Definition of the terms: Events, parts, clips

Trying to get my head around these terms and concepts.

I’ve read the relevant manual chapters and forum threads, but alas I’m still scratching my head.

What I think I understand:

An audio event is not the audio file itself, but a way of triggering it, kind of like pressing a note on a keyboard to trigger a sample.

I think an event can refer to other things as well. Like Midi cc events or maybe other things you can do on the timeline.

But, an audio event doesn’t directly trigger the audio file, but rather, something called a clip, which can be some combination of audio files or parts of audio files.

A part is a way of grouping together events on the track and giving the collection a name, which you can then move around or edit.

If any of that is wrong, please correct me.

Now, when I’m looking at an audio track in the project window, the long skinny strips that show the visual representation of the wave I’ve recorded, are those events? If I click on one of those with the arrow cursor, am I selecting an event?

If so, how do I select a part?

if I make such a selection, and then Press enter, I think it opens the “audio part editor” which makes me think that I’ve selected a part. However, it has a name, which is the same as the audio file name in the pool, which makes me think it’s not a part.

So that’s where I’m a little lost.

Thanks.

Dave

I think of Audio Events as ‘windows’ into a section of an Audio File. Multiple Events can reference the same Audio File and they can overlap which sections they are looking at.

Yes, and this is the source of some confusion. Events are the most fundamental ‘chunk’ of a thing within Cubase. MIDI messages (note-on, pitchbend, etc) are all Events. Parts are kind of like boxes which hold Events. The confusion is because in the Project Window Audio Events and MIDI Parts look similar. And to add to the confusion Audio Events & Parts are also similar if you don’t know what to look for.

They could be either depending on what they look like. Notice in the Audio part above you can see that it looks like two boxes inside a larger one - that’s how you can tell Audio parts & Events apart. Also when you select them the Info Line shows very different Info. That said, you need to specifically create Audio Parts from Events, so unless you are doing that the Audio will be Events.

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You got that right. Maybe it helps to understand the reason behind this.
Cubase will try to not touch your audio file unless you expressly tell it to do so.
If you import and edit a section of that audio file, Cubase will create a new audio file (you can find them in the project folder, subfolder “Edits”) and apply the change to this file.
This is where the audio clip comes in handy. It is like a small playlist: Play samples 2000 to 4000 from file A, then play samples 1 to 300 from file B (the newly created edit file), then play sample 4301 to 10000 from file A.
The audio event refers to a clip and just says: play from clip position 6000 to clip position 8000.

When I say “play” it actually is “use”.

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Wow, that was incredibly helpful and clarifying.

So, in the screenshot below, the pink box is an event, right?
And in the lower zone is the audio part editor, so I have to conclude that you can edit events in the part editor.
And if that’s true, does the part editor function differently depending on whether it’s editing a part event? I ask that because it looks like some things are missing from the tool bar, like scissors and eraser.

Again, thanks!
Dave

Correct.

Not exactly, you’re confusing yourself with the name. It’s actually the Sample Editor.

If you double+click on an Audio Part it will open the Audio Part Editor - which basically is like opening a box holding some Audio Events. If you then double+clicked on one of the Events that would open in the Sample Editor.

Events are data that produce some sort of output,

Parts are containers with events inside.

a piece of audio is data.
MIDI note or CC is data.

Thus they are both events - an event definitionally is something that is happening or is going to happen.

a MIDI part, contains notes/CC - things that are happening.
a Audio part, contains audio events - things that are happening.

Where it gets confusing, is Audio Events can exist outside of Audio Parts and an audio part can contain only one audio event or multiple.

Whereas, MIDI events cannot exist outside of MIDI Parts, and further, there is nothing with MIDI parts/events that resembles the mechanics of mending multiple audio events into an audio part… ie, there is no mechanic to have multiple MIDI Parts be put into a multi-lane container like audio events can into audio parts.

Thanks again everyone for the great explanations. I wish I could buy you all a round.
But I guess I’ll just have to pay it forward when I know something…

Not to throw you a curve ball, but, there’s also ‘Regions’ :laughing:

:grin: I do know that regions exists, but in all my years using Cubase, I’ve never used them and never cared about them. Did I miss out and there is actually a really good use case for them?

I don’t use them a whole lot but there are different potential applications - I’m not sure exactly what the original intent and application was… I’m guessing it was meant more for TV/Film, and I’m pretty sure intended to use sort of in tandem with the Pool/Libary, but they don’t have to be.

They are essentially cycle markers for audio FILES, or, you can look at them as clips which is essentially what they are.

For example, lets say you had a drum-bed performance you wanted to take sections from into another project. You could first go in and Region mark different bars, fills, etc, and then in the Pool these would appear as clips you could drag into the timeline as you need.

The way I use them, is to sort of index ideas.
One of my main ways of writing/composing new ideas, is to just hit record and jam/improv. This could be with electric guitar, or it could be a repeating synth sequence in which Im changing the sound. These “jams” can end up quite long, 15 minutes to an hour, and most of it is garbage, but there’s some gold scattered throughout. I might not have time to work on it and turn it into a real project, but I’ll at least listen back and create regions for the really good parts I know I will want to listen to later or extract later.

I’ll create a Library, or use an already relevant existing Library and drag the full audio file in there with the Regions from the Pool into the Library.

I have Libraries full of these ideas, the Regions let me skip to those good parts when listening and figure out what I want to turn into a project next… and it only uses the one audio file.

regions

So I also use Libraries for exports of stages of a mix I’m working on. I continuously export a song mix as I’m working on it, so I can listen to where I’ve ended and how, and I can go back and reference. Same thing when working on a composition, I always export the different, let’s say landmark stages of a composition. Sometimes there are things I did early on that were better and I suspect want to re-incorporate in the new mix/composition, well I can create a region there to remind myself later… which should be mentioned…

…Libraries, you can also create Regions in the audio files without even having a project open, ie, you can open the Audio Editor from a Library file, you can even add DOP here. You can open as many Libraries as you want without needing to open that project or project version. So you current project can stay open, and you can open a library just to listen. I’ll open a Library of ideas just to take a break and listen to something else.

I could also see them being used in such a way, where, maybe you are dealing with consolidated files that have a lot silence in between say, dialogue, you might not want to have to listen to 2 minutes of silence, so you can use the region markers to skip to where there is actually material.

Or, maybe have some clips in your project that share one audio file, and there’s other parts of that audio file you aren’t using in the project yet but suspect you may want to use them in the future, you can just have them Region marked to access them fast when you do want them.

I could see it being used for location sound as well, marking assets, problematic sound, good sound, what probably needs ADR, etc.

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@fese

Also, there’s two Region based utilities in the audio menu.

Events To Regions
events to regions

So I’ll use that if Ive already chopped up an audio file into multiple events, I can then use this feature to create the Regions, and then drag the entire audio file with the regions into a Library for listening/reference later or whatever.

Also useful to figure out where in an audio file you’ve extracted from and just mark it for later… maybe you’re about to bounce the event, but want the original file to be region marked.

Regions to Events
regions to events

Exactly the same here. Thanks @maggot for that explanation.

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Perhaps I will make a more organized tips-and-tricks thread post about this subject as, I think most people don’t know about Regions/Library use, I only started doing this a few years ago and I started on SX3.

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Great idea.

I’m thinking a general ‘things you should have known’ thread may be a good idea? For instance, I’ve used Cubase since 2000, And only just realised in the audio pool instead of clicking on the play icon and tediously waiting for the part to play through, You can just click on the ‘Image’ column at the appropriate point and it will play from there! :man_facepalming: Yes, I feel stupid! But I expect a lot of us have missed/overlooked some useful feature at some point. :rofl:

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Also if you didn’t know, select a file and press enter. It opens up a separate Audio Editor window.

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Yep, there’s loads of little tricks you didn’t know even after twenty years of Cubase use, and then someone tells them to you and you go :person_facepalming:

A ‘things you should have known’ thread would be nice, but ultimately a forum isn’t the best format for that stuff, imho a Wiki would be a much better option as you can better organize things there.
It would also be great for people being able to write little tutorials about topics that are not or not clearly explained in the manual (which are a lot) or have a scope outside of Cubase, like setting up ASIO4All or similar.
Would be really great if Steinberg could provide for an official Wiki for their products. Sure, you’d need to pay some people to moderate it, too, but imho it would be worth it, could be a great source of knowledge.

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