Hotkey for selecting/activating event while comping

Hey guys, is there a way to activate an audio event without a mouse, using a hotkey? Now I have to click that tiny button, it’s quite uncomfortable with big sessions with many takes.
Comping tool is not a solution, it still requires the mouse.
Thanks in advance!

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The short answer is no.

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Hopefully Steinberg would add this feature to PLE. It would be super useful!

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Thanks. Yep, that’s unfortunate. Comping is one oа the main activities when it comes to vocal recording, it would have been nice to have more convenient workflow for that activity, and it’s definitely an easy option to add.

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I comp all the time, and for me it’s the killer Cubase feature. Among other things, I do a lot of bass tracking for folks. I learned years ago a great technique that doesn’t involve lots of time consuming punching. I just play the bass track all the way through, say 5 times. Then I start with the track that feels the best, has the best energy and groove. From there, I go through the song section by section, looking for mistakes which I can usually comp in from another take (worst case, may nudge an occasional note earlier or later). I also look for cool bass runs in other takes that enhance the song and can comp those in. It’s time consuming but gives me so many more options, especially as I go back and forth with the artist or band.

Every once in a while I have to punch if I don’t have material I can comp from another take or copy from another part of the song. What I love about this approach (which I learned decades ago from a producer I worked with and really trusted) is that you don’t have to “work up” to having the right energy and feel for the punch because you’re just playing the song, so you can get into it fully.

Cubase comp tool and features makes not just possible, but actually fun (I don’t mind a little tedium :smile: ). I’ll comp out the section I’m working on, and when I have a part/take I like, I color it yellow. I might have 2-3 yellow parts for any section I’m working on. I do this quickly without thinking about too much - I just listen to the bass and drums and occasionally cue in the guitars or vocals to get overall feel, but mostly, I’m just locking the bass to the drums. (BTW, I recently discovered Control Room, and can I say, it’s also an amazing feature that really helps with this process!).

On the second pass through the parts, I go through the yellow takes, listening more closely to tone, articulation, attack, etc. Now I’ll dial in more of the scratch guitars and vocals (I’m usually always playing bass to the keeper drums and scratch everything else), just to make sure I’m not stepping on, but actually enhancing some of the other performances. Once I’ve made the near-final choice, I color that part/take light green. All this is made so much easier with macros and iCPro on my iPad.

After I’ve “greenified” all the editorial choices, I go back and listen to a full mix. Sometimes a choice will stand out as wrong for some reason, but I already know which parts I have to choose from to improve the part. I’ll hone in on that with the other yellow part/takes and make a different choice or variaudio to fix a hit, etc. I might even “sub-comp” a note or riff in to make it sit better in the groove and mix. Then I re-color the parts to reflect my current editorial choices.

Now I’ve got a good rough part, which I’ll share with the band or artist I’m working with. If they come back with suggestions or change requests, I always know what other choices I have. I almost never have to re-track the bass.

Once I’ve got my bass part locked in, I go through and clean things up, removing silence, rolling fades at the front and back of a part, scrutinize every comp point for smoothness (comp tool gets it right 90% of the time, but there is an occasional pop I’ll have to fix by moving the comp point or crossfading). Now I color all the keeper parts dark green, and I’m good to go.

It does take a while to go through and comp, but I have it down pretty fast, especially with all the tools Cubase and iCPro give me. It really shines when I have to make tweaks based on feedback, because I know exactly what choices I’ve made previously and why, so I can make small adjustments easily.

Cubase does have some glitches that can trip this workflow up:

  • When I’m working on a track that isn’t to a click, I can’t (even with tempo detect) really turn on the grid, so when I’m adding a new comp region, I can’t just add a single comp “cut”, I have to add a comp region, and the end or beginning points will never line up, so you have to use the glue tool on every take lane to get no weird small comps. Be sure to do that with no selection or glue tool will really mess you up. Also be careful because Cubase has weird rules for coloring parts after gluing so some times it messes up my color scheme.

  • Be really sure not to use pointer tool when moving a comp point. It looks like you’re using the tool to move all your comp cuts together, but it really just moves the cut point for that single take lane. And once you’ve done that, you can never go back to moving your comp point at that location. Be sure you’re using the hand/comp tool when moving a comp point.

  • You can’t comp+select in one click and you can’t PLE this action. I do like having the pointer tool to comp tool short cut on the middle of a take, but sometimes that middle is off screen because of your zoom or otherwise hard to find. But this does make it easier to select the comp part you like so that you can then color it. It’s like 80% of the way to an awesome feature.

  • PLE makes this great because I’ve added presets to do the colorizations for all the choice levels, and I can then add buttons in iCPro to active them. Again, the part must be selected with the mouse (unfortunately), and you have to be sure that the conditions are Property == is Selected AND Container Type == Event or you’ll colorize too much.

  • I’d dearly love to have PLE to move both the comp and selection up and down the takes.

There’s probably more. I guess I’ll follow up when I think about more, but if you’re a comper like me, I’d love to hear about your tricks and tips!

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That’s what I normally do when recording anyone who’s up to it(playing the whole song)
Record 3-5 takes. Choose the best overall(easy, normally all present agree) take. Use most of this take. Do some comping. Listen to the comp. Edit a bit more Clean up. Done.
The energy when playing the whole song is different, often better.

What is annoying: doing another MIDI take/lane. You have to mute your previous take first, otherwise you hear both. In Logic there’s a preference that does this for you.

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Wow, that’s a great workflow :+1: Oddly enough, mine looks very similar to yours, if I understand it right.
My comping mostly goes for vocals, therefore there’s a bit more takes. Usualy dozens. Because along with tone, timing and articulations you have to control accent and some funny microtones and timbre colors.
It’s almost impossible to record the track in a few takes to the perfection, especially not having internalized it before the recording session. And since I’m never satisfied with just “good” result, I push it to the absolute maximum :smile_cat:

So it’s 5-10 sing-throughs, then I cut it by phrases and colorize them through hotkeys assigned in a logical editor. I don’t use iCPro, maybe I should try. What’s the best thing about it?

I use 3 colors in a traffic light manner:
Red - bad ones, hotkey “A”,
Yellow - good, but not perfect, hotkey “S”,
Green - almost perfect or artistically interesting, hotkey “D”.
I never delete my takes, only clear technical defects.

Then, when I have somewhat a picture of what I’d like to hear and see parts which I’d like to elaborate a bit more, I throw Reds and Yellows on a duplicated tracks and arrange next recording phrase by phrase with the same color logic. Sometimes even re-recording the Greens to be sure they sound exactly the way I want.

Previously, when I didn’t have my colorizing hotkeys assigned it was a nightmare to choose from that many takes (colorizing with mouse was extremely inconvenient and time consuming, therefore I didn’t bother).
Now the workflow is much more comfortable and yes, the only thing annoying is clicking that tiny selector in the middle of the event with the mouse to activate it and deleting empty gaps between the lines, having moved each kind of takes to corresponding tracks.

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Don’t you use lanes on the same track for multiple takes? It’s more convenient rather than recording each take on a separate tracks.

I don’t do much MIDI, but when I have, I’ve been annoyed by this too.

I’ve comped vocals (my own and others) and I end up doing probably 5 takes all the way though. I’ll do a few more if the singer is up for it (or it’s me :smile:) but I usually find that too many takes at once can burn out some singers. Actually, even when I have other guitarists over, they often don’t like to do take after take after take. Me, I’m pretty obsessive about the bass so sometimes when I’m trying to figure out a part (as opposed to recording a part that’s pretty solid because it’s a band I play a lot with), I often track dozens of passes. Then when I start to hear what I want, I’ll do a quick comp for reference, and then record a whole 'nuther fresh bass track as described above. It all depends.

One cool thing about comping that I learned years ago is that I record takes until I have one that is solid, but then I’ll record a “go for it” or two takes. That will often give me some interesting riffs or ideas I can comp in judiciously to make a track more interesting. I especially love doing this with vocalists and have gotten some amazing phrasings from these “we’ve got the safe bits, now let loose and have fun” takes.

There are lots of things I like about it. One the one hand, I have dual 3440x1400 ultra wide 34" monitors. I put the project view on the left and the full mixer on the right (with some other things, like the time display, control strip, etc.). I usually pop things up on the right when I need them, like plugin windows, etc. So on the one hand, iCPro gives me yet another screen to put some stuff on, like the navigation strip, click on/off, etc. (This is where I really wish iC Pro worked with the Magic Keyboard trackpad.)

Most important for me is that I’ve set up a few pages with convenient buttons, which can drive almost all of Cubase, except notably the previously mentioned, select+comp action. I use the 3rd display a lot, which puts the piano roll at the top and an array of button locations under that, with the transport controls at the bottom. Then I have Page 1 set up for recording, with buttons like Zoom to Project, To Previous Marker, Go to Project Start and a bunch of others. Toggle Return to Start is an important one for me. I usually like return-to-start but there are times in my workflow where I do not want to return to start, so while I also have this toggle bound to a shortcut, I find myself using the iC Pro button much more.

Aside: It would be great if Cubase gave you options to turn on or off Return to Start, not just toggle it. That, or give you some on-screen, non-transient notification of the return behavior. It’s hard to remember whether it’s toggled on or off!

Page 2 I use mostly for comping, so it’s got buttons for my colorization PLE presets, Zoom Track to N Rows buttons, etc.

I put Undo, Redo, and Save on every page.

Yup. I’ll do it if I don’t have my iPad handy. I use an M570 Logitech trackball with the middle scroll wheel, which is awesome for controlling faders almost like a fader on a control surface (which I don’t have), but it’s also useful for scrolling through the colors in the paint tool. I just never remember which direction to scroll to get the color I want, so assigning colors to PLE presets, and assigning those to iC Pro buttons does the trick for me. I never got around to assigning hotkeys to those colorization actions.

I generally don’t do this. Once I have the comp’d parts I like, I’ll go through and clean up crossover points, most of which comp tool handles beautifully, so I only have to manually crossover a few comp points. I generally leave this for nearly last since it’s harder to remove manual crossover points and re-comp if I decide on a different artistic choice. During cleanup I’ll also level and fix a few volume problems, take another last pass through any free warp fixes I need to fix timing (and well, admitedly variaudio for, ahem, vocals now and then - judiciously!). Lastly I’ll mute out any quite parts and fade in and out of parts with breaks for a nice clean track.

That’s what I often do too.

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