I’ve downloaded the trial version after using Cubase for some time and I am struggling to make a start. I play with a covers band (or three) and I wanted to explore sharing song info and using a drum track for some songs, and perhaps a backing track or two. Like many bands we mainly work off cheat sheets and want the flexibility to vamp in some songs - imagine the drummer has set off on Pretty Woman and the guitarist drops their pick, the drummer can sit there and the audience are happy for a while, or we might use it as the band name check somewhere in the middle.
One band has a keyboard player who uses an older Roland Midi enabled keyboard that would have a new lease of life with virtual instruments, but at the moment, the main thing is to do voice and transposition changes.
Another band doesn’t have a drummer, but a few songs would benefit from a drum track.
Chord sheets and sync’d lyrics could be a big help especially with vocalists who are under the impression that if they aren’t singing there is a problem - being able to clearly flag solos would help a lot.
Some songs simply need a count in to help us set tempos.
So I have a couple of scenarios, I tried to set up and fell at the first hurdle of trying to configure a song.
As I understand Cubase, I thought I’d import a project - I eventually stumbled on the VST Live Export that had appeared. First problem - the project had a global Transpose set which VST Live doesn’t support. That led me down a rabbit hole of trying to find out how to transpose in VST Live - I think the answer is that tracks don’t support it and layers don’t work with tracks? Obviously the fix is to resolve it in Cubase.
Secondly, I thought I could use a Beats track to do a simple introduction click track - but as far as I can tell, the Beats module is outputting its patterns based on a beat not a bar - and if it was based on a bar, you really want the cymbals to allow for 8ths for most basic patterns, so it is back to using a midi drum track which should be easy to knock up. So link a track to Groove Agent - no drum editor option and no sound as Groove Agent doesn’t seem to have the drum libraries with it. Had a look at an imported track, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to edit it. A layer perhaps? But a layer with Groove Agent still can’t see the Groove Agent drum kits. Vanilla install after vanilla install on a Windows PC.
So I’ve got nowhere.
Surely doing the easy stuff ought to be easy?
Even building up parts seems hard. I would happily use the arranger in Cubase and that didn’t take long to pick up, indeed I originally thought of using Cubase as my simple solution, but there is no linear representation of the parts and there is no way to directly enter a number of bars. It seems to me that the obvious way to set up parts is to think in terms of bars, or alternatively events (I could see myself setting up a skeleton set of parts where they only contained program changes for instruments and triggering them off a foot switch without being too worried about a complete song set up.
It might be nice to have an example set list of some very simple set ups - a click introduction; some program changes operated by trigger (e.g. imagine a Katana bass amp where the bass wants to be boosted for the bass solo and the guitarist has different sections and the keyboard player switches between piano and synth pads); a drum track with loops (say Pretty Woman with extended starts and that middle talky bit where you are never convinced the singer is going to hit the cues); a simple chord sheet with lyrics (can you not import the complete text then insert markers?) so even lyric entry is awkward.
Have I missed something or is it very hard to do simple things?
Edit: Ah, and I and several of my band mates have Android phones. If I wanted a tablet for better visibility my first consideration would be one of the many cheap ones around like from Amazon, not an iPad, so I can’t get started on the lyric and chord display.