Using an audio signal to automate an (audio) control

Maybe this is already possible, but so far I couldn’t find a way to do it.
To give an example: Let’s say you have a snaredrum track with a lot of unwanted hihat sound. One way of dealing with it (besides just bluntly gating it) would be to send the the track to an envelope follower (I think it’s called ‘envelope shaper’ in Cubase), and send that (with some scaling/translation function) to the automation input of an EQ (set to low-pass) cutoff control.

So far I couldn’t find a way to do this, and if it’s indeed impossible, I think it would be an awesome feature to have.
Of course there are always plugins, but besides the potential of dealing with some recording issues (like the example I gave), it would also have great potential for more creative uses. Like creating your own “Bootsy Space Bass” envelope filter using whatever EQ or filter you have available.

I don’t know of any way to automate this in Cubase as you suggest. If a gate isn’t working, perhaps just taking a pass and automating parts of the EQ might work? You can assign nearly anything to a Quick Control and then refine it further once the automation lane is written – I find that easier to do than Appending an automation lane and having to walk down a long menu tree. Also, there’s free plug-in from Tokyo Dawn Labs called Nova EQ. It’s a dynamic EQ so it combines aspects of a compressor with the EQ, perhaps you’ve already tried that.

Cubase Pro 9 has a multi-band envelop shaper and multi-band compressor, perhaps if you side chain one to the other in some way, it might be possible to do what you’re looking for?

I have made a feature request some time ago just about that.
I can see a lot of applications for such a feature, it is basically just recording the VU meter as automation so to speak.
It should have an inverse feature build in, and probably a few other ways of manipulating the automation data being written.
I have tried using Melda’s MautoVolume, it can mostly do that, but it does not translate well to Cubase native volume automation.
It wasn’t a complete waste of money, as it now sits on every vocal track, or really any track that has to be heard without getting the dynamics completely destroyed. Very nice plugin for the 25€ I paid.

can’t you just use a dynamic eq or side chain using a compressor? theres also this VST called trrackspacer which minuses the frequencies so they don’t clash.

I would very much like to see the same thing for all kinds of applications. There’s a thread from 2015 that covers this - creating automation data from amplitude of a source track (which would allow for the possibility of controlling amplitude / intensity of MIDI instruments intuitively with a microphone and your voice). Unfortunately the thread is locked for some reason.

At the moment I’m using a tone generator to put some tone back into an overly deadened snare (wasn’t paying attention when tracking :-/). Tone is gated with a sidechain from the original snare track to create the ‘ping’ each time the snare is hit, which works brilliantly (I’ve used this before with fake white noise to add snariness to a snare track). Problem is I can’t find a way to automatically apply the volume of the snare track to the fake tone track at the final stage - each hit comes out at the same volume, meaning the dynamics of the two tracks don’t follow each other. I’ve tried using an envelope shaper triggered by a sidechain as well as an expander with only limited success. Just a simple vocoder style VCA would do the trick but I can’t seem to find anything like it inside Cubase or in the form of 3rd party plugins. Anyone have any ideas?

@ jezburns

You can use Hitpoints to create MIDI events and use that to drive a sampler with your tone in it, that would be dynamic to each snare hit. I use this trick a lot to add to bass drums within live drum recording

Don’t know what Cubase has for this besides what ParrotSpain suggested. I use Melodyne to import an audio track and that lets me export that info to midi.

@erikd71

You could further develop my suggestion to jezburns above I think:
Use Hitpoints sensitivity to capture the snare hits and reject the spill as nearly as possible.
Next create MIDI notes (with dynamic response)
Next edit MIDI to remove any spill notes that remain. You can quantise or not as appropriate
Transfer MIDI info to either a sampler track, or any VST capable of making a suitable trigger sound say a short snare drum hit
Use this “clean” sound to sidechain into a gate or expander which controls your original sound. You could advance the trigger a few milliseconds to guarantee gate is open to the transients.

Whilst this isn’t frequency conscious it should isolate your snare effectively.

I would like to know of any single-ended noise reduction vsts that anyone has programmed which would also be very useful in this context. Like the DBX SNR-1 or Behringer De-noiser SNR 2000 hardware units

cycling74 used to do a bunch of audio to midi stuff back in the day …
Came across this - 64bit too - Might be useful

http://www.widisoft.com/english/widi-audio-to-midi-vst.html

Something like this?
https://www.bluecataudio.com/Tutorials/Tutorial_DPeakMeterPro_SonarAutomation/

It would be a nice feature. One time I tried to do this with dual side chained compressors. I took pink noise or a square wave as input to a compressor which had the original audio as a side-chain. So it was like ducking the pink noise behind the original audio. This creates an inverse envelope. Using the inverse envelope as a side-chain input to control a second audio source passing thru a second compressor, I was able to create something like an envelope follower. The second audio was supposed to follow the envelope of the first audio.

It was a failure because the timing of the compressors was too slow and confused. In particular, the attack time has a lower limit, and that was doubled since the dual compressors were in series. The sluggish response and loose tracking I got out of this arrangement was not usable.

If you want to put in the work:
https://youtu.be/0Bu9cREmzZ4