I wish I had a million dollars given to me every time a person in the recording forum mentioned Cubase being complicated. I’d be rich! I guess that’s a given. However, I’d be rich, if I had a dollar every time someone said that Cubase was complicated, I’d still be rich!
It appears that Cubase has somehow earned this reputation for being a difficult program to learn. I’m hear to say that there is nothing complicated about Cubase. Nothing! The process goes like this.
1.Turn on computer
3.Create new track
4.Name new track
5.Arm new track (push the small red button)
6.Hit record (that’s the big red button)
Of course, this is how it works in any recording software. In fact, this is basically how it’s done on analog tape, too (more or less). I don’t see what the big deal is. Granted, you have to setup Cubase initially, but you have to do that with Pro Tools, Sonar, Digital Performer or anything else. Once you understand the concept that all audio is routed through Microsoft Windows and then into your recording software, you should be off and running.
Reasons Cubase Is Difficult
I can think of a few reasons why Cubase is difficult.
A person doesn’t read the manual
A person can’t handle the fact that they are learning something new and therefore the person gets anxious and even irritable
Reasons Cubase Is More Difficult Than Pro Tools, Samplitude, Sonar, etc
A person is already comfortable with one of these other programs
There is a big learning curve with any piece of recording software. The software is just part of the equation. There is hardware that has to be learned as well. Getting the complete system to work flawlessly is a pain in the neck the first time. However, don’t blame Cubase for your troubles. Accept the fact that you may not know what you are doing and take on the challenge of defeating the learning curve. When your put your brain into “destroy” mode, you’ll learn Cubase in no time.
Advanced Features In Cubase
Not long ago me and a buddy went hiking in the mountains in North Carolina. (No, this was not Brokenback Mountain or whatever it was!). On the last half of the trip, I drove. We took my buddy’s Civic which is quite a bit newer than mine and has more girl features (power windows and such). Anyway, I never bothered to learn where the cruise control was. My car doesn’t have it so I just didn’t bother with it. It wouldn’t have got us there any quicker anyway.
I feel the same way about all those advanced hidden features in Cubase. I know they are there. I took the time to learn what features exist in Cubase, but just like the cruise control, I choose not to bother with them until they make my life easier. The day that I need to sync the tempo of a song with a previously recorded song, I know that Cubase can do it. Great! I’ll open up the manual, read for 45 seconds, and do it. Done.
The Key To Learning Cubase
The big secret to learning Cubase isn’t really a big secret at all. In fact, it’s common sense. You simply have to be able to decipher the basic stuff from the advanced features. There is no point in learning how to develop Boolean MIDI functions when you don’t even have your audio interface routed to software properly.
Two Parts To Learning Cubase
When you learn Cubase, there are two main goals you should achieve. First, you should understand all basic functionality so that you can perform normal recording functions. You should be able to record audio and MIDI. You should be able to use your plugins. You should know how to edit and splice audio. You should know how to do basic routing of aux sends. You should know how to render the track to a wav file. This is the basic stuff that all real recording software can do. Some software companies have made this sort of thing a little more thought out, easier to use, etc. I think that Cubase has some EXTREMELY well thought out software.
Cubase has already broken up this process for you. They include a “Getting Started” manual inside of Cubase.
The second half to learning Cubase is to be aware of what features exist. It’s easy to get into a situation where you are taking an hour to do something that Cubase can do just as well in 8 seconds. If you are not aware that the feature exists, you’ll waste years of your life. This is where the manual comes in handy. Of course, Cubase has switched over entirely to PDF for their manuals, which I consider to be a great thing. (I DON’T LOSE THE MANUAL ANYMORE!!! Searching is much easier as well). The great thing about this second half is you can do it in 5 minutes. If you get bored one day or you are waiting for your samples to load in DFH Superior or something, fire up the big Cubase manual (not the Getting Started version) and read the table of contents. Everytime I do this, I learn something new or at least I’m reminded of a feature that I’ve forgotten about.
Missing The Bigger Picture
The people that say “I just want something simple to record with” are missing the bigger picture. Imagine those super thin roads in France that will barely fit one of those Mini Cooper cars. Of course, France is a zillion years old and the buildings were constructed before humans discovered gravity or Mars. France isn’t about to knock down and rebuilt a couple thousand buildings just so its roads can have an extra lane. However, this also means that congestion can be a problem. (For the record, all I know about France is the Nazis surprised them in 1940 and beat the living crap out of them in practically no time. I have no idea about French traffic. I’m just illustrating a point even if it is fictional).
Here’s the point. You probably say you want “simple” recording software. (I’ve never heard anyone say “I want recording software that is extremely difficult to use”. I don’t expect to ever hear this). However, the second you ask for one little feature that will save you 10 hours of work, you’ll find that the “simple” recording software out there simply can’t do it. (I call this “not thought out” software).
You can read all about this in my article, The Problem With Simple Recording Software.
Anyone who says that Cubase is difficult to learn is either regurgitating the rumors that someone else regurgitated from someone else who didn’t know what they are talking about. Zillions of people use Cubase in professional recording situations. If you take the time to learn it, not only will you realize that Cubase is very easy to use when you know how, you’ll thank those Germans for putting so much thought into their Cubase recording software…..even if the Germans did blow the hell out of France 67 years ago.