Cubase 6.5 / SoundCloud Integration

Congrats on the 6.5 release. Nice work!

One small shortcoming, however: the SoundCloud integration. At first blush, it seemed like a silly feature; who produces so many tracks they need upload workflow streamlining? But, the idea has really grown on me and I think it’s a genius concept. But, like a beautiful new automobile that’s only missing a few inexpensive, but critical, parts, it’s completely useless:

  1. it doesn’t allow editing of all the available ID3 tags.
  2. it artificially limits one of the most important tags, Genre, to a 1997, ID3 v1.0, set of predefined genres. As much as we all appreciate “Tango” and “Christian Gansta Rap,” we need the Genre freeform text of v1 extended and 2+, please.
  3. it doesn’t allow you to add artwork to the MP3 ID3 tag.
  4. it doesn’t allow tags for the AIFF format at all.
  5. it doesn’t allow artwork for AIFFs.
  6. it doesn’t allow uploading desirable lossless AIFFs to SC.

The capability of adding images to MP3s via the ID3 tag specification has been around for over a decade. The Cubase SC integration not only encourages, but needlessly enforces the sloppy habit of artwork-less releases. All these amazing tracks, many by unsigned artists, but most don’t bother to add artwork. We finally managed, via software like Cubase, the internet, etc., to change the entire paradigm of how music is produced, distributed, and by whom, and now just about the only detail separating a commercial release is the final step of some artwork?! So, close. Such a missed opportunity.

Creative expression aside, from a practical standpoint, many of us add artwork to the offender’s tracks by using their main picture, or whatever, so that our smartphones have something to display. It’s 2012, our devices display images.

Another common and unnecessary complaint with SC is inferior audio quality. Most artists simply upload MP3s, which are then compressed again by SC – just, really bad. SC fully supports the AIFF format. By uploading an uncompressed, 16bit, 44.1 AIFF and having only one lossy conversion (performed on SC’s servers), SC actually sounds pretty decent. So again, Cubase’s SC integration perpetuates this bad habit. Considering one of Cubase’s differentiators is a superior, transparent, audio mixing engine, not taking advantage of lossless AIFF in the final, critical stage, should be unacceptable to Steinberg/Yamaha. “Make a sonically perfect mix and then DESTROY it in the last 10 seconds before world debut / distribution! What a shame.”

And, of course, Cubase would need to allow AIFF tags and artwork to be edited / attached (yes, AIFFs support tags and artwork as does iTunes and iOS devices, Android probably does, too – maybe someone can verify this and post it on this thread).

Until these features are added to the SC integration, it’s useless and isn’t even of the quality standard to have been released by Steinberg.

That said, surely many will be blissfully uploading artwork-less, crappy sounding, double-converted MP3s in the entirely meaningless “Electronic” genre, without a second thought.

Some good points… though I’ve no view myself as I don’t use it.

FYI, there’s another thread of debate here:-

One does not have to upload MP3 to soundcloud directly from Cubase, you could render a WAV and have that uploaded, or better yet, a FLAC file which I have successfully done as Cubase 6.5 now supports that too.

The rest I agree on. I also like how Studio One has even further integration through Sound Cloud by allowing users to work together on projects and share the stems amongst each other where one person can download the stems via Soundcloud directly back into the DAW for further editing etc.

The Soundcloud integration in Cubase is a start, but just that. It is barebones at best and has much more potential to be more than it already is. I hope this feature is admired enough by the users of Cubase that Steinberg warrants more time and effort to be put into the Soundcloud integration through Cubase.

Agreed, part of this is work that needs to be done on the mp3 export settings and aren’t necessarily related to the soundcloud functionality. The tag functionality is very poor by todays standards.

The transcoding is for streaming only so agree… if you plan to use it for streaming, upload something of high quality. On the other hand, downloads are not transcoded so if I upload a 320k mp3 or a full wave file, the file you download later will be the same file…

If you choose to make your track downloadable though, the version users can download will be an exact copy of the version you uploaded, without any transcoding.

You can upload 120 minutes (two hours?) of stereo wave files if you want and I haven’t done the math but that should be a good bit of free disk space.

Anyway, it needs development but Steiny is doing the right thing here I think.

Oh, you’re right – I stand corrected. For some reason I though the option was greyed-out if AIFF was chosen, but it’s not.

(But, I guess it’s moot, for the purposes of my complaint, as you can’t edit the AIFF tags.)