One of the most popular DAWs in the world gets a major update, and Cubase 7 isn’t just a tit for tat increment…
When we gave Cubase 6 an extensive review, I was really pleased with how tight things felt. Cubase 5 wasn’t particularly well received, and with 6 (and then the subsequent 6.5 update) Steinberg bucked their ideas up and made a great DAW with some innovative features (per note automation and updated variaudio features are still about the best of their kind directly integrated into a DAW).
Cubase 7 MixConsole
Cubase 7, out now, has even more new features that are designed to make the core DAW workflow much more about creating and mixing music with less reliance on plugins and complicated nested windows. The most conspicuous update (aside from the slightly sleeker colour scheme) is the brand new MixConsole. Mixing user interface in Cubase has lagged behind some other DAWs, especially Logic, for a while. Now, instead of simply bringing inline EQ to the table to spar with Logic’s implementation, Steinberg have created an entire console mixer with EQ, compression, graphical bus send knobs and more visible directly on each channel strip.
The Cubase 7 MixConsole provides direct access to a range of indispensable tools for sound design and mixing:
- Compression (three models: Standard, Classic, Tube)
- EQ (Position adjustable)
- Transient Shaping
- Saturation (Tube or Tape)
- Limiting (three models: Limiter, Brickwall, Maximiser)
Having these features directly available, rather than requiring users to use insert points in the virtual mixer and switch windows, should massively increase speed of mixing and music creation – if they sound great of course! The entire experience is reminiscent of hardware mixing; Reason’s SSL inspired mixer springs to mind as a mixer that takes this approach and really makes it work.
Other New Features
From improved control surface support to updated VariAudio, there’s more to Cubase 7 than the MixConsole. One of the more interesting new features is Pure Tuning, designed to – on the fly – allow your music to lock to a well tempered key rather than equal temperament. Steinberg say this will work with synths, audio, and effortlessly adjust the sounds of fixed and non fixed intonation instruments to ensure they work perfectly with each other.
VariAudio is now at version 2, and with it comes improved note detection and, reportedly, much simpler editing thanks to a single editing window able to control multiple tracks. VariAudio could be slightly confusing in Cubase 6 because of the amount of going into and out of the VariAudio flow to edit multiple parts, so hopefully this will be a big improvement.
Extended sample and MIDI clip libraries, intelligent chord progression crib sheets, and simple plugin search filters all add up to making Cubase 7 a very substantial update; at £284 for the full version and £99/£138 for upgrades from 6.5/6 respectively (along with a special grace period upgrade offer for very recent purchasers of Cubase 6.5) are you tempted? Let us know!
We’ll see what we can do about getting an OD review copy, and in the mean time head over to the Cubase 7 site and let us know what you think about Cubase 7 in the comments below!