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> A Guide To Cubase, Part 1, ..how i make my lessons and songs
Trond Vold
post Jul 27 2008, 12:09 AM
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Here's a little guide on how i use Cubase smile.gif I hope it will be of use to someone!

NB! This guide isnt for the very beginners.
I'm assuming here that you allready know how to add/remove tracks, instruments and plugins etc,
but i've still added some tips for beginners.
And please note, some of my ways of doing things isnt necessarily the best way to go about.
So please use this guide as more of a collection of tips, and not as an absolute guide smile.gif
In short; This is more of a guide on how i record my lessons and songs.
I'm working on a general tutorial for the absolute beginner though.


I'll start off with an explanation of how i've set up my hardware:

I connect my guitar straight into my preamp (Marshall JMP-1), and i connect it to my soundcard (EMU Tracker-Pre) by using the mixeroutputs(emulated-outputs) in the preamp.
I have a Roland GT-8 board connected in the effect-loop of the JMP-1, but i only use that for solo/lead tracks.
And i connect my active monitors (SLX audio MT600A) directly to my soundcard.

The JMP-1 does have one problem though, it's not all that good for clean sounds. Even with help from the GT-8.
So for clean sounds i now use a VOX AD50VT212 amp. I connect it to my soundcard through it's line output.

Now, lets continue with Cubase!

Starting up:

I start up by selecting "New Project", and then select a template i have pre-made with all my settings and
i'm good to go!
(Template explanation in the Hints section further down)

Audiotracks:

Rhythm tracks (High-gain/crunchy sounds):
I record all my audio tracks in stereo, and i record all rhythm tracks twice and set the panning to 41 left and right.
Why i use 41 and not 40 or 42 etc i dont know, i just like sticking with what works for me and 41 is a good number smile.gif
Anyway, this procedure will give a thick and full sound.

I dont usually use any processing on the rhythm tracks as i think the sound is good as it is and i like the rhythm tracks to be as dry as possible.
If i should need a delay-effect or some reverb on these tracks, i just stick to the built-inn Cubase plugins: "DoubleDelay", and "Reverb A".
They sound good and are easy to set up.



Rhythm tracks (Clean sounds):
Due to my Vox only having a mono-output, i record clean tracks with mono-tracks. But i still record them twice and pan them the same way as above.
For effects, i use the built-in Vox effects in the amp. It is ALWAYS best to record tracks as dry as possible if you later want to alter the sound,
but i find the effects in the VOX to be quite good so i just stick with them.

Solo/lead tracks:
I use the GT-8 to record most of the solo tracks. I've made a preset that sounds quite alot like the JMP, but with less bass and more mids to make it come clearer through the mix.
I like to record each solo twice as well, this can cause a bit of frustration though because you have to nail the exact same solo two times smile.gif
But it's excellent practice!
I dont record harmonising solos twice though, as it can quickly turn into a mess with too much sound. One with each harmony will do fine smile.gif

I do use a hint of additional EQ/compression processing on my tracks, but i'll get to that further down in the Mix section.

MIDI:

I have a Midi-keyboard, but i rarely use it. I do all my drum-patterns with the mouse.
For bass, piano, strings, synths i either use the mouse or the GK-20 guitar midi-interface.
Using only a mouse CAN be a bit limiting to your creativity though, so i strongly recommend aquiring a midi-keyboard and using that instead.

Bass:
For the bass sounds, i use a great VSTi called Trilogy by Spectrasonics.
It works great on it's own with no additional processing, but i like to run it through a plugin called Ampeg, which is like
a guitar-rig for bass.

Here's a screenenshot of my usual Trilogy and Ampeg settings:


Drums:
For drums i use Toontrack Superior. I like it because it sounds good from get-go, and the samples are top-notch.
Another good thing about it is that you can process each part of the kit individually, which adds alot to the versatility
of this instrument.
I usually add a compressor on the bassdrum and snare and EQ the toms a bit, but i dont have a fixed set-up as of yet.





Additional synths:
I dont have alot of synths, and i rarely use any. I will rather buy good plugins than instruments.
But if i need one, then i use ReFX Nexus, and i absolutely love it.
It's a great VSTi with all sorts of useful sounds.
It does have one drawback though, and that is that it have a tendency to sound quite dominant in the mix. It is however usually fixed easily with the various controls in the interface though once you get to know it, like the "Spike" function.



..and now, over to how to shape the overall mix:

The Mix:

We all have various ways to get the overall sound on the mix we want. Some like to process all the tracks and instruments individually and dont use this option at all.
It's not required at all to do this if your allready satisfied with how the mix sounds.
What i like to do here is to add stereo-enhancement, as i feel it does quite alot to the mix, and also a slight compression and EQ on everything.

I have the following plugins placed on the main mixer(stereo out)output:
(You will find the mixer by pressing F3)

TRacks EQ
TRacks Compressor
TC-Works Parametric EQ



You dont need NEED to have two different EQ's on your mixer-output, but i'm pleased with the sound i'm
getting with this setup and dont see the need to change anything.
None of these plugins are heavy on the CPU either.
But this is an area where you can do alot of experimentation and the slightest EQ change can either do
wonders or terrible things to your sound.
Remember that this is the final exit of all your instruments and tracks, and you have to find a way for them
to sound good together.

A good rule to follow is to not overdo it with effects here.

Here's an audiosample of what one of my songs sound like with and without my mixer-settings.

Attached File  sample_with_mixer.mp3 ( 641.63K ) Number of downloads: 355

Attached File  sample_without_mixer.mp3 ( 641.63K ) Number of downloads: 310


Hints:

A good idea that will save you hours from setting up plugins, tracks and instruments in a new project each time, is to (before you have recorded anything, and have just finished setting everything up) save the project as a template. You will see this option in the File-menu.
Then next time you start cubase and wants to start a new project, just select "new project", and you will find the template you saved. Select it, and all plugins/instruments/tracks will load up.

Just remember to do this before you record any audio-files because then you will get an annoying error each time saying that audio files are missing.

Another good idea is to trim the transport panel (the movable panel with recording/play/rewind/CPU usage etc. meters) by removing stuff you dont need. This has no real functionality though, and wont save any CPU or anything like that. But it makes the buttons you do need to use alot more visible and easier to find, especially if your still new to Cubase.
You will find the option to alter the transport panel by rightclicking on it, and selecting "Setup".



___________________

Well, thats it for now smile.gif
There might be some stuff i forgot to include in this draft, but i'll edit and update if so.
Also, i hope the pictures arent too big!

This post has been edited by Trond Vold: Jul 27 2008, 12:46 AM


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kjutte
post Jul 27 2008, 12:23 AM
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YOU ROCK MAN! thanks alot!
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Lian Gerbino
post Jul 27 2008, 12:27 AM
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hey trond... great work you have done here!!! very useful!


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Trond Vold
post Jul 27 2008, 12:33 AM
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Thanks kjutte and Lian! smile.gif
Glad you like it


--------------------
Guitars: Schecter Stiletto Classic, Jackson SLSMG, Ibanez RG-380 Japan, Gibson Les Paul Studio

Amp: Marshall JMP-1 -> Rocktron Velocity 100 -> Marshall JCM-900 Lead 4x12

FX and stomps: T.C Electronics G-Sharp, Korg SDD-1200, Emma Transmorgrifier, BYOC Tribooster, GGG Green Ringer, Dinosaur Overdrive, Voodoo Lab SuperFuzz, Sovtek Bassballs, Line6 Tap Tremolo, EHX Screaming Bird.


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Oxac
post Jul 27 2008, 12:44 AM
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Wow Trond, you really took my request to your heart biggrin.gif It's a great guide, it covers a lot of things and gives a great overview of what is possible. It also gives you some of the required knowledge to do further research on your own.

This could be like an introduction post and you could do more close up lessons on specific things like, midi editing/mapping. That would be very VERY useful for us who aren't really familiar with it. But so far, really good info!


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Trond Vold
post Jul 27 2008, 04:32 PM
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QUOTE (Oxac @ Jul 27 2008, 01:44 AM) *
Wow Trond, you really took my request to your heart biggrin.gif It's a great guide, it covers a lot of things and gives a great overview of what is possible. It also gives you some of the required knowledge to do further research on your own.

This could be like an introduction post and you could do more close up lessons on specific things like, midi editing/mapping. That would be very VERY useful for us who aren't really familiar with it. But so far, really good info!


I've got a complete beginners guide in progress right now, and i will include a more indepth look at
editing and mapping there smile.gif
Not yet sure if that one will be in 2 parts because there's alot of fields to cover.


--------------------
Guitars: Schecter Stiletto Classic, Jackson SLSMG, Ibanez RG-380 Japan, Gibson Les Paul Studio

Amp: Marshall JMP-1 -> Rocktron Velocity 100 -> Marshall JCM-900 Lead 4x12

FX and stomps: T.C Electronics G-Sharp, Korg SDD-1200, Emma Transmorgrifier, BYOC Tribooster, GGG Green Ringer, Dinosaur Overdrive, Voodoo Lab SuperFuzz, Sovtek Bassballs, Line6 Tap Tremolo, EHX Screaming Bird.


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audiopaal
post Jul 27 2008, 05:22 PM
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Great guide Trond smile.gif
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Muris Varajic
post Jul 27 2008, 05:29 PM
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Awesome topic Trond! smile.gif


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Trond Vold
post Jul 29 2008, 04:00 PM
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Thanks Paal and Muris smile.gif


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Guitars: Schecter Stiletto Classic, Jackson SLSMG, Ibanez RG-380 Japan, Gibson Les Paul Studio

Amp: Marshall JMP-1 -> Rocktron Velocity 100 -> Marshall JCM-900 Lead 4x12

FX and stomps: T.C Electronics G-Sharp, Korg SDD-1200, Emma Transmorgrifier, BYOC Tribooster, GGG Green Ringer, Dinosaur Overdrive, Voodoo Lab SuperFuzz, Sovtek Bassballs, Line6 Tap Tremolo, EHX Screaming Bird.


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Daniel Robinson
post Jul 29 2008, 04:15 PM
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Thanks for sharing this man, i think it will help anyone, even non-Cubase users like myself to build a better recording chain.

One of the things i don't like about my recording chain atm is that i can't get a nice fat signal like your getting here with out pumping the EQ too much. Which as we all know if you use too much EQ you are turning the EQ plugins into an amp, which they are not designed for and so you get alot of noise and artifacts.

I have sent my pre-amp for an overhaul. Hopefully once i get it back it will be working correctly. (I just hope the guy knows what he is doing lol) Since ART doesnt exsist anymore this guy is supposedly an ex-ART technician so we will see.


Anyway thanks man

Daniel


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JVM
post Jul 29 2008, 04:15 PM
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Looking forward to a complete beginners guide, I've been wanting to get more into recording lately and having good tools to do it.


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Iluha
post Jul 29 2008, 04:15 PM
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Cool guide man, I can really use something like this..

I got one question though, why do you record track's twice, can't you simply copy one track and put it on another?


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jul 29 2008, 04:21 PM
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You made a really big effort to make this. Way to go! I like the choice of plugs man. smile.gif

This post has been edited by Ivan Milenkovic: Jul 29 2008, 04:21 PM


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stickyfingers
post Jul 29 2008, 04:23 PM
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just the kind of info i needed, thumbs up! ;D


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Bogdan Radovic
post Jul 29 2008, 04:31 PM
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Awesome stuff Trond and great work done ! smile.gif


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Trond Vold
post Jul 29 2008, 05:06 PM
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QUOTE (Iluha @ Jul 29 2008, 05:15 PM) *
Cool guide man, I can really use something like this..

I got one question though, why do you record track's twice, can't you simply copy one track and put it on another?


If you copy the same track twice it will just sound odd, atleast on guitar-tracks.
It's the small variations of each track that helps to fill out the sound.


--------------------
Guitars: Schecter Stiletto Classic, Jackson SLSMG, Ibanez RG-380 Japan, Gibson Les Paul Studio

Amp: Marshall JMP-1 -> Rocktron Velocity 100 -> Marshall JCM-900 Lead 4x12

FX and stomps: T.C Electronics G-Sharp, Korg SDD-1200, Emma Transmorgrifier, BYOC Tribooster, GGG Green Ringer, Dinosaur Overdrive, Voodoo Lab SuperFuzz, Sovtek Bassballs, Line6 Tap Tremolo, EHX Screaming Bird.


___________________________________________________
My Lessons!

My Instructor Board!

My Myspace!
Go to the top of the page
 
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Iluha
post Jul 29 2008, 07:27 PM
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QUOTE (Trond Vold @ Jul 29 2008, 06:06 PM) *
If you copy the same track twice it will just sound odd, atleast on guitar-tracks.
It's the small variations of each track that helps to fill out the sound.


Yeah that's what I thought, gives it a more LIVE like sound tongue.gif


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Toni Suominen
post Aug 7 2008, 09:58 PM
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Great topic Trond, and very useful, this is most appreciated since I've got Cubase too, so it's always nice to get new tips and hints! smile.gif


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Caelumamittendum
post Aug 7 2008, 10:04 PM
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Thanks, Trond! Once I get settled in my new apartment and know my exact future I will look more into this.


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Henry Dietzel
post Aug 11 2008, 09:07 PM
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Sharing your approach has been very helpful, Thanks Trond


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