Using Cubasis for mastering.

I’ve recently gone back to Cubase as my projects were getting a little too complicated for an iPad. But while using Cubasis, I really fell in love with some of its processors. While Cubase is undoubtably more powerful and has more complex plugins, and while its various dynamics processors are very involved. I still haven’t found anything that’s quite as immediate or as simple as Cubsis’ compressor.

While I’m not saying that Cubasis is a top of the line mastering tool, with all the bells and whistles. It is an amazing tool for doing quick mastering and levelling, especially when trying to fit a number of different mixes into a similar coherent sonic space.

I use Cubasis all the time to get quick ‘feel good’ master files of my Cubase monitor mixes. Here is my workflow, but this would work for anything and not just my Cubase outputs.

Firstly, I render out my progress mix from Cubase to my PC desktop, using a 44.1/24 format, which is the same as my Cubase project settings. I then setup a blank audio project in Cubasis at 44.1/24 The real cool thing is then using Cubasis’ WiFi Server to transfer my Cubase mix to it. Just go to ‘SETUP’ in the top right of Cubasis, select ‘Mixdown/Share’, then select the soft button for ‘WiFi Server’. This will then activate the server section of Cubasis and show you the IP address and port number assigned to it on your local network. These numbers are basically a web address to allow contact to Cubasis’ server. It’s important to note that your iPad must be connected to your local network via WiFi and also your sending device, in my case my Cubase PC.

Now open up a web browser on your device sending the audio file, I use Chrome but any browser should do it. Now type the Cubasis server address into the address bar of your browser, and you should be connected to the web interface of Cubasis’ WiFi Server. From there, select your audio file you want to send to Cubasis and the destination you would like it to go to in Cubasis. In my case, I select the mix from my desktop that I rendered out earlier from Cubase and send it to Cubasis’ ‘Mixdown’ area/folder. Repeat the process to add more audio files.

Now your files should be in Cubasis where you sent them, in my case the ‘Mixdown’ section. Next thing is to add the file or files to your Cubasis project timeline. If using multiple mixes/files, it’s easier to just add each one to its own audio track. This will allow you to process each one separately and to level them out against each other.

I only really use two processors, the compressor and the standard channel EQ. You can of course add as many as you like, depending on what you want to achieve. Although the compressor may seem a bit limited, it is fantastic at getting a quick solid hold of the mix. Back in the day, DBX and the likes used to make ‘overeasy’ compressors. These were very simple like the Cubasis compressor, but worked very well at getting a great dynamic quickly and allowing you to get on with being creative.

The channel EQ is also fantastic for basic wide touching up, top and mid etc. But if you take care on setting your EQ width and frequency, you can even do some fine tuning. Both these processors can give a great lift to your mixes, and in conjunction with the mixer, can really hold together a number of tracks for a consistent playlist. My personal use is for basic touching up, although with a bit of care you can probably do some corrective mastering. Plus, you can apply this to tracks/songs that you’ve already produced in Cubasis.

Once I’ve got the sound that I like, I export out M4A files for easy sharing and streaming to mobile devices. I also render out a ‘Mixdown’ to a WAV file for playing on my main monitors. And another really cool thing, you can render WAVs out at 44.1/24, awesome.

While it’s arguable as to what mastering really is, and I’m not a fan of simply squeezing all the dynamics out of a track and using its waveform as a straight edge. There’s no doubt that people have come to expect a certain amount of ‘loudness’ on commercial music, and a certain amount of consistency between tracks on an album or EP. Mastering, wether it’s good or bad, or your taste or not, or if it’s necessary or not. Is a part of the modern music creation workflow.

There are obviously dedicate mastering systems out there and expensive plugins, that you would expect to be far better than Cubasis and the above workflow. But you will have to go a long way to find one that’s as easy, as instant, as quick , as intuitive and anywhere near as much fun as Cubasis. And yes, I could use Cubase or Wavelab to do this. But like I said earlier, Cubasis’ processors are deceptively awesome. And if you don’t intend on going nuts, it may well be all that you need.

Plus, the real point is probably this. If you’ve already payed out for an iPad, hardware and Cubasis. There’s no harm in seeing how far you can push it and maximise your investment.


Hi Dave,

thanks for your insight and great to see users coming up with interesting new ways of using the software! :sunglasses:


Thanks Ricardo.

For anyone interested, here is an example of the process. The sample is part of a work in progress on a track called ‘Shirley’s Halls’, for a new album by the artist Paul Straws,

This is what I would typically do to get a monitor mix into a more ‘fell good’ shape, for playing out and testing. Although the master input is a WAV at 44.1/24, the outputs for the test are M4A at 128Kb/s. This heavily compressed output is great for bandwidth for streaming and downloading. It is also a good example of stressing out the process to maintain quality for compressed audio delivery, which is typical for most audio, regardless of the resolution of the master mix output settings.

When I’ve completed the final mixes and album, I will also try using Cubasis to process the final high resolution masters.