Join Mark Struthers for an in-depth discussion in this video Configuring the Mix Console to produce finished projects, part of Learning Cubase Pro 8.
- Occasionally, along the way, whilst we've been exploring different Cubase functions, we've glanced at the mix console. I'll spend a few movies here now looking at it in further detail. The mix console is Steinberg's name for the mixer. We access it in a number of ways. The easiest, from the project window, is to click on the Mix Console button here. When I say that's the easiest way, I suppose the shortcut, F3, is the easiest way. Notice, though, before I do, I'm running a nearly empty project, initially.
I've got this Iris 2 audio file that we created using the Render in Place function, and in fact, we know it's a rendered audio file because it slightly differs to a normal audio file, because in brackets after its name there, you can see the letter R, for render. I've also got this empty MIDI track, and I've got this instrument track here, running FabFilter's Twin 2. Okay then, now, I'm just going to click on here to open up the mix console. Once it's open, of course, we are able to see both the input and the output channels, plus, between them, those three distinct types of track, the audio track, the MIDI track, and the VSTI track.
The input channel at the left is the route into Cubase, and the output channel at the right sends our final mix of all the project channels to the outside world. That said, you might need to configure the visibility tab here at the left, to check your radio buttons for the stereo in and the stereo out channels, plus any other tracks that you've got running. Unchecking full stereo in and stereo out, of course, means making these invisible. During a mix down, it's probably likely that you don't really need to see the stereo in, but very probably will want to see the stereo out.
I'll bring both back in. The converse applies also, if you only want to see the stereo in and stereo out and make the other tracks invisible, then, of course, you would uncheck those three radio buttons. Now I'm going to reintroduce these. Our audio track displays here, just to the right, by default, of our input channel. You'll possibly need to resize things. I do at this smaller than normal screen size that I use to record these movies. On a full size monitor, you'll have much more room, but as you can see, you can adjust the height of these different areas.
Okay, so that's what this looks like by default. We can reconfigure the mix console in a number of ways. For example, if you flick over to the second tab, here, Zones, once more, you see the same tracks. The stereo in, the stereo out, and those three distinct types of track, audio, MIDI, and VSTI. By default, all the channels are set up like this. In the order in which they are placed within your project window. However, within zones here, we've got these two vertical parallel radio buttons.
Presently by default, the stereo in is at the far left hand side. If I want to move it to the right hand side of our mix console, then I would check in the right hand radio button. Now, just before I do, you might be wondering why, with this stereo in, with it already featured on the left hand side anyway, why would we need that radio button indicating that it will move to the left hand side? Well, notice what happens in between that particular channel, and the one that it's adjacent to, Isotopes Iris. Presently, there is no gap in between, but as soon as I click on our left radio button, a small gap appears, indicating that this has now been set to its own, distinct zone.
If I click on the right radio button, then that stereo input gets sent right over to the right hand side of our mix console. I'll bring it back over to the left, but remember, by having this activated, this still means that this input is set to a distinct separate zone. So I'll uncheck it. We can pretty much do the same with all the other tracks. This piano MIDI track, if I want to set this at the left hand side, in its own zone, then I would check in there. You'll notice that even though it does come over to the left hand side, the track number, number two, is retained.
It's the second track down in the project window on the track list. I'll deactivate, and then send it over to the right hand side. Okay, simple enough. I'll deactivate, and I'll flick back over to Visibility. So essentially then, if you are working with zones, you might send all your audio tracks to one side, all your MIDI tracks to another side, irrespective of how they feature on the track list in your project window. And I'm sure you'll appreciate, that's a really powerful function when you are working with one monitor.
You'll understand why I bring this up in a moment. Okay then, so what else do we see here? At the top of each channel, you'll find this mix console rack area. Now, despite it's name, it's not related to the instrument rack that we have available in the project window. Instead, the mix console rack above the faders for each individual channel features five tabs: ROUTING, INSERTS, EQ, STRIP and SENDS. If you want to view things differently here in the mix console, you can do by using our old friend up here at the top left.
This button opens up these checkbox options, and within here, running down vertically, you'll see these six checkboxes. And these all correspond to the way that the mix console is laid out. For example, the top one, Markdown's Channel Overview, with that checked, that means, even though we can't see it too well at the moment, because it's grayed out, we will see the channel overview within there. If I uncheck it, you'll see it disappear. The next area down is the Meter Bridge.
I'll uncheck that, and of course that gets removed, too, from view. What we are left with now at the top of our area here is the Equalizer Curve. I'll leave that where it is. Below that are our Channel Racks I've just spoken about. If I uncheck, those five tab features, ROUTING, INSERTS, EQ, et cetera, get removed from view. I'll bring them back, and no doubt you'll remember from a much earlier movie, we have an option to bring in another area, Pictures, or, below that, the Notepad.
To the left when we were looking at visibility and zones, if we don't want to use that area and free it up so that we reclaim some more screen real estate, we would uncheck here, the Channel Selector checkbox. I like it in view, so I'll bring it back. Now, we've not discussed it much yet, but over at the far right hand side, we have a jewel tabbed area, the control room, and some meters. We'll get back to this in a later movie, but we could uncheck if we don't want to see it. I do, so I'll reintroduce it, and, in fact, I'm going to reintroduce the meter bridge and the channel overview, too.
Now, just getting back to what I referred to a moment ago, you can open up and run in parallel more than one mix console. Before we do, though, it's important to remember that essentially, we are looking at the same mixer. However, we are looking at a different view of it. To set up the mix console, as we've already seen, when we were in the project window, relied on us clicking the relevant button, or choosing F3 as the shortcut. Another method is to come up to Devices and then roll down to Mix Console, and there is the shortcut, F3.
But also, just below, you see that we've got the opportunity to open up a further two mix consoles, Mix Console 2 and Mix Console 3. I'll select the second option, Mix Console 2, remembering the main mix console, which is effectively Mix Console number one, is still running. Now, you might be thinking, this looks exactly the same. Well, it is, at the moment. Despite us looking at a second version of the mix console, it will look the same until we start configuring it. For example, by coming back over to the Visibility tab, and deselecting the stereo in and stereo out, so that they are made invisible, and also the audio track, Iris 2, and the MIDI track, the one labeled as Piano, leaving us with the VSTI track, the FabFilter Twin 2.
Well, it's no stretch of the imagination to realize that if you've got four or five, maybe more, VSTIs running, you might only want to see those in isolation. Of course, you could set that up with zones, but maybe you are squashed on your screen in terms of real estate, so having another mix console opened up, in this case, Mix Console 2, you can see that it's a good way of separating the distinct types of track. Now, it is more than likely, when you have got a VSTI running, you will also want to see the stereo out.
Well, you could reintroduce it, of course, and whatever you do here on your second mix console, if you move to fader, or you soloed, or muted, or whatever, that's not an independent isolation on this mix console only. That will be reflected on any other mix console you've got running, too. Because as I've said, we are looking at the same mixer, albeit at a different view of it. And in fact, if I close down Mix Console 2, bearing in mind, whatever we have here won't be forgotten, it's still set as our Mix Console 2, but if I close it down, we of course revert back to Mix Console 1, and this is how this has been configured.
I'll go back up to Devices and reselect Mix Console 2. Okay, and there you go. That's what we can do, then, when we want to configure the mix console when we are thinking about producing our finished mixes. We can set it up, or we can set them up, if we are using multiple mix consoles, to make our mixing life easier.
- Installing and connecting Cubase
- Organizing assets and tracks
- Recording audio and MIDI
- Inserting effects
- Quantizing and processing tracks
- Integrating virtual instruments
- Developing song ideas with chord pads
- Using the Mix Console