Automating gate length from 1/16th to 1/128 over a bar

Is there a way to somehow automate the gate length from 1/16 to 1/128 over the course of a bar. Doing it manually is obviously possible but incredibly time consuming.

So far I’ve investigated:

  • Transformer (CC to note length): Couldn’t find note length there
  • Scale Legato: couldn’t see how to automate it
  • Step Designer: no option I could see to automate step size
  • Arpeggiator: the closest I came but despite providing modulation lanes for for Step Size and Length it didn’t respond


Probably the easiest would be to do it manually for 1 bar & then copy paste that.

Would a single Ramp going between 1/16 & 1/128 work?

Yes a ramp would work.

I would like to remain flexible though, in that it’s possible I’d like to ramp up and then down etc. (ie, I wont always want a simple ramp down over a single bar).

You can always put in as many Ramps as you want & add additional automation points whenever you like. Also you can use the Bezier Curves to change the shapes of the Ramps.

One feature you might find helpful is the Edit>Group function. Say you have 4 bars with Automation that you like and want to reuse. On another Track (can even be a dummy Track just for this purpose) create an empty 4 bar MIDI Part next to your automation data. Next Select both the Part & the Automation and Group them. Now when you duplicate or move the Part the Automation will follow along.

Apologies if this is a silly question but I don’t understand how or where I’m drawing these ramps. I assume in the MIDI editor, which is fine, I can do that with MIDI CC’s, MIDI modifier values, plugin parameters etc etc, however I’m yet to find note/gate length here.

Thanks for the Edit->Group tip. I’ll be using this for sure in future, will be a huge time saver.

Actually there are 2 different ‘flavors’ of Automation in Cubase. MIDI Automation, which is apparently what you’ve been using, has been around forever and its 0-127 step resolution is inadequate for dealing with Audio. So there is another Automation that is used for Automating mixes, controlling plug-ins, etc. which is much more comprehensive. You’ll want to see the manual for details as there’s a lot it can do.

But basically this lives on Automation Lanes which can be displayed below each Track. Here’s an example from a current Project where I’m using the Automation to change a setting on the Track’s VSTi for a couple of beats. You can open the Automation by clicking on the Track where indicated. Where it says “More…” will take you to every parameter on the Track which can be Automated - a huge number of things.

Hi, thanks for taking the time.

I am aware of this automation section, however there is no gate or length in there. The closest I have come is after adding an arp as a MIDI insert and then selecting note length. This then appears as an automation lane, however Cubase doesn’t respond to the automation. It does for the initial trigger but not on the subsequent one or a changed value. Theoretically this should work but I don’t think the intended use is as I have planned.

Make sure the Track is set to Read the Automation like in my pic above.

Well you’ll only find the parameters for items which are on the Track. So if you have a Gate on the Track it should show you all the available parameters on the plug-in. Note that it is the plug-in manufacturer who determines what’s available. But if you don’t have a Gate on the Track there isn’t going to be anything to Automate the Gate Length of.

You’re being extremely helpful and patient so many thanks for that. However, given the response, it’s important for me to clarify I’m not new to Cubase and have been using it since the SX days. My preferences folder consists of dozens of macros and key commands, and I use automation in every project, many of which have 200 tracks.

All that said, I have tried it again on a different PC and a fresh project and it works as intended (see attachment). I’m curious now why my main PC, which is substantially more powerful, isn’t doing the same but that’s a different question.

Thanks once again, raino.

This particular feature is bugged. The arpeggiator’s note length cannot be automated.
Chances for a fix are close to 0%.

Have you thought about using the MIDI Gate on the audio channel of your plugin? It would require an additional MIDI track to steer the gate.

Ah that would explain why my results aren’t consistent then. Bugger.

Yes, a MIDI Gate could work. I will try this tonight. I would prefer to keep it all self-contained in a single track but if that’s not possible then so be it.

Try in midi modifiers, you have section in inspector also you have it as midi insert, the latter has a bit more options. I often automate velocity shift slider.

Updated answer below.

Or maybe the AutoLFO (MIDI plugin).

Automation of the Wavelength works on this plugin.

So close… But of course the one I want isn’t an option :man_facepalming:

It does work but it’s not what I had intended. Essentially this is targeting the master volume via CC as opposed to the MIDI trigger. Often the result is the same but if I’m using sounds with hard attacks or LFO resets etc. I need the new MIDI trigger.

Nevermind. Nailed it in 5 mins in Ableton.
Will just import the MIDI into Cubase now.

Just checked and lenght compression cannot be automated :frowning: …Was about to tell you try ableton, and the new midi tools looks phenomenal, unfortunately Cubase is way back on those things with midi arps/rhytmics as well generating midi and so on.

Yeah it’s a bit unfortunate really. I would like it self-contained in Cubase but oh well.

On the other hand - in 5 minutes I can just draw that in in Cubase.
If Live let’s you do that with a couple of mouse clicks I’d be impressed. Impressed that they focus on this but just announced to add a glue and cut tool in their next version.