hmmmmmm....

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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by apessino » Fri May 24, 2013 7:33 pm

Liquid Saffire 56! Now that is a serious piece of kit... :D

Definitely not the problem then - well, all I can say is that Play has always had issues with Cubase. For the piece in the original post I used nothing but EW libraries (HS, HB, HWW, EWSO...) and I had crashes-a-plenty. I ended up working by constantly using VSTi Freeze, one of Cubase's most awesome bits. You might want to try that approach - it will allow you virtually unlimited instruments, even using some of the monsters in the Hollywood series, at the cost of some extra bookkeeping and maintenance.

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Re: Intro and also: Cubase 7 is amazing!

Post by Neurosis » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:28 am

I use Focusrite Saffire Pro 14 using the firewire connection on mac & i have never experienced any latency issues at all. I fact i would go as far to say that i do not even give it a 2nd thought
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