Mix Your Own Tracks and Learn the Essentials of Cubase
4.4 (211 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
906 students enrolled

Mix Your Own Tracks and Learn the Essentials of Cubase

Quickly learn by doing... with hands on training in audio editing and music mixing for the home studio engineer
4.4 (211 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
906 students enrolled
Created by Will Edwards
Last updated 9/2019
English [Auto]
Current price: $41.99 Original price: $59.99 Discount: 30% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 52 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Learn how to mix your own tracks with more professional results
  • Configure EQ and Compressors to do 90% of your mixing work
  • Use Frequency Spectrum Monitoring to mix a better track visually
  • Correct recordings with lousy pitch using Cubase's VariAudio
  • Configure and apply Mid-Side processing to widen your stereo mix
  • Automate your mix by recording or manually drawing automation curves
  • Start mixing with prepared audio stems right away!
  • Students who have Cubase Pro 9.5 will get the richest experience, but lessons can be applied to many DAWs and Cubase versions.
  • This course focuses mainly on EQ and Compressors, so those tools should definitely be available to students.

When your song is written and your tracks are recorded, do you want to hand it off to a stranger?  If you're like many artists, you want creative control until the recording is mixed and finished.  Suddenly, you're not a musician anymore - you're trying to understand EQ, multiband compressors, stereo widening and so on.  

Mixing your own tracks can be overwhelming and discouraging.  Often the manuals are hard to read and the explanations are mathematical, instead of musical.  Making a great mix requires 2 core skills - learning how and why to use EQ and Compression.  This course will explain how these powerful tools work and allow students to look over an engineer's shoulder as a raw collection of tracks is transformed into a cohesive and compelling final mix!

  • Mix and remix using downloadable projects and audio files (stems)
  • Keep it simple by focusing on EQ and Compression
  • Discover how when and why to use automation... in 2 modes

Make It About the Music.

All Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) contain an overwhelming collection of plugins and instruments, these days.  Which ones do you need?  Not only will this course help you create a shortlist of the most useful plugins, but you'll also get a headstart with downloadable presets for the plugins you need most.  This course is designed to make the processing of mixing your track feel more like music and less like engineering.  You'll learn how EQ and frequency spectrum monitoring work together to help you make the right musical choices for each track in your mix - visually.  Also, you'll learn what to listen for when using a compressor.  With these skills, you'll be able to stay focused on your music without having to compromise on a half-baked final mix.

Content and Overview:

This course has cherry-picked the best features from Cubase, including pitch-correction with VariAudio, reusable FX chains and automation.  You can get up and running with the most valuable mixing tools and benefit from watching them being used in a real world mixing situation.  Plus, you'll discover that Cubase offers more flexibility than many people realize.  Find out how to widen your stereo mix by creatively using FX channels to setup a powerful Mid-Side bus.  Then, watch as we apply different FX to different spatial elements in your mix!

In the first major section of the course, we'll cover the individual features and controls that you'll want to use for every mix you ever do.  You'll also develop a well-rounded understanding of topics related to Cubase (and all DAWs, really).  We'll cover everything from licensing and 64-bit plugins to master channel FX and optimizing your project for a better organized workflow.

The course continues with 2 sections about mixing drums and instruments.  Each instrument and drum will get its own dedicated lesson, so that you can see how they differ and how each instrument needs unique consideration in your mix.  The range of tracks in our multitrack collection offers a huge variety of challenges.  For example, you'll see how and why an 808 drum sometimes needs a longer attack, while the frequency rich content in an FM synth pad can be sculpted to play well with others.

  • Mixing individual HH, Snare, Kick and Percussion
  • Blending organic-sounding Fender Rhodes with a brash FM synth
  • Learn how to record a vocal, pitch-correct it and even create a 3-part harmony!

Rough Mix vs. Final Mix:

Professional mixing engineers often divide their workflow into 2 distinct phases: a rough mix and a final mix.  This course will teach you an optimized workflow, starting with simple fader mixing, then leveraging automation, panning and side-chain compression tricks to create a robust and professional rough mix.  Discover how mixing in mono can help diagnose mix flaws and even add creative edits - like automating a delay to create a stutter/echo effect on the last musical note of the outro.

Many dedicated musicians have created a decent rough mix - after weeks of struggle, dozens of web searches and thumbing through incomprehensible audio engineering books and manuals.  But, the professionals have some tricks up their sleeve that usually make the audible difference between a home studio mix and a pro "final" mix.  In the last mixing section of this course, students will walkthrough setting up Mid-Side processing using Cubase's built-in audio routing features.  Students will also get a chance to see how and why a multiband compressor can be used to elevate and enrich any mix (although it is best applied to a completed "rough" mix).  Finally, we'll cover export options and important considerations for preparing your final mix file for hand-off to a mastering engineer.

  • Maintain creative control over your music
  • Learn the ART of mixing, not just the science
  • Develop good habits, understand the pitfalls
  • Use hotkeys and optimize workflow
  • Get the most out of your computer with CPU optimization tips
Who this course is for:
  • Beginners who want to understand how to use Gating, EQ and Compression to mix and edit multitrack audio in Cubase.
  • Beginner who want to get started with multiband compression, pitch-correction and/or automation in Cubase
Course content
Expand all 53 lectures 02:41:11
+ Introduction and Fundamentals
12 lectures 29:21

Let's start by opening Cubase and understanding how to get ready with a new project.  I'll explain what the Steinberg Hub is for and how to get up and running quickly.

Preview 00:57

Gain an overview of how to use this course's stem audio files to your advantage throughout this course.

Preview 00:45

Allow me to introduce myself!  My mixed background as a musician, recording engineer and producer helps to establish a clear expectation that this course contains practical, professional guidance that will help you learn the essentials of mixing audio with Cubase.

Instructor Introduction

Learn how the USB eLicenser is used and why its both helpful and problematic.  I'll give you some tips for optimizing your storage and provide a further overview of upcoming topics.

Installation and Licensing Basics

Develop an understanding of why 64-bit technology improves the experience of an audio engineer using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) like Cubase.  I'll also discuss the relationship between 64-bit plugins and hosts (like Cubase).

64 bit Hosts and Plugins

I'll make the case for using 2 main plugins to serve us throughout this course.  While Cubase contains a full complement of plugins, we don't need most of them to make a great mix!

Plugins Overview

We'll get started creating our first track and establish a workflow for setting up an instance of a built-in EQ VST 3 plugin.  I'll explain how the Studio EQ's user interface can be configured with band pass filters (BPF), low pass filters (LPF) and high pass filters (HPF).

Learn to Use EQ

We'll continue discussing plugins by looking at one of the built-in VS3 compressor plugins.  I'll explain how the Compressor's user interface can be configured to apply different kinds of compression using threshold, ratio and ALL the controls on the interface.

Learn to Use a Compressor

We'll build on your toolkit by looking at how (and why) a limiter plugin should be applied to your mix.  I'll explain the user interface for the limiter built into Cubase.  We'll also introduce the Mix Console and see how it facilitates a user-friendly way to manage and apply inserts.

Master Channel Limiting

Learn how to organize multiple tracks in a way that makes navigating and mixing your multi-track project much, much easier.  This workflow tweak relies on features unique to Cubase.

Organizing Tracks Better

Mixing on headphones (or lousy monitors) can make it hard to evaluate how "balanced" your mix is.  I'll show you how to configure any cubase project to match import resolution and visually monitor the frequency spectrum of your mix (or any individual audio file).  Once again, we'll be using built-in plugins from Cubase.

Frequency Spectrum Monitoring

I'll demonstrate how to import all the 24-bit 96K audio stems from this course, so that you can follow along with future lessons.

Hands On: Importing Audio Stems
+ Mixing Drums
11 lectures 32:13

Gain an overview of how to approach mixing drums by focusing on specific elements one at a time, to build up a solid foundation for a great mix.

Drum Mixing Overview

Let's talk about "style".  Deciding on the music style at the beginning of the mixing phase will help us stay focused as we progress with our mix.  Defining the stylistic personality of our mix will keep us on track to making a great mix.

Stylistic Considerations

I'll introduce my preferred 3-plugin FX chain for drum mixing.  Then, I'll show you how to quickly duplicate this helpful FX chain onto all the drum tracks quickly and easily.

Hands On: Building Reusable FX Chains

I'll explain how to ensure that your computer's full resources are being used by Cubase (so that you can have a better workflow).  I'll also explain how latency and buffer size are related to troubleshooting playback problems (audio dropouts).

Optimizing Latency for Mixing

We'll discuss how a gate is used in our reusable FX chain.  This is the first step in making our drum mix sound clear, crisp and articulate!  

Gating a Kick Drum

In this lecture, I'll outline 2 principles for setting the correct compression settings on any sound.  Compression can be hard to learn and hard to hear by ear!  But, my 2 principles of good compression (based on perceived "closeness" and timbre) will make you a pro at using a compressor right away!

Hands On: Kick Compression Tips and Tricks

I'll walk you through applying EQ to the kick drum.  We'll use frequency spectrum monitoring tools built in to Cubase in order to gain insights into the right EQ settings.

Hands On: EQ for Kick

Watch this hands on lesson and see how gating, EQ and compression can be set correctly on the snare recording from our stems collection.

Hands On: EQ & Compressor for Snare

Watch this hands on lesson and see how gating, EQ and compression can be set correctly on both the open and closed high hat.  I'll also demonstrate how inserts can be dragged to a different order.  Plus, we'll apply RMS compression and duplicate insert values from one channel to another using the Mix Console.

Hands On: EQ & Compressor for High Hat

I'll demonstrate looping the cabasa region of our mix and copying the high hat inserts to the cabasa channel.  We'll see how the cabasa's unique frequency spectrum offers us an opportunity to feature it in the upper midrange.

Hands On: EQ & Compressor for Cabasa

The congas channel contains a new frequency range that we haven't seen before.  I'll demonstrate that sometimes very dramatic changes to an individual track can make it sit perfectly in the mix.  We'll use our compression to manage midrange and make the congas "pop".

Hands On: EQ & Compressor for Congas
+ Mixing Harmony & Instruments
4 lectures 14:06

Gain perspective on the unique challenges related to mixing instruments and harmony.  This lesson will provide an overview that will clarify what we'll do in this section of the course.

Instrument Mixing Overview

In this example, we are are going to organize our percussion tracks and start mixing the Fender rhodes track.  The goal here is to help the organic sound of a rhodes blend with the digital FM pad.

Hands On: EQ & Compressor for Rhodes

This lesson demonstrates using compression to change the timbre of a synth pad.  We also discover that we can help high-frequency percussive elements (high hat and cabs) gain clarity by scooping out a "space" for them in our harmonically rich pad sound.

Hands On: EQ & Compressor on FM Synth Pad

This lesson introduces the Cubase Instrument Channel - a useful tool that combines MIDI with a virtual instrument.  This lesson is a step-by-step walk through for setting up an instrument channel.  We also talk about snapping audio events to other events to synchronize timing perfectly!

Preview 03:18
+ Correcting Pitch and Timing on a Recording
7 lectures 17:06

Recording your own audio into Cubase requires proper setup of an audio interface.  This lesson will explain how to use the Studio Setup and Studio Audio Connections to ensure that your audio interface is configured correctly for recording audio directly into Cubase.

Setting Up an Audio Interface for Recording

Watch how easy it is to trim an audio event to match our tempo "grid" by altering its start and end times.  

Tempo Matching Audio to "The Grid"

The next step is to edit our trimmed audio event and use crossfades in order to make sure that our timing is perfect.  After our edits are complete, I'll demonstrate how to replace our edits in the project with a freshly rendered (and time-corrected) audio event that we can pitch correct easily

Basic Timing Correction Edits

This lesson demonstrates how to add a new audio track and configure it to record audio from you audio interface.  You can see how to properly record an audio event (which we'll use in future lessons for editing).  You can download my recording and import it into Cubase or you can record your own using these steps.

Recording a *VERY* Basic Vocal

In this lesson, you'll see how easy pitch correction is with Cubase's VariAudio feature.  This is one of the most valuable tools that Cubase includes.  It can be used to correct timing and pitch and we'll focus on its pitch-correction features here.

Pitch Correction with VariAudio

Watch how I create a 3-part vocal pad by duplicating our recording an using VariAudio to re-pitch each one to match chord tones from the chords in our main harmony.  This lesson includes a simple discussion of basic harmonic theory and triads.

Creating a 3-Part Harmony Using VariAudio

Learn how to use send FX to add reverb and delay FX to multiple tracks easily.

Send FX, Reverb and Delay
+ Rough Mix
9 lectures 23:15

Gain an overview of how to mix down our demo track by uniting topics throughout the course.  Here, we begin to create our "rough mix".

Mixdown Overview

Mixing with faders is our first stop on the road to a "rough mix".  Learn how to set a loop with hotkeys and learn my preferred approach to setting good levels on each instrument.  I'll also show you how to link multiple channels for quicker mixing.

Mixing with Faders

Learn how to use panning correctly to make more room in your mix.  This is a hands on lesson that demonstrates exactly how panning *should* be used to provide balance and depth to your mix.

Placing Instruments in the Stereo Field with Panning

Automation is a powerful tool that has the power to elevate every mix if used correctly.  This lesson demonstrates how Cubase can record automation based on your manual actions within the program.  This is the easiest way to implement complex automation based on "feel".

Recording Manual Panning as Automation

There are cases where recorded automation is NOT the best solution.  In the last lesson, we saw how powerful Cubase's automation record feature is, but this lesson demonstrates a simple way to manually apply automation that would be very difficult to record perfectly.

Drawing in Automation Lanes

Watch this hands on demonstration of automating our delay FX.  We'll turn it on to create a cool effect on the last note of our composition.  This method of automating plugin parameters offers incredible potential - limited only by our creativity!

Automating Plugins and FX

At this point in the course, we've demonstrated many, many powerful tools!  In this lesson, we'll encapsulate what we've learned by summarizing a broader outlook on mixing - based on the analogy of a conversation.  This is a great way to think about and understand a great mix.

Conversation Analogy and Mixing Philosophy

Learn how to use the built-in side-chain capabilities within the Cubase compressor that we've been using throughout the course.  This lesson demonstrates a method for making the kick and synth bass "gel" better.

Hands On: Side-Chain Compression

This lesson talks about why you'd want to test your mix in mono.  Learn what phase cancellation is and why it can suck the life out of an otherwise great mix!

Hands On: Mixing in Mono
+ Final Mix
7 lectures 37:08

Gain an overview of which tools we'll use to complete our final mix - by using multiband compression, stereo widening, levels and dithering.

Final Mix Overview and Strategy

Many of my studio clients wondered if Cubase was a pro-grade tool and I often had to defend it against Pro Tools.  In this lecture, I wanted to mention why Cubase was my choice in the studio  - even though my formal training was actually on Pro Tools!

Can Cubase Produce Pro Results?

Multiband compression is widely misunderstood.  Multiband is not an EQ or simply a compressor - its both!  This lesson will demonstrate how to use it to manage a balance across our frequency.  

Hands On: Multiband Compression

Mid-side processing is setup differently in different DAWs.  Cubase requires some workarounds to configure the correct routing for Mid-Side processing, but it can offer a great mixing enhancement.  This hands on lesson contains a demo project and demonstrates how to setup Mid-Side routing on your own.

Preview 06:11

This lesson demonstrates the use of a free VST 3 plugin and how to apply simple Mid-Side EQ processing.  I'll also talk about the potential dangers of exaggerated Mid-Side processing.  This lesson will be easiest to follow if you're starting with the Mid-Side configuration from the last lesson (you can also download the project from the last lesson for a quick start).

Hands On: Mid-Side EQ

Let's talk about loudness, preventing clipping and how to prepare your mix for a mastering engineer.

Pre-Master Considerations: Leveling & Dithering

Now that we've completed our mix, let's look at our export options and understand the cababilities and prerequisites for bouncing out the right kind of finished file format.

Export Options Explained
+ Conclusion
3 lectures 08:02

Cubase has a very rich set of tools for creating hotkey combinations.  But, there are also many default hotkeys that we used all the time in this course.  In this lesson, I'll review all the hotkeys that I've settled on after years of working in the studio with Cubase.

Edit Faster with Custom Hotkeys

Cubase (and any DAW or software) should be configured to use your computer's full power.  That way you're getting the most out of it!  In this lesson, I'll demonstrate a handful of valuable ways to get more power and smoother operation out of Cubase.

CPU Optimization in Cubase

This bonus lecture is designed to enrich your learning experience and provide some new avenues of learning, if you're interested in learning more!  Coupon codes, link to musicprotest.com/cubase-students, links to articles, cubase project templates, Cubase Challenge outline (post link, invite feedback).

Bonus Lecture: Additional Resources and Cubase Challenge!