Why is this so freakin' hard!

:imp: I’ve installed fresh Windows and all muy steinberg software for 3 times now and getting the same frustrating results. I can’t find Acoustic or Precusion Agents inside Groove Agent 4 no matter what I do or try. Everything is there though. If I go to media bay and explore the Groove Agent Common Content folder/VST3 Presets/Steinberg Media Technologies/Groove Agent folder all 3 agents ( Beat, acoustic and percussion) agent contents are there. I can load an acoustic kit from there for example. But If I try to look for this on Groove Agent, I click load button, then hit the content set button I only get All Agents*, Groove Agent One, Beat Agent SE Kits and Beat Agent Pop Rock Toolkit
I’m trying to set all the sound content in a dedicated hard drive by specifying this in all the installers. It should work right?
First Steinberg’s folder hierarchy totally s*cks! Its totally cumbersome with VST sound folders doubling up everywhere.
D: is my sound library drive and I currently have D:\Steinberg\Content folder and inside that I have a VST sound folder with what appears to be Factory content (Groove Agent SE, One content etc); I have a Halion/VST Sound folder with I guess Halion Sonic SE Factory content; and a Groove Agent folder with the acoustic kits and percussion sound sets.

I kind of have the same problema when trying to install Halion Sonic 2. Some presets just don’t seem to show up, like presets for Haliotron and other modules, no matter what filter settings I have.
Do I have to resign and forget about keeping my sound content on a separate hard drive, and do default installs for everyone of this *upid software in order for all of this to work as its supposed too? It really should be so simple, almost any other VST intrument I own lets you install the sound content separately without any hassle. Why can’t I do the same with Steinberg’s! I have invested quite a bit, owning all of Steinberg’s instruments, incluiding paying an upgrade for a Cubase x.5 update that used to be free in the past. I feel very frustrated so far, as I should be enjoying and writting music, instead I’m forced to put a tech hat and try to figure out what am I doing wrong or how to fix installation operations that are obviously broken somewhere…???

  • 1 mate…I got the trial of Groove agent 4 and finding it very un intuitive…it’s not for musicians…it’s for computer geeks…
    who the heck needs 128 pads?
    been watching some steinberg tut’s and they seem to think you already know half of it…I’ve just spent an hour trying to figure out where the patterns came from because on the tut’s they just appear like magic…no one bothers to tell how they got em…at least not on the tut’s I’ve just watched…unlikely I will by this… :frowning: :frowning:

best, Kevin :slight_smile:

Having the same issue. Total newb here and looking for a basic tutorial. I am able to mess around with some sounds and patterns but can not for the life of me find percussion agent. Also, there is no way to make a beat without recording and playing to a midi/instrument track???

In my experience installing the libraries in different directories or drives isn’t a problem. Of course, if I install them on a removable device I must make sure it’s plugged in and powered up. On Windows systems I always check the power settings to make sure it’s not letting USB drives ‘go to sleep’. I’m even able to manage ISO images of various ‘sampler libraries’ without issue.

First, I’d like to know if you use with with Cubase, inside some other DAW, or as a stand alone.

In either case, GA keeps track of everything in a relational database. If you happen to use Cubase as well, this expands the power of your library many fold. If you’re not using Cubase, it’s not as big of a deal, but it is important to allow enough TIME for any freshly installed expansion packs, or user sample sets to be ‘scanned’ by the database.

Upon a fresh install, it might take it a while to scan everything, depending upon the overall speed of your PC.

So why does it use a DB instead of just having you search directories manually by path? Well…this allows you to tag things. It also makes it so you CAN have things stored in pretty much any location on the system you desire. If you use Cubase, it also ‘integrates’ with the Cubase Media Browser, where you can ‘preview’ patches, samples, or even entire ‘midi-loop’ tracks just by clicking them (without having to load the thing on a DAW track). It also gives you a ‘one stop shop’ to search for, organize, and tag it all. You can drag stuff right out of Media Bay onto tracks, pads, and more.

For now, lets assume you’re not using Cubase. Lets keep it simple and work with GA in ‘stand alone mode’.

  1. Open Groove Agent 4 in stand alone mode.

  2. Click any of the areas that will pull up a Media Bay. Note that I’ve marked the area for bringing up ‘Multi Kits’, as well as the area for ‘single kits’. You’ll get slightly different Media browsers for each, so try them both.

  3. In your Media Bay window of choice, click the ‘rescan’ button and go have a cup of coffee. Hopefully when the little yellow icon near the rescan button stops dancing you’ll have everything in place. You shouldn’t need to click this again unless you later add more samples, patches, or expansion kits.

  4. Click the tab near the top of the Media Bay to see what all “Instrument Sets” you have installed.

It should pop up a box that looks something like this:

Alternatively, you can click the Kit you wish to work with, then click the 'Load" tab, and then click the ‘Media Bay’ tab, and work from the main GA User Interface. The advantage to this method is that it’s a compact view built right into the Main GA UI (with an extra filter button for filtering Multi-Kits if needed). The disadvantage is that you can’t resize it like you can if you open a new window as above.

  1. From here, you can filter Media Bay for a particular expansion pack, or include ‘everything’ in the Media Browser by selecting “ALL AGENTS”.

Once you are looking at the Media Bay again, notice that you can grab the edges of the Media Browser and resize its window. You can search/filter by typing in keywords, and you can also elect to filter between factory, user, or both factory/user kits using the filter bar and icons.

You also can set up filter trees to sort by style, plugin, expansion pack, and the list goes on.

You can add or delete filter tree columns as you like. Experiment with these filters…

  1. When loading a kit from the Media Bay, be mindful of the little round icon (
    ) in the top right hand corner. It toggles on and off with clicks. If it is active, and the kit includes ‘patterns/grooves’ then they will be loaded with the kit. If the icon is NOT active, then it will just load the kit itself, without any patterns/grooves.

Browse around at this point, and see if you have everything. If you’re not sure what all should be there, have a look at this patch list:

Note, the list above might not include everything you see in your Media Browser. You might well find some additional content from things like Groove Agent 1 (if you have that installed).

When you get ready, the “Browser” tab does go a bit deeper, in that you can point it to directories that can store raw samples, MIDI loop files, and possibly even some types of ISO disk images for things like AKAI or Roland sample CDs. You can tag specific directories on your system as ‘favorite nodes’, and the Halion engine will do its best to try to keep them updated at all times automatically (the speed of updating will depend upon how powerful your system is). You’ll be able to keep samples anywhere on the hard drive(s) you wish.

If you have Cubase, it gets even more interesting. Everything we have done so far here, and a whole lot MORE can be done through the Cubase “Media Browser”. The DB in Cubase will be ‘synced’ with the Media Bay and Browser in GA, so you can work with either interface from inside Cubase.

Hopefully after reading this, doing a scan (and giving the system time to finish it), you’ll find all your content gets registered. If not, do double check that you have your copy of GA properly registered on your dongle, and make sure it’s plugged in. If it still isn’t there…try a reinstall (to your desired location) and try again. If it’s still not showing up, come back with details and hopefully we can figure out what’s going wrong.

Who needs 128 pads? That’s standard stuff…need them or not, they’re simply there…in every Pro MPC style plugin I’ve ever seen…

As for the ‘Agent’ confusion…maybe I can help shed a little light on some things.

First, you have more than one type of Agent to play with. Locked “Groove Agents”, and unlocked “User Agents”.

  1. There are ‘locked’ agents, which have fancy ‘macro screens’.
    In “Instrument” mode, the “Edit” tab will look something like this:

In “Pattern” mode, it would look something like this (if the Kit includes styles):

  1. There are ‘unlocked’ USER agents. These don’t come with any fancy Macro screens, or automatic style generators’. Instead, you use the default GA UI, and build your own ‘pattern sequences’. The ‘kit building’ tools look, feel, and act more like traditional MPC samplers. As for grooves/patterns…You can import your patterns as MIDI files, build them on Cubase MIDI tracks and ‘drag them in’, or record/build/edit them with the built in GA Diamond Editor/sequencer.

In “Instrument” mode, the “Edit Tab” of these sorts of USER agents look more like this: (Notice, no fancy macro of the drum set showing, instead you see waveforms of the samples applied to a pad.)

In “Pattern” mode, the “Edit Tab” of a “USER AGENT” looks more like this: (Notice, no “Performance Dial” macro)

The fundamental differences between a “Locked” Groove Agent and an unlocked “User Agent” are:

Locked agents provide Factory macros (Like the fancy drum set image). The kits themselves are somewhat limited as to what, and how you can edit the kit, or its individual pieces. Whatever editing and tuning you can do to these kits will be part of the ‘macro system’, and it will be more or less from a songwriter/musician’s perspective instead of from a synth programing geek’s perspective. I.E. You’ll be able to make minor tuning changes, alter FX, and the sets overall ‘mix’, but you can’t drag your own samples directly onto a pad in such a kit. You can’t yank out the ‘snare’ sample and ‘replace’ it with your own. These sorts of kits are designed to be easy to use ‘plug and play Agents’. Everything matches up as if some famous guy brought all his favorite kit pieces, sticks, microphones, and FX, and sampled ‘this particular’ kit, all balanced, miced up, and ready for you to use in your own productions.

The ‘groove agent’ of these kits also provide macros which make it easy to dial in ‘included’ patterns and grooves (GA calls these ‘styles’). Again, imagine that you’ve hired this famous drummer to come to your studio. Not only did he bring his kit, but he’s also gonna sit there and play GROOVES for you, in ‘his style’ of playing/sticking, along with some intuitive ‘macros’ in the ‘Pattern’ controls for building a quick and dirty song. In these ‘styles’ you can quicly and easily dial in intros, bridges, breaks, endings, add or subtract complexity to the groove, and more…all with a few simple dials and button clicks. Unlike the ‘kits’ however, patterns and grooves for these types of kits are generally pretty flexible. If you don’t like the ‘included styles’ You can still build your own grooves and patterns from the ground up if you prefer (just change from ‘style’ mode to ‘MIDI’ mode in ‘Pattern/Edit’ mode).

Once you’ve dialed in a style you like using the Acoustic Agent ‘style/groove’ generator, it’s assigned to a pad. Click a new pad, and dial in the next style. Or, if you prefer, you can drag the style right out of GA onto a MIDI track in Cubase and use/edit it from there.

Unlocked “USER” agents are super flexible. They can be as simple as dragging some samples onto pads, or they can get ultra deep and complex with multi channel surround sound samples and wild synth like sample morphing/filtering. They do NOT have fancy macro screens; however, you can go into the kit and build it exactly as you like. You can drag in samples from anywhere you like, apply all sorts of sample edits, slices, tuning, time stretching, layers, FX, and more. You also get total control of all FX chains, mixing setups, and the list goes on. Again, in the groove/pattern generator, you don’t get the fancy '“Performance Dial macro” or ‘style mode’. Instead, you use ‘MIDI mode’ to load or build and stack your patterns and sequences, either via MIDI or loops imported through Media Bay (or drug in from an OS window), in your Cubase DAW (simply drag the parts directly from the DAW project to a pad), or in the built in GA Pattern Sequencer itself, and apply them to the pads you desire.

Sometimes, you might find that you like to mix and match different ‘Locked’ agents, or even Mix a ‘locked’ kit with a bunch of stuff in a totally ‘custom’ USER kit. This is why GA lets you load up to 4 Kits at a time. I.E. You could load the Vintage Kit in slot one, channel 1, the Expanded Percussion Set (Shakers, Toys, Etc.) in another on channel 2, and then pile on a bunch of your custom made stuff in yet a third kit on channel 3. You can also load more Instances of GA if you need more than 4 kits.

As for ‘triggering patterns’, again you have all sorts of options depending on how you prefer to work.

  1. You can ‘ignore’ grooves and patterns all together, and just talk to GA over MIDI tracks in the DAW. I’ll call this ‘through composed’ drum tracking. If you like ‘writing or playing out your drum parts’, or simply copying and pasting MIDI loops on DAW tracks…and using MIDI editors (Like Diamond Editor, Key Editor, Score/Notation, Lists, etc…), then this may well be ‘the mode’ for you. Take advantage of all your DAW’s recording/looping/cycling/editing features to play your groove right into the DAW as you record. If you like, you can later slice all that up into reusable ‘patterns, loops, and grooves’ for future use in the GA library.

  2. You can set it up as a ‘drum machine’ more like a live DJ would use…where tapping a pattern key/pad calls up that pattern and repeats it indefinitely. Tapping a new pattern key/pad would then change to the pattern on that key. You can adjust if patterns wait until the end of a measure, the end of the pattern, or swap instantly, and so much more.

  3. You can set it up so that pattern keys/pads must be ‘held down’. As long as you’re holding down the pad/key, the pattern repeats indefinitely. Let the key/pad up, and it stops playing.

When using methods 2 and 3, you’d generally set up a DAW track to record/trigger your pattern changes.

You also get options to loopback what GA is doing with the Groove Engine if you want to ‘record it’ directly to a MIDI track, light up MPC pads, or whatever…

YES, you CAN record/edit patterns directly in GA if you prefer. It has a built in Diamond Editor that looks something like this:

Note, that if you’re trying to find this editor in a ‘Locked’ Agent, then you’ll need to change it from ‘style’ mode to ‘MIDI’ mode, and then the ‘Pattern’ tab will become available, and the ‘Performance dial’ will go away.
You can draw in this editor, or record live into it, etc…

From there, really, the best thing I know to try, is to simply load up various Kits that came with GA4, and play around with them. You’ll find that GA comes with quite an assortment of both types of ‘Agents’. It also comes with a pretty good pallet of ‘raw samples and loops’ for building your own custom USER AGENTS.

Hopefully after browsing around a bit and simply ‘trying patches’ in GA, you’ll start to notice that many patches can be based on the same Groove Agent ‘Drum Kit’, but simply have different styles, FX, and mic placements. You’ll find some interesting demos and examples of Multi-Kits as well. GA also comes with mounds of pre-made percussion samples, MIDI and audio drum loops, demos, and styles, and if you have Cubase, it also came with quite a few as well.

Click and try everything! You’re not going to ‘break it’ as long as you don’t ‘save’ things. If you do want to save something, but aren’t ‘sure’ if it might break something, simply use a ‘DIFFERENT NAME’ when you save it.

If you also use Cubase, then you’ll also soon discover that all this stuff integrates directly with the DAW itself. In fact, this is why GA doesn’t have a dedicated ‘sampler’ section…you simply sample in the DAW itself, and just drag it right into GA. You can drag and drop things from the Cubase Media Bay or Browser right into GA. You can drag samples from audio tracks, and parts from MIDI or Instrument tracks right onto GA pads. You have total access to pretty much every control inside GA via VST3 automation lanes (or MIDI cc if you prefer). If you work with ‘instrument tracks’, then you can even save ‘midi-loops’, and those can be played directly from the Cubase MediaBay without having to ‘load junk into the DAW’…just click and ‘audition’. And so much more…

Fantastic. Great explanations, Brian! I will try out asap and let you know how it goes. Thanks! mc

I made some headway but could not find diamond editor and still can not find percussion agent (or expanded percussion set). It appears that I am in unlocked mode but there doesn’t seem to be an option to get to locked mode. please advise. thanks, mc

Are you using the full version of Groove Agent 4? Groove Agent SE 4 doesn’t have the percussion agent and pattern (diamond) editor.

Assuming you have the full version of Groove Agent 4 (Not just the SE version that comes as part of Cubase)…

I’ll just throw up a couple of example Kit/Patch names that you can search for and check out.

Can’t Stop My Feet (Acoustic Agent Studio Kit)
This is an example of a locked Acoustic Agent kit. It has the drum set macro showing in Instrument mode if you click the “Edit” tab. In Pattern mode, the Edit tab will show a style builder. If you’re using the style builder with the performance dial, then you don’t get (nor need) a Diamond editor.

To bring up the Diamond Editor in this kit you’d need to change it from the ‘style’ pattern mode into the ‘MIDI’ pattern mode, and then click the smaller ‘Pattern’ tab in the main GA window.

Alien Alias (Beat Agent)
This is an example of an unlocked Beat Agent kit. It does not have any macros or style editors.
If in Pattern mode (Click “Pattern” Above the MPC pads), and you click the “Edit” tab (In the main window area of GA), you should see a smaller “Pattern” tab (Under the “Edit” tab previously clicked). Clicking that should bring up the Diamond Editor inside the main GA window.

ok my bad, I am working with the se version that comes with cubase. ty mc

No problem…

I think SE has some ‘locked’ Acoustic Agents with some style engines to explore. I’ll need to launch it and play around with it to be sure.

In lieu of SE not having a built in diamond editor…
Don’t forget that Cubase does have one of its own, plus you get the Key, List, and Score editors. The DAW sequencer is very powerful, and can do everything the built in GA one can do (and more).

With ‘unlocked’ User Kits, you can still assign patterns and grooves to pads and trigger them live, or via MIDI/Instrument track(s). Create lists in GA itself, or drag them straight from DAW tracks or the Cubase Media Bay.

Don’t forget that Cubase has one heck of a tool box built in for recording and editing anything you like. You get all sorts of options on how the DAW cycles and records. I.E. Set punch points for 16 bars, hit loop, tap record, then play new stuff in with each cycle until you’re done and tap ‘stop’. You can have it make a fresh track on every loop, overwrite the same track on each pass, merge with the track on each pass, open new ‘lanes’ on each pass, and the list goes on. You can use ‘marker tracks’ and project logical editors to build up all sorts of handy key-combos/macros for ‘quickly/instantly’ moving the locators (punch points) around in real time. It’s easy to ‘dissolve and merge’ all the individual kit pieces between single and multiple tracks, and more. You’re also going to be able to milk the full power of your ‘MIDI Logic Editor’ presets (automated/batch processing of actual MIDI events). Cubase projects can also have ‘arrangement’ tracks if old school improvisational ‘pattern based sequencing’ is what you have in mind.

So really…if ‘building and editing loops and patterns’ and stringing them together (even from an improvisational frame of mind) is the goal…Cubase itself is going to be more powerful anyway. Everything that little Diamond Editor can do in GA…Cubase can do 50 times better :slight_smile: So since you do have Cubase…‘break out of the box’ in your thinking…Cubase is ‘very well integrated’ with 99% of the Steinberg VST/VSTi plugins.

“Out of the box”, Cubase doesn’t seem much like a good engine for ‘EDM’ style composing; however, it’s actually very good at it. You simply have to learn the feature set, and ‘train/set-up’ the DAW to look and feel more that way. It is definitely capable of doing it, and doing it very well :slight_smile:

When I get a chance, I’ll try to come back and give an example or two on some possible ‘work flow’ scenarios for GA SE.

In my personal opinion, I’d rather build and edit loops in Cubase anyway. Going to the built in diamond editor in GA isn’t something I do very often. When I do use the GA 4 built in diamond editor, it’s typically when I’m using GA inside some other VSTi host/DAW besides Cubase (GA SE cannot be run in stand alone, or in a third party DAW…it only works in Cubase; but, the full version can).

When I do use the pattern and style engines of GA to assist in quick ‘song building projects’, I usually pull it all out of GA and place it on a DAW track more than 80% of the time anyway (for fine tuning/editing, scoring and printing, etc.).

To get a better handle on where to start with ‘Cubase/GA SE specific’ tutoring…could you tell us a bit about what sorts of projects you’re intending to dive into first? What style of music would it be, and what sort of ‘work flow’ do you have in mind?

lots of great info!. My band does all styles, check our latest here http://michaelclearyband.com/music/a/uplift1
So mostly full band recording. The groove agent will mostly be used for demos on my part but eventually I hope to do a side project with groove agent providing the drums. It would also be great to drop in a beat on a tune or use it in conjunction with the live band tracking.
This is my first foray into DAW based recording after doing six albums on an Alesis HD24 so it is all brand new to me. My work flow is still TBD. I’m just trying to get signal and headphone mixes for now for the band and setup demos for myself.
Two questions, how does one upgrade to the full version of GA or add on percussion agent, And can you point me to some simple guides/vids on basic Cubase editing? Thanks mc

I’ll be back with more, but for now I wanted to pop in with some info:

On hunting tutorials, all I know on that front is to try web searches. Mostly, just read the manual and fiddle with the program. Come here and ask questions when you hit a snag, etc.

As for how to upgrade to the full version of GA 4. I’d suggest playing with SE for a while first. After you know your way around it pretty well, take a look at the Steinberg Web Site for more info, and you can even download a trial version from there. You can buy GA 4 alone, or you can get it in a plugin bundle (Absolute) that has pretty much every Steinberg VSTi on the market included.

I loaded up SE and took a peek at what is included there. I did find some Kits that include Macros and Style engines so you can get an idea of what those can do, and how they work. There is no ‘diamond editor’ built-in to SE (Cubase itself has one), but you still get style engines with some of the ‘locked’ Kits, and of course you can still make your own patterns for both locked, and unlocked kits.

With GA SE, I’m going to suggest you start with ‘instrument’ tracks rather than MIDI tracks. Instrument tracks are great for a mono-timberal instrument such as Prologue, Mystic, Padshop, or a single channel drum kit like GA SE. There are a number of pros and cons for either type of track. The advantage to an ‘instrument track’ is that you can later save this type of track as a ‘MIDI loop’ if you like. MIDI loops can later be browed in the Media Bay, previewed from there instantly (without having to set it all up manually in the DAW), and easily imported into future projects with everything all set up and ready to go. An instrument track shows up as a single fader on your mixing console, and this fader controls the actual audio output. The disadvantages of an Instrument Track are that it doesn’t have independent MIDI/Audio bus faders on the Mixing desk, and it’s not quite as flexible in terms of how you can route MIDI output.

It’s also possible to load up a VSTi such as GA as a ‘rack instrument’ instead, and then talk to that rack instrument via ‘MIDI Tracks’. MIDI tracks are most common when you want to work with a ‘multi-timberal’ instrument or plugin (Such as Halion) which can take input from several MIDI channels at once. I.E. Halion SE with an organ on channel 1, a guitar on channel 2, a bass on channel 3, and a drum kit on channel 10.

Later you’ll learn that one potential work flow among many is to start out with an ‘instrument track’ and leave it empty. Use independent MIDI tracks routed to the Instrument Track’s VSTi, and ‘later’ merge it all down to a single ‘part’ on the ‘instrument track’ itself. This workflow idea would mainly be of interest if you like to do a lot of ‘pattern sequencing’, where you save all sorts of ‘grooves’ as ‘MIDI loops’ for use in ‘future projects’.

Some of the advantages of working with MIDI tracks over instrument tracks are:

  1. The audio bus(es) of the VSTi get an independent ‘audio only’ fader on the Mixing console.
  2. The MIDI track itself gets a Fader on the desktop (Sends CC7 volume to the MIDI instrument).
  3. You get a bit more flexibly in how you can process and ‘route’ MIDI tracks. I.E. MIDI tracks have four AUX Sends that can be set pre or post (Route the same MIDI track to more than one instrument at once), while instrument tracks do not have these.

In the long run, you’ll probably find plenty of use for both types of tracks. Since GA SE seems to have been designed with ‘instrument tracks’ in mind, and since it’ll be good to learn how to ‘library up’ you own custom made grooves in the ‘MIDI loop’ format for easy previewing…lets start out with instrument tracks first :slight_smile:

So…back to finding some full locked ‘Agent’ kits that demonstrate macros and styles.

To find them look for Kits with the Library name “Acoustic Agent SE”. If you like, you can use the Media Bay filtering system to cut out the clutter and see ‘only these kits’ in Media Bay. While this is not the ‘quickest and most direct’ way to find things, I’m hoping to show you around Media a bit, and show some of the things it can do.

  1. Start up Cubase and open a new project.

  2. Right click in the track area and choose, “Add instrument track”.

  3. Choose your “Groove Agent SE” VSTi plugin and click the “Add Track” button.

  4. Click one of the icons that will bring up your GA SE plugin.

  5. Click the area in GA SE that brings up the Media Bay.

  6. Click the “Set up window layout button” in the bottom left corner of Media Bay (Or tap shift+F2), and toggle on the ‘Filter’ tick box.

  7. In the left frame, click the “Acoustic Agent SE Studio Kit” filter.

At this point you should now see something like 21 Acoutic Agent Kits in your Media Bay list. All of these are ‘locked’ style Acoustic Agents, which include a style engine.

With these kits you should see the SE Studio Kit macro screen.

Try them out and play around with the style engine…

Later I’ll try to come back and walk through the process of making custom patterns with the Cubase sequencer and editors, and how to get them into GA.

my choices when i get to step 7 are AM signature drums, GA SE Factory, Rock pop tool box, and studio kit SE. Nothing says acoustic agent, and there is no macro screen that shows a drum set.

“Stuido Kit SE” doesn’t give a Macro Kit with Styles?

I could be wrong, but I believe you should have quite a bit more content. It stands to reason that this would come with all versions of Cubase (Artist, Pro, LE, etc.) since one can buy all sorts of style packs that will work with this kit ( click for examples ).

Here are some of the major differences between GA SE, and the full blown version.

  1. SE will only load one kit ‘per plugin instance’. GA allows 4.

  2. I don’t think SE has a MIDI out/through feature, while GA does.

  3. SE only allows a single bank of 16 patterns be loaded onto pads (pattern group) at a time. GA allows 128 of them.

  4. You cannot record live MIDI performances ‘directly’ into GA SE. GA does have the ability to record directly into the plugin.

  5. GA comes with several more acoustic kits (Rock, Vintage, Aux Percussion), tons of samples and user tweakable beat agent kits.

  6. GA has more, and deeper sound/pattern editing abilities built in.

GA SE should be installed along with Cubase. There have also been a few ‘updates’ targeted towards the included plugins like GA (as well as their patch/program/sample packs).

First, if you’ve manually installed any VSTsound packs (simply copying them to a desired directory…without having ‘run’ any sort of installer), then you’ll need to tell Cubase where they are, and make sure the MediaBay system knows to scan it, and update the database. This is all done through nodes in the main Cubase Media Bay. In essence, you can go through a directory tree structure and tick boxes for any disk drives and folders you want Cubase to keep track of. You can also ‘force’ updates of individual directories, or even the entire system database. Media Bay in Cubase a very powerful system designed to help you get grip on MASSIVE libraries of sounds. It lets you ‘tag’ everything in a non-destructive way (even for file types that don’t have built in tagging containers, such as raw WAV or AIF files). Please let me know if you need assistance in pointing the Media Bay to keep track manually installed VSTsound archives, or custom user-directories. Here’s a related thread as well ( https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=226&t=91637. I’ll have to prep for that and come back later if needed.

Note that ‘not all’ VSTsound archives can just be manually scanned in. Some of them might have some sort of copy-protection or encryption that will ‘require’ running some sort of installer in order to ‘unlock’ the content. In the case of Steinberg protected content, it might even be ‘dongle’ related.

It’s been a while since I’ve installed Cubase from scratch, but there might have been ‘options’ concerning the installation of GA SE expansion packs. It seems like the Studio Kit Agent was part of an expansion pack called “Acoustic Agent SE” (In my Cubase 8 installation media I found this in the Additional Content folder “FCP_SMT_137_Groove_Agent_SE.vstsound”, as well as an individual installer for it, “GrooveAgentSE_Acoustic_Agent.msi” : In my 8.5 update distro I found this installer: “GrooveAgentSE_Acoustic_Agent_Update_1.0.1.msp”). It should be included with Cubase Pro (not sure about other versions of Cubase such as Artist and LE). I think I remember ticking to install it all in the main Cubase installation.

Try running the main Cubase installer from the latest distribution of Cubase that you have available. See if it says anywhere in there that GA SE, or any of its libraries have not been installed. If so, try installing them from this main Cubase installer. From there, be sure to run any ‘Cubase update’ installers that you might have again in sequence so they can check and update your SE libraries and expansion packs.

If you don’t see any obvious way to restore/fix things from the main Cubase installer, you might try running the individual VSTsound installer, “GrooveAgentSE_Acoustic_Agent.msi” (Found in the ‘Additional Content’ folder of your Cubase installation media).

If that doesn’t work, it shouldn’t hurt to try reinstalling the whole Cubase thing from the ground up.

If you don’t have Cubase installation media anymore, or you simply want to grab the latest complete distribution for your current license key and start all over, log into your MySteinberg Account. You can download it all from there.

Personally, I just let everything install to its default location on the system drive. In cases where my system drive is a small one, I’ll later move things to other drives/partitions and point to them with file system ‘junctions or symbolic links’ in the OS. While you should be able to use the Steinberg installers to put things where you want it at installation time…I just find that keeping all the default installations on the system drive (and moving them around as needed) keeps life much more simple and flexible for me. I.E. I can even put things on removable media, and make little scripts that auto-run when plugged in and set up the junctions or symbolic links.

The following quote demonstrates a technique (For Windows PC users, one can also create symbolic links on a Mac, but the commands will be slightly different) to move all of the Halion-centric VSTsound files to a secondary hard drive:

Brian Roland,

Thanks for this and all your amazing posts. I’ve learned so much from you!

Damn, that was thorough! Great Job Brian Roland!

Hi Brian, just a follow up. I have made some progress playing around with GA but when I go to record, nothing records. I play a pattern, see the signal in the track as it plays but nothing sticks. Its just a blank track. Also, When I try to drag a pattern it loads a different pattern than the one I drag? ty mc

Hi Machael,

Please refresh my memory a bit on what version of GA you are running.

Do you have a full version of Groove Agent 4, or are you still running the SE version that comes bundled with Cubase?

If you are running the SE version, then Groove Agent will NOT have a built in sequencer that can ‘record’. You’ll need to record your stuff on instrument or MIDI tracks in Cubase. If this is what you are attempting to do, then it sound to me like you might have forgotten to properly connect the track to GA and arm the track for recording.

As for dragging the patterns into the GA groove engine, again it’ll be helpful if you’ll remind me as to what Version of GA you are working with. It might also be helpful if you can zip up a copy of your project (without any long audio tracks) and upload it here so others can have a look at what you’re trying to do. Explain what part(s) you’d like to convert into an Agent pattern…then maybe I can load it up and try to walk you through it.

Thanks Brian - great insight into GA. I was getting SO frustrated with the Steinberg clips (and the 200-odd page manual).