In the first installment of my Cubase learning blog I ended with a few initial questions I had. Today I want to go through them and answer them to be the best of my basic understanding, based on forums, video and hands-on research. I'll try and credit the solutions where I found them.
What struck me about looking for the answers were that the vast majority of search questions came up with forum-based solutions and discussions, rather than a link to any official documentation. I found the official support for Ableton to be incredibly detailed, the Logic Pro X support to be reasonable, but the lack of official answers to relatively simple searches for Cubase queries is slightly concerning, especially compared to the competition.
Another aside is that I found that I'm actually using Cubase Elements 8, rather than 8.5, as Cubase Elements 8.5 doesn't exist - they haven't added the .5 additions to Elements as far as I can tell (such as a nice way of hovering the mouse over the edges of certain sections to show/hide them).
1) What do I use a MIDI track for, rather than an Instrument track?
An Instrument Track (similar to a Software Instrument in LPX) is for a single VST instrument, which responds to the MIDI data within its channel.
A MIDI Track has flexible routing of the MIDI data within its channel; in the case of using it to play an instrument, you first create the instrument within the Instrument Rack and then route the MIDI data to it. This is particularly useful for VST instruments with multiple channels (drum machines, samplers) where you can separate out the multiple parts onto separate tracks and have them all routed to a single instance of a particular VST instrument.
2) Is there any way to reduce the silence whenever a new track/instrument is created? I don't know if that's just a programmatic thing or if it's down to the machine running Cubase, but it'd be nice not to have.
Doesn't appear to be - most of the videos I've seen of people working in Cubase experience the same short silence.
3) What are some better navigation commands? I’ve got ‘G’ and ‘H’ for zoom in/out, now to find other ones (i.e. view all selected)...
4) What is/isn’t customisable - key commands, colour schemes, screen sets…
EVERYTHING IS CUSTOMISABLE AND IT'S GLORIOUS - well, that's not true, but the colour palete, key commands and many other things can be and can then be saved as a Profile to be exported/imported onto different machines as necessary
Work spaces (LPX: screen sets) are there but I can’t test them out in Cubase Elements - there’s a dropdown menu of things you can do with this! There are also "Global" and "Project" workspaces, which work either for any project or just the one you're working in respectively (SOURCE: Forum)
5) What things does Cubase do that LPX doesn’t, which I’ve never considered looking for (unknown unknowns, Mr Powell…).
Still ongoing, but Macros look fun!
6) What’s the best replacement for the incredible ‘Make Into Software Instrument…’ option in LPX? As there doesn’t seem to be any native sampler I guess I’ll be using Konkakt for everything, in which case I’ll need to learn to get quicker at making a new sampler instrument out of chopped up samples.
7) What’s the Cubase equivalent of LPX’s ‘Bounce In Place’? (there are going to be other ‘Lost in Translation’ moments of terminology that I’m well aware I’ll have to get used to!)
8) Everything about the score editor! Having not seen it yet I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what I can do with it.
The basic one (MIDI>Scores>Open Score Editor) is there, though it’s hard to tell what can/can’t be done in comparison to Cubase Pro.
That's where my understanding is at this point in time! I'll be doing another update on the learning curve in the next few days - in the meantime, please check out my latest project; the audio for newly-Steam Greenlit Blind Sky Studios game "Mandagon"