I have a grand piano at home, but now I have realized that it is the 21st century… so I will start to use Cubase for PC. I would really appreciate if someone would be kind enough to help me get started with this.
To get a jump start can I download some good finished songs in Cubase format. What is this format called, so that I can edit the song in order to see how it works? From where can I download it in the Cubase format so that I can edit it (that is I am not interested in any mp3s or Waves).
I need a soft PC synth since I have no sounds on the US-144MK2. What soft synths do you recommend? Can many soft synths be used simultaneously with Cubase, or only one at each time. When I say a soft synth I mean a program that creates sounds e.g. piano, drums, guitar, base etc. that I can use in a recording in Cubase.
I have an old Roland piano (HP3000) from the 80s with Midi, so I bought a Tascam US-144MK2, Audio/Midi interface. What cables do I need to connect this to my electric piano? Please be as specific as possible.
I will maybe buy Cubase now (maybe a used one), what version is the best, or are they basically the same version 5, 6, 7, 7.5, LE etc…? With the US-144MK2 Cubase LE5 was included (bundled version). Are they all basically equally good?
General advice on how to get started are highly appreciated.
I appreciate any advice or suggestions even if you are not answering all questions!!!
I would recommend EastWest/Quantum Leap Pianos. They are beautifully rich in texture, and include a Bosendorfer 290, Bechstein D-280, Steinway D and Yamaha C7, so you would have quite a range of timbres.
They are based on the PLAY engine (VSTi), which powers all their own libraries. You can freely change a loaded instance to use a different library. Kontakt is another such engine.
Up to 100 instruments (VSTi) can be loaded, into each of which you can feed multiple MIDI tracks. Multiple instances of one library can be loaded within that 100.
In addition, Cubase allows an integrated MIDI+VSTi Instrument track, which only allow its own MIDI source.
While many modern keyboards use USB to transfer MIDI date, that keyboard will require a 5-pin MIDI to MIDI cable from it to your US-144’s MIDI In.
7.5 is the latest and most evolved. Within that there are different versions, with the full Cubase being the top of the line, having all the facilities and the least restrictions. All others sacrifice something from there. LE is a basic version from which you can make a decision as to whether you like the Cubase workflow, while allowing that it is missing some facilities, like the Control Room.
Firstly, READ THE MANUAL. At least the intro passages from each section, so you will know where to go when you get stuck. You must appreciate that you will get the most help from this forum if you have done your due diligence and have checked your primary source first, namely, the Operation Manual.
We all know that the Operation Manual, with so much to cover, can be rather terse at times, but you can always ask questions here about what you don’t understand.
Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) are amongst the most complex pieces of software you will come across. A large part of that is that they are also a host for third-party virtual FX (VST) and virtual instruments (VSTi), with the accompanying interactions, while trying to maintain multiple audio ‘real-time’ streams, without excessive delays that might make recording with foldback difficult.
Allow at least a six month learning curve so that you can properly understand the interactions between tha various DAW modules and hosted VST(i)s.
Thanks for your generous advice, I really appreciate it.
I have made searches about software pianos and based on demos I liked Ivory very much, which I thought was better than Alicia’s Keys. However, your suggestion (EastWest/Quantum Leap Pianos) is a good contender. However, when not playing the same demo songs it is really hard to make a qualified judgement. Anyway, maybe Alicia’s Keys is not a good piano for classical music from what I could hear.
Anyway, before making any decision I will study this area some more. At least you gave me a good start.
Couple of other points. Initially there is no need to buy any third-party VSTi’s (softsynths) since Cubase comes with several which should be more than enough to get you started.
Steinberg have also posted some how-to videos on YouTube - search for Cubase (and I think you can maybe get to them from the hub in Cubase).
Also since you have no experience using a DAW you might want to check out the video lessons at Groove3. For $15/month you can watch as many videos as you like. They have several tutorials about Cubase. The ones for older versions of Cubase are still applicable to the current version and probably a good place to start as they are more basic.
And I also highly recommend reading the manual. Take it in small doses and skip around to sections of interest to what you are trying to understand. Since it is a reference book and not a tutorial there is no need to read it in order.
I’m afraid you’ll have to deal with Wav (or some other supported audio format) files. There is no such thing as a Cubase audio format. The Cubase project files doesn’t contain any audio. Just pointers to the audio files on your harddisc.
I don’t have to repeat what the last thing you should read when you go to bed and the first thing you should read in the morning, while you’re eating you breakfast serials, is. Do I? Hint! It begins with “M” and ends with “al”.