Loop selection, like in protools?

Back in the day, I used to work in protools, and I very frequently would use the selector tool to make a selection in the timeline and (if I had looped playback set on transport), I remember it always looping that selection when I would press the spacebar. It was extremely useful. You could select a couple of bars and know that when you hit the spacebar, you would audition that section repeatedly as a loop. I’m surprised to find myself struggling to find a way to reproduce this in the Cubase free trial. The only way I’ve found to loop a section is to move markers around, which is very slow. Is there a way to do this in Cubase? Please help!

Of course! Set the pref Cycle Follows Range Selection, and also the pref Transport - Return to Start Position on Stop. Both prefs have Key Commands to toggle, here’re images for the range selection

There’s a key command for that too

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Thanks for this info, Steve. I made that change in the preferences. It does now put the markers at the start and end of the range, but when I press the spacebar to play, it doesn’t start playback from the start of the range. What am I doing wrong?

Cubase’s cycle mode works slightly different than ProTool’s.
The Left and Right Locator mark the potential cycle range. If you use the Range Tool with the a/m preferences ticked on they will be set according to your range selection.
You can switch cycling on or off by clicking the icon on the transport bar. If activated it will be purple. Also the ruler will turn purple between the Locators.

Cubase does not distinguish between Play and Record for the cycle mode. If you play back the cycle you can hit the record button anytime.

For positioning the play cursor most of us use key commands. By default NumPad1 will jump to the Left Locator, NumPad2 to the Right. the key </> toggles the cycle mode.
However, if you already changed the key commands to ProTools standard you can find menu entries in the menu Transport → Locators.
You can setup your own key commands to your liking, of course.

Pro tipp: If you set the Right Locator before the Left Locator in the timeline and activate cycle mode, Cubase will skip the part between Right and Left Locator on playback.

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You’re doing nothing wrong. Playback always start from the play head position.
I would create a macro, which is crazy easy to do. “Go to left locator” and “Play”. You can then add a key command to that macro.

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Hi Jeff.
Also - if I understand your request correctly - you can use the command alt/opt + p to set the loop to your selection and start the playback automatically.


Great suggestions!

I created a macro “goLeftLocatorStartStop” that is now controlled by the pressing the spacebar

I then set the existing StartStop command to <SHIFT - spacebar>

It seems to be giving me the functionality that I prefer. I am cognizant of the potential problems of imposing the common practices of one DAW (Protools) onto another (Cubase), so I am wondering if I may be setting myself up for trouble with this alteration. Am I potentially breaking common workflow best practices for Cubase by making this change to the important spacebar key command? I admit I may not be fully aware of the benefits of the default Cubase commands and their role in the workflow of the DAW. I’m at a loss for understanding why I would ever want the playhead position to NOT be at the last position I clicked in the events window, but maybe I’m missing something?

Also Note, I would probably prefer if there was a submenu item in preferences in the location of the red arrow in the pic below. The submenu option would be available only when “Cycle follows range selection” is selected, and it would be named “Always go to Left Locator”

Unless I’m mistaken - doesn’t the command “loop selection” actually do exactly what you want? It’s available via a key command. No macro needed.

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I think what’s missing from that solution is that the playhead is not automatically moved to the start of the selection, is it?

I believe it is.

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did you do this:

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I’m trying it out and I think you might be right! So maybe I just change my key commands so that spacebar always does the loop selection command?

Now I’m wondering if there is a way to change the functionality of the actual transport onscreen control for playback to whatever I would like, macro, command etc?
Screenshot 2022-11-01 122535

I don’t love the behavior of the “Return to Start Position on Stop” because I would prefer to return to the start position only after I have again pressed the spacebar to begin playback. IE, I might want to stick around to look at the screen wherever I stop.


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Good to know. I probably would almost always use a key command anyway.

I’m really hoping I can actually pull off this migration to Cubase rather than returning to Protools.

Thanks for your help!

I wouldn’t say so. I’ve been using Cubase for decades and never use the space bar for instance.
My muscle memory is on the numeric keypad where I use 0, ., 1 and Enter for playback start/stop.


The downside of using the “loop selection” command that I am noticing is that it forces you to do just that, LOOP the selection. In some cases, I like being able to make a selection but not have it loop. Using my macro produces the playback behavior I want while maintaining the ability to toggle on and off the cycle button to turn looping on and off.

I guess what I want is a way to:

  1. move the locators to wherever I click on the screen, which is accomplished with the “Cycle follows range selection” preference tickbox


  1. move the playback head to the left locator before playing, which is accomplished with the macro I created for the spacebar

Note, I think this would be less of an issue for me if I was not using a laptop that lacks a numeric keypad. It seems there are ways to accomplish these same things (with multiple key presses) using the standard key commands set to the numeric pad.

Cubase is quite customizable and utilizing macros together Project Logical Editor presets is really one of its strong suits IMO.

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K. Well, that’s what you were asking for in your post and headline, but I’m glad you found a different way to accomplish your goal. Cubendo is very flexible in that sense.

The one thing that helped me as I moved over from PT was to take some of the PT key commands and reuse them (on the same keys) in Nuendo, then map whatever else I wanted to where I wanted it… but I’ve also made it a point to use modifier keys in a way that I think is logical. So spacebar to me is start/stop playback, and Alt+spacebar is Loop Selection. The insert key is import audio file, Alt+insert is import AAF, Ctrl+insert is import video, and so on.

That way if I have to remember where things are then in the beginning as long as I remember one command then if I can figure out that I’m doing a similar task it’s probably the same key plus a modifier.

Just figured I’d throw that out there if you’re in the process of creating key command layouts.

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