Steinberg`s long-established Cubase music

Steinberg`s long-established Cubase music
Steinberg Cubase 5 £499
Steinberg’s long-established Cubase music production
software gets a major update by Trevor Curwen
ince its launch 20 years
ago, Steinberg’s Cubase
music production
software has undergone
constant development and
revision with each new version
offering more facilities than the
previous one. This has
culminated in the recent
release of Cubase 5 – a major
move on from Cubase 4.
Cubase aims to provide a
complete music production
environment. What you get are
audio and MIDI tools for
producing, composing,
recording, editing and mixing.
The program comes with a
collection of eight virtual
instruments that you can use to
construct backing tracks and 56
different effects that can be
applied to any audio that you
record. There is no limit to the
number of audio tracks you can
record for a song.
There are several new
features in this revised version,
some perhaps aimed more at
dance music producers but
some that guitarists ought to
find useful when making
recordings. Two new tools
provide intonation editing for
monophonic recordings, which
means that you can use them to
tweak your vocals till they are
perfectly in tune or even subtly
edit a guitar solo where the
string bending may not have
been spot-on or one of the
strings slipped out of tune.
‘VariAudio’ gives you the
chance to manually select
individual notes to change their
pitch and tweak their timing,
while ‘PitchCorrect’ allows you
to automatically transpose a
performance relative to a
particular scale.
New features for help in
creating backing tracks are the
‘Groove Agent ONE’ drum
sampler with a custom library
of drum kits and ‘Beat
Designer’, which can work in
conjunction to create original
drum patterns. Also new is the
‘LoopMash’ virtual instrument,
which manipulates and blends
audio loops to create beats.
On the effects front you get a
convolution reverb processor in
Cubase for the first time –
REVerence is apparently
capable of emulating speakers
and any natural room or hall.
Also new is improved
automation for more dynamic
mixes, plus 64-bit operation on
computers running Windows
Vista 64.
presets, 14 generic amps and 10
cabs – other plug-ins include
standard guitar effects such as
tremolo and reverb so you can
construct some fully produced
guitar sounds without needing
any third party plug-ins.
For anyone that wants to put
a track together with full
backing, the virtual
instruments completely
provide the goods. Groove
Agent ONE allows you to set up
intricate drum parts very
easily while the HALion ONE
sampler has an expanded
sound library with more than
600 sample-based instruments
and 58 drum kits. There are
also five different software
synthesisers. You don’t have to
play a keyboard to create
instrument performances as
you can input the MIDI data
into Cubase using either your
mouse to draw the notes or by
using the ‘Virtual Keyboard’.
In Use
If you wish to record your
music on your computer there
are several software programs
available, but Cubase offers
what may be the most versatile
software system that is not tied
to one particular computer
platform or a proprietary
hardware interface. The new
features are certainly worth
the upgrade fee for existing
users, and anyone who has yet
to invest in a computer-based
music production system won’t
go far wrong here.
Cubase comes with a USB
dongle as copy protection and
once you have registered your
serial number you will get
unlimited use as long as the
dongle is plugged into your
computer. Registering and
getting up and running is easy –
after that there’s a lot to learn.
The range of plug-in effects
that come with Cubase 5 is
quite wide and includes a nicesounding guitar amp simulator,
which comes with a load of
If you use a Mac then
Apple’s Logic Studio (£312)
offers a full music
production environment
with virtual instruments,
effects plug-ins and a
separate mastering
application. Another
complete music production
environment is provided by
Cakewalk Sonar 8
Producer Edition (£435,
Windows only). Digidesign’s
Pro Tools is found in studios
worldwide. Available for both
Mac and Windows, the
affordable LE version
(£various) comes as a
package with a range of
Digidesign audio interfaces.
Bottom Line
The Cubase 5 software has full production capability
The Rivals
We like: Instruments for
creating backing tracks;
good range of plug-in
effects; new vocal editing
We dislike: Dongle ties up
a USB socket
Guitarist says: Cubase 5
provides a classy computerbased environment with all
the facilities you’ll need to
produce music
Steinberg Cubase 5
PRICE: £499
TYPE: Software music production
ORIGIN: Germany
MIDI TRACKS: Unlimited
ONE, Groove Agent ONE, LoopMash,
Prologue, Spector, Mystic, Embracer,
RANGE OPTIONS: Cubase Studio 5
£332, Cubase 5 Update from Cubase
4/SX3 £166, Cubase Studio 5 Update
from Cubase Studio 4/SL3 £107
0049 40 42236 115
Test results
Build quality
Value for money
130 Guitarist May 2009
GIT315.rev_cubase 130
23/3/09 4:10:50 pm
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