Integrating Metagrid into Cubase workflows

There are several threads like this one that discuss & ask questions about Metagrid in general.

I wanted to start this thread specifically for folks actually using Metagrid with Cubase with the discussion covering best practices, organizational approaches, and tips & tricks. So if you have more general questions please use the other thread or start a new thread. :bulb:

When I first got Metagrid I thought a bunch about what buttons to use and how to arrange them. Basically I used what I figured were the key commands I used the most. After awhile I noticed that I didn’t really use Metagrid regularly.

Then I created a large empty View where while I worked whenever I did something that warranted a button I either created it right then (or made a note to do it later). Nothing fancy just text on an empty button with an Action Queue - I’ve found hunting for just the right Icon or Color can eat up a lot of time.

I learned several things form this exercise. First, putting my most used commands on the grid was the wrong approach. Those are the commands that my hand instinctively forms on a QWERTY keyboard. While I certainly will want those commands available, they are not going to entice me to pick up the iPad. Instead the things you do fairly often but not enough to make it second nature are more likely to get me using Metagrid. I also ended up with a bunch of useful basic buttons to refine and use elsewhere.

I also realized that lots of buttons (I’m gonna refer to the commands attached to buttons as just buttons) fell into groupings where you might use a set of buttons together depending on what you are doing. For example, buttons to change chord inversions & set midi channels would be useful when composing but not so much when tracking vocals where a different set of buttons would be useful.

So I decided to create Scenes that were focused on different work tasks. These are my initial focus areas which will of course evolve & expand over time.

Writing - mostly arranging & midi editing
Tracking - recording & audio editing
Mixing - audio signal flow, manipulation and exporting
Scores - Visual layout, lyrics
Config - One stop shopping for Studio Setup, Audio Connections, Project Setup etc.

I also noticed that if you look at all the available Cubase Key Commands (inc. macros, LE presets, etc) they fell into 3 categories:

  1. Buttons I want to be immediately available no matter what I’m doing (Play, Zoom in, Save)
  2. Buttons I want to be easily available no matter what I’m doing (Go to Marker 8, Set Quant 1/8).
  3. Buttons I only need available when doing specific tasks (Nudge Right, Q-Link).

So I took the buttons in category 1 and made a “template” View that I could use as a starting point for making task specific Views. This way every Scene built on this template will have the Play, Snap, Save etc. buttons in the same place. I also did the same for category 2, making a template for the shift views.

More later, including pics.

I primarily use it as a visibility agent. I have all my template sections as buttons and for things like “Orchestral” that button is set to a new view that takes me to choose which orchestral section so I can dive down deeper. As I add new libraries, I plan to continue to just build more branches from that main view.

I also have a few of my custom macros on the bottom of each view just so I don’t have to use up key command space on the keyboard.

Attached are the template for my main View showing the buttons that will always be available if starting from this template.

And then there is a main View for my writing Scene. As you can see this totally fills in the grid leaving no room for growth. I think I’ll eventually need to split writing into 2 Scenes.

Urghhhhhh! This is the 2nd time in the last few days where I tried to post links to 2 attachments, but when the forum publishes the posts 1 of the attachments disappears.

Here is the main template

And here is my shift template. It takes up a bunch more real estate since it has stuff like go to markers and different quantize settings - which consume lots of buttons.

And finally the shift View for the writing Scene.


I saw your post about Metagrid and was wondering if you could help me with some of the scripts you have going in yours? I’m not sure how to do random velocity and random start by an amount like you have.

Also do you perhaps know if there’s a way to increase Volume automation by an amount?


All the heavy lifting for the random start and velocity is done using by the Logical Editor. In the Generic Remote where you set up Cubase Macros to execute from Metagrid, that is not restricted to Cubase Macros. In the column ‘Channel/Category’ select ‘Process Logical Preset’ instead of ‘Macro’ and then for ‘Value/Action’ select the LE Preset you want to use.

Here’s the preset to randomize the start, velocity is similar.

By the way it is better to randomize by a small amount several times than to randomize by a larger number once. Multiple times will give you a normal distribution of values around the initial value which is closer to what really happens when playing. Where doing a single randomization will give you values evenly distributed across the entire range.

Regarding changing the automation level the Project Logical Editor is the most likely tool to work (and these can also be assigned to Metagrid buttons). There is an example preset to delete all Volume Automation which would be a good starting point, but I couldn’t get it to work (?!?) to even delete the Automation.

The brute force approach would be to select all the data points and then change the value in the Info Line. You will only see the value for the first data point but if you increase it by 7 all the other selected points will increase by 7 from their initial value.

For most midi manipulation, especially creating rhythms, I would add that Jononotbono, has contributed a wealth of Logical Editor presets ready to go for Metagrid. Or they could simply be used in Cubase without Metagrid. Like hundreds of presets, so it can be a process of elimination as far as what the user wants to use. Jonos Logical editor presets were included in the last Metagrid update.

As far as workflow, my thoughts are that since Cubase is very feature-rich, everyone seems to work a bit differently by using different features. Think of a film/orchestral composer with hundreds of Cinnematic/Kontakt/EWQL sample tracks vs. an EDM user vs. editing in score, vs live recording etc.

My workflow is a bit physical…Metagrid pad in the middle above my keyboard controller, (see attachment) and off to the right, QWERTY with mouse below and above QWERTY a DAW controller. So I agree with Raino, that some of the most used KC’s…I’m stuck with my right hand on the QWERTY which is faster than looking for the Metagrid button, or the same looking at the outdated 6-character limitation MCU controller. But, there are some overlapping KC’s I make both available on Metagrid and QWERTY…plus even a few on the MCU controller.

The way I have Metagrid set up is a semi-reflection of Cubase. Scenes for key editor, project page, mix consoles, sample editor, transport and even workspaces since I like to look at for example 5 open VST’s on a focused group channel. My wish is that someday the developer will allow Metagrid to “chase” whatever window is focused in Cubase, or even Cubase “chase” Megagrid. Steinberg needs to sort out some control focus issues first.

For me it seems Metagrid has been a non-stop evolving workflow enhancer. I’m always adding, changing for the better, enhancing…anything to achieve better workflow. IMO how that is achieved is going to be different for every user. Raino has given some good starting points.
metagrid 1.jpg

Wow, thanks for the replies guys! I managed to get it working!

It takes a long time to setup, but once it’s going it works so well. Can’t wait to try out the new workflow. This is going to save so much time. I wish Cubase would have something like this that is built into Cubase itself and would come with a free App to download.

I’ll try the automation brute force trick :smiley:

@greggybud, thanks for the information and nice setup!

Glad people have found my LE commands useful! :slight_smile:

Can you post a link to them here.

Find them in the cubase folder of the app-specific downloads

All your demos and other things are really good. Thanks.

rodger –

I’ve still not gotten set-up for Metagrid use, but I’ve been following the threads and think I will likely attempt incorporating it into my setup.

May I go off topic a bit and ask if you can compare use of Metagrid with one or more of the Steinberg Hardware controller devices? The device controllers look great in demo videos – I’m certainly tempted. However, hell often looks like heaven in the demo version. And from the things I’ve seen demonstrated and discussed, the Metagrid looks really cool. Thanks.

I think controllers (in general) are most useful when you want to control the value of some setting (e.g. fader position, EQ frequency, etc). Metagrid doesn’t play in that space at all. The only thing it can do is let you hit a button that causes some action(s) to occur. Sure most controllers also have some buttons that work similar. But those are generally more limited in 2 ways. 1) You get a fixed number of buttons in fixed locations vs. Metagrid’s unlimited buttons arranged however you like. 2) Metagrid lets you issue sequences of commands that are more complex than I’ve seen on controllers.

They are each useful, but for different things and the overlap is fairly limited.

Clearly Santa needs to understand you deserve both. :wink:

Thanks, Roger. I have my letter in to the North Pole and I hope for a favorable answer soon. :slight_smile:

This is very well said. For $14 do you really need Santa? Or is it the iPad? Metagrid will work on older versions, so a new one is not necessary. In addition I would add if you are a composer with hundreds or thousands of tracks, Metagrid will be a great advantage. If you use many logical presets it will be an advantage too.

Honestly, I get greater value out of Metagrid than my DAW controller which is used mostly for fader functions, and I have only been using it for a year.

Exactly. And yeah I did buy a used iPad just for Metagrid. But it was still worth it.