In the Mixer
To adjust volume for all tracks in a mix at once: Move/automate the “Master”/“Main Output” fader.
To adjust the volume of a multiple selection of faders in Elements:
Assign their audio bus(es) to a “Group Track”. Now you can adjust and automate the level of that ‘group’ of instruments.
Some have recommended that you just use one instrument per ARIA instance on “Instrument Tracks”. That method will give you a fresh audio bus/fader for each instrument. The instrument tracks will NOT give you separate MIDI faders (That would send CC7 for Volume, and CC10 for Pan) for the instrument on the CuBase mixer. Instead, it processes levels and pans on the actual audio stream. These can be assigned to “Group” bus tracks.
My suggestion was to use the Multi-Output version ARIA in Rack mode, and use MIDI Tracks. This method provides faders for each of your MIDI tracks (These will Send CC7 and CC10 events when adjusted or automated, to drive ARIA’s own built in mixer), AND an independent set of faders for the actual audio stream buses. Notice in the image below the white-orange faders are MIDI type, and will drive ARIA’s built in mixer. The greenish faders are for the actual audio stream once it comes into the Mixing Matrix.
Here, you’d need to activate the audio outputs/buses you need in ARIA,
and assign the individual ARIA slots to the output you wish to use.
Note that you can also create instrument groups through ARIA by assigning them to like outputs. I.E. Putting all the strings on outputs 1&2, the Winds on 3&4, etc.
Each ARIA output will show up in your “VST Instruments” folder in the project view, and those buses/faders can be assigned to “Group Tracks”.
If I wanted, I could route the 1st and 2nd Violins into a ‘group track’, which would give yet another fader that combines those streams and allows me to adjust/process them together. Notice the new blue “Violins” fader below.
In this particular through composed String ensemble project, you can see I’ve got my MIDI faders all the way down in the ‘off position’. This is because I have elected to simply do my rough mixing directly in the MIDI parts. Of course I will fine tune things with the mixer, and add processing as some of the last steps in my project…but I tend to get things pretty close in the raw tracks, with fairly dry instruments (maybe a little reverb to cut down listener fatigue) before I ever touch the CuBase mixer. For this sort of mock-up, I needed to give almost every note special expressive attention with various CC events (articulations, bow pressure, etc.) anyway, so it just makes sense for me personally to do it one instrument at a time, on a track by track basis. So again, you can see where I’ve just drawn exactly what levels I want on part CC lanes.
If you upgrade to CuBase Pro, you can also ‘link’ sets of faders (of any type) into a link-group that locks them together (Sorry, earlier I had not realized this is not a feature supported in Elements), and if working with Instrument Tracks, or the Audio buses of plugins or live instruments/mics you can also make “VCA Tracks” (similar to Group tracks, but it doesn’t re-route all the audio into a single thread).
To automate Mixer Faders, toggle the “W” button red for each track to record live mixer movements while the transport is playing. Toggle the green R button on if you want the track’s fader to follow along with your recorded automation. You can also unfold the automation lane of a track and draw your fader movements directly on the lane.
So far most of the replies have been about how to automate the built in ARIA Mixer, which uses CC7 events. Experienced Garritan Library users also know that you are ultimately going to need to learn to automate each individual instrument. It’s simply that kind of Library, and Cubase itself has no control over how ARIA and Garritan Libraries are designed to be played and managed. To make it play with any kind of expressive quality at all, you’re going to want to make numerous entries to CC Lanes for every individual instrument. It’s also important to realize that Garritan instruments often crossfade sample layers, or adjust various filters when dynamic changes are done with CC1 or CC11, where just changing the ‘CC7 channel volume’ will not provide such sonic enhancements. I.E. A trumpet plays with a different sonic timber at triple forte than it does a pianissimo, so a different layer of samples, or some kind of timber altering synthesis will be called up with higher CC1 values. I.E. A piano or drum will change timber if you pound harder, so one would increase the ‘key velocity’ to get more volume, as opposed to just raising the ‘channel volume’.
So, that is yet another reason we Garritan Users often recommend new comers go ahead and dive into handling volume changes with CC1 events and key velocity adjustments within the instrument parts directly. The Logical Editors will help you make quick work of roughing in expressive data for a complete track with just a few clicks and key punches. Here is a thread on the topic of leveraging some power from the Logical Editor: Steinberg Forums
On Documentation: I’m not aware of any DAW that comes with a general OM that is much if any more elaborate than the one for CuBase. Of course there will be subjective differences (organization, formatting, search-ability, etc.), but objectively, they’re all going to be on a similar level unless you find some ‘educational DAW’ that was built specifically to ‘teach pro audio’ from the ground up (I don’t know of any to recommend). At this level it is assumed that the user already has knowledge of things like Mixing Consoles, MIDI Protocols, Effect Units, and various industry terms and concepts.
To get more tutorials and such you generally read web primers and books, watch videos, or take classes (many local music stores offer inexpensive, or even free workshops on DAWs).
Today’s DAWs are a culmination of many branches of the Pro Audio world. They’ve literally taken thousands of analog processes and bundled them into a single product in the Digital World. Each Editor, plugin, control, or extra feature is something of a product of its own, often requiring a pretty robust side manual of its own (or in the least, background knowledge of similar tools, perhaps from the analogue world before we had this stuff in software formats), as well as a bit of practice in learning to master it.
One thing that is pretty essential for most virtual instrument users to do is check out a MIDI protocol primer.
This will give you a solid over-view, in general terms, of what is going on under the hood to control your Virtual Instruments:
If you are not already pretty familiar with other things used for producing music, you’ll probably want to read up on those as well.
Here are a collection of tutorial videos directly from Steinberg: https://www.steinberg.net/en/support/videos.html
Here’s a link to a Stienberg YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/SteinbergSoftware
And there are more out there to be found with your favorite web search service.
If you haven’t already, you’ll also want to read the ARIA and Garritan manuals cover to cover. The online documents for ARIA and GPO5 are set up in a way that is kind of tough to just scan as a long read, so I recommend grabbing the old GPO4 manual in PDF form and giving it a sequential scan, so you get a better idea of how Garry meant for the instruments to be played. Nearly everything in the GPO4 manual still applies in GPO5 (where GPO5 mostly just adds a lot of new instruments, and has some minor changes to some of the percussion stuff). Those can be found here: Garritan Virtual Instruments User Manuals