Control room setup for listening to reference tracks versus mix


So far I’ve not used the control room in Cubase but I am currently wondering how to use this functionality for listening to my main mix output bus versus my output bus to which I sent my reference tracks.

Without the control room, I have always used two Stereo Out output busses:
Stereo Out
Stereo Out 2

Both Stereo Busses are routed to the same device ports on my audio interface (Outputs 1 + 2). So whichever bus I listen to, the audio always gets send to the same stereo outputs to which my speakers are connected.

My Mix gets routed to ’ Stereo Out’ on which I do all my mix bus processing (e.g. bus compressor, etc…).
My reference tracks get routed to ’ Stereo Out 2’ on which there is no mix bus processing. And this bus is muted by default.

By soloing one of the reference tracks that get routed to the ’ Stereo Out 2’ bus, I can quickly switch over to listen to my reference tracks (unprocessed). And if I unsolo the reference track, my mix is playing again through the ’ Stereo Out’ bus.

My question is, how can I do this setup with control room ? Quickly switch from an unprocessed reference track to a processed mix ?

If I enable control room, automatically a control room monitor channel seems to be added that I must assign to my audio interface outputs (Output 1 + 2) to hear anything. This also removes the assignment of the audio interface outputs to Stereo Out and Stereo Out 2.

And Apparently, all audio that I route to the ’ Stereo Out’ bus now gets routed to that one control room monitor channel that I created.
I don’t understand what determines that Stereo Out gets routed to the monitor channel. Nor do I understand how I can quickly route my reference tracks bus (Stereo Out 2) to the monitor channel, or perhaps additionally route that bus to the monitor channel.

Any suggestions on how this works and/or how to best do this with control room would be appreciated. And yes I did read the online help, but can’t find how to do this simple setup.

Route your reference track to NO output, or turn the fader all the way down > then use the Cue Send 1 in pre-fader position… After that you go to the control room monitor section and switch the source between the mix and cue send 1 (and adjust the level of your reference track to taste - using the Cue Send 1 level).

I mostly listen to Reference Tracks from the Preview in the Media Bay. I believe this routes directly to the Control Room and bypasses Stereo Out.

I just have references on tracks with ‘no bus’, using the listen function (L-button). The listen bus bypasses the main output. The only thing to think of is to turn listen dim in control room down to minus infinity.

When I export a mix, I always reimport it into the project, set the output to ‘no bus’ and leave it where it is. In case I’m doing revisions I always have an automatically time aligned (!) earlier version to reference to. Makes it easy to really compare a work in progress with a state of a mix a client has referred to. Instant ability to improve/change a mix without fooling myself :laughing:

The listen bus is also great to spontaneously hear what’s going on on fx channels without the sending channels etc. Seeing that many people never use it just because they don’t take 10 minutes to figure out how it works. Feels like wasting an advanced, unique, convenient feature really. No other DAW has it AFAIK.

Pretty straightforward. Is the Control Room turned on or off (aka enabled)?

ON - Stereo Out routes to Control Room
OFF - Stereo Out routes to your audio interface (or nowhere)

Wow, great ideas and info guys. Thanks very much for the help. The listen option sounds very interesting but will try all suggestions.

Thanks again,

Thanks that works great for a single reference track, but I usually have quite a number of them in a project. I guess I would need to setup a separate cue mix for each then. Or send them to the same cue mix and solo the one I want to hear.

PS: There’s actually a Steinberg video on this I noticed:

Thanks, that does work indeed but getting to the reference tracks takes a few clicks. It might be a benefit to keep them in a single place though and not have to have them present and duplicated in every single project.

Wow, this works exactly like I want it to. And I can balance the level of the reference tracks with each other and the main mix just by using the reference tracks channel fader. (In AFL mode on the listen bus)
And added benefit is that both the listen bus as well as stereo out seem to be routed through the CR monitor channel inserts, meaning that I can use the same sonarworks reference 4 plugin on both busses in one go (this is monitor calibration software, correcting for room/speaker deviations). The very reason why I even wanted to try out the control room. Absolutely fabulous! :smiley:

I also do that, re-importing older mix versions as reference tracks. And your ideas for other uses do seem very interesting as well. A very convenient Cubase feature indeed.

Thanks again for a great suggestion that i’ll be using very often from now on !!

Ah is that the way it works. I was hoping that I could route other output busses to the CR as well, but I now see in the Audio Connections panel that you can set only one output bus as Main Mix. So I guess I can’t route multiple ones to the control room.

Don’t need it anymore now the Listen bus was explained to me though (see other reply in this thread).

Thanks for the info though raino!

All that said, I use this one: ADPTR MetricAB from Plugin Alliance

True. I have a Project that has all my potential reference tracks in it. In Media Bay I just point to that Project’s Folder and it gives me a list of all my reference tracks. Saved that location as a favorite (or whatever Media Bay calls them) so it is one click to see the list. And yes, part of the reason of doing it this way is to keep Projects and reference tracks completely separate. I don’t want anything included in a Project that isn’t specifically part of that Project. Plus it is useful to be able to listen to any of the tracks whenever I want without planning ahead to do that.

Just wanted to point out (especially to folks that might be new-ish to music production) that while MarQs Listen method is totally legit and pretty creative, it is not how that function traditionally gets used.

Traditionally the Listen function is used to partially solo tracks so you can hear them in context. It lowers all the non-listen Tracks by the dim amount set in CR. It gets used just like you would use Solo except you’ll hear the other Tracks softly in the background.

I also use it for listening in context when editing etc.
Since the control room functions are available in the metering tab, with the latest version now also in the right zone of the project window, it’s greatly instant to change the listen dim according to the task. Fantastic :sunglasses:

That’s a great way to keep organized! Indeed a proper housekeeping with files that may or may not belong the project is something to think about.

With my way, all the reference files are added to the projects’ pool. Now never put them into pools’ trash and delete it or they’re gone. So another step of conscious housekeeping is necessary.

My habit looks like: a) open pool, use the archive function (all files get copied to the pool), b) remove anything from the project window that I don’t need anymore (including track versions with takes etc.), c) use ‘remove unused media’ in the pool (trash, not delete), d) double checking pathes in pools’ trash (should all be the project path), e) empty pool trash (delete). Seems complicated/paranoid but shouldn’t take more than a minute and really helps to not kill files accident.

Yes I heard about that too, might try it out as well.


Thanks for pointing that out. I never used the listen functionality before although I did see that you could set the level of ‘other tracks’ in the CR. And to use listen for the reference tracks I guess you have to turn the Listen dim to minus infinity like MarQs pointed out.


As always, lots of ways to skin a cat. I have a stereo out 3/4 for reference tracks, and use my audio interface to monitor out 3/4 over my main 1/2 out.

Whilst you are limited to 4 reference tracks with the Control Room method, the big plus for me is that you can instantly switch between all 4 and your main mix using key commands. It’s actually one of my number one favourite Cubase features.

Unlike auditioning ref tracks from the Media Bay, the COntrol Room method means your tracks will always be time aligned. Very helpful IMO if you are checking the difference between several versions of the same track and e.g. you want to always be hearing the chorus and flipping quickly between different versions.

I also use the Lanes feature if I want to have more than 4 reference tracks although this obviously involves more mouse clicks in order to hear them.

Just use one of the numerous plugins that allow you to have a bunch of reference tracks, individual volume level and start, stop points/loops. Put that plugin in the control room, and it will get loaded on every project and never interfere with your signal path.
Well worth the investment, actually maybe wort a feature request.
Something like that could be a part of the control room, or realized by a plugin.
I’m sure some creative mind could find other uses, if it was a plugin.

Great idea. Kinda like a jukebox in the control room.