How do I transition to using mixer?

Any tips or suggestions on transitioning to using the mixing console for mixing? As it stands, I adjust all volume levels in the main project window, using numerical volume parameter in the inspector. i’d like to learn how to use the mixer properly for both tracking and mixing, but I’ve never learned how.

The first thing that would help is to know which version of Cubase you are using (Pro, Artist, Elements…), because there is a significant gap between the Pro version and the others (Control Room with Cues, Input tracks, 4 mixer views available…).

After this, it’s a huge subject, actually. So, how to start ? Maybe by two recomendations :

  1. Forget the workspaces, maximize the mixer window(s) you use and keep in mind the shortcut for it. FWIW, I NEVER use the MixConsole in the lower zone of the arrange view : it’s useless because in my view, a mixer should be able to show EVERYTHING related to the project at hand, and a display in the lower zone doesn’t allow it.
  2. There are countless more or less useful MixConsole tutorials on Youtube channels, among others. Worth a check, at least for some…

This said, I use the MixConsole more and more, and not only at a ‘mixing’ stage. The main advantage of it is that all is presented in a meaningful way, including the routing of each track. As an example, here is usual MixConsole view, with the project template that allows me to have at disposal all the tracks needed to start something :

  • Input tracks on the left : very useful when tracking, as you can adjust any audio incoming signal level and set in them all inserts that are supposed to be recorded at the tracking stage (in example : amp sims). AFAIK, it’s a ‘Cubase Pro only’ feature.
  • ‘Regular’ tracks in the center,
  • ‘Outputs’ on the right, this, with the Control Room panel on the right panel (I use it all the time - but again, a ‘Cubase Pro only’ feature).

With this presentation (that is automatically saved in the preferences, when quitting Cubase - I never had to use the Configurations or Snapshots features, actually, and still don’t get how they should be used, but these are something to look at more closely, I guess). I have (almost) everything at disposal, whether at the tracking or mixing stage. After this, all is about to test and set everything to match your own needs.

Good luck !

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You’re going to get a lot of advice, some of it contradictory, as everyone has their own way of doing things.
For example…
You say you currently edit track volumes via the inspector? Then this is where having the mixer in the lower zone may be useful - you can start using the faders instead of the inspector.

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These are handy if you have 2 or more mixers open, focusing on different jobs. You can “pin” tracks to the left or right - the Stereo Out, for example. Or not, if you have the control room open.

There’s not much to learn, you are already doing it. But in a sequential manner.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you listen to just a snippet and you go “Oh, bass needs lowering, kick needs rasing, trumpet needs just a bit more reverb.” And then, what do you do? You select the bass, you check the volume, say it’s -5, you double-click, type -8. Then select the kick, double-click, it’s -9, you type -6. Then you select the trumpet, go to the sends section, double click, it’s -24, type -18.

Nothing changes if you have the mixconsole in front of you instead, except that you are viewing everything at once. So you go the right channel and do exactly what you did before. You can also type values in the mixconsole, but I think it’s faster for me to just use the controls (on my surface) when things are flowing naturally.

Other than that, when tracking, besides the tracks themselves, where everything that you record ends up on, there are the inputs, that as @cubic13 demonstrated can be used as an antechamber before the channel(s). See in cubic’s picture how he’s using the amp sim directly on the input. This means that whatever gets recorded out of that input gets recorded exactly as it sounds from the virtual amp. The recorded waveform on the channel that was armed will be exactly that sound. You can do that with any effect. It is a decision to commit to the sound, but hey, just one decision out of many, right?

I think it’s just a matter of getting used to it. Do you have a second screen?

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I hear what you are saying. I think it’s just a mental block for me at this point. So perhaps I’m just seeking some direct encouragement to follow the steps you stated to get out of this habit. But I wonder, what is the usefulness of all the LEDs in the mixer view? I mean, in relationship to each other? Is there any usefulness in looking at the LED levels? I know this may sound like a stupid question, but what’s the point unless they are clipping in the red?

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There are people in this forum vastly more experienced than me, and so in a much better place to offer accurate advice.

Personally, I find that the peak meters, especially when the fallback levels have been made the quickest they can be (from the preferences) give me an excellent overview of dynamic range, level offsets, and depending on what setting the meters are on (Input, Post-Fader, Post Panner) they give me visual information that can help me (or other times mislead me) to make some decisions for the mix.

I don’t see how I could do that one track at a time, my short term memory is lousy. By the time I changed to another track I’d have forgotten what I wanted to compare. With the mixconsole open, there is an overview of all tracks and their levels.

How do you know they’re clipping if you cannot see them?
I come from the portastudio era, I had had the tape 6 channel mixer and an outboard 8 channel mixer. I can’t imagine ever not using a mixer. Hey ho.

Yes. For example in my case I have keyboard shortcut “b” for mixer 2, which pops up in the place i want it to, and its configured to show only buses and return channels. Its not every time its useful to see a full mixer, or one with faders be visible, or one with sends, for example :+1:

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