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Tomorrow, I start on VST !

You're here : Cubase >Learning

Well, OK, you've said it : let's put our hands on a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) with Cubase. Well, fine, but what exact equipment do you need ? Hmm ?

You need at least a computer, equipped with a soundcard, Cubase (3.0 or VST, by the time I write this ? check out with Steinberg what's the latest version available), a MIDI keyboard (those who thought they'd use the mouse, forget about it !), a little mixing board is welcome.


The computer

Whatever the trade mark, the operating system, what you need is muscle. My purpose is not to question whether Mac is better than PC or Atari, we don't give a damn, it works on all three platforms. On the other hand, the better equipped is your machine, the better will be the result. For example, Steinberg suggest by the time I write this, for PC, to use a Pentium II 300, 128 Mo RAM and a SCSI hard disk. Of course, a Pentium III 500, 192 Mo SDRAM will allow you to have more tracks with more real-time effects. By all means check out with Steinberg what are the up-to-date minimum and optimum system requirements for the platform you intend to use. They change very often as new versions of Cubase are released. And when Steinberg say minimum, they mean it. Forget about anything less powerful than what's mentioned.


The soundcard

On this card will depend the quality of sampling and restitution of the sound. A 16-bit full duplex (i.e. able to read and record at the same time) soundcard with a wavetable (MIDI sounds) are ESSENTIAL. Beyond this, there are many options that aren't negligible. Like the possibility to load your own samples in order to use them with MIDI, or existence of 20- or 24-bit converters instead of 16-bit ones. Oh yeah, Cubase VST knows how to lay a final mix in 24-bit resolution. Make sure that your soundcard is compatible with Cubase. Yours truly had some problems with his SB 64 Gold, all resolved since VST 3.55.

Le clavier.

The keyboard

To enter the MIDI tracks of your sublime songs, a keyboard is the unique ergonomic thing. If you feel like, you could enter the whole score with the mouse, and then edit velocity, aftertouch, etc. But here I tell you, either you are nuts, or you already work 35 hours a week (French joke) and you've got some free time, or you're a purist and I bow to you. Seriously, you'll need a keyboard that fluently speaks the MIDI language : note (uh uh), aftertouch, velocity, program change, controllers, etc. All synthesizers may be used as good master keyboards. There are some little MIDI keyboards at 1,000 French bucks that may prove very useful.

A little mixing board is nearly essential. Otherwise, how will you mix the audio sound that comes out of your soundcard and the MIDI sounds that comes from your external synthesizers, eh ? Then comes the additional equipment : tons of synthesizers, a Stratocaster L-series, a good microphone for the vocals, guitar racks, etc.

Next time (check-out the Fiat Lux section), we will install Cubase, we will tell Windows 95 that we are the boss and we'll record our first track.

Stay tuned !

Pascal VALENTIN, on the 02-03-1998

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