Split up a long project - how?

Hi all.

I’m running the latest Cubase (7.0.6).
I wanted to record a gig, and I borrowed an Alesis HD24 to do so. After a WEEK of transferring the files to the computer, I was set to go.
The whole gig was recorded as 20 tracks (all the instruments) lasting almost three hours (all the songs).

What I’ve done now - to mix the gig - is I have loaded the whole gig into Cubase, and started mixing.
Now, this band features three lady singers, and they all do lead and backup vocals. So the mix I’d prefer on one song is wrong for another. And the pianoplayer doesn’t play on all songs, so I’d like to pan some of the other instruments into the missing space.
What do I do?
Should I keep the whole gig in one project, and do some heavy automation for each song? Or is there a smart way to split the tracks up so that I’d get each song in its own project without the whole thing going out of sync?

Thanks a lot for your input.

Sometimes, in this situation, I just add some new tracks to accommodate these different approaches. Then You could have 2 different tracks for singer A (lead/ backing).
Same with the piano…
But this approach is only valid if you don’t need to change a large number of Channels.

MGil’s suggestion is great and propably the fastest way.

To get more easy control over a song if needed, splitting up might make more sense.

You could do some basic settings in the complete gig-project. Then cut + delete everything but one song and save it to a new project to a dedicated song folder (backup function with minimizing events ticked). Go back to the complete project and repeat per song.

That way all songs share some general settings/vibe. If your mix evolves you can use track archives or channel presets to take it over to the other songs. It’s not fast. But it works.

All cut-and-pastes will leave tracks at their full 3 hour length, even in a new project, regardless of how long it ‘appears’ in each song. Certainly, that would take up a lot of disk space on the project drive and where you back them up to.

As far as I can see, I would approach it in this way:

  1. Save the master project, to have something to pinch from when necessary.

  2. For each song:

  • 2.1 Set up the markers.

  • 2.2 For each track:

    • 2.2.1 Export to a separate file, not importing into the project, but naming so you can identify each song and track for use at step 5.2.1.
  1. Save the master project to another project folder.

  2. In the CLONED project:

  • 4.1 Setup group and FX tracks.

  • 4.2 Insert FX to be used on every track.

  • 4.3 Set levels and FX parameters to ballpark values.

  • 4.4 Remove all audio clips, but leave the audio tracks themselves.

  • 4.5 Delete files in the Pool.

  • 4.6 Save the project, just-in-case.

  • 4.7 Save as a template.

  1. For each song:
  • 5.1 Using the template from 4.7, create a new project into its own folder.

  • 5.2 For each track:

    • 5.2.1 Drag and drop the audio file exported at 2.2.1 to the start of the track.
  • 5.3 Save the project.

  1. Mix each project independently.

As far as I can see, I would approach it in this way:

Sorry…You are way overcomplicating this process

All cut-and-pastes will leave tracks at their full 3 hour length, even in a new project, regardless of how long it ‘appears’ in each song. Certainly, that would take up a lot of disk space on the project drive and where you back them up to.

Not when you use “backup project” & tick delete unused media and minimise audio files…you will get only the files you need at the length you have cut them in the arrange window and you have no need to mess around with templates, recreating any FX and groups etc etc…all your project settings are kept intact.

So step by step.

  1. Save the song under a different name in case you mess up (just a standard save as)
  2. Create the folders on your audio drive for each song (Outside of Cubase)
  3. Cut all audio except for song number 1 in the arrange window
  4. Backup project to new folder. Tick boxes to delete unused media and minimise audio files
  5. Use undo to get all the audio back to full length
    5.Start again at step 2 for song number 2

You could move the files or process bars/delete bars from tempo in this project before backup project so there isn’t a gap at the start or you can do this in the individual songs projects later on.

Thank you all for your inputs, that’s very nice of you.
Now it remains to be seen if I’m able to put your good tips to use.
Thanks again.

Is there any reason you need to duplicate audio for each “song”…why not reverence them in a new project for each song?

Here’s what I would do:

  1. import all files to a master project
  2. using the range selection tool select across all events in the range of the first song
  3. copy
  4. create a new project
  5. paste
  6. save
  7. repeat for each song

no need to create new files for each song. now you can mix each song in a separate project, rearrange track order, etc… without using any more space on your hdd

Set Left and right markers to 1st song.
Save as ‘song name’
Mix, overdub, enjoy.

Set markers to next song.
Save As ‘Next song name’
Continue mixing, overdubbing and enjoying,

Etc, Etc, All the files will be save to the same folder, making the backing up a doodle as everything including all the project files will be in the same spot.

I work this way for every album I record and it seems to fit my personal workflow, interesting to reads others flow too though. Nice thread.

Indeed many ways to do the same thing :sunglasses:

All valid.

I agree., very helpful thread. I think I like your suggestion of keeping all the audio in one place and using left and right markers to work with songs. I’ve gone the route of physically separating songs by deleting all but one song multiple times, but this means if I suddenly get a particularly good snare drum sound, for example, on the eighth song, it’s a hell of a lot of time to go back individually to every song to tweak. With your method, that would be much easier. Thanks for the tip.



I’m glad there are many ways ‘to skin a cat’! Good suggestion. Keeps file sizes small and song management independent.

Issues with in-place (common project folder)
Regarding the in-place suggestions:

  1. Those almost assume that one will never have to clean up (perhaps offline with RX3) the files. Working with multi-hour files can be tedious, and very difficult to cross reference if you have shifted the [visually-trimmed] clips to the start of each particular song project.

  2. Any destructive editing requiring ‘Freeze Edits’ will result in new files (if you want to keep the previous versions). These will each be the original multi-hour long. Basically, you will end up with multiple huge files with changes to only one song in each.

  3. The edit-audition-repeat-approval iterative lifecycle of each song may be better managed in completely separate projects+files for each.

  4. If you like file naming conventions that include a version, forget it.

    Reducing clips to visual size in the Pool
    When I did our CD in 2004 with SX3, I remember there being an option in the Pool to trim a clip to its visual length, creating a separate file in the process, rather that a reference to the common file. It would be the best as it would allow full flexibility to do either project management stream with maximum efficiency. It was easier to keep track of versions, and minimises file sizes.

However, I could not find it again in C7, so if I have missed something, please could someone enlighten me as to how it can be done now.

I think ‘minimize files’ in the pool is the option you’re looking for.

Those are the reasons why I prefer to manage songs of an album in different folders, accepting more complicated approaches of settings transfer (use to do it via track archives, the only way to get all levels and routings included).

I’d like to add
5) Automation can get messy very quick.

Nevertheless I’ve seen colleagues mixing 3 h live sets in a single project. Some things work better/faster that way, others are a pain. Vice versa just the kind of pain is different :laughing:

About doubling used disc space: shouldn’t be an issue. Most of us should have multiple TBs plus the same amount of backup discs. Furthermore using .flac reduces file sizes significantly without loss. Magic :mrgreen:

I vaguely remember that in 2004, I finally tried it.

If the term had been ‘trim file to clip’, it would have been obvious. I don’t tend to try options that don’t readily indicate what they do.

Note that neither of the two minimise options (in Pool and Export) are mentioned in the manual!

It is! But with American English spellingz. :laughing:

Damn Americans. They never learnt to spell. :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink: :blush:

We ain’t afeared if a body opens thar pie hole and some dadburn modern speechifyin’ spouts out o’ there. It’s how we larn our young’uns, and t’ain’t nothin t’get yer panties up in a bunch. :wink: :mrgreen:


My first reply was to share ‘my’ workflow not the be all and end all :slight_smile: as has been said many times in this very thread, there’s lots of ways to do this.

That said, I like to track a whole session in the one project to speed the session up. There’s nothing more frustrating as a musician than the inevitable ‘give me a minute’ from the engineer, yes, even with templates it takes way longer to create a new project than just moving the cursor and hitting record.

I also do a lot of mixing and overdubbing with external recordings esp from protools. These invariably arrive in OMF format and quite often as one enormous session with entire albums of location recordings in continuous tracks. I think it was from this that I found the system I described in my last post.

When backing up, I just copy the entire Folder created on import as the ‘backup project’ has been broken in past cubase updates and I got into the habit of distrusting it after permanently loosing some files (F*RK).

To Patanjali,

  1. If you need to clean up the files as such, just select the whole song (split events at start and end) and choose Bounce Selection from the audio menu and choose replace from the pop up, then backup project as normal.
    You don’t ‘need’ to shift the song on the timeline, that’s what setting the left and right locators is for.

  2. If you split the audio events at each song, any offline editing will apply only to the event and not the hours long clip. Further; if you range select the section to process the new clip will be the length of the selection.

  3. No sure what you mean here.

  4. I always use mix versions in my file names. Each song has it’s own project file and it’s exactly the same as with the separate folder per song system, just ‘save as’ 1, 2, more vox, etc etc

At MarQs

  1. I can’t see how automation could get messy as each song has it’s own project (cubase) file, all the automation is separate in each.

Also beware using the ‘minimize files’ (sic) option as it will replace your files, not give you new shorter ones, use bounce selection or backup project for that one.

Any-ways, it’s great to see people sharing their workflows, I’m sure we’ll pick up new ways and ideas from each other.