How do I do that in Cubase? And other home recording questions…

I’ve been Cubase for years (5.5.2 to 7.0.7 64-bit Windows Vista & 7). This is a post where I’ll  keep notes about how to do things and hopefully help and hear from others.

My home recording studio questions

Q. How can I use my iPhone as a controller to start and stop recording?

A. get the Cubase IC app (FREE) from the App store for your iPhone

B. On your home studio computer, get the Steinberg SKI Remote remote control extension.

C. Install the latest iTunes for Windows on your home recording system. Be sure the Bonjour service is running.

D. Start Cubase and under the Devices, click the [+] to add a new device.  You should see “Steinberg SKI Remote” in the drop down list.

When you don’t see it there, go read this lame note (again after reading the same note more than a year ago )… and give up:  “Please note that the SKI Remote extension does not support 64-bit Cubase.”

Alternatives: Get a wireless mouse or keyboard.

Q. How can I get my computer which is in the same room to be silent during recordings?

U 87 Ai studio microphone: Directional characteristics switchEnclosing it in a cardboard box, placing the mic so the computer sits in the quiet part of the polar pattern, and keeping my mic gain way down works okay… but is not ideal.

Here is what I did build your own computer with a SSD hard drive (no moving parts, totally silent) and a fanless power supply. Find the quietest CPU fan you can and disconnect noisy fans in the case. Work in a cool room, and use blankets or whatever to stop noise from reaching your mics.

Q. Is there any noticeable difference between a $3,000 Neumann U87 mic and a $200  AT3035?

U 87 Ai studio microhones: Detail viewYes. The AT3035 is warmer and used to sound just as nice to me through a quality Focusrite ISA428 pre-amp with an Apogee Rosetta AD stereo 24-bit A/D converter feeding the Motu 828 via SPDIF, but after more tests I realize the AT3035 was not giving me the awesome resolution of the U87.

My current chain: U87 and SM7b into a Neve 1073DPA preamp into a Toft ATC-2 for two channels of compression and equalization then to a BabyFace interface for the A to D conversion.

It is critical to note that even with the the best gear in the world, you can make a crappy recordings  with the wrong settings. You need to understand how every part contributes to the whole. Do a lot of audio tests until you find the sound you seek.  I would not say the opposite is true.

Q. Do I need a hardware compressor? Why not just use a plug-in?

Yes, get a decent hardware compressor for your vocals. After experimenting and listening closely, I find that hardware compression sounds much better than any plug-in I tried. You still have to understand and use the settings correctly, either way.

Q. Record Shortcut: How do I set up my key shortcuts so the * key on the keyboard key pad starts play and record at the same time?

The asterisk key on the key pad is set to trigger record by default, and if not you can set it under File | Key Commands … | Transport | Record. In my case, clicking it would trigger record, but not play as well. The fix is on the transport panel, the precount/click  button (to the left of CLICK, looks like this: [||*] had to be off to start right away. Actually with the metronome on the precount is very useful to give you time to get ready to record after you press the record button. In another case, this did not work, so this is unsolved.

Q. Why does something I previously recorded sound high speed now?!

The project switched its sample rate back to 44.1 kHz from the 96kHz at which I thought I’d recorded it. Under Project | Project Setup | Sample rate, change to 96.000 kHz , then say Yes to convert audio files and you may have to NOT keep them at their locations when prompted to keep them from getting all jumbled up.

Q. Cycle Record: Why with the purple Cycle button clicked does Cubase not loop between the cue points?

Under File | Preferences | Editing | Musical, make sure this is checked [x] Cycle Follows Range Selection

One time, I had this selected and I had my range selected and it STILL did not loop, until I added a temp track. Then the cycle worked even after I removed the tempo track. Weird.

Q. Multiple Takes: How can I create a loop that lets me record the same audio part over and over automatically, keeping every take?

Cubase will do this automatically if you loop a part that you are recording. To see the various versions, click the button on the track controls to turn the Lane Display Type to “Lanes Fixed” ( “Show Lanes” in Cubase 7) The latest version at the bottom of the stack highlighted in a different color is the one you will hear during playback.

If you mute one lane, another will automatically be the one played. You can move any take to the top to hear it. You can quickly bounce multiple takes by selecting the ones you want and choosing, Bounce Selection from the Audio menu.

Cubase 5: On the transport control, be sure you set the Linear Record Mode to normal. Note that it will look like it is just recording over what you just did, but the various takes in lanes will show up when you stop the recording.

Cubase 7: On the transport panel, select “Keep History” as your audio mode. If you set this to “Replace” your previous tracks audio lanes will be overwritten. I lost some work this way.

Cubase 7 does not have “Linear Record Mode”. Damn it! Cuabse 7.07. seems to have some kind of bug. I have everything set right. If I do a partial take multiple takes show up in multiple lanes as expected. If I record a longer whole, however, my recording in the newest lane just freaking vanishes when it reaches the end and cycles. Undo does nothing. Piece of junk. Don’t buy Cubase, it is damn frustrating. I’m going to switch to ProTools or something. Update: If the lane above the last lane recorded starts after the one you are recording, the newest lane recorded will duck UNDER a previous recording when it cycles for some reason. It seems the recording is there, but gets HIDDEN IN THIS WAY.

Q: How do I get the piano keys smaller in the Edit in Place MIDI view?

Click on the piano keys (the cursor may or may not change to a hand) then hold the mouse down and drag left or right to increase or decrease the size of the keys.  Easy once you get it, but frustrating if you are looking around in the menus for a way to do this.

Q: How do I get the notes to make sound when I click them Edit in Place MIDI view?

If you click the piano keys and they make sounds but the notes do not, then you have your instrument set up correctly. Click the triangle in the upper right part of the keyboard on the MIDI lane and a pop up will show you more options. Toggle the first button (Acoustic Feedback) to on.

Q. Headphone Mix: How can I get separate headphone and main speaker outs?

– My headphones are plugged in to a Motu 828mkII firewire which is connected to my computer. With the Motu firewire driver installed from the maker web site, Cubase now recognizes the Motu ASIO (Audio Streaming In/Out) which I now use instead of the ASIO For All driver. With this connected, when I add a new output bus and rename it to “headphones” then I can independently assign each track to the headphone output (Click the (e) button and add headphones under sends, click  the power button for the send and turn up the send volume with the slider.

– Update: I’m now using the RME Babyface interface and the “AISO Fireface USB” driver. The idea is the same. I’m using Device Port “Analog 1 & 2” for stereo in with 2 microphones connected, Device Port “Analog 1 (1)” and “Analog 2 (1)” for stereo out  and  “Analog 3 (1)” and “Analog 4 (1)” for the headphone out. Then in each track, under  the Sends, click to get the “outputs” menu, then select “Stereo out”, then click the power button so it turns blue, and then drag the horizontal volume slider for up from left to right. Do the same to add a headphone out. There may be a better way to do this, globally instead of for each channel as I do, but I save my set up as template then I only have to do it once.

Q: Click Track: How do I get the click track just in the headphones and just during record?

In Devices | VST Connections | Outputs, you can click on the word “Click” to turn it on and off for different outputs. Under Transport | Metronome set up, you can set metronome for play or record with check boxes.

Q: I somehow got into a mode where I record, see the recording happening, hit stop, and what I recorded vanishes(!) with no undo and no history to bring it back.

No idea. Restart Cubase and try again.

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