Track modes, tempos and sample rates

I am very confused about how to adjust track tempos, “musical modes”, etc., in Cubase.

For example, why is it possible to have a track set to “musical mode” in the lane view but then have the audio clip itself set to “timebase mode” in the Media Pool? Why aren’t these two checkboxes LINKED?

And what does the audio clip “tempo” in the media pool mean - and why am I able to type in a new value but yet it doesn’t change the way the track plays?

The manual does a very poor job of explaining all this. Where else can I find an explanantion of all these settings - and more importantly - how to USE them?

I recently had a remix project where two audio files were at slightly different tempos (one at 120.48bpm the other at 120.36 bpm according to the Medai Pool info). I played around with “musical modes” and “linear modes” for hours, checking/unchecking boxes, reloading files, etc., and COULD NOT get the two to line up.

Simple task, couldn’t figure it out. Very frustrating.

Don’t trust tempo listed in pool.

Because the two things mean and do different things. And by the way, you can’ t set a track to musical mode, and you can’ t set audio clips to any kind of timebase

Probably because you you haven’t activated musical mode…

OK, can you explain it?

Yes you can set a track to “musical mode” - it’s right there in the Object Inspector for the track! You have a choice of “time” mode (absolute time based) or “musical” mode (project tempo based). The clips in the audio pool also have a checkbox for “musical mode” which comes back to the first question above.

The “musical mode” you say can’t be set?

If you have a clear understanding of how these functions work PLEASE explain it!

No, the musical mode that can be set, since I´m talking about files, not tracks. The musical mode that can´t be set is the one you were talking about, which is “timebase” really.

Yes you can set a track to “musical mode” - it’s right there in the Object Inspector for the track! You have a choice of “time” mode (absolute time based) or “musical” mode (project tempo based). The clips in the audio pool also have a checkbox for “musical mode” which comes back to the first question above.[/quote]
For tracks “timebase” can be switched between linear and musical, “musical mode” is for audio files, not tracks.

The timebase mode determines how the audio or MIDI events are aligned in the timeline position-wise.
Events on linear timebased tracks will chnage their position in relation to bars, if the the project tempo gets changed. That is due to the fact, that it is aligned to time positions.
for example: Two audio event on two tracks (one in linear timebase, one in musical timebase project tempo 120 bpm)
Both events start at bar 34 which at 120 bpm refers to a time of 01:06:00 (project start at 0:00:00) Ruler is set to bars and beats.
Now if you change the project tempo, you will see, the event in the musical timebased track will stick to bar 34 and move with the timeline, whereas the event in the linear timebase track will stick at its actual time position 01:06:00, “moving” between different bars depending on tempo, since obviously at a faster tempo bar 34 is no longer at time position 01:06:00, but earlier at a slower tempo bar 34 is later. All this happens, without the actual audio tempo being changed.
“Musical mode” determines for each file, if a change of the project tempo also changes the tempo of the audio. Without musical mode on, changing project tempo will not change the actual audio tempo.
When musical mode is switched on for a file, Cubase takes the “origin tempo” from the pool as reference. (As immortal said don´t trust that value too much, if it´s “detetcted” automatically by Cubase. There are plenty of methods to determie the actual tempo.)

Ah Hah! I spent some time really digging into this last night and now your comments make sense. I get it!

“Musical mode” and “musical time base” are two different things.

Musical mode is turned on and off for each audio clip via a checkbox in the Media Pool. Checking this box turns on the time-stretch function for the clip which stretches/shrinks the tempo of the clip to play to the tempo of the project. NOTE: If you type in a different value in the pool clip “tempo” field it changes the amount of stretching. So if that original tempo value is wrong - or you change it haphazardly - the clip will not play back in correct tempo with the project. (And I think the only way to reset it is to delete and reload the clip from file).

Musical time base is set in the Object Inspector for each track. In musical time base, as you said above, events on the track will move in time in relation to the tempo. If you speed the tempo up the events will get closer together - if you slow the tempo down they events will get farther apart. Audio clips, however will not change tempo WITHIN the clip - only the clips events move. You must set the clip to “musical mode” (above) to make the audio in the clip follow to the project tempo.

In linear time base mode events on the track will stay in a static time position regardless of tempo changes.

So, assuming everything I’ve learned and stated above is correct, what would you ever use “linear time base” for?

And why are these times base choices PER TRACK rather than a global setting that affects everything in the project? If you have a big project and some tracks are in linear mode and others in musical mode it seems you could develop a timing MESS that would be very hard to fix.

BTW - you said there are other means to detect the true tempo of an audio clip. Is there a way to do that and then store it in the “pool” or save it as a clip file property? I have used the “tempo detect” function but that sets the tempo of the entire project based on one track. What if you need to align the tempos of several tracks?

Let’s say you have a video clip. You want to overlay some spoken narrative at specific points in the video. You want those narratives to come at the same point in TIME no matter what to match up with the video. Then you also want to have some music that plays at certain points in the video. You would want to use musical timebase for any MIDI or audio events that are part of the music so if you change the tempo, they stay in time.

Now, using that example, wouldn’t changing the tempo of the music parts also cause them to shift in time? Since the music parts are now playing faster/slower their start and end times would move relative to the video and voiceover, correct?

You really have to pay attention to what’s going on here - it’s quite tricky I think.

Yes. But, remember, you can have multiple tempo changes with a tempo track. So, you could use one tempo to the START of the music and then a tempo change at the start of the music. Now, if you change the tempo at the start point, the beginning of the music will stay the same. Of course, the end point of the music will change, unless you add/subtract more bars, etc. To be clear, you are correct that it can be messy. My main point is that there are uses for having each track individually selectable.