Let’s face it, most people these days are releasing singles and not albums and lots of home studio guys and producers and putting mastering plugins on the stereo outs in the mix so that they can tweak the mix and the master at the same time. There is only one problem with that… you can’t add a reference song to an audio channel without it also going through the stereo outs. You could manually route every track/channel to a bus and master on that bus but isn’t that hugely impractical and a waste of time just to trigger a reference song?
What if you could have a new track type, called Reference Song Track, that still comes out of your monitors like it would if it was going through the stereo outs except it completely bypasses the stereo out channel and inserts?
New track type: Reference song track
- Solo on and off a reference song for mastering just like a normal track/channel. Except, the audio is routed to the stereo outputs but does not go through the stereo out bus. It goes through it’s own channel in the mixer that bypasses the Stereo Out channel and inserts except that the output is routed to the same output used by the stereo output bus.
- Meaning, whatever monitors are selected for the Stereo Outs, the reference track will send to them.
It will never play at the same time as the stereo outs.
- You can only hear it by soloing it.
- It should have it’s own assignable key command that you can assign a keystroke or midi in generic remote to.
- It should also appear as a regular solo-able track on Eucon and Mackie control surfaces
- The song reference song will loop if is longer than the song in the project
- You can set cue points within the reference song that can also be assigned to key commands to start playing the reference song from different parts when soloed
- It appears in the Mix Console next to the Stereo Out channel as a sperate channel and uses the same outputs that the Stereo Out channel uses but it does not go through the Stereo Out channel
Suggestion on how to implement it - Do this - It is awesome
The channel in the Mix Console shouldn’t have an insert effects section. Instead in that area, it has a heading called Cue Points or Hot Cues (if you wanna use the industry standard Pioneer DJ terminology) with large buttons with numbers on them 1, 2, 3, 4 and Play From Start and Play In Line with Project Track time. Clicking them will both solo it and play it from that point. If no Cue Point/Hot Cue is set, it will trigger the Play from Start button for the user (illuminate it also) and then whenever you press the Cue Point/Hot Cue, it will lock in that time - Look at the Pioneer CDJ 2000/2000 Nexus for reference or even just the Pioneer DJ software. There should also be a drop down menu - Assign mixer solo button to: and then you can select either a cue point, 1,2,3,4, play from start or play in line with the song. That will allow anyone with a control surface to use their regular solo button to cue from a certain point.
There should also be a MIDI learn button and a MIDI learn Clear button down the bottom of this section. Click any of the buttons and select a midi button or key or whatever to quickly assign to a Hot Cue/Cue Point. Place all of these same buttons and functions onto the physical track in the arrangement window in regions on the track that overlay the clip/event waveform. You should also place these buttons on the channel on the left zone where normally the insert effects, pan and other stuff would go. You don’t need any of the other stuff. Just these buttons now. You should also be able to click on the zones/cue points in the arrangement window in an overlay on the track event/waveform.
- Add track - Reference Song Track (or Reference Track, whatever you wanna call it)
- Dialogue pops up asking to Browse Computer or Select from Pool
- Detects the first hit point of the reference song and aligns it with the first bar closest to the first event in the arrangement window (this will allow syncing if it’s the same tempo)
- Left zone has hot cue/cue point buttons, play from etc… same as mixer as explained earlier.
- Solo for now is the same as play in line until reassigned in the drop down menu on the left zone or mixer
- Clicking a Cue Point/Hot Cue when playing or when stopped (in the arrangement window) will set the cue point from the scrolling play head line thing (regular Cubase play line)
- User sees the audio file/clip divide into cue point that you can see. These move with the event. Instead of making them like markers I would physically splice the event and put large text over the event (much larger than usual) that says Cue 1, Cue 2 etc… Clicking it will play it from there.
- There should still be a way to drag/move the audio clip once Cue points are set. Maybe the combined tools/smart tool can be set to drag when selected from the very top but clicking in the center should play from that point.
Cue Points can also be set from the mixer and operate as described earlier
Much longer and less ideal…
To do this in Cubase at the moment. You must either bounce the song out and master it separately from the project but then you will often be trying to fix something in the master that should have been fixed in the mix. Plus if a client wants to change anything in the mix after mastering, you must open the project again, bounce it out again, load it back in again only to realize that something else should have been fixed in the mix and do it all over again.
Or you can create a Group track, and go to every track in the entire mix which could easily be 100 for a pop song or hundreds for an orchestral score or flim and individual set each output to the group track. This gets particularly confusing if you have group tracks already in the song as you have to be careful to send the output of the group tracks not the output of the tracks going to the group tracks. This takes a very long time when all you want to do is have a reference song that doesn’t go through the stereo outs.
Then… if you want to reference a part of the reference song to a part of the your song/mix, you have to keep dragging the reference song around. Then there is the issue of flicking it on and off all the time. Since you can’t assign a key command to solo the reference track on and off you have to either keep tracking the channel up and down in the project so you can solo it with the mouse or, you can do the smarter way of triggering it from a control surface but that might involve stretching to a far away channel or moving your chair to that channel (if you have a large control surface) which puts you out of the sweet spot where you would ideally be when doing something as critical as mastering.
All you really need is just a special track type in Cubase to put a reference song on that bypasses the stereo out insert effects and a quick way to trigger soloing it and ideally also trigger soloing it from a certain part (cue point) in the song.
This feature request has been bought to you by Tom at Current Sound currentsound.com (Cubase user since the late 90s) The same guy who suggested on the forums the ideas for SnapShots, Import Tracks/Settings and pushed the idea of the Mixer Undo Button. When can I become an official consultant to give you more ideas? I gave you a very detailed way of how to implement it this time as I feel like my other ideas that you did could have been implemented better. This however, is now a large amount of text and people are less likely to read it which is why I didn’t do it on my other ideas as much. If you decide to do it, it would be nice if you could please give it to me to test out this time so I can find any flaws/bugs and offer suggestions/feedback. You can contact me via https://currentsound.com Thanks