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  1. Music & Audio
  2. Cubase
Music

File Types in Cubase

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Difficulty:AdvancedLength:MediumLanguages:

Introduction

In this tutorial, I'll explian the different file types that Cubase can use and how to employ them to help you in your daily working scenario. You will understand how to import audio from Audio CD, OMFI files, MIDI files, and so on.

In my studio, many clients bring songs and voices recorded onto an Audio CD. Although ripping them into WAV files is a good solution, Cubase offers you with the option to directly import audio from the Audio CD. This way, you can save a lot of time rather than ripping using external software.

In order to do that, go to the File menu and select Audio CD from the Import menu. While Importing an Audio CD, you can specify if you want to import the CD tracks into the pool. This method is useful if you want to import multiple CDs at once into the project.

In the Import Audio from CD window, you have to select the drive that you are going to import the audio data from. This is usually the default CD drive if you have more than one, else select the correct one from the drop-down list.

The track name will be automatically retrieved if the CD is properly labeled or if it is linked to a CD database. If this information is not available in the CD, generic titles will be given to the tracks. You can rename the tracks by double-clicking on the name of the track and typing in the new name.

Sometimes, the CD will be full of scratches and importing the audio will be difficult. You can activate the Secure Mode to scan for errors and corrections on the audio CD. This option takes much more time to process, but will result in an error free and cleaner audio track.

Increasing the Data Transfer Speed will give you a quicker output, but a slower speed will give you an error free extraction. Setting the data transfer speed to a low setting will give you a better output than going for a faster transfer speed.

Activate the checkbox for every file in the CD that you want to import into the project. If you want to copy only a certain part of a file, set the Copy Start and Copy End for the track.

Click the Copy button to create a local copy of the files on your computer. The default format of the files will be .wav (Windows) or .aiff (Mac). The default destination can be changed by clicking on the Destination Folder and selecting the desired folder.

If you want to listen to the track in this stage, click on the Play button to audition the track. After you are done selecting the tracks, click OK and the files will be imported into the project. 

Importing Audio from Video

Although it is possible to import audio from a video by importing the video and then selecting the audio track, for a faster and easier alternative, you can use the Audio from Video option in the Import under File menu. 

You can select the video file that contains the audio that you need and click OK. The rest is just like importing an audio file, you have the option to split the channels or to copy the file to the directory. 

The file will be imported onto the cursor position.

Other Common Formats

Cubase provides you with the option to import REX files as well. REX files are file formats that are created by ReCyle. This software is mainly used to create and edit complex loops easily. Cubase can import .REX or .RX2 files.

To do so, click the Import from File menu and select Audio File. In the file format drop-down menu, select the desired file format. Now Import the file. You can now edit the REX file as you would do in any other software.

OMF files are also supported in Cubase. OMF files lets you use Cubase in sync with other audio and video editing applications. This makes editing of files very easy across various applications. The OMF file can be opened in the required software and edited according to your need.

To export the stereo files in a project, select the OMF file format in the Export option under the File menu. By default, the whole project’s length is exported, if you would like to export only certain parts of the project, set the project locators and the activate the checkbox near the From Left to Right Locator option.

Set the Media Destination Path according to the project folder and then activate the Copy Media so that the media files used in the project will be copied to the same path.

Activating the Consolidate Events option will copy only the files that are being used in the project. Make sure that you leave a few milliseconds of Handle Length so that editing the files later for fades and adjustments will be possible. If this option is not activated, the limited length of the files will not let you adjust the audio length for further editing and crossfades.

Select the file version keeping in mind the format that is supported by the application that you are going to import the OMF file into. OMF 2.0 is supported by the latest versions of almost all professional editing applications.

Another setting that you should consider is the Export All to One File and Export Media File References. The Export All to One File is a very fail-safe method of transferring the files, all the files related to the project will be included in the OMF file. 

The issue with this method is that the file size will be comparatively larger due to the project files being included in the OMF file. If you would like to reduce the size of the OMF file, you can opt for the Export Media File References option. This will only reference the project files and thus reduce the file size greatly. If the media files are not referenced properly, however, files will not be read properly and the whole project could be messed up.

The Export Clip Based Volume, Use Fade Curves, Export Clip Names options are only available with the OMF 2.0 option. These settings help you to export the clip volume, the fades and the file name of the clips as in the project.

The sample size setting is best kept at Same as Project, unless you want to change the sample size to something else. Activate the Quantize Events to Frames so that the clips and events will be adjusted to snap to the frames. 

This setting will help you in syncing the video to the audio if you are working on a film or a similar video project. Importing an OMF file works the same way like exporting the file. Similar options are available and can be adjusted according to the project requirements.

Clean Up

When you work with a lot of takes, sometimes the audio files tend to build up in the system. This can take a lot of hard disk space and can sometimes slow down the project. To remove all these unwanted files, you can use the Cleanup option in the File menu.

Before you start cleaning up, close all open projects in Cubase. Select Cleanup and in the dialog box that appears, select Search Folder and locate the working directory of the project that you want to clean up. You can also scan all your hard disks to find the unused files. Once you’ve selected the required folder or hard disk, click Start.

After the scan has completed, you can select the files one by one by Control-Click or select a group of files by using Shift-Click. You can also select all the files by clicking on the Select All button.

There are a few things that you should keep in mind before you press the Delete button. If you’ve manually renamed the files belonging to a project without syncing it with the project, Cubase considers them as unused files and will list it in the Cleanup list. 

If you’ve put files in a Cubase project folder that is being used in another project, Cubase will consider this file as unused. 

So ensure that you’ve checked all the files that are being used in other projects and reference them accordingly. Remember to see if any of these files are in use by other applications as well.

Once you’ve checked the files for these criteria, click the Delete button and these files be gone from the system forever.

Conclusion

In this tutorial, I've explained the various file types that can be used in Cubase and how to properly import them and use them. The Cleanup option is also a very important function that can help you save tons of hard disk space and help you speed up your system.

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