Optional "MIx input signal and track content" recording mode

I work with several DAWs and find Cubase’s “recording modes” (tape machine style and so on) a bit awkward for my workflow.
I do things (including guitars) all ITB. With many DAWs all you need to do is record - arm the track and you can hear the input signal through the VST FX chain. If you click play on the transport, you’ll hear that ON TOP of the content of the track.
That is useful, for example, if you are jamming along with a track to try out instrumental parts, etc. I find that many times I have to change recording mode (I have a hot key for that) if I am composing or recording or punching in. I personally feel it’s very disruptive to my flow when I songwrite or arrange.
Anyone else feels the same? This might be a nice addition to Cubase’s ever - evolving qualities

Hello. I am curious. I don’t I entirely understand what you mean. I work mostly on Cubase so it could be that it is a feature I don’t know. Could you describe further?

When I record through my interface (mics, guitars etc), I use the effects on the hardware/soundcard because the latency is too noticeable when going through the DAW, and of course zero ateny using the built in effects on the hardware. The effects on the interface are not recorded onto the DAW (I can if I want to), but I hear them while recording. Then I add inserts etc later to the recording.

So, the input-track is one thing, the actual track is another. If I have these two setup the same, they sound the same, recording or playing back. Then it also matters if I use monitoring or not of course, and how I set up the soundcard.

In terms of “recording modes” I am only familiar with punch-in and re-record, and where I start with the cursor.

So, I probably do not understand what you are talking about, so I mentioned all this to try to understand further what you mean.


Hey Samuel, howdy?

Yeah, sorry, I realise I have used the wrong word there, I’ll see if I can edit the thread title.
By “recording mode” I meant “monitoring mode”
You know how in Cubase you have three options to automatically monitor the sound coming in?
The auto - monitoring modes are “Manual”, “Record Enabled”, “While Recording” and “Tape Machine Style”.
None of these modes allows for me to arm a track, listen to its content and play along to it (for a lead in to a punch in for example) at the same time without having a parallel twin track. I don’t want to use the direct monitoring of my MOTU because I’m using amp emulators and would like to hear the processed sound.
I find that, whether I’m working by myself of recording somebody else, too many clicks are involved. Changing monitoring mode, clicking the yellow speaker icon after you press play, etc. It’s a bit confusing to me because I’m just used to arm the track for recording and eventually mute what’s on it if I don’t want to hear it

Hello. I think I get it now. And yes, I see your point. I also use a shortcutkey for the monitor button, and often find it a bit fiddly.

Here is my understanding. If both recording and playback would happen at the same time, there would be a feedback loop, hence the button - a switch you could say. You can only hear one source at a time. Perhaps other daws have some solutions here which I don’t quite understand how that would work to prevent feedback.

I do find the following works quite well:
Make sure you set monitoring to “Tape Machine Style”, then use punch in and punch out, or press * when you want, where you want to record. This way you can still hear the recording before and after you record yourself without having to press the yellow button.

In terms of playing along without recording, a shortcut for monitoring it is quite easy to turn on and off when you just want to play along.
Just duplicate the track and have that one open when you want to just play along.

If you have software inserts on the input channel, they will be recorded. I find it better to have hardware effects here, i.e. have a soundcard that has build-in effects. I can for example play with the effects without recording them which is quite handy. Then I can have the same, or other effects, on the actual AudioChannel.

Does that make sense, or are other daws doing this better?

not better, just different! :slight_smile:

yeah, all you describe I’m already doing it now; the only buzzkiller of the whole operation is having to go in and change monitoring mode every time I jam and inspiration strikes. Every extra click in the way of recording an inspired artist (either me or my clients) could be a potential mood killer. Or you just forget the part. Pfff… pretentious musicians :slight_smile:

Seriously now:
I believe in being ready to capture the magic right when it happens, with as few steps in between as possible.
I think the DAWs that let you mix the input signal with what’s already on the track instantiate a duplicate “phantom” track. So while we only see one track on screen, the program is monitoring the input through a twin track that’s hidden from sight.
That way you have the flexibility of jamming along to what’s already on the track and punch in if you happen to be inspired.
Singers particularly like that option, they tell me they feel they never get out of the “zone” because they can hear their voice at all times through the mic, even during playback.
I know you could in theory have two tracks and use one for playback and one for recording, moving audio content back and forth, but that’s a bit clunky and a waste of clicks.
I have used Cubase since SX, and the audio monitoring paradigm never really changed. In those days I had a proper studio, so I’d mic up an amp and listen though the soundcard’s monitoring. These days I do stuff ITB and feel that updating the monitoring options could make things smoother. Hence my feature request :slight_smile:

Awhile back I adopted a totally different strategy on monitoring that’s like your “phantom” idea. It works quite well. I added an Audio Track into all my Templates that is exclusively used to monitor incoming audio. Now I never monitor from the Track I’m recording on. By default its input is set the Mic1 channel on my audio interface, but it’s easy to switch on the fly to a different source (or create several to monitor multiple inputs). It’s output goes to Stereo Out. It’s muted when not monitoring. It’s not visible in the Project Window & in the MixConsole it’s pinned to the left so it’s right next to the Input Faders. In addition to the “always hear yourself” aspect there are other advantages of doing this. You can put stuff in the rack that you might want to use while monitoring but not record. For example some heavy compression can help a singer hear themselves over the instrumentation. I have the reverb level pre-set pretty high 'cause that’s what I like to hear when singing. This scheme makes it easy to set the monitor levels relative to the rest of the mix. And of course you can easily use this in cue mixes too. There is no need to move audio between tracks. Recording happens the same as always, but monitoring now has its own dedicated channel(s).

Hey - that is quite a good idea.
I took it onboard and now I’m trying out this workflow.
I create the track I want to record on. If I’m doing guitars for example I’m inserting an amp emulator, etc.
I have created a macro that duplicates the track without the audio content (and I use SHIFT + D to launch it)
I then use the duplicate track to monitor the incoming signal and record on the other one.
It’s still not an ideal workflow, too many clicks involved for my tastes, but it does get the job done.
I still would love Steinberg to consider my feature request.