Looking to see if anyone is getting good mixing results using the Channel Strip that comes with the Cubase mix console. And if so how are you going about it?
Let me start off by saying that I am far from being a mixing expert; I got back into the music thing after a very long hiatus and wanted to do more on the recording and production end of things this time around. It’s been a huge learning curve, things are a lot different than they were twenty+ years ago, so many options and great software (too much…) but I’m really enjoying it and working through the frustrations.
I’ve been trying to use the Cubase Channel strip as much as possible, at first I was a slave to the presets hoping that I would pick up some things from them. It just isn’t working out for me using stock or my own custom presets. Recently I did a trial with Izotope’s Alloy 2, I avoided its presets and tweaked a few things from scratch and almost instantly had decent results that would have taken me hours and hours with the Cubase Channel Strip. Yes, Alloy’s interface is great but I was doing the same settings for Compression, Saturation, ect… that I have done in Cubase, everything balanced so much smoother. Alloy 2 is not overly expensive so I may just purchase it. But if I do I’ll likely totally abandon all the things that came with Cubase, I upgraded from Cubase Artist to the full version because of all nice extras.
Is it me? Or are there some tricks out there? I use the Steinberg Dynamics plugins as one-off track inserts all the time and get along ok with them. So I believe that the stock Cubase Plugins are decent. So what is up with the mix console channel strip? The Envelope Shaper and Saturation seem to give me the most problems so I’ve been avoiding them all together.
Hoping someone can shed some light on things; I want to use what comes with my DAW and get better at mixing and sound. When I’m feeling good about my mixing results is when I’ll go out and get things like the Neve RND Portico plugins and maybe some real hardware . I’m a rookie so it would be a waste to do that now.
Thanks in advance!
Tried a mix with Cubase onboard stuff only incl. the channel strip. Depending on the basic materials it can take you far. But keep in mind that it’s bread’n’butter processing. Special tasks may require special tools.
Channel EQ: simply great for a channel EQ.
Comps: well, they do compression Of course not as tweakable or characterful as some others but still useful.
Envelope Shaper: great thing. Maybe behaves a little strange at extreme settings.
Saturation: not sure. Always better when used just a little (if at all) in my ears.
Limiter: not much use for limiters on individual channels here. I like the brickwall one.
Presets are more or less a waste of time. They represent what somebody has done to a certain source which will differ from your signal. Going from scratch is the better idea.
After a long time away from music, I’d recommend to see (hear) how you can get most out of the given tools. Just to get yourself a feeling of the limits. Take it as a basis for deciding what more you really need. There are a lot of really great freeware tools out there (i.e. the legendary Bootsy plugins: http://varietyofsound.wordpress.com/ or the free bundle from Meldaproductions: http://www.meldaproduction.com/plugins/product.php?id=MFreeEffectsBundle), as well as inexpensive goodies (i.e. SKnote: http://www.sknote.it/). And of course a lot of higher priced products (Slate Digital, UAD, Waves). But even the free stuff is often better than what money could buy in hardware 20+ years ago.
Have some fun
Thanks for the quick response all good words, I’m actually in messing around with things a bit more tonight.
I didn’t mention the EQ because I agree with you, its good. I’m not heavy handed on EQ’ing asides from Low/High pass’s but the stock EQ always cleans up what I need. I have not taken the time to learn the Voxengo EQ yet, I’m sure that is good and will eventually get to using it.
With using the presets, I took what I liked and throttled them back for the most-part. As you said they are specific and even way over the top in some cases. But I thought I picked up some good knowledge on how different instruments should be treated (ex: Bass Drum vs Bass Guitar vs Synth Pad, etc…). I’d start of with one track sounding good, the next few would be ok too but overall the mix would get drained and flat. I thought I kept things simple, maybe I’ll go back on a few projects and see if I’ve been over doing something.
I’m all for getting specialty tools, its more about learning what I have right now. I also have a Necktar P6 keyboard/controller, they did a great job of mapping things to the Cubase tools so using them helps workflow a great deal. That controller saved me a ton of time, no need to make a bunch of custom maps and QC’s!
I did forget to mention that my AI is a UR28M, that comes with a Yamaha Morphing tool that I’m going to take another look at. I found it to be a bit limiting when I initially tried it out. We’ll, see.
I’m sure it is mostly me not the Cubase tools, but it was interesting that I had such an easy time with Alloy 2…
If it’s that easy for you and you get good results then simply go for it. Many third party tools provide a better workflow, faster results, different vibe, whatever. I use and enjoy a lot of UAD, SKnote and Slate Digital plugins. Haven’t used Alloy 2, the product video definately looks cool. Don’t miss the freebies I mentioned.
But as many tools as you have, they are only as good as the one using them. Just get to know the interestings things in detail.