Snapshot Automation?

I’ve spent 20 years recording on a Roland VS-2480, and one feature that I miss from that unit is “Snapshot” Automation. I’ll explain:

I automate all my mixes, and I tend to mix tunes per musical sections: one mix for the intro, a slightly different mix for the 1st verse, slight changes for the 1st chorus, etc. As instruments get added or subtracted in each new section, the mix must adjust to accommodate them. On the Roland unit, I can go to the beginning of the new section, and with the automation off move faders (or any parameter) until I get the blend I’m looking for. Once I have that, I can take a snapshot of where the fader positions are. On playback, the faders will jump to their new position at the beginning of each new section. It’s as simple as taking a static snapshot of the mixer at that point in time which the automation will step through on playback.

It seem that this isn’t possible in Cubase. I’m looking for a way to easily take a “global picture” of the mixer without having to enter in a value for each fader. Possible?


Cubase of course has mixer snapshots. Your workflow is rather unusual for a DAW though. One generally automates only the parts of the mix that change.

Hi Glenn:

I should have been more specific: I’ll put in a complete automation snapshot with volume, pan, EQ, effects sends, etc. for all tracks a bar before the music starts. After that, I’ll only automate the actual changes needed per track. Generally drums and bass won’t need anything else. If there’s piano for the first verse and guitar enters for the chorus, those will be the only automation changes at that point. Cubase only offers 10 Mixer snapshots, which a) could be used up quickly and b) are not really part of the automation section. Can Mixer Snapshots be assigned a position in the timeline and automatically recalled while the song is playing? This is what I’m hoping to find.

I know I can enter this data manually, but it’s pretty painstaking. It’s much faster to hit a camera icon and move on.


I think what GlennO is trying to say is, that it is unusual to have to change the entire mix when a new instrument enters and that is something i have never heard of before. Instead of changing the entire mix we will make the new instrument fit in the already existing mix.

This would be great to implement. Ability to recall snapshots on a timeline. I do a lot of studio mixing for live shows and this would be a life saver. Set everything - save as a snapshot for song 1. Move faders, pans - save as snapshot for song 2 etc. Of course you can automate the whole thing but this would be easier to start, then work on automation within the snapshot. Please repost this to future suggestions.

You guys totally don’t get what Mark is trying to say.

I know exactly what he’s saying. KHS and I were just explaining why one doesn’t find this feature in Cubase. It’s not that it isn’t useful, it’s just that it’s an unusual way to work.

On the Roland VS units there are two kinds of automation: Dynamic and Snapshot.

Dynamic is exactly like Cubase, where the Fader (or whatever parameter) writes a series of different values mirroring it’s Input by the engineer. Snapshot is a static picture of the mixer, which doesn’t change until the next single value comes along. Both modes can be used together on as many or few tracks as required.

It’s not often that I need Dynamic automation unless I need to fade In or Out some tracks, have tracks panning back and forth or do a fade out at the end of a tune. I use Snapshot most of the time only on the Tracks where a change is needed. I also mix many live (2 +hr.) shows.

It’s surprising that a hardware recorder from 2001 has this feature and Cubase doesn’t.


Why is it so unusual? This is how you would do on ssl for example.
Let’s say you have 20 songs in one project. You set the levels for the first one and save that. Go to the second song, set the levels, save etc. Would that be easier than to manually add automation points to each track? Let alone automate eq settings and other parameters. Believe me, it’s million times faster and nothing unusual about that. Cubase is almost there. All it needs is to increase the number of snapshots and add ability recall snapshots on a timeline.

Because Cubase does not have it - other than that it is not unusual at all…

It’s really about using the right tool for the job. Most of the time I don’t need mix settings changing over time; I just need a slight “instant” reset. I’ll even do a different Snapshot on backup vocals for each new line to keep a consistent blend. It’s as simple as setting your faders to where it sounds right, click the camera icon and move on. On Cubase I have to enter the previous value (so that the volume doesn’t ramp up), then manually enter the new value. This must be done for each track you want to automate, so the process becomes harder and more time-consuming than it needs to be.

I think that anyone that uses the Roland-style Snapshot automation would quickly become a fan of it.


It sounds like the “Scene” feature on the motif XF workstation. I’ve gotten so used to it that I was surprised not to find something similar in cubase.

It’s a handy feature, and really speeds up workflow. You basically turn off the “Read” automation, set the faders to what sounds best, pick a time-line point with the cursor, “Write” enable, click the camera icon, then move on. Super quick way to mix.