Workflow for a new project in Cubase

Hi everyone,
New Cubase user here. I have a question regarding workflow when making new ideas in Cubase. The way I like to make music is to just open my DAW and play around and make ideas. What frustrates me a little about Cubase workflow, is that I need to provide a project folder name before making the actual idea. This workflow seems a bit backwards to me coming from other DAWs, as I don’t know what I’m gonna call my project before I actually make it.
I’m interested in hearing about other peoples workflow when making new ideas in Cubase, and how to manage project naming.

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Welcome, @brinkbrink12

Usually, I start something on a generic project, that has more or less all the necessary tracks & plug-ins already set. This project can be done from a template one or not : it depends of your needs. As my setup is rather fixed, my generic project has always the same structure.

At the moment I feel having something consistent enough, with several different instruments recorded and more or less edited, I use the File > Back Up Project command that allows you to create a specific folder for the project and save in it all what has already been done on it (audio files included, which are placed in a dedicated subfolder which is automatically created when using the command - the eventual MIDI parts being recorded in the project file itself.) Once the sketch saved, I can delete everything in my generic project and start an eventual new one.


Exactly how I do it as well. I don’t even care where it gets saved to start with, though it’s always /Documents/Cubase Projects


I use dates for project folder as I usually remember the day that it was created or at least month, the naming of the project isn´t that important for me


Yup, I do the same for both the Folder & Project names (e.g. 3-28-24.cpr). Then if it becomes something more later on, I use Backup like the others suggest.

One thing I started doing a few years when using Backup to create a new named Project. In the Notepad of this new Project I’ll put the name of the date-named Project & vice-versa in the initial Project. That way I can keep track of what became what from either copy.

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While I typically have a project that I am working on before I even think about opening Cubase/Nuendo, I do occasionally work on experiments for my own personal satisfaction or just to try some new things, etc what have you…

If I am working on a specific project, I would create a folder for that project that has dedicated folders for Nuendo and Wavelab and Dorico and other applications and documents. So that makes it easier in that I’m just going to create any sessions in the Nuendo subfolder and let Nuendo do all the work of organizing all of the folders within that main Nuedo subfolder.

For my occasional experiments and trying things out, I just keep a couple of folders specifically set to go for those things. So I have an experiments folder and what I call training folder (which is just practice for compositional techniques or trying out new sample libraries, plug ins, etc…) And then I just pick one of the main folders and if I decide the Session file is worth saving, I’ll name it with a date and maybe some short description, like “2024-3-29_New Sound Library X”. This way I can just back up those couple of folders to my NAS and everything is contained in there. If one of them turns into something that deserves it’s own project folder (which at least for me is fairly rare) I also use the File >Back Up Project method described by others.
The one thing this does create is you’ll find in those experiment folders a handful of untitled project files and folder associated with them. So I just clean those out by hand a couple of times a year or so. How often you need to do this, I guess depends on how much time you spend on such things.
Hope that helps a bit.

The name “Set project folder” can be a bit misleading.
Cubase does not actually save a project file to the specified location. The folder it asks you to chose is for saving audio files (in case you record audio or work destructively on audio files).
There is no project file created at this stage. You can easily check this by creating a new project first and then click “Save” from the File menu. It will bring up another prompt for chosing a location and name.

So, knowing the above I think asking the user right away where to put any brilliant audio recordings to is best done at the beginning before the creative juices start flowing.

Like the others that replied before me, I usually chose a generic folder at the start. In my case I called it “Temp”, it resides in my folder where I store all Cubase projects in. If the idea becomes something worth saving I, too, use “Backup Project” from the File menu.

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I do the same. But I start out in a folder called “Playground” and as someone else mentioned, just save as the date. Once I have an idea what I am going for and a name, I’ll go to the File menu and choose “Backup Project”, and save everything with a new name and folder, then work from there.

I do create one specialty Project with each major Cubase release. It is called “Test” with the Cubase version appended to the end (e.g. Test C13.cpr), basically it’s just a copy of the general Template I mostly use. And while I do use it to checkout new features in the Cubase release, I also use it to test or tryout anything else that crops up. Most of the screen shots I post here are from this Project. Paradoxically the Test Project’s value is because it has no importance at all. So even if you do something that totally mangles the Project, it doesn’t matter - shrug, rename (or delete if that’s how you roll), create a new Test Project.

Often I see ‘can you do this…’ questions here where creating the post probably took longer than just giving whatever a try and finding out. I think some folks, especially newer Cubase users, are rightly concerned with messing up something they are working on. Having a safe way to try out literally anything you want is pretty useful.

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You do only need a folder name, not the project name when you open, so you can use either one generic folder for quick ideas, i.e. ‘Sketches’ or ‘Ideas’, or have a folder for the current month, or make one with the current data. You can store many projects in the same folder, though that can get a little tricky if you put too many in with the Audio folder. So as soon as an idea is ready to become something more serious, just open the project and save it to a dedicated folder with an appropriate name.
My idea folder is still just the default ‘Untitled’.

When you do the project back up, and it asks for a name sometimes I just choose a color. Other times any word that will describe the hook. Maybe a patch name if the hook is based on a unique patch.

Then later on, if it becomes complete in structure, I’ll assign it a working title. Then sometime before mastering regardless of self or sending out…a real title.

Since I do a lot of solo piano improv as starting points for compositions, I have a folder and series of projects called Improv… with a month/year in the project title. If I’m not working on a specific project in progress, just jamming, I’ll open my latest Improv project, which already has a piano sound and maybe others set up, reverbs, etc. All the tracks will be muted, I just go to a new MIDI track, and start playing. I don’t even have to hit Record, I can use Retrospective Record later if I decide that what I just played might be worth keeping.

I’ll make notes in the Notebook for each track, and even a star rating system, so later I can check them out to see which ones might be worth looking at. Eventually I’ll reach about 100 tracks, meaning maybe 100 different improvs. At that point I’ll start a new project with a new month/year in the title, and repeat the process. I may end up with 300+ improvs in a year, spread over 3 or 4 projects.

When I want to work on one to develop it further, it’s often easiest to just copy the contents of that track to a new Project (now with a working title and it’s own folder), and copy my initial notes across to it as well.

I guess you have to develop your own system. It’s good to develop one, though, so you remain relatively organized, hopefully. I said “relatively”… ;-/

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While I’m separating things using Projects and not Tracks, using star ratings is a great idea. Sure would save on loading Projects just to determine it didn’t deserve be loaded…

Just to add, in case any don’t know, projects can easily be re-named in the ‘Hub’.

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