Friday, January 19, 2007

Cubase Studio 4 gripe

If you're thinking about buying Cubase, but can't decide between the full Cubase 4 edition less expensive Studio 4 version, click here:

Comparison chart: Cubase 4 / Studio 4

Pay special attention to the line "External FX": Yes in Cubase 4, No in Studio 4. What does it mean?

It means track inserts in Studio 4 are exclusively "in the box" operations-- you can use an LA-2A plug-in as an insert on your vocal track, but you cannot use your physical, actual LA-2A . Not without:

a) printing it at the recording stage


b) creating an "FX Track"
c) sending the recorded track to the "FX Track"
d) bussing the "FX Track" to your outboard
e) returning from your outboard
f) creating a new audio track with the return as an input
g) recording the playback
h) adjusting for latency after the fact
i) repeating the process until you get the sound you are looking for

And because you can't monitor the "FX Track" exclusively (or, at least, exclusive of the unaffected, pre-recorded version that is being sent to it), it's tough to adjust your outboard gear with any sort of accuracy or confidence at the first go-around. All you can do is press record and take notes on the changes you're making on your extra-computer gear. Then, after the superflous "insert" track has been recorded, listen back to it, wait until the affected track sounds the way you'd like it to, check your notes, and, if you've jotted down something that corresponds with the setting, dial it in on the outboard. Then delete the track you've just recorded and repeat the process.

There's a $500 gap between the two editions of the program, and it ain't just softsynths and EQs that are missing from Studio 4. A good deal of basic functionality is absent from the more affordable edition, and there is currently no economical way to add it, either-- the upgrade from Studio 4 to Cubase 4 costs as much as Studio 4 itself.



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