Fatter sounds please! How do I make a track template?

Hi, I have moved from reel to reel tape and a compressor to Cubase and NI Komplete. So far I have done lots of midi editing and created some midi parts which are reasonably well complete. Now I would like to set up a template for all my future midi tracks, which already have “outboard” loaded in before I start. I want most of the samples to sound fatter, so I’d like some “outboard” waiting to be switched on to get some quick fatter results.

Does anyone else do this and how do I set up a chain of gear (and in what order) as a template on each track?

I recently bought a Line6 Helix pedal for my guitar. It allows me to set up effects as “blocks” in a chain. I can see the chain shown visually on the screen. It’s easy to understand. Can I do this in Cubase / NI Kontakt? I would like all the sounds to be fatter and have some effects that I often use waiting there to be switched on.

I know that true professionals will set up each track’s “outboard” according to what they know works for whichever instrument is on that track - I will do that eventually once I know what I’m doing, but I don’t know all the outboard yet. At the moment, I just want to get started with a simple template and some easy to use tools.

Any suggestions - most welcome

Don’t really have any advice about using outboard equipment. I pretty much do everything in the box as the software plugs are so much easier to use and if properly selected excellent quality. Only exception is a tube pre going in before my audio interface. But there are lots of folks here do use outboard and can discuss the nuances. But don’t dismiss plugs out of hand without trying. For example I use UAD tape emulations to fatten things up in most of my Projects, and even the stock plugs that come with Cubase sound pretty good. But in general you’ll want to create sends and returns for each outboard piece of kit in Studio>Audio Connections>External FX (make sure to save as a preset so you only need to do this once) and then include this as part of the Template(s) you use to create new Projects. Now you can use the outboard gear just like a internal FX.

I’ve seen posts where these connections get lost under some circumstances but don’t know the details.

Based on the gist of your post you might also want to look into creating your own Track Presets.

However the reason I replied is to encourage you to get the Helix Native plug-in which is deeply discounted for Helix hardware owners. One of the cool things is you can freely copy Helix presets between the hardware and plug-in both ways. Very worthwhile addition.

FYI, we encourage folks to put their system specs in their signature since it can really help folks trying to reply. Like for this Q knowing your audio interface could be useful. :wink:

+1 for the Helix Native. If you already have a Helix hardware unit it’s a no-brainer. I have 2 Helix input busses set up as part of my standard project template - one from the digital out of the Helix unit itself and a DI input routed to a track with the Helix Native plugin inserted. The Native channel is also set up to write any expression data from the Helix as automation, so it will record any volume swells, etc. Having a dry DI and the Native is very useful if I need to go in and tweak something.

Yes, I regularly use outboard eqs, compressors preamps and other gear alongside plugins. You don’t say which version of Cubase you use, but as Raino says with C10 Pro you can set up all your outboard gear on external FX connections and include them as part of a project template or a track preset. You can then easily access them for use on any insert or send, and they will appear in the visual representation of the signal path within the mix console or the channel window,

This all assumes you have sufficient sends/returns on your interface, of course. If not, a patchbay the way forward - also very useful if you’re using external hardware whilst tracking.

Sorry to veer OT, but…

Yeah, I’ve got my Helix setup the same way. I also have a Variax so for a Project I sent its emulation through the hardware Helix and routed the real mag pickups to the DI into helix Native with a totally different amp. Since the signal paths from source to recording are totally different it really reads as 2 guitars playing instead of one guitar into 2 amps.