Virgin Territories -what's it for?

Just wondering if anyone is using Virgin Territories automation and if so, how/why do you use it? (I’m a Cubase user but I assume the feature is the same as in Nuendo). I’m not seeing how this is useful because even if I’m in a ‘virign’ area of the track, as soon as I relocate the cursor, or as soon as the cursor cycles around a cycle range, the parameter is ‘reset’ to the last written automation data. So I can’t see what use it is. Am I missing something?

Surely it would be better if the automation parameters didn’t ‘chase’ the values written earlier in the track?

If having a project where you need automation, in the early days you had to start from the beginning in the timeline, with virgin territory can can start in the middel of your timeline if needed without setting start automation.

Correct me if I’m wrong as I do not use this feature (yet), only tried/tested it when it came out.

An example:

You want to start writing automation in the middle of a project. You need a fade in and fade out on an event of -say- 5 seconds.
When doing this in regular automation mode, any automation before your fade in will be @ infinity (fade in) and the automation after your event will also be @ infinity. (fade out)
This means that your tracks is actually dead. No volume.
To make it worse, any automation pass you will perform on that track (in touch mode), when you let go of the fader, it will snap back to infinity.
With virgin territories, outside the - automated ranges, your faders will behave as “normal”, non-automated.


Hmmm… I’m still not getting this (MAYBE it functions differently in Cubase?).

Ok, so yes, I get the difference with Touch mode, but…

Say I have a track with the fader at 0dB, with no automation. I go to Bar 100, and write some automation, fading down to infinity, and back to 0dB.

With VT on, an automation point is written at the start of the project with a value of 0dB. Then there is a gap in the automation curve. Then at Bar 100, there is the fade curve I have written.

If I locate anywhere earlier than bar 100, the fader will jump to 0dB. If I locate anywhere after the curve I have written, the fader will go to infinity. This activity would be the same if I had written the automation with VT off.

The only difference I see with VT on is that during the ‘empty’ parts of the automation curve, I am free to move the fader as I wish but what good is that because as soon as I relocate the cursor or cycle round, the fader jumps anyway, just as if VT was off. I have no time to listen to my audio and consider what automation moves I might make because as soon as I relocate, the fader jumps.

Sorry if I’m being stupid here! :slight_smile:

You’re not being stupid.

I honestly don’t see why the implementation is the way it is. To me the logical way of programming it is: Automation is read only where automation is written - i.e. if one doesn’t park or roll through where automation is on the timeline no values change.

The way it is currently implemented has left me not using it at all. I have no idea why it is the way it is. I’d ask Steinberg to fix this, as I think it’s essentially poor design, but I think we’d run the risk of them breaking other things in the process…

But you forget, as J-S-Q pointed out, that while the “faders will behave as ‘normal’, non-automated” while in VT, that is only true while you are rolling. As soon as you locate on the timeline, which will include “stop”, clicking with cursor to locate, or even looping back on cycle, it will behave just the same as if VT wasn’t engaged and it will read earlier written parameters.

This implementation leaves something to be desired I think. If one wants to avoid having to deal with the possibility of losing parameters collected within VT by accident (pressing “stop” or not punching before cycling back) then it seems to me the obvious choice is engaging “preview” mode or turning off “read”, in which case there’s no point to VT at all.


Well, that is the exact conclusion I had come to so I created this thread in case I was missing something.

I’m with you J-S-Q,
I cannot think of a single time I’ve needed this in 28 years of mixing. I could possibly see some uses if you were doing a live broadcast. With all that said, listen to whatever Fredo says.

There are good uses for it also in non-live work. The issue is as described. One has to take that into account or it gets annoying.

With the addition of that which he didn’t say…

Sounds great. Except in Cubase if you locate the cursor outside of the automated area using ANY means - rewind, locate selection, move manually, loop, etc - all automated values will CHASE to the last value.
Using your example your track would be dead.

If you are before this automated area they will chase to “Start” values which are placed at the beginning of the project when you write automation anywhere. After the area they will chase the last automated value.

Which make the “Virgin Territories” function absolutely and totally useless. In fact it is just like normal automation except you have to move the cursor to chase. Don’t know about you but I move the cursor a lot.

Been writing about this since middle of last year:

No change. No response.

Could you, Fredo, or perhaps someone else from Steinberg explain to me the value of this “Feature”?
Does it work differently in Nuendo?
Since it has not been fixed in months and no confirmation of an “Issue” I have to assume I’m missing it’s value . . .

Is there a “Chase Automation” option I’m missing?
Please enlighten me!


Ams Neve Encore has it for ages, and Euphonix System 5 too.

One nice thing is that you can fill virgin territories with any value later. It is also possible to create separate virgin territories on tracks with normal automation.

Cuabse has a different working automation than Nuendo. I can see that Virgin Territories in Cubase will behave completely different.

Look, I’m going not into that discussion anymore. I was in the discussion when the vast majority -if not all- Cubase users wanted their “old” automation system back, and I was in discussions when -after a while- some users saw the light and wanted the Nuendo automation in Cubase.

As Peter says, in Post, this is a very common feature.


I came looking for a thread explaining Virgin Territories as I thought it was completely useless to, but now thinking about it… here are some thought.

-Say you are mixing a track, and you have a group track that has it’s output set to an external fx rig like a delay which is then being printed back into the DAW. you have an intro if you have a particular fade in you have designed, and a particular intro that you have designed with fader automation, but you want the rest of the song to be free of automation so you can ride the fader automatically without writing automation or having to worry about it bouncing back to a "read’ level.

Except unless I’m missing something the level will “bounce back” to the previously written value (in your intro) as soon as you stop playback or loop back. That’s what’s not good about the implementation.

That’s correct.

And it’s really not “Virgin Territories” because there ARE NO Virgin Territories.
You just don’t see an automation line . . .

After ANY Automation is written ANYWHERE the levels will snap to the next or previous value (depending on where you are in the project) throughout the entire project any time you locate the cursor using any method (Rewind, loop, manually, etc). Not sure if just “stop” does it.

That’s why I called it useless.


why does that matter though if you’ve stopped playback.

posted this in another VT thread

Well, this is the Nuendo section, not the Cubase section, and Nuendo is supposedly a post-centric tool, so you can probably assume that a few of us are post engineers as opposed to you.

I don’t agree at all. I don’t know where you got that from. I think it’s exactly the opposite of what you’re talking about. If we’re working linearly from beginning to end all and want to print a mix without automation then all we need is to turn automation off or not write automation and leave it in read (which will thus read nothing). Heck, we can even leave all the faders in latch mode and it’ll be a double-whammy: You can save a great pass if you want, or you can just grab a fader and move it on the next pass.

On the other hand if you’re jumping around in a project that’s exactly where you’d want to have this functionality. If I’m working on a TV show and decide to save one section for later because maybe production is changing something or the visual effects aren’t rendered yet then it makes sense for me to be able to automation stuff around it, and then when it’s ready I can grab faders in that section and just move them as I choose and they won’t read automation because none is written there…

… except for when you play back a piece of that section and someone calls and you stop playback for a second to answer the call and…boom! all your fader settings are gone.

Ok, but this is the post application, so not so much of the above actually. But regardless of that, it still doesn’t apply, because you mentioned “from start to finish”. As a matter of fact, I think you’re proving my point above.

Let’s say we’re doing exactly what you said: There’s specific automation on the intro, and specific automation on the outro, and between the two there’s no automation. So you start your mix pass and everything is going great but you’re getting to the second chorus and you missed something. Now, if you stop playback without locating back to any area with automation then in my opinion the faders (and other parameters) should remain where they are. This would mean that you could essentially stop play/record and go back four bars and start again. Everything would be where you left it and you can still move things freely until the outro. The punch in would be fine since nothing moved. If I remember correctly that it reads automation on stop even in VT then this option is out.

You hear from us all the time. And while I don’t do live broadcast per se I’ve worked on live broadcasts premixing content that’s then broadcast live, i.e. the “visual graphic intro” or “field pieces” or whatever. The way it works is that what we do end up being to spec and live on separate faders than the live stuff. We’re not delivering a mix with automation for the premixed content, instead we’re delivering the audio files. So the above simply doesn’t apply as far as I know.

But the other side of this is whether or not you can achieve the same thing without VT. And in the above case you actually can. You can set your track to “latch” for example, and it’ll read your automation value at the start and it’ll stop reading as soon as you touch the fader. Only difference is once you touch the fader it’ll record. But you can also actually punch out of record if you want to.

Actually, let me just ask this one question instead:

What’s the point of having Nuendo chase automation in an area where automation is not written, while using Virgin Territory?

Exactly. Or Cubase, either.

I like your clarity.
It’s really not a complicated problem to grasp. And it IS a problem.
But every time I write about it it sounds complicated.

I love your simplicity.


Yep, I’m still unable to escape the conclusion that it is indeed totally useless in it’s current form.