Multiple Project Sessions into One

After many projects and experimentation I have found that the workflow I like is to write and track and produce in individual sessions/projects.

But then I prefer to mix in a single large session/project. I do mainly rock/metal, so real instruments and a lot of bussing, sample replacement, midi, and all sorts of tricks to basically make flavors of static play nice with each other [emoji12]

Anyway I find it much faster to do all that in a single session than copying over and over again settings and busses into individual sessions.

What is the best way to combine multiple sessions into one? Hopefully bringing along midi and tempo maps.

If I have no midi, I usually just export the raw tracks like if I was giving them to a mixing engineer. Then import them.

But if there is midi, now I have to deal with tempo maps. I have tried copy and pasting with mixed results. Even if I keep things in linear mode I have to line them up by hand.

Then tempo maps? Useful if there are last minute edits that pop out. Or for synced delay throws and such. Right now I am redoing them by hand.

So all this basically means half a day to a day just doing setup. There has to be a better way! Maybe? Please help!

Your use of the term “session” is ambiguous in your post.

Are you saying that when you write and record each song you make a separate Cubase Project for each song; but then when you mix you want to take multiple songs and merge them all into a single project, one after another?

If that is what you are trying to do, I can’t imagine any advantage in doing it that way and a whole lot of downside in added complexity. Assuming you have a need to keep your tracking and mixing separated, a better approach would be when you are finished with all your tracking use “save as” to save the project under a new name and use that new project to mix. Then if you want to sequence the songs and do any mastering-ish work create a new project and import the stereo mixes for each song.

Yes that is what I am describing.

I think it depends on what kind of music you are doing. If I am doing single songs where all the elements are somewhat different, then yes mixing in single sessions makes sense. But when there is a certain level of consistency, then I start running into problems.

So with individual projects, I have to copy over mixer settings, routing (I do a lot of bussing, multiple mics, etc.), deal with track order. If I am re-amping, each session has to be done one at a time. I am also stuck listening typically to a single song over and over for the initial mix.

Versus mixing in a single project, I can bounce around between songs and the big moves like routing, re-amping, sample replacement, major tone dialing, I can cut all that tedious repetitive work out. So with this I get things like 90% there. Then for the smaller tweaks like automation or smaller elements to an individual song I will save the whole project into individual songs and make the small tweaks.

Personally I find this way faster to work and puts most of the tedious work like merging the projects up front. Rather than breaking up mixing and then another round of tedious work and then mixing again. For me that single project just really helps keeping the creative part rolling rather than switching back and forth. Also when the main mix is done, a single project makes the rest move quickly and results happen fast.

However there are downfalls, automation is a bit of PITA this way. Merging the projects sucks… so far my best way is to copy and paste and not worry about tempo tracks and keep the midi in linear time. Tracking basic bands this way isn’t horrible. But with composing MIDI, tempo tracks, editing, tuning, re-arranging songs, etc. A single project is horrific and grows enormous. Adjusting a tempo in a song in the middle just wreaks havoc on the rest fo the songs following for instance.

Oh and then for mastering, I definitely use a single session with the stereo mixes. Anyway every workflow is definitely up for debate. For most bands and EP’s, demos, and even full lengths, this seems to really work well for me.

I am of course all ears for a better way as well! What is your workflow for something like this?

Well, I take a much more traditional approach. Tracing each piece as a separate project and then mixing each on its own before compositing them together as audio at the end. Cubase isn’t really designed to easily accommodate your approach - as you already know. For me trying to combine a bunch of separate into the same project would mean seriously increasing the track count since song to song there is not much (to none) overlap in the instruments used. So, for example, if I’ve got 8 songs with 10 tracks each I’d end up with nearly 80 tracks most of which would be doing nothing most of the time. Frankly I’d find all the additional complexity confusing.

But if the approach works for you that’s cool. However I suspect it would be much easier to implement if you started by writing/tracking each song in its own folder in your uber-project from the get-go. That would remove the tedious effort of combining already existing projects. Just start your first song at bar 1, and the second at bar 100 (or whatever), third at bar 200, etc. Checking the visibility of the folders would let you focus on whichever song(s) you wanted at that time. If in the end you want them all in the same project, it seems cleaner and simpler to start with them all in the same project.