[Musical mode] How's my work flow?

Musical mode, where have you been all my life?

I’ve started creating short drum loops (2 or 4 bars in length) using Cubase’s great musical mode feature and a fully mic’ed live drum kit. Sounds great, works as advertised. Now I get to use a tempo track when I craft a song this way and I can really tweak the timing on the finished track. It’s worth it for the control over ritards alone :slight_smile:!

I’ve got a very simple test running right now. Ive recorded one 2 bar drum loop, and repeated it numerous times across a 4 minute song (using shared copies). Important point here - since this loop was recorded on a multi-mic’ed kit, it’s actually ten 2-bar loops repeated multiple times, all playing back simultaneously (ten tracks for ten mics, including the overheads and a couple rooms). All tracks are in musical mode, and they are following my tempo track changes nicely.

Only problem is - my system (Win 7 Q9550 Quadcore, 8GB ram) slows to a crawl whenever I tweak the tempo track. If I change one of my tempo ramps even by 1 bpm, the system freezes for 30-40 seconds while (I assume) it recalculates my ten tracks of repeating 2-bar long musical mode drum loops.

Am I doing something wrong, work-flow wise? Or is my system not up to this? It’s fairly modern, but are ten musical mode tracks just too much to recalculate in real time? Even if I just click Mute on a loop, I get this 30-40 second system freeze before it finishes up muting and returns control of Cubase to me.

Any help appreciated! If I disable the ten tracks of loops temporarily, the problem goes away completely (until I re-enable them, of course). So it’s definitely something to do with the musical mode loops.


P.S. Not using plug-ins yet either…

What resolution are your recorded files?

If very high (eg 32bit/96khz) then your computer may well be struggling to recalculate all those beats on-the-fly.

Also, which algorithm are you choosing for your musical mode audio? You may get better results changing this.

What’s your CPU looking like – try and monitor this while doing something in Cubase to recreate the issue.

Thanks for the reply Killawattz… I’m using 24 bit/44.1 wave files.

CPU usage is at around 7% beforehand. When I tweak my tempo track (and thus the musical mode loops get re-processed), CPU jumps into the 30 percentile range - and spikes into the 50 percentile range for just a couple seconds. Then it drops back into the 30 percentile range until finished.

Again, the whole process takes about 40 seconds (occasionally a bit more), during which time Cubase is unresponsive. When complete, Cubase comes back to life, the musical mode loops match the tempo tweaks perfectly and the CPU drops back down to around 7%. And everything works as normal again.

Never had an issue like this before with any other processes. Computer has always been snappy/quick with everything I can throw at it, audio-wise. No one else seeing this problem? I always like to get a re-pro before escalating to support.

Stop the presses, figured this out on my own.

I had snipped my 2-bar drum loop out of a 22 minute live performance on the kit. Then I copied the 2-bar event over to its own folder, but didn’t then bounce the 2-bar event to it’s own file. Thus, every time I edited the tempo track, Cubase was rewarping the entire 22 minute file - 10 times over, because I had ten tracks of multi-mic’ed drums!

It’s funny how little time (40 seconds) it took to do all that, considering. Kind of amazing the speed, that’s a lot of computation going on.

Anyway, I went ahead and bounced the 2-bar loop to its own wave file. All is fine and speedy now. Relieved!


:laughing: nine times out of ten, I find out that I have only myself to blame. So your case sounds very familiar to me.

I wonder how fast it would be if it used 70-80% CPU rather than 30-50% as you said.

Is Cubase being shy or something? is it afraid to use the full power at its disposal?!

It occurred to me later that I’m lucky my computer isn’t faster! I might never have noticed what was really happening until later in the project (when it would have been harder to correct).