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Thread: Returning to Cubase after many years

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    Question Returning to Cubase after many years

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    Hello!

    I have not used any DAW software since 2002. I think Cubase 5?

    Before that, I had Pro 24 in 1988, then Cubase for Atari in 1990.

    Now I'm thinking of getting Cubase Artist 10 for Windows 10.

    1. Should I also get a new computer? Or will it run OK on an older one that meets the system requirements?

    I have a 2015 HP ZBook 15 G2 laptop with Windows 10, 4th generation i7, 16GB RAM, and 512 SSD. Great workhorse for daily tasks, but will 4th gen i7 cut it?

    Or should I get an older version of Cubase, say 8 or 9, for my older machine?

    2. Is a 15" laptop even the right machine? Do I need a larger screen or even two? I remember doing just fine in 2002 with a single iMac screen.

    3. How is the learning curve for someone who used Cubase many years ago? Is it a whole new program? Or will some of it be familiar?

    4. How are the virtual instruments? Especially the orchestral sounds? I'm thinking of getting Halion Symphonic Orchestra to supplement the included Halion 3 SE. Or maybe even get the full Halion 3.

    This is mostly for soundtrack style music -- real orchestral sounds mixed with synths and drum samples. Is the included library pretty good for this?

    I should note that I plan to use Cubase for MIDI and VST only. No audio recording.

    Any advice or anything I haven't asked about but should know?

    Thanks!

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    Cubase on the Atari was where I started. The basic premise is the same - a timeline, and the inspector box - but now that timeline can contain far more than MIDI. So much so that apart from the gizmo titles being similar - it's got very little in common - too many versions and changes over the year - each similar but a small change. Coming back from the old one is now very different.

    The built in freebie sounds are pretty good, and the sheer number of vstis is now huge. Most of our output is orchestral based, and the Halion symphonic package is good, but so are the ones from Native Instruments and people like Spitfire - by old colossus orchestral samples still do good service as do others I have.

    Computer wise. I'd suggest multiple hards drives - I nice bug internal one for your samples - which get bigger and bigger all the time. If the computer is speedy, then a year or two won't hurt the performance very much. Just make sure you have enough storage and lots of memory for the samples.

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    Thanks, Rob. Good info.

    I've looked at NI and other libraries. All very tempting.

    Since Cubase has changed so much, I wonder if I should be looking at other software. Is there something less elaborate that might serve me better for MIDI and VST programming? Seems Cubase and the other big names focus a lot on audio tracking.

    Or is it easy enough to ignore or hide the audio features in Cubase and streamline my workflow for MIDI only?

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    The track type is largely irrelevant, so a song full of midi and a song full of audio tracks just differ in the look of the tracks - a waveform for one, and a series of dots in the other. From cubase 5 to the current version is just natural evolution and loads of extras. My colleague is very happy with Cubase Elements 10 - which he's now on and would look very suitable for you. Not too expensive and the bundled sounds are pretty decent. Download the demo.

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    I looked at Elements 10, but apparently it won't allow changes in time signatures and tempos (no master track). Is that correct? That's why I'm looking at Artist 10.

    As for downloading, is that the best way to buy DAW software now? Any benefit to ordering the boxed version? Not sure I really want to download 30GB of data. And then don't you have to wait for a hardware key in the mail anyway?

    As for the boxed version, how is the software packaged? Is it all on a thumb drive? I can't imagine a 30GB program with sound libraries on CDs.

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    Yes - true, but artist does it and it's not that much more. Still a few small cross versions issues with things like numbers of vets and track counts, and it doesn't have VCA tracks - but that's small potatoes really isn't it.

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    Yeah, Artist seems like the best level for me. What about boxed vs. download? Does the download take forever? My connection isn't too fast. Thinking I should go with the boxed.

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    I started on SL3/LE1

    That computer should be fine although I could see needing to freeze tracks if you are using a ton of virtual instruments. I'm sure if you used cubase in the early 00s you will be familiar with that workflow anyway.

    Boxed should also be fine, the download is pretty large (multiple gigs if I remember right) and since you will probably need a new dongle it's probably even recommended. I have not had a boxed version since C5 and it came on a dual layer dvd, I have no idea what medium they ship in on these days. My internet connection is fast as hell so I actually prefer to download it.

    Cubase is still excellent for midi even after all these years. The VSTi load area has been improved (in my opinion) from version 5 quite a bit. You can now see both your instrument track and "racked" virtual instruments in one place unlike how it used to be. The mixer had a huge update in version 7, again if I remember right.

    The nuts and bolts still work the same as they always have though.
    My home studio ---> www.nerolstudio.com

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    Thanks for the info, Guitargodgt.

    What is freezing tracks? When I last had Cubase, I used only the MIDI and audio recording features. Wasn't quite ready to try VSTs. I had a Kurzweil synth for all my sounds back then.

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    Freezing tracks is when you render the track to a new audio file.

    When you use a DAW program, you are not actually altering the recorded audio. It is called Non-destructive editing. If you add an EQ or compressor to a track or edit the length of a track, the software doesn't actually change the audio file. It does the EQing and compression and edits in realtime as you are playing the track back.

    If you have enough processors applied to multiple tracks, it can get to the point where the computer can't keep up and it runs out of resources to do all the processing in realtime. This is especially true for some types of virtual instruments or reverb type plug-ins which require lots of processing power. If that happens, you'll hear glitches or pops and the audio might just stop. To alleviate the strain on the computer, you can Freeze a track which will render the processors and edits to a new audio file. The software then plays the new audio file and doesn't need to apply the processes to the track anymore. This frees up computer resources.

    And, because it is a new audio file, if you wish to make changes, you can un-freeze the track and it will revert to the original audio file.

    Hope I explained that well enough.

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