When it comes to picking a DAW, I often get asked “Is Cubase easy to use?” since it can seem very complicated. Today we break down the features that make Cubase great for beginners, and talk about why it might not be for you.
Is Cubase Easy To Use?
Is Cubase Easy To Use? Some History…
When starting to work in studios, there were two “industry standards” that most recording facilities used often. I noticed that Cubase and Pro Tools were the main two DAW programs that big studios favored. Both had the same feel, but totally different advantages/disadvantages.
The studio that I worked with the most preferred Cubase, so I learned a lot about the popular DAW in a short period of time. It is a powerful DAW that works with most 3rd party plugins, which makes it perfect for just about any studio. But is Cubase easy to use?
Every DAW program has the same set of basic features, but it really comes down to the fine details when choosing the program that works for YOU. Depending on your preference, some DAW programs may affect your workflow in a positive or negative way.
Cubase worked well for me over the years until I switched to Reaper in 2012. I only switched because Reaper works better for me at home. Many professional studios currently use Cubase 12 however, since it was so popular from the get-go.
Cubase, developed by Steinberg, has long been recognized as a powerful digital audio workstation (DAW) used by professionals in the music production industry. However, for beginners venturing into the world of music production, the question arises: Is Cubase easy to use?
Today we are going to give you all of the details on the best features that Cubase has to offer, as well as the smaller details that make this one of the most popular DAWs on the planet. Steinberg offers tons of production plugins for professional mixes, and you get some of those with Cubase.
In this article, we will explore the user-friendly aspects of the latest versions of Cubase while acknowledging some potential challenges that beginners may encounter. So, let’s dive into the realm of Cubase and uncover its ease of use for newcomers.
This is one of the first things I point out to anyone thinking about switching over to Cubase. In fact, Cubase sports one of the best graphical interfaces on the market, and it received a lot of tweaks over the years. Many of the changes were customer requests, gleaned from forum posts!
Cubase’s interface has evolved over the years, and the latest versions boast an intuitive and visually appealing design. The clean and organized layout allows beginners to navigate the software with ease. The different sections, such as the arrangement window, mixer, and MIDI editor, are logically positioned, providing a seamless workflow.
And workflow is the most important thing to consider when it comes to choosing a DAW. The easier the interface is to use, the faster you can finish songs. Simple “quality of life” specs like one button press for a new track just makes recording easy.
The Cubase interface can also be customized a good bit, so you can change track colors, and rearrange components. You can also change the meter, and the control layout. But the standard Cubase layout works just fine from the first time you boot the program up.
We already touched on this a bit in the paragraphs above. But this is one of the biggest factors in choosing a DAW. You absolutely do not want to be endlessly searching and scrolling for a feature or plugin that you need.
Cubase offers a range of features and tools designed to enhance workflow efficiency. For beginners, this means spending less time searching for functions and more time focused on creativity. The software provides customizable keyboard shortcuts, project templates, and a comprehensive search function, allowing users to find and access the tools they need quickly.
The keyboard shortcuts will be familiar to anyone that has used a DAW before, but you can edit these in the “preference” section. If you are familiar using a different shortcut from another DAW, you can easily edit it within Cubase.
You can also save project templates, and this is fantastic for someone that does sound design. If you have a gig doing certain sound design projects that are similar, you can easily save the project layout. The templates can be saved and pulled up for a new session.
Extensive Built-in Features
This is a BIG one, especially for new users. Cubase has a ton of built-in features and plugins that will help you make professional audio recordings in no time. In fact, it even comes with some useful VSTs, which are Virtual Instruments like drums and synths.
One of the reasons Cubase is popular among beginners is its comprehensive range of built-in features. It offers a wide variety of virtual instruments, audio effects, and MIDI editing tools, eliminating the need for third-party plugins in the initial stages of music production.
This abundance of built-in resources simplifies the learning process, making it easier for beginners to experiment and shape their musical ideas. Cubase comes with a ton of tools to work with, but here are some of the highlights:
- Groove Agent SE: MIDI drum tool with samples and mixing features
- HAL-Ion Sonic SE: A synthesizer with sampling capabilities and effects
- Retro Synth: A virtual synth based on the famous KORG sounds
- VERVE: This is a wonderful virtual piano
- Flux & Trip: Two wavetable oscillating synthesizers with thousands of sound possibilities
Of course, Cubase also supports 3rd party plugins and VSTs. There are lots of free amp sims, and other types of plugins out there to take advantage of, and Cubase can run most of them. But starting you out with so many virtual instruments gets you acclimated to VSTs as a beginner.
This is why Cubase is so popular with Indie producers, and electronic music artists. It can be used for any genre, but if you are just beginning with synths and MIDI drums, then Cubase has you covered. Speaking of using MIDI drums…
Powerful Audio Editing Capabilities
Cubase excels in audio editing, offering a robust set of tools to manipulate and refine recorded audio. The audio warp feature allows for precise time stretching and pitch correction, while the audio quantization feature helps tighten up performances.
These tools, combined with the intuitive user interface, make it easy for beginners to polish their recordings and achieve professional-quality results. These effects can be more advanced, so is Cubase easy to use when it comes to editing?
I think it is very intuitive, and while quantizing and warping may not be the first things that you learn, other features can be great for practicing your instrument. You can slow down songs, for example, which makes it much easier to pick out each note.
Once you become familiar with using a DAW, then the more advanced features like pitch correction will become more useful. The Cubase UI is very easy to understand, and many of the timing features are done with just a few clicks.
MIDI Editing Made Simple
This is a very important feature that many artists are looking for these days. MIDI editing can be a pain, and a very tedious process with the wrong user interface. This is especially true for artists that program MIDI drums, which almost every does these days.
The MIDI interface is why so many bands like Periphery use Cubase for making demos. Programming drums can be a real pain, but the Cubase interface makes it easy to copy and paste certain sections. It also uses keyboard shortcuts to a great advantage.
For musicians working with MIDI, Cubase provides an array of features to streamline the editing process. The MIDI editor allows users to manipulate and fine-tune MIDI data with ease. Beginners can quantize MIDI notes, adjust velocities, choose chords and scales, and experiment with different articulations effortlessly.
The availability of functions like MIDI logical editor and MIDI modifiers further enhances the editing capabilities, making Cubase an excellent choice for MIDI-focused production. This makes drums, and any other VST easy to work with, even for a beginner.
Is Cubase Easy To Use For Beginners? Things To Consider…
While Cubase is very intuitive, and one of the oldest DAW systems available, there could be some roadblocks for beginners with absolutely zero experience. It can look very overwhelming for someone that has not recorded before, and advanced features may be difficult to grasp.
While Cubase offers many user-friendly features, it is important to acknowledge some potential challenges that beginners may face when using the software. Here are a few things to think about before you invest in Cubase:
Initial Learning Curve:
Like any advanced music production software, Cubase has a learning curve, especially for beginners who are new to DAWs. The vast array of features and functions may initially appear overwhelming. However, with dedication and patience, beginners can gradually become familiar with the interface and gain proficiency over time.
In some ways, learning a DAW is like learning a new instrument. While it can be as easy as “pressing the record button” there are many other features that you might not recognize. Hands-on experience is the best way to learn, and that will take time.
Complex Project Setup:
Cubase allows for intricate project setups, but this complexity can be daunting for beginners. Configuring audio and MIDI devices, setting up routing, and managing multiple tracks may require some initial effort to understand. However, Cubase provides comprehensive documentation, online tutorials, and a supportive user community to assist beginners in navigating these complexities.
There are plenty of online resources to help you if you get stuck, like the Cubase Forum. Likewise, there are hours of content in video format on YouTube that include everything from your first day, to detailed editing processes.
Advanced Features and Customization:
While the extensive range of features in Cubase is advantageous for experienced users, beginners may find some advanced functionalities overwhelming or unnecessary at the outset. However, by focusing on the core features and gradually exploring more advanced options, beginners can grow their skills and take advantage of Cubase’s full potential as they progress.
I always tell artists to use the default settings before customizing any of the Cubase features. This is important, especially if you into an issue that needs a tutorial. Cubase is very powerful, and it has a lot of built-in features that takes time and experimentation to really learn.
Cubase has been around for a very long time, and it has received many updates over the years. Like most popular DAWs, Cubase has gone through many iterations. Steinberg have added and removed features with each update, optimizing Cubase for home and professional use with the recent 12th addition.
In the realm of music production, Cubase has established itself as a powerful and professional-grade DAW. While it may present a slight learning curve for beginners, the latest versions of Cubase offer a user-friendly interface, streamlined workflow, and a plethora of built-in features that make it accessible to newcomers.
The software’s intuitive design, powerful audio and MIDI editing capabilities, and extensive resources make it a compelling choice for beginners seeking to delve into music production. To be fair, any DAW is going to have a bit of a learning curve.
However, it is essential to recognize that like any advanced software, Cubase has its complexities. Beginners may encounter challenges initially, such as the learning curve, project setup, and navigating advanced features. But with perseverance, dedication, and the abundant resources available, beginners can conquer these challenges and unlock the full potential of Cubase.
Ultimately, the ease of use in Cubase for beginners lies in their willingness to explore, experiment, and embrace the learning process. So, embark on your Cubase journey, let your creativity soar, and watch as you carve your musical path in the dynamic world of music production!
Used by everything from Hans Zimmer to Meshuggah, Cubase is an industry stalwart and a leading pioneer in the field of DAWs. Ideal for creating, recording, mixing, and mastering, Cubase has all the tools you need to create professional-sounding music at home. We love this software.
- Control Room: Unmatched recording and monitoring control for a superior mix.
- Sound Quality: A 64-bit audio engine that delivers professional-level audio.
- Plug-Ins: A wealth of high-quality plug-ins for any genre.
- Score Editor: Ideal for composers with its sophisticated notation feature.
- Customizable Interface: Adaptable to your workflow for optimal productivity.
Is Cubase Easy To Use For Mixing?
Cubase has its quirks, like any DAW. But mixing is actually rather intuitive thanks to the easy to use UI. Volume and gain levels are easy to navigate, as well as partitioning tracks to a master bus.
Is Cubase Easy To Use For Mastering?
Cubase 12 comes with most of the tools you for mastering tracks. It has a limiter, spectral meters, EQ, and compression tools that take a lot of the guess-work out of mastering a track. Cubase also works with 3rd party plugins of your choice.
Is Cubase Easy To Use For Home Recording?
Cubase may be a professional level DAW, but it is also great for making recordings at home that sound polished. Cubase supports all of the plugins you need to make a pro-quality track at home.
Is Cubase Easy To Use For Beginners?
Cubase has a user friendly interface, as well as built-in VSTs, plugins, and superior MIDI editing. While it may seem overwhelming at first, Cubase is as easy as any other pro DAW to learn.
Is Cubase Easy To Use For Composers & Sound Designers?
With a powerful MIDI editor, Cubase is ready to tackle multiple tracks of VSTs mixed with live instruments. It is favored by many famous composers for this reason.
Is Cubase Easy To Use For Professionals?
Cubase is neck-and-neck with Pro Tools when it comes to being the dominant DAW. Many professionals prefer Cubase for the MIDI editor and VSTs it comes with. The great Hans Zimmer is known to use Cubase while composing for movies!
Christoper HortonChristopher has been playing guitar, bass, and piano for 28 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. Chris has toured for years with several bands and music projects across the United States. He worked in Los Angeles as a studio musician and engineer working with many genres, but mainly Pop, Rock, and Metal. In between giving private lessons, he is usually recording under his various projects at home in Georgia. Christopher plays Schecter Guitars, BOSS Amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.
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