Sorry to keep bringing Bitwig into this discussion, but it’s just so damn flexible that it should be used as inspiration when it comes to cubase modulation if it wants to compete.
Here’s a thought. I don’t know if the way cubase is coded literally allows for audio rate modulation. The continued lack of FM & phase modulation synthesis in the entire steinberg lineup suggests not.
One weird omission in Bitwig is a flexible MSEG.
But there’s a clever way in Bitwig to turn a volume / automation shaper (like Xfer’s LFOtool) that is only capable of outputting modulation as midi CC or doing basic volume ducking, into a device that supports modulation by audio rate…
The way it works is a bit complicated to explain, but here goes.
In Bitwig there are VST containers that you load as devices (like an insert in cubase but can hold entire chains of stuff). There is one that allows you to layer multiple devices & mix / modulate between their outputs. Each layer is capable of holding any number of instruments & plugins (native or 3rd party) in a chain.
You add your instrument (and it’s chain) to one layer & this is where it gets a bit clever…
You then create layers for as many instances of LFOtool as you want so you have a VST container with a synth & x amount of LFOtools on their own dedicated layers inside, on one channel.
In front of LFOtool you insert DC offset device, set to maximum setting of 1. It’s a device with a slider that goes from 1 down to -1, where 1 represents the peak of a waveform’s possible phase, and -1 represents the bottom.
This sends a static audio signal to LFOtool, that when used to automate volume, is shaped to match the modulation curve in LFOtool.
You then add an audio rate modulator to the VST container, for each instance of LFOtool and set their inputs to “LFOtool out” for each corresponding instance.
The audio rate in modulator can then be used to automate anything that is deemed modulatable in Bitwig, which is pretty much anything & everything, in the shape of it’s designated LFOtool envelope. You just have to mute the layers with LFOtool & DC offsets on them to mute the audio signal, once you set the LFOtools as inputs for the audio rate mod sources.
It’s stuff like this that blows me away with Bitwig.
It’s much better than midi CC once you save this device once for later use & can give really smooth modulations on even extremely slow rates. All the regular Bitwig modulators are just drag & drop, but that MSEG trick is quite mad. Just wondering if anyone can think of a way something similar could be implemented here.
The architecture of Bitwig was built with audio rate modulation in mind, and is as flexible as phaseplant for that kind of purpose, obviously. But I’m wondering why it doesn’t even exist in cubase or any of Steinberg’s instruments. Maybe it can’t be done?