Sample Editor: How to have *just* the section I wanna edit?

How can I edit a section of audio in the Sample Editor and have only that part visible (and audition looped)? No matter what I do it seems that Sample Editor wants to confuse me with the surrounding audio for context or something, but that’s just confusing.

I loop-record vocals, then split them and comp into a decent take. Then I want to open in Sample Editor to selectively apply VariAudio pitch correction and such. I ONLY want the snippet or clip I’ve selected; everything else just obfuscates what I’m trying to do.

At first I thought this was just an artefact of loop-recording: it merely creates regions in the one long audio file from where you pressed Record to Stop. That’s understandable and largely OK: if I hold the last note or chord when recording and it loops back the loop start, I can just extend the region later to get that ending note or chord, e.g., to cross-fade into the next section.

So after comping the clips into one track, I bounced the audio so it’d be one file with just that bit in it, rather than the file with all the unused takes. But I was surprised and frustrated when opening the Sample Editor on one of those new clips and it STILL has more audio than I want!! I just want the audio clip I’m editing. A nice option would be to see the time ruler as zero-based, instead of the song-based it is now. To me when I’m editing “samples” as the Sample Editor purports to be, it’s just audio, not necessarily part of a track, per se.

This is especially important for audition looping: I want to loop the snippet/clip as I make edits, e.g., changing Quantize Pitch or snipping & moving blocks. However, the audition looper immediately loops the block I’m editing, which is not only not helpful, it’s very annoying to hear the same syllable repeated fast. How do I continuously loop the clip I selected to edit, even while I’m editing the notes?

What am I not understanding about the role and function of the Sample Editor?


In the Sample Editor you always have the whole file available. If you are sure you want to see just the specific Part, Bounce the Selection (after the cut).

is there no way to hard-focus the editors, whether Sample, MIDI, and so on, to only show the part/region I’m editing? moreover, to only loopthat part, have select All only select data in that part? i get that there may be times i want to see outside of that part/region, but that seems like it should be the exception, rather than the rule.

here’s a real example, which is an everyday thing for me:

  1. loop-record vocals for, say, a verse
  2. use scissors to chop up the takes into clips
  3. use the speaker tool to audition clips
  4. use the comp tool to pick the best ones

at this point i’d probably want to go fixup pitchy notes, so I’d open the offending clip in Sample Editor. but in Sample Editor, i find myself getting lost: instead of just my clip, i have the entire recorded take! i want to just click the audition play and loop buttons at the top so I can hear it over and overwhile I make pitch changes, say. instead, auditon takes me out of the clip section into the parts of the take I have already cut out of the comped take.

under what circumstances would that be the desired behavior? none i can think of.

there are two things here: what is being edited and what else might be shown for context. there are a lot of potentially interesting ways and uses of context,e.g. the file the clip is in, the part or track, or even other tracks, possibly of different types, e.g. lining up MIDI notes to audio.

but what I’m looking for is how to control the focus of what I’m editing, which, imho should be the default. think about it: iin the Project window you see audio and MIDI clips. you can drag them, stretch them, apply processes to them, and all that operates on the audio or MIDI within that clip, just like you expect. why then does opening that clip in the editor (Sample or MIDI) not have that same scope? how is it at all rational that hitting the audition play button in Sample editor plays the parts of the take that have already been culled from the comped performance? what purpose does that serve?

so ok, let’s bounce down the comped performance into one file. now i have the snippets i want on the track, but I still have the problem trying to focus the Sample or MIDI editor to just the part I’m wanting to work on. to “fix” that, I’d have to bounce each and every snippetto its own file, which sounds tedious.

IMHO, it should work something like this (and some of it already does)
0. scissoring events in Project to create smaller clips automatically creates regions demarcating that clip within the larger file

  1. opening a clip in an editor should open the editor focused on that region. nav keys, eg goto start, goto end, go to those locations within that region.
  2. audition play and loop would play just that region, by default, with or without the other tracks playing along (i.e. the S button in upper left)
  3. bouncing the comped performance puts all these clips into one file, and that new file should also have the clip regions, too. bonus points for regions preserving metadata from their previous files,should you want to go backto the original loop recorded performance

the simplest way to do what I need: a “loop region” command. as it is now, i open a clip, select just the part I thought I was editing ( and not the rest of the file, which is what i get), create a region, select the region,hit audition. stop auditon, make edit, reselect the region, hit audition.

that’s a slow, tedious, pita workflow. and when it’s been a long day, it is easy to accidentally edit audio that’s already been cut out. because Cubase doesnt really cut it out.

do others have this frustration, or is there some better workflow?


Maybe a technical background could help in understanding here.

If you record multiple takes, it’s an only one file anyway. Cubase just shows it in the GUI as a lanes (takes). So if you decide to edit it in the Sample Editor, you get the whole file to edit.

My workflow is to choose the best takes by using Comp tool first. Once I have the “perfect take” done, I Render In Place it to make a new track (I keep the old one as a backup, if I would need to change something or go back). Then I start to edit (tune) this “perfect take”.

Yes, I do the same, whether Bounce or Render. I’m well-aware of how Cubase uses files, and I don’t have any beef with that at all. FWIW, I’ve used Nuendo/Cubase since the early 1990s, after switching from Cakewalk (!), in part because I was using both Mac and Windows, and Nuendo/Cubase were the best there, if not the only one.

What would seem to be missing (or at least missing in my know-how) is the ability to completely focus on one specific clip or region, whether to audition, edit, whatever. In that moment, the fact that that the data lives in one or many other files really doesn’t matter to me; that’s an implementation detail, at best. I want to operate on JUST THAT CLIP, e.g., loop audition, edit pitch, hit points, whatever, and STAY FOCUSED on that clip, not scroll (or worse, play) outside that clip.

I’m not even convinced that I’m asking for any new feature, as Cubase already has Regions. Really, all I’m asking for is to FOCUS on a region when working within the Editors:

  • option to show or hide data on that same track outside the Region
  • audition / loop the Region, i.e., dedicated loop markers inside the Editor
  • select & edit operations apply only within the Region, e.g., Select All

This just seems consistent with the idea of bringing up an Editor in the first place: you want to focus your attention on a particular region of a track and make appropriate edits. It’s NOT just a zoomed in view. i.e., the Project window focus is the at the Song level; the Sample Editor, MIDI Editor, Drum Editor et al focus at the event/clip level - typically not the entire Track, but within a specific range / region on that Track. It’s that FOCUS I’m not getting. Yeah, it opens the Editor on that section of that track, but afaik there aren’t any guardrails to keep us within that section.

Like I said, I’m not certain that what I’m asking for here isn’t already in Cubase, and I’m just not looking in the right place. I’m hoping others will know and share that, and I’ll be on my way. (A speaker from Microsoft once said that Word users only use a dozen or so features, out of however many thousands it has. Trouble is, no two Word users use the same dozen features!)

Thanks in advance, whomever you turn out to be, helpful person!

– jdm


What about to use Zoom to Event (Shift + E) function in the Sample Editor? Would this help?

that’s handy for what is in view, yes. what I really want is for the Sample Editor to only care about that selection: audition plays only that selection, for example, even while I click-drag or otherwise edit piece of it. really, just having left/right locators + looping that is specific to the Sample Editor would do. IMHO that makes a lot of sense: loop markers that apply only while inside the Sample Editor (or MIDI editor, too), just like the normal Left / Right locators + Cycle apply when back in the Project view.

and I swear I thought Cubase had this feature already…

The Question you have is perfectly understandable, but that kind of features the sample editor do not have.
The drag and drop or show only that selection is very understandable feature, that cubase sample editor does not have.
Maybe it is something the moderators can pick up on.


Would the independent Loop feature in the Sample Editor help to your use case?

Its like 2020 already… Unableton still is still unable and now with a Maxed out priced, Butwug still crashes, Maschine never gave us the ability to launch parts outside of scenes, and Cubase still has no independent loop recording feature, and “samples” are still treated like what you would get from pressing a keyboard key down, not clip/loop-like content.

So questions like this keep coming up. Cubase has so many many features which would make the kind of loose and free workflow of “self jamming” so great if they would just, I don’t know, add the ability to highlight a section of a track, groove quantize it, and drag and drop it on some colored pad and have it play as a triggered loop, so you can get on to the next instrument and keep the creative juices flowing…

I almost have it done too. almost.

Groove Agent, Folders, Track Versions, Macros, and an 8x8 midi pad with note hold toggle. Only issue, GA won’t let you control the instrument pads like the performance pads. WHY, WHY, WHY? every time it’s like Cubase -almost- has the feature, and its right there, it’s just right there on the other pads… but… no. well you Gould just have all of the performance pads pre-configured for the appropriate instrument pad, but you can’t trigger and hold unless the midi “note” in that performance pad exactly matches the length of the clip er loop, whatever you call it.

So use the quantizer midi insert to quantize to a bar… except, wait what? WHY? the best the quantizer can do is a quarter note? WHY? I write software and believe me, the only reasonable ways to write that code would mean that they had to intentionally not let you control the quantizer to “whole notes”. Just like they had to have intentionally taken the ability to “trigger” pads in the instrument section out, when they put them in the performance section of GA.

Every time it’s like they are working harder to make the tools NOT do what you might want them to do.

Or, you know, they could just provide a loop/clip/event, whatever you want to call it, “Clip” Agent Plugin that is 99.8% already written.

I would settle for just updating groove agent to to allow for Instrument pads to be triggered like the performance pads. I don’t even care about midi at this point, “Sessions” are not something I even think about yet, but as it is, Im getting really really good at triggering multiple pads within a quarter note.

The other solution is of course, drag your “clip” to the Groove Agent, make sure the stop and start and loop line up to the appropriate length, switch over to the performance pad and make sure it matches the length and then write in a note that expands the length of the pattern on the pad. Then you can set it to trigger the way you want, and you can even set it’s follow rules sort of like a “session”.

The reality is, you are always messing about with clips anyway so the workflow isn’t all that different, just extra manual steps that seem like they shouldn’t be necessary.

love Cubas … just, come on, give us lonely do it all ourselves types something to work with.

About Terminology:

Words are used differently by different groups and in different regions. Most musicians and modern “producers” use a different language than Audio Engineers, and those terms have drifted over time.

What they use to mean to an abundance of musicians and “producers”-

Sample: A short waveform used to attempt to recreate an instrument to be played on an electric keyboard.
Loop: The portion of a “Sample” that plays while you are still holding down the key.
Clip: When a waveform has such amplitude that it exceeds the ability of the digital format to represent.
Event: A single MIDI message.

What they later meant to an abundance of musicians and “producers”-

Sample: A short portion of musical content borrowed from somewhere else, like someone else’s music. (Plagerism)
Loop: A bar or multi-bar, often rhythmic, portion of music used to piece together a “song” without much real musical ability. (Now you’re a “producer”)
Clip: A file representing a waveform.
Event: A portion of a waveform file used in an arrangement… and… a single MIDI message, and a portion of a midi performance used in an arrangement.

What they currently ~tend~ to mean to an abundance of musicians and “producers”-

Sample: A reusable bar or greater portion of personally recorded or acquired musical content that can be used in a loop, or triggered once.
Loop: A reusable bar or greater portion of personally recorded or acquired musical content that can be used in a loop, or triggered once.
Clip: A reusable bar or greater portion of personally recorded or acquired musical content that can be used in a loop, or triggered once.
Event: A reusable bar or greater portion of personally recorded or acquired musical content that can be used in a loop, or triggered once.

Its not right. But it is causing a lot of confusion.