The documentation covers the following Steinberg products: Cubase Elements, Cubase AI, and Cubase LE.
The documentation applies to the operating systems Windows and Mac OS.
In our documentation, we use typographical and markup elements to structure information.
Many of the default key commands, also known as keyboard shortcuts, use modifier keys, some of which are different depending on the operating system.
Setting Up Your System
To use Cubase, you must set up your audio, and if required, your MIDI system.
To play back and record in Cubase, you must set up input and output busses in the VST Connections window.
The Project window provides an overview of the project, and allows you to navigate and perform large scale editing.
In Cubase, projects are the central documents. You must create and set up a project to work with the program.
Tracks are the building blocks of your project. They allow you to import, add, record, and edit data (parts and events). Tracks are listed from top to bottom in the Track list and extend horizontally across the Project window. Each track is assigned to a particular channel strip in the MixConsole.
Parts and Events
Parts and events are the basic building blocks in Cubase.
Editing in the Project window is not restricted to handling whole events and parts. You can also work with selection ranges, which are independent from the event/part and track boundaries.
Playback and Transport
This chapter describes the methods for controlling playback and transport functions.
The Virtual Keyboard allows you to play and record MIDI notes by using your computer keyboard or mouse. This is useful if you have no external MIDI instrument at hand and you do not want to draw in notes with the Draw tool.
In Cubase, you can record audio and MIDI.
Quantizing MIDI and Audio
Quantizing means moving recorded audio or MIDI and positioning it on the nearest grid position that is musically relevant. Quantizing is designed to correct errors, but you can also use it in a creative way.
Fades and Crossfades
Fades allow you to gradually increase or decrease the volume at the start or end of audio events or audio clips, and to create smooth transitions.
Arranger Track (Cubase Elements only)
The arranger functions in Cubase allow you to work in a non-linear fashion. Using an arranger track allows you to specify how and when specific sections are played back, even in live performances. This way, you do not need to move, copy, and paste events in the Project window.
Markers are used to locate certain positions quickly. There are two types of markers: position markers and cycle markers.
The MixConsole provides a common environment for producing mixes in stereo. It allows you to control level, pan, solo/mute status, etc. for audio and MIDI channels. Furthermore, you can set up the input and output routing for multiple tracks or channels at the same time.
Cubase comes with a number of effect plug-ins included that you can use to process audio, group, instrument, and ReWire (not in Cubase LE) channels.
Audio Processing and Functions
If you process audio in Cubase, you can always undo changes or revert to the original version. This is possible because processing does not affect the actual audio files.
The Sample Editor provides an overview of the selected audio event. It allows you to view and edit audio by cutting and pasting, removing, or drawing audio data, and by processing audio. Editing is non-destructive so that you can undo modifications at any time.
Hitpoints mark musically relevant positions in audio files. Cubase can detect these positions and create hitpoints automatically by analyzing onsets and melodic changes of the audio.
Audio Part Editor
The Audio Part Editor provides an overview of the selected audio parts. It allows you to view, audition and edit parts by cutting and pasting, crossfading, drawing level curves, or by processing parts. Editing is non-destructive so that you can undo modifications at any time.
Controlling Sample Playback with Sampler Tracks (Cubase Elements only)
The sampler track features allow you to chromatically play back any audio from your audio sample library via MIDI. You can create and edit new sounds based on specific samples, and integrate them into an existing project.
Every time that you record on an audio track, a file is created on your hard disk. A reference to this file, a clip, is added to the Pool.
The MediaBay allows you to manage all your media files and presets from multiple sources.
In essence, automation means recording the values for a particular MixConsole or effect parameter. When you create your final mix, Cubase can adjust this particular parameter control.
VST instruments are software synthesizers or other sound sources that are contained within Cubase. They are played internally via MIDI. You can add effects or EQ to VST instruments.
Remote controlling Cubase
It is possible to control Cubase via MIDI.
MIDI Realtime Parameters
MIDI realtime means that you can change or transform MIDI events on MIDI or instrument tracks before they are sent to the MIDI outputs. This allows you to change the way MIDI data is played back.
This chapter describes the various MIDI processing functions available on the MIDI menu. They offer various ways to edit MIDI notes and other events, either in the Project window or from within a MIDI editor.
There are several ways to edit MIDI in Cubase. You can use the tools and functions in the Project window for large-scale editing or the functions on the MIDI menu to process MIDI parts in various ways. To manually edit your MIDI data on a graphical interface, you can use the MIDI editors.
The chord functions provide you with many possibilities for working with chords.
Chord pads allow you to play with chords, and to change their voicings and tensions. In terms of harmonies and rhythms, they allow for a more playful and spontaneous approach to composition than the chord track functions.
Export Audio Mixdown
The Export Audio Mixdown function allows you to mix down and export all audio that is contained between the left and right locators of a project.
Cubase supports the integration of video files in your project.
The Preferences dialog provides options and settings that control the global behavior of the program.