[Bug?] Flatten Arranger track alters project length

Discovered this yesterday when working with a class. Easy to repro , it actually occurred in class using Cubase Studio 5, but does the same on Cubase 6.0.5.


  1. Create a new project, and turn the tempo track off.
  2. Create a MIDI or Instrument track (doesn’t matter which).
  3. Create 4x 4-bar empty parts (one after another)
  4. Create an arranger track
  5. Using the pencil tool on the arranger track, create arranger events to match the parts you have just created(they should be called A, B, C and D)
  6. In the inspector on the arranger track, drag the A, B, C and D sections to the Current Arranger Chain area.
  7. Change the number of occurrences for each part of the chain from 1 to 2.
  8. From the Arranger Chain drop-down menu, pick “Flatten Chain”
  9. Set the tempo to 60bpm
  10. Try to scroll to see the last part.

Expected Behaviour:
The project should behave as normal, with the default length of 10:00:00 allowing all the project to be played. I would not expect “Flatten Chain” to alter the project length.

Observed Behaviour:
When the track is flattened, the project length is altered (to 1:14 in this example). If the tempo is changed, the parts will extend beyond the project length.

Windows 7 x64, Cubase 6.0.5 32-bit. Also observed in Cubase Studio 5.5.0 on Windows XP.

Same with C4. I don’t think it’s a bug. More like a feature. It would be nice for Cubase to ask if you want to trim the project length, though. I don’t find it a huge problem, anyway. Just adjust your project length and everything is fine again.

I think it is a bug - there’s no reason for it to alter the project’s length, and of course you can alter it back, but if you put up with everything like that we’d end up having to fix all sorts of things that are ‘unintentional features’…

Maybe you find no reason. Maybe I don’t find a reason. But somebody has found a reason, because someone has written code on purpose to alter project length in this case. This makes it a feature, not a bug, no matter how irritating or useless feature you or me or anyone finds it to be.

I don’t agree.

There’s no reason that the project length should be altered when flattening an arranger track. It’s quite possible that the code that flattens the arranger track was never intended to shorten the project length, In the same way that Cubase had inconsistent mute/solo activity with instrument tracks.

I take it you write software for a living?

I don’t think he writes software any more than you can (maybe you both can?). Is your Project length as long or short as you think it is?
I mean, it’s easier to surmise that you have made a mistake rather than the programmer. Just need to check before we obediently nod our heads.

So let’s say we have a part 1 minute long in a project 1 minute long.
Have the part repeated in the arranger track and flatten.
What you think will happen?

The obvious. Can’t be sure without seeing the OPs Project. For instance one may think the part is one minute long but in reality as you edit it may be longer (in the background) and the program reflects it. A guess but if that happens I wouldn’t know yet if that’s supposed to happen or whether there is anything in Preferences that might alter that.
It is best to establish a definite or near-definite cause to be able to get it looked at.
No good griefing on it if there’s a definite fix somewhere.

The obvious

Not sure what obvious would mean to you.
What I meant to say is that in that case the project length gets adjusted, making it longer…

Exactly. And I think this is at least one of the points why project length is changed. Of course, the ideal behaviour of the software should be:

option #1
IF length of the arrangement is greater than current length of the project
THEN ask user if he/she wants to adjust project length
ELSE just leave it for what it used to be

But then we would have dozens of topics in the forum about: “why is this Cubase thing asking this stupid question”? So … better approach could be:

option #2
IF length of the attangement is greater than current length of the project
THEN adjust project length
ELSE just leave it for what it used to be

But maybe Steinberg software designers thought: “Hey … this guy/gal has finished his/her arrangement when flattening out the project: let’s do him/her a favourite and trim the project”, which leads to:

option #3 (current behaviour):
adjust project length

The situation we got here is one of the following:
Steinberg followed #3 … which means it’s A FEATURE … NOT A BUG
Steinberg followed #2, but the poor programmer forgot the IF clause … which means it’s A BUG

I don’t think we as users will never know the truth … and as a user couldn’t care less!

Don’t know about OP, but I don’t write software right now … but used to write quite huge software systems for weather forecasting/visualisation in my previous life.

I agree with option 2 of course…

Of course, because it’s the best option when assuming the most common case … but … there may be cases (I don’t know about them, but it doesn’t mean they do not exist) where this is not the ideal behaviour.

But then again … I find this concept of “propject length” artificial in first place. Why is it there? Why can’t my project just grow and shrink automatically during it’s lifetime? Of course there may be reasons for this which I’m not aware of … and because of that (and because it’s just minor annoyance) I’m not crying out loud: “IT’S A BUG … THIS SOFTWARE IS USELSS … I’VE HAD ENOUGH AND SWITCHING TO REAPER/LOGIC/PROTOOLS/WHATEVER”