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Is Cubase Becoming Too Complicated?


Ben One

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I'm a longtime Cubase user, and I'm beginning to have my doubts about sticking with the platform. There's no question that Cubase is extremely powerful. But compared to what I have been reading about other applications, such as Garageband and Ableton Live, I'm beginning to feel that Cubase's somewhat complicated approach may no longer be worth it for me (as an amateur musician).

 

Certainly, Garageband and Ableton Live are not the exact same kinds of applications as Cubase, but they appear to be opening up a trend for simplicity of use that I wish Cubase would emulate.

 

Granted, I am only using SX 1.06 right now, but SX 2 and 3 don't appear to be any more streamlined. I worry that it's going to evolve into an even more complex and harder to use beast.

 

I'd have no problem if Cubase's power were hidden beneath the hood, but many of its functions are too hard to figure out intuitively. Only after repeated text searches in the mammoth PDF manual do I ever begin to understand things.

 

Also, I can be completely wrong, but it seems as if Cubase is relying too much on processor power, rather than programming elegance, as it grows into a more sophisticated program.

 

I invite other people to share their opinions. I can be convinced that I should stick with Cubase in the long run. I used to like its logical approach, but I am beginning to lose faith in it. Still, I want to hear other people's thoughts!

 

Ben

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Actually...I'm more interested in your opinion if you could give specifics. I'm thinking of moving over to Cubase from Logic 5.5 on the PC. My big push is that Logic on the PC can not handle multiple softsynths live. I want to layer sevral together as I'm playing(yeah I actually still do that). So I downloaded the Cubase demo (1.something). I think it's recent that they put a demo version on their site. This thing to me is very easy to get around. I did have to open the help file a couple of times to understand where the vst softsynths get edited from and a couple of other things. But once I found the soft synths in the mixer, recording some tracks (both audio and midi) was a piece of cake. Maybe I've been on Logic to long but Cubase was actually enjoyable ( at least so far). I'm certainly not dissing Logic. It does it all - but I think change is in the air -= espeially since I have a new 3.6G w/2GB/160GB HD/DVD R/W etc. Dell on the way.

 

I'll be playing with Cubase demo for the next couple of months and then after NAMM decide wheteher to buy or go with something else. Not big on Sonar BTW but just my 2 cents.

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no. it's just getting better. they have retained all the simple functions/philosophy from early versions while adding new ones for the 'power user', so it can get as complicated as you wish, or not. any function can be generic/simple or detailed as hell, if you want it to.

 

My only beef with them is they come out with 'major' updates (read = want more money) just too damn often. It used to be different before. i just updated from Nuendo 1.x to 2.x in fall. how many updates did N2 live thru - 2.01 that was buggy and not really working, 2.1 and 2.1.3. so there aren't any free updates at all. i'm supposed to shell out another $200 just a few months later to get Nuendo3. Policies like this is what makes people stop giving a s... about moral anymore and turning to crackware. it's the same old question, does it start with users that wont pay and use pirate software, or with companies being monopolistic and insatiable in their thirst for your money? Steinberg is really pushing it, considering N2.1 was the first truly remarkable version that is worth the cash.

 

i'm not saying any other DAW company is 'better' in this regard.

 

Markyboard, i didn't mean to scare you off with this, just a friendly warning. it is IMO a program where 'can't do' isnt an option. it is well developd and has power tools in all areas of music and audio editing - for novice and a big shot producer as well. I'm using it for scoring films and speed and stream-line of operations and processing is unbelievable.

http://www.babic.com - music for film/theatre, audio-post
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I upgraded from SX 1.06 to SX 3 and it only got better. The audio engine also got a decent overhaul (already from 1.0 to 2.0). There's some very very nice extras in there that were worth it for me to plonk down 150 euros and order it.

 

As for being complicated; I don't know, I find it kind of satisfying that the way I have to make music is close to rocket science for most people ;) .

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i think the basic functions in cubase are very easy to use, but i have been using it for a long time.

 

in some ways, i think cubase is less complicated than it used to be. for instance, they took out (and only now in sx3 are putting back in) the ability to make your own control panels for external hardware, through system exclusive.

there also are some things gone, like the Interactive Phrase Synthesizer that were pretty cool, but somewhat non-intuitive.

 

now they're getting into things like 'total recall' of hardware and joint projects like 'studio connections' with yamaha that should make things even easier if you've got the appropriate hardware.

 

cubase is fairly simple to use at the most basic level and a lot of people will never have a need to go beyond that.

the other stuff is just there in case you ever need it.

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Cubase is great!

 

I haven't used anything else, but I don't see them being much easier. And Garageband probably can't even compare to what Cubase can offer.

 

"Cubase Power" is a great book (search for it on Amazon) to work out any problems you might have learning it. Much more intuitive than the manual. I keep it right by my side whenever recording/mixing/mastering.

Amateur Hack
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Thanks to everyone for their great comments. I am very encouraged by what I hear. I think I may have been intimidated by the quick succession of upgrades, from SX to 2 to 3. Also I was worried that Steinberg seemed to have been adding features to SX instead of improving the basics, but this may have been a misperception on my part.

 

I have owned the SX2 upgrade since April, but haven't installed it because I wanted to learn everything that I could in SX 1.06 using Craig Anderton et al.'s excellent book on Cubase mixing and mastering, which is designed basically for SX 1.0. But I guess I should move up soon!

 

I thought that the move from Cubase 5.0 to SX was a huge step up in terms of stability and slickness (I mean this in a good way). Ironically, despite everything I said, I missed all of Cubase 5's MIDI implementation when I moved to SX though the MIDI features seem to be coming back.

 

Ben

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Originally posted by shniggens:

"Cubase Power" is a great book (search for it on Amazon) to work out any problems you might have learning it. Much more intuitive than the manual. I keep it right by my side whenever recording/mixing/mastering.

Me too, but I was trying to find out what all that "arrangement" stuff is about in 5.0, and there's nothing. Nothing.

 

Not about SX, I know. My bad...

I played in an 8 piece horn band. We would often get bored. So...three words:

"Tower of Polka." - Calumet

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  • 2 months later...
I'll be playing with Cubase demo for the next couple of months and then after NAMM decide wheteher to buy or go with something else. Not big on Sonar BTW but just my 2 cents.
Well it's been a couple of months and I'm really liking Cubase (of what I've used) . I am concerned about MIDI timing issues associated with ver 3.0/3.1 based on what I'm reading on the Cubase and Nuendo forums. Can someone confirm for me whether they're seeing this midi timing drift and please state what midi interface you work with? I believe the problem has only been reported with PC not MAC.

 

I'm ready to go for the competitive upgrade for $300 maybe this week so I don't think I can lose too bad here.

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I have been using Cubase ever since the early days of Pro24 on an Atari ST computer. I have dabbled with other s/w along the way (like DP and Traction), but I always come back to Cubase. Right now, I have SX2 on my Mac and I'm planning to upgrade to SX3 next week (I found out how, finally!).

 

I reckon on spending at least $150 a year on Cubase upgrades. It's well worth it IMO. Cubase does everything I want it to, and a lot more. If I (we) want the s/w to keep developing with the times and the state-of-the-art, I (we) need to make sure they stay in business. With Steinberg now being bought by Yamaha, I think the future of Cubase and Nuendo is a lot more secure.

 

:DTR

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Have been using Cubase SX version 1.5 & Nuendo 2.0, though more of the former for a while now. Haven't bothered upgrading, casue there seems to be these upgrade session happening ever so often..!!!

But in terms of functionality & ease of use, have found Cubase to be quite ok. I actually first started out on this whole Hrad disk based recording thing on Nuendo first and so moving to Cubase didn't prove to be too much of a hassle.

 

Was wondering if on the other hand, if anyone has has made the move from Cubase to Logic and what kind of learning curve was there to that..??

Vinay Vincent,

BASE Studios

 

"Live Jazz friday nights at The Zodiac Bar"

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I don't think you'll find a pro sequencing / audio recorder easier to use than Cubase. I started using it with v3.7, migrated to 5.1, and now I'm on SX 2.2. As with any software, I'm very cautious about upgrading, and I only do so when I feel the majority of the bugs are worked out. I follow the Cubase forums closely, and while many are using SX 3.0, my resistance to upgrade probably has more to do with lack of critical new features rather than bugs. I'm still getting my head around SX (as a long-time VST user), so I don't need any new features right now.

 

But I do think that most of the "power user" functionality is kept out of the way. If you only want to use core features, I think the other stuff is transparent. But I admittedly have not used some of the newer simpler applications (like garageband) to make a fair comparison.

 

The key to success is to have a dedicated computer with solid hardware. A lot of folks (out of desperation) will say "Brand X is buggy software". I prefer to say "Brand X works well on a limited number of hardware / software combinations".

 

All the best,

 

Wiggum

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Thanks for the replies guys but it sounds like no one is using 3.0 yet so it doesn't really answer my questions. Since I'm cross-grading (sounds like a Virginia thing), I'll be going into a version that still hasn't been fully ironed out and this midi timing thing could be a big one. Oh well.
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They are all becoming more complicated as every DAW strives to have every feature. I have used Cakewalk since version 1 and over the 10 or so years that I have been a customer it has evolved from Cakewalk 1 to Cakewalk 9 and then Sonar 1 through 4. I purchase about every other upgrade.

 

As for your question, take a look at this thread and others at KvR.

 

SX3 more intuitive and user friendly?

 

You will find plenty of SX3 users there.

 

Robert

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MIDI timing is rock solid here with Cubase SX 3.0.1. However, as far as I understand, this not only depends on the brand/model of your audio card and midi interface but also on the pc's mainboard (in particular the stability of the mainboard's cpu clock).

 

I use the Terratec EWS 88 MT audio interface along with the Terratec Midi Hubble which is a dual MIDI interface and an 3-port USB 1.1 hub combo device.

 

My pc is a quite aged Pentium III 1.2GHz system. Despite its age it is well capable of handling 50+ audio tracks plus EQ on each track and delay/reverb/modulation/dynamics on some tracks.

 

The following article gives some detailed information about the MIDI timing issue. Jay Levitt, the author, also provides a test utility which helps to find the optimal settings:

http://www.jay.fm/miditime/

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If I could make a comparison.... there's a thread asking what would be a keyboardist's "dream machine". Seems Cubase is trying to become "dream software" by doing everything. And what a surprise, folks are now saying it's getting too complicated! I have just one question for any of these do-it-all dream systems: Can it core a apple?

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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YIKES!!! I mean HOLY SH%T!!!

 

I'm embarassed to say I checked this out for the last couple of months and didn't catch this. I'm more crapping on myself then the product here. Cubase SX on MY SYSTEM(thats the important words for those that think I'm ragging on Steinberg) absolutely sucks. I'm using the Demo version 1.02 but it matches what others have found with 3.01. I suspect it has much to do with my use of emagic Unitor II and AMT(USB) although some are reporting it's also dependent on what mother board you use.

 

I'm using the metronome set to a VST sound(FM-7). When I sequence a few simple phrases playing on my Z1 it starts out fine. But as I continue to record and time passes from when I started up Cubase the sequenced recorded notes gets earlier and earlier with respect to the metronome even though I'm playing them at or near the same time as the beat. You can even see the data placed too far to the left as you record(if this makes any sense). After an hour its placing the notes maybe an 1/8th note early.

 

I think I was strictly checking out recording VST instruments and audio so I didnt think to try out external MIDI instruments with it until now. And maybe I didn't use it for that long a period although this problem really shows up pretty quick (if you know to look for it).

I was ready to go for it this week but no way I can live with this - even as a screwing around hobbyist. I read someone saying they had similar problem with Sonar so I'm going to have to check this one out too. What's wierd is I booted up my Mac IIci with Vision today thinking about how well MIDI recording worked on that system for all thoise years. Then I erased all my music stuff before giving it to Goodwill. :eek:

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