Cubase SX with the ROLAND STUDIO PACK
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As you read this review, keep in mind that I write these reviews, in part, while I'm WORKING with the product. When I run into a problem, I will usually jot down the offending feature and the step that I used to workaround the problem.
This article is not meant to be an exhaustive review of CUBASE SX but rather MY experience using CUBASE SX with the Roland Studio Pack.
I understand that I have only been working with Cubase SX for a week now and Sonar 2 for a year. I can see that Cubase has some very good VST effects and it works great for mastering, ONCE ALL OF THE AUDIO TRACKS ARE IN PLACE. I can see that it also looks like a powerful way for me to mix audio and video together quickly for my online video drum lessons. However, there seems to be no SIMPLE way to route a TRACK OUT to my AUX BUS, using Cubase SX. This makes the simple task of adding OUTBOARD FX to a single track a nightmare. Yes there are plenty of software effects built right into Cubase, but I want to add HARMONIES to some of my tracks and Cubase Chorus FX don't cut it like my Helicon QUINTET.
Now that I have Cubase running with the RSP drivers, I finally do see 8 input channels. This has been resolved since I downloaded the PATCH from Steinberg. It was tricky to get the patch working though. I had to first download it from the webpage, and then while cubase was trying to download it, but before the dongle was installed I double clicked on it to run it.
I'm also finding that trying to import a 1/2 finished project with mixed MIDI and audio tracks can be another challenge because Cubase BPMs and Sonar BPMs are slightly different speeds.This speed problem was also resolved since I got the patch.
The only other curiosity is that a piece of music that I was working on last week , a *.cpr file , will no longer load into cubase and only produces a serious error in cubase, when trying to load it. I have since rebuilt the file by re-importing all of the audio, but once again as the project file gets larger and more complex with MIDI synths, audio tracks and VST effects, I'm starting to get errors. The important thing is that the new file never gets so messed up that it won't load at all.
I made great progress today. I put my vocals on BUS 4 , routed that to AUX ,internally on the Roland Studio Pack, then I plugged the RSP AUX OUT into the line input of the Helicon and back from the Helicon to the RSP by way of SPDIF and recorded the Harmony track along side of the regular vocal.
I know that for some of the great singers it would have been easier just to plug a microphone into the Helicon and sing over again to produce the harmonies, but I already had these carefully edited vocals and this proved to be an interesting challenge, and a learning experience as well.
BTW ,The Quintet only has DIGITAL OUT.
I got my first "finished" mix today using Cubase SX. The advantage with Cubase ,in the mixing department, is that it is so FAST and responsive you can flip on an off effect sends and play with all of the knobs and sliders in real time. This makes it fast to try new things while the music is cooking, and you can record all of that switch clicking if you want! Of course I said "finished" because it is as finished as I can tolerate for now. (Ever hear a song 100 times over again?) When I finish up the other 9 songs I'll be ready to come back to this one with FRESH EARS and match it to the rest of the songs on the CD. I'll also know more about Cubase then.
Now, having moved almost all of my waves over from Sonar 2.2 to Cubase SX , I can safely say that things run MUCH FASTER in Cubase. If I would have 15 STEREO tracks of audio running in Sonar and try to open another window while the music is playing back, either nothing would happen, or I would get the ugly RED DROPOUT error at the bottom of the arrange window. With Cubase, I can open window, move windows and even EDIT DURING playback. Cubase is a truly MULTITASKING type of system. It also loads the music file 3X faster on my 1.4 GHZ P4.
I really like the Sonar bundle *.cwb file, but when mine got larger than 2 GIGS I was no longer able to save them. I never explored the ACIDIZED looping functions of Sonar but I expect that I will try them some time in the future.
The thing I like about Cubase the most is that I can quickly try VST effects , including plugging them in and taking them out while the music is playing. Now I suppose a Sonar user with a 3 GHZ can do some of the things that I have mentioned but ,for right now with only my 1.4 GHZ, Cubase cuts the cake.
I'm still reading the Cubase manual with *.pdf files and without a hardcopy yet.
USING THE ROLAND STUDIO PACK WITH UNITY DS-1
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