Audio Channels

[ LiB ]

Audio Channels

In the Mixer window, audio tracks, VSTi, and group channels offer similar settings and are considered as audio channels. This said, they do offer some minor differences both in features and options. So let's take a closer look at each class of audio channel.

Disk Channels (Audio Tracks)

In the Mixer, an audio track in which you record digital audio content such as a voice, guitar, or bass is referred to as the disk channel to distinguish it from other channels that are handled as audio channels, such as the VSTi and group channels. The function of each control found in Figure 12.8 is described in the following list:

Figure 12.8. The audio channel in the Mixer window.


  • Audio Input selection field (SX only). Selects the input bus when preparing your channel to record or monitor audio through it. Remember that the bus connects the channel to the input of your sound card as defined in the VST Connections panel.

  • Audio Output selection field (SX only). Selects the output of a channel to monitor it through speakers or sending the channel through groups instead.

  • Inverse Phase button (SX only). Inverses the input phase of an audio signal. This can be handy when you notice that a signal's phase cancels another signal when preparing for a recording session. Recording with two microphones that are not positioned optimally will often be responsible for this type of problem. Other times, this can be caused by grounding problems in the studio wires.

  • Input Gain control and display (SX only). Controls the gain of a signal as it enters the channel during the recording process. The display tells you the amount of change in dB. This can be a positive value when you increase the gain or a negative value when you reduce it. You can adjust the gain by holding down the Alt(PC)/Option(Mac) key down while dragging the gain knob up or down. A fader will appear as you start the dragging motion; this should make it easier to adjust the gain appropriately.

  • Wide/Narrow Toggle. View each channel in a wide (default) or narrow width format. Setting channels to narrow makes it easy to view more channels inside the window without having to scroll horizontally inside the Mixer when your project contains several tracks. However, the number of visible parameters is reduced, making it harder to edit them. In other words, setting a channel to narrow makes sense when you are satisfied with the current setup for this channel or when you don't need to see all the parameters for this channel.

  • Channel View Options menu. In SX this allows you to change the panel visible in the extended area of the Mixer and make a track "hideable." In SL, you can only make a track hideable or not. Checking the Can Hide option makes the track hideable. When you select Hide Channels and set it to the Can Hide option in the Mixer's Common panel, any channel with the Can Hide check mark will be hidden from view (see Figure 12.2).

  • Pan control and display. The Pan control displays a numeric and graphic representation of the pan setting for this channel. Ctrl(PC)/ graphic/ps.gif (Mac)-clicking brings the pan back to its center position, which is represented by a C in the numeric display.

  • Channel Setting Option buttons . These are the same buttons found in the audio channel section in the track's Inspector area. Whatever settings you made in the Inspector are displayed here and vice versa. These functions are Mute, Solo, Read, Write, Open Channel Editor panel, Insert Bypass, EQ Bypass, Send Effect Bypass, Monitor Input Level, and Record Enabled. Remember that when the Monitor button is active, the level indicator to the right of the channel fader becomes an input level monitor; changing the level of this fader will not have any effect on the input level. Below the Record Enabled button is the audio channel icon. This corresponds to the same icon found on the show/hide audio channels in the Common panel of the Mixer. When you enable this button in the Common panel, all channels with this icon will be hidden from view.

  • Channel Fader and Level indicator. The channel fader controls the output level of this channel (except when you are in Input Level Monitor mode). To bring the fader to its default 0 dB position, hold the Ctrl(PC)/ graphic/ps.gif (Mac) key down as you click on it. If you want to move the fader by smaller, more precise increments , hold the Shift key down as you move the fader. This is very useful when you want to create slow and precise fade effects with automation. The numeric display below the fader tells gives you the position value (in dB) of this channel's fader. If you have a scroll wheel on your mouse, you can adjust the selected channel's fader level by moving the wheel up or down.

  • Peak Margin indicator. Directly below the output level for the channel, the peak margin indicator represents the distance between the highest audio peak in this track and the maximum digital audio level. This value resets itself if you move the channel's fader or if you click inside the field. It's important to keep an eye on this margin because you don't want the audio on this track to go above zero dB, but you don't want it to always stay very low when recording either. Ultimately, the peak margin indicator should remain between -12 dB and 0 dB when recording.

  • Channel Name . You will find the name of the channel below the fader. You can use the area above this one to select the channel or change the name by double-clicking on it. When a channel is selected, the area above the name will appear colored. You can select more than one channel at a time by holding down the Shift key as you make your selection.


Rewire is a software-based technology that lets you share application resources inside your computermore specifically , Rewire-compatible ones. Developed by Propellerhead and Steinberg, most products sold by either company are compatible with this technology, but now more and more third-party application developers have joined in by making their applications Rewire-compatible.

What Rewire does is quite nice, and it's simple to use. It patches the outputs of one software application into the inputs of another software application and synchronizes them. This has the same effect as a VSTi, except that Rewire instruments or Rewire software applications are not running inside Cubase, as a VSTi is. Active Rewire channels appear as additional channels in Cubase's Mixer. This allows all Rewire-compatible applications to share the same sound card, assigning each Rewire instrument a different output if you want, and also providing a common transport control and timing base; you can control playback for all applications from Cubase.

How To

To use Rewire:

  1. Launch Cubase first. It is important that your other Rewire applications are launched after Cubase; otherwise , both applications run independently, and conflicts, when attempting to access the sound card, might prevent you from using either applications.

  2. Make sure the Release ASIO Driver in Background option is not selected in Devices > Device Setup > VST Multitrack.

  3. In the Devices menu or the Devices panel, select the Installed Rewire Application option. If you don't have any Rewire applications installed, you will not have this option. The Rewire panel appears, as shown in Figure 12.9. What appears in this panel depends on the Rewire-compatible applications installed on your computer. In this example, Ableton Live is installed.

    Figure 12.9. The Rewire panel; active channels appear lit.


  4. Click the Activate button on the left of the channels you want to create inside Cubase's Mixer.

  5. If you want to rename a channel, click in the Display As column and type in the label you want to use.

  6. Launch your Rewire application.

At this point, the Transport bars in both applications are linked together. This means that you can start and stop your playback within any application, and the others will follow. If you record events, this is recorded in the application that is active, or, in other words, the recording takes place in the application in which you clicked the Record button. So, recording is independent, but playback follows and if you use cycle playback or recording, all applications follow this loop. When you have a loop playing in Ableton Live, for example, this loop stays looped. Cubase always sets the tempo setting when the Tempo track is active. If you change the tempo in Cubase's Tempo track, the other applications follow the lead. If you are not using the Tempo track, you can change the tempo setting in either application and the playback reflects it. In other words, if you start playback at 100 BPM in Live and Cubase is not set to play the tempo from the Tempo track, it plays at 100 BPM.

All Rewire channels containing recorded events that are not muted when you export your mixdown from the File > Export > Audio mixdown option are included in this output file.

One thing to look for is the sample playback rate. Make sure both applications are set to a compatible sampling rate. If your Rewire application is not set to the same sampling rate as Cubase, the Rewire application might not play the right pitch.

If your Rewire application uses MIDI to trigger sounds like VSTi, you will need to create a MIDI track and select the Rewire-compatible MIDI output port to send the MIDI events to the Rewire application in order for it to generate the sounds that will appear in the audio channel inside Cubase. If, on the other hand, the Rewire-compatible application is audio-based, using audio loops or events on tracks of its own, then simply activating the bus to which the audio is routed inside Cubase will do. For example, if you have audio tracks in a Rewire application that are coming out through a Main Mix bus, activating this bus inside Cubase (as is the case in the example found in Figure 12.9) will cause the audio routed to the Main Mix of that application to be sent (rerouted) into the Cubase Mixer's Rewire channel (see Figure 12.10).

Figure 12.10. The Audio of Rewire channels from the third-party application (left) is routed into a Rewire channel inside Cubase (right).


VSTi and Rewire Channels

MIDI tracks that are assigned to a VSTi (see Figure 12.11) or Rewire MIDI output port are represented by two channels in the Mixer window: one MIDI channel to control MIDI- related settings associated with the Rewire or VSTi and one audio channel that can be processed just as the disk audio channel described previously. There are, however, some differences in an audio VSTi or Rewire and a disk audio channel:

  • You can't assign an audio input bus to a VSTi or Rewire audio channel.

  • There are no Record Enable buttons on this audio channel because the events are recorded through the MIDI channel instead (see the "MIDI Channels" section for details on this).

  • There is no Monitor button because there are no audio inputs to monitor.

  • Below the Bypass Send Effect button, you will find a VSTi Edit button that opens the VSTi interface and changes settings in the instrument. Because the Rewire instrument is not inside Cubase, you need to access that application to make changes to the instrument's settings.

  • The icons for VSTi or Rewire channels are associated with VSTi or Rewire types respectively. When you choose to hide these types of channels (VSTi or Rewire) from the Common panel on the left of the Mixer, all channels with these icons are hidden from view.

  • The color behind the fader is different from the audio disk channel.

Figure 12.11. The MIDI routed through the VSTi (left) and audio output of VSTi (right) channels.


The MIDI channel of the VSTi and Rewire (when applicable ) offers the same settings as the MIDI channels described later in the "MIDI Channels" section. It is the audio from a VSTi or Rewire channel that can be exported as an audio file without having to use the Record function in the Transport panel. Instead of recording the audio output, Cubase actually renders the audio output of a VSTi or Rewire channel to an audio file. This audio file can then be imported back into the project to play as any other audio channel in your project.

As you will probably notice, some VSTi have multiple output support. As a result, Cubase creates multiple VSTi channels in the Mixer. The HALion sampler VSTi, for example, offers up to 18 audio channels (one surround, four stereo, and four mono outputs).

Group Channels

When a group track is created in a Project, a group channel is also created in the Mixer. Groups are used as outputs only, where you can assign other channels to play through a group channel and then process all the channels sent to that group as one entity in the group's channel settings. For example, if you have several tracks for your drum kit, you can assign all the individual tracks to play through the group channel, and assign a reverb to this channel. This applies the same reverb level to all the parts of the drum kit instead of applying an individual reverb level on each track. Moreover, when you want to change the overall level of the drum, you only need to adjust the group's level instead of individual volume levels for each instrument if they are all on separate tracks. Here are some differences between the audio disk channel and the group channel:

  • You can't assign an audio input to a group channel because it only serves as an output.

  • There is no Record Enable button on this audio channel because there are no inputs.

  • There is no Monitor button because there are no audio inputs to monitor.

  • The icon for group channels is associated with this channel type (see Figure 12.12). When you choose to hide this type of channel (group) from the Common panel on the left of the Mixer window, all channels with this icon are hidden from view.

    Figure 12.12. A group channel in the Mixer window.


  • The color behind the fader is different from the audio disk channel.

[ LiB ]

Cubase SX. SL 2 Power.
Cubase SX/SL 2 Power!
ISBN: 1592002358
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 154
Authors: Robert Guerin © 2008-2017.
If you may any questions please contact us: