Sunday, February 6, 2011

How do I do that in Cubase 5? And other home recording questions...

New for 2011:  I'm not much posting strange news on the weekends this year because I'm busy recording the 88 songs I've written. (*If any of you would like to find and post interesting strange news on this site during the weekends, email me: )

To record, I'm using software called Cubase 5.5.2 (64-bit Windows Vista version). This is a post where I'll  keep notes about how to do things and hopefully help and hear from others.

My home recording studio questions

1. How can I use my iPhone as a controller to start and stop recording?
A. get the Cubase IC app (FREE) from the App store for your iPhone

B. On your home studio computer, get the Steinberg SKI Remote remote control extension.

C. Install the latest iTunes for Windows on your home recording system. Be sure the Bonjour service is running.

D. Start Cubase and under the Devices, click the [+] to add a new device.  You should see "Steinberg SKI Remote" in the drop down list.

When you don't see it there, go read this lame note (again after reading the same note more than a year ago )... and give up:  "Please note that the SKI Remote extension does not support 64-bit Cubase."

Alternatives: Get a wireless mouse or keyboard.

Or, try this: Keep Cubase 64-bit installed and install Cubase 32 bit as well. You may notice that you can do the same work in either program and that the 32 bit version of Cubase on your 64-bit OS takes much less CPU to do the same thing. Not sure if this would mess up my license... haven't tried it.

2. How can I get my computer which is in the same room to be silent during recordings?
U 87 Ai studio microphone: Directional characteristics switchEnclosing it in a cardboard box, placing the mic so the computer sits in the quiet part of the polar pattern, and keeping my mic gain way down works okay... but is not ideal.

I looked at some ways to throttle down my fans and also at a quiet computer case specially built to reduce sound, but I'm thinking there must be a fairly cheap solution.

Perhaps long cables to get the computer into the next room, or I could build my own enclosure. This often turns out to be as expensive as just buying a special quiet case once you add up all the parts, but may give you better results. Even the quiet case has fan noise from the back.

Here is what I did: I have a case with three noisy fans. I unplugged the two case fans. So far after an hour I'm running Vista 64 bit and using a free program called SpeedFan 4.4.2, I can see on this fairly cool day with the side of the case open that my temperatures are in the range of 49 to 55 c.

3. Is there any noticeable difference between a $3,000 Neumann U87 mic and a $200  AT3035?
U 87 Ai studio microhones: Detail view- Surprisingly, so far, not so much. Still investigating, and I may need some expert ears to tell me what I'm hearing or not, but so far head to head, the AT3035 is warmer and sounds just as nice through a quality Focusrite ISA428 pre-amp with an Apogee Rosetta AD stereo 24-bit A/D converter feeding the Motu 828 via SPDIF.

4. Record Shortcut: How do I set up my key shortcuts so the * key on the keyboard key pad starts play and record at the same time?
The asterisk key on the key pad is set to trigger record by default, and if not you can set it under File | Key Commands ... | Transport | Record. In my case, clicking it would trigger record, but not play as well. The fix is on the transport panel, the precount/click  button (to the left of CLICK, looks like this: [||*] had to be off to start right away. Actually with the metronome on the precount is very useful to give you time to get ready to record after you press the record button. In another case, this did not work, so this is unsolved.

[ --- Items below are solved --- ]

Q. Why does something I previously recorded sound high speed now?!
The project switched its sample rate back to 44.1 kHz from the 96kHz at which I thought I'd recorded it. Under Project | Project Setup | Sample rate, change to 96.000 kHz , then say Yes to convert audio files and you may have to NOT keep them at their locations when prompted to keep them from getting all jumbled up.

Q. Cycle Record: Why with the purple Cycle button clicked does Cubase not loop between the cue points?
Under File | Preferences | Editing | Musical, make sure this is checked [x] Cycle Follows Range Selection

One time, I had this selected and I had my range selected and it STILL did not loop, until I added a temp track. Then the cycle worked even after I removed the tempo track. Weird.

Q. Multiple Takes: How can I create a loop that lets me record the same part over and over automatically, keeping every take?
Cubase will do this automatically if you loop a part that you are recording. To see the various versions, click the button on the track controls to turn the Lane Display Type to "Lanes Fixed" The latest version at the bottom of the stack highlighted in a different color is the one you will hear during playback. If you mute one lane, another will automatically be the one played. You can move any take to the top to hear it. On the transport control, be sure you set the Linear Record Mode to normal. Note that it will look like it is just recording over what you just did, but the various takes in lanes will show up when you stop the recording. .

Q. Headphone Mix: How can I get separate headphone and main speaker outs?
- My headphones are plugged in to a Motu 828mkII firewire which is connected to my computer. With the Motu firewire driver installed from the maker web site, Cubase now recognizes the Motu ASIO (Audio Streaming In/Out) which I now use instead of the ASIO For All driver. With this connected, when I add a new output bus and rename it to "headphones" then I can independently assign each track to the headphone output (Click the (e) button and add headphones under sends, click  the power button for the send and turn up the send volume with the slider.

- Update: I'm now using the RME Babyface interface and the "AISO Fireface USB" driver. The idea is the same. I'm using Device Port "Analog 1 & 2" for stereo in with 2 microphones connected, Device Port "Analog 1 (1)" and "Analog 2 (1)" for stereo out  and  "Analog 3 (1)" and "Analog 4 (1)" for the headphone out. Then in each track, under  the Sends, click to get the "outputs" menu, then select "Stereo out", then click the power button so it turns blue, and then drag the horizontal volume slider for up from left to right. Do the same to add a headphone out. There may be a better way to do this, globally instead of for each channel as I do, but I save my set up as template then I only have to do it once.

Q: Click Track: How do I get the click track just in the headphones and just during record?
In Devices | VST Connections | Outputs, you can click on the word "Click" to turn it on and off for different outputs. Under Transport | Metronome set up, you can set metronome for play or record with check boxes.

Q: WTF: I somehow got into a mode where I record, see the recording happening, hit stop, and what I recorded vanishes(!) with no undo and no history to bring it back!
No idea. Restart Cubase and try again?

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