Working with Hollywood Strings and Brass and other multi-mic sample packs off of a non-SSD setup has led me to considerable frustration when dealing with anything more substantial than a trivial project (ironically upgrading the hard drives is almost as major an investment as some of the most expensive investments I’ve made to set up my rig, including sample packs). This has led me to formulate what would be required for even a high end setup to be performance-wise relatively viable off of a “mediocre system” (I do have 16GB of RAM and 8 cores to start with). The integral element here is the freeze function, which, while not useless, is so lacking in user friendliness that with the advent of terabyte sample sets IMO deserves a very serious overhaul.
On a lesser note it all starts with “I cannot believe there is NO INSTRUMENT BYPASS button on the main interface”. It wouldn’t be nearly as frustrating if I could not only mute, but group-bypass entire instrument sections without having to open each instrument’s interface independently (if you don’t get why this is important - try mixing a 30-track orchestral piece. The convolution reverb alone will hog up most of the CPU time, not to mention the disk access, which for a regular 7200 RPM drive can be clogged up by two fully loaded instruments playing a poly pass). The only alternative to this is freezing, which becomes literally the only alternative if you also want to hear all of the tracks. Which brings me to my new segment: “Okay, VariAudio is nice and I’m sure LoopMash will make some people happy, but are you seriously serious about the freeze function?”
Here’s how to fix it (trust me, it’s not that hard):
- implement “part freeze” by selecting MIDI events and clicking freeze for a small subsection with a custom tail (just like it is the case here). I don’t care if the freeze cuts off a long fx release trail if I know I’m causing it. Moreover, this would be far more useful for instrument freezes without effects in the first place
- tempo-adjust the damn freeze tracks. Cubase does this for audio tracks, why not frozen audio? This alone would alleviate hours of headache.
- implement out buss routing for instruments. Now, this is so crucial that I’ll repeat it: implement out buss routing for instruments. In all fairness I read somewhere that the word on the street is Steinberg promised this as part of a 6.x update and yes, I know I can gain access to all out signals by using a VST instrument slot instead of a regular one, but have noticed what a mess it is. In my opinion this is such a fundamental feature and coming from Reason I can’t believe there’s no hands-on WYSIWYG routing after 10 years of development that it actually deserves a facepalm
- give me batch freeze so I can go and have a pizza while my computer is crunching
- add bypass and group bypass buttons to the main interface
All of these are part of different types of functionality that already exist in Cubase. Why these haven’t been actually implemented instead of stacking up new effects that have far superior variants out there (GuitarRig for AmpRack, QL Spaces for REVerence, etc) is a mystery.
PS - why does save time stack up so quickly as the project grows? Not sure, but it feels like this could be done faster, if simply by making a quick in-memory copy and dumping that to disk in a separate thread instead of locking up the GUI
PPS - this is probably a Play issue, but when loading an instrument, Cubase could force a child window status on the instrument and its children so it wouldn’t keep grabbing focus, making the computer unusable while the project is loading