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  1. Music & Audio
  2. Cubase
Music

The Cubase Mixer Window

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:ShortLanguages:

You may have encountered a mixer interface but how many of you really understanding what is going on behind it is something else. The knowledge about what each button does and how it magically transforms a dirty track to a polished and clean track. In this tutorial, I’ll explain the functions of those buttons, what each different views allow you to see and how it can improve your workflow.

The Mixer

The Mixer can be opened in different ways, you can also select it from the Devices menu, click on the Mixer icon in the Toolbar, pressing F3, or by clicking the Mixer button in the Devices panel. F3 is my preferred shortcut, because it saves you the trouble of moving your mouse.

The first thing that you see when you open the mixer is the tracks and channels. Cubase’s Mixer shows a number of channels. It includes Audio, MIDI, Effect return channels, VST Instrument channels, Instrument Track channels, ReWire channels and Group channels. The order in which they appear reflect their position on the Project Track List; you can rearrange them the changes will be seen in the mixer. 

The input and output buses have separate areas in the mixer. Usually the inputs are on the left side of the window and the outputs are on the right side. You can drag the divider in the center to adjust the pane’s width according to your preference.

If you have multiple monitors set up on the computer, it might be a good idea to allocate a screen for the mixers. Cubase provides an additional two mixer windows, which you can tweak according to our needs. When working on large projects, you can create groups and assign a mixer for a group or assign a window for vocal related effects and plugins.

Normal Versus Extended

In most cases, there are certain areas of the mixers that you use very frequently, or some areas where you hardly even notice. With the flexible view settings in Cubase, you can adjust the parts that need to be visible all the time and hide the ones that you don’t need.

The Normal view and the Extended view helps you do exactly that. 

The Normal view is what you get when you open the mixer window for the first time, there are no bells nor whistles in this view. It’s plain and simple with a few faders, pans, channels and outputs. 

The Extended view is what gives you that extra bit of functionality.

You can open Extended mixer by selecting it from the Window menu in the right-click context menu of the mixer window or by clicking the up arrow on the Common strip, the left most item in the mixer window.

Extended View
The Extended View in Mixer

Setting the Perfect View

The common panel contains an number of options where you can control whatever you want to show on the mixer window. It is used to hide/show panels, channels, apply mute, solo or listen functions to all the channels, etc.

Extended View Buttons
Extended View's Important Buttons

In the image, above, you can see all the buttons that will help you to see things clearly. Below is the definition of what each of those buttons do:

Routing Panel and Extended View

This is one of the most important buttons on the panel. This controls whether you want the Extended view panel and the Routing panel to be visible or hidden. 

The Routing panel shows you how the channel is routed. It shows the Inputs and Outputs of the channels, the Invert phase button and the Input gain option. The Extended View contains all the buttons that help you to determine what is shown in the Extended view for all the channels.

Targets Wide/Narrow

As the name suggests, this button helps you to determine the width of the channels. By default, it applies to all the channels in the mixer window, but you can change it to apply only to the ones that you have selected. This can be achieved using the Command Target option.

Global Controls

These buttons help you to activate or deactivate the Mute, Solo, Listen buttons on the tracks, and to activate or deactivate the write and read automation on them.

Reset Mixer/Channels

This resets the channels to their default states. This is helpful when you might have messed up the setting on a channel and want to bring it back to its original state. You also have the option to reset all the channels and the mixers, or to reset only the selected channel.

Copy/Paste Settings

This is a very useful time saving feature that helps you to copy the settings from an audio based track to another track. It can help you the trouble of adding each and every setting again and again on the tracks. 

With this setting, all the Inserts, EQ, Sends will be copied, along with the settings applied on each of those effects. It can help to make your tracks have the same sound.

Show VST Connections

This shows you the VST Connections window which will enable you to control the inputs and outputs and many more. This will be covered in detail in another lesson.

View Sets

This button helps you to save the views in the mixer window and to apply these views according to your need. You can do this by arranging the view of the all the channels you want, and then storing it to your View set palette using the Store View Set button. 

Once this is done, you can select that specific view set by using the drop down menu. You can also remove the view sets that you do not like using the Remove View Set button.

Command Target

This is a group of three buttons that allows you to choose the channels that are to be affected by the settings that you apply. By default, all the setting changes that you make are applied to all the channels. 

The first button is Exclude Inputs, which does exactly as it’s advertised. It excludes all the input channels from being affected by the settings that you apply to them. 

The second button is Selected Only which will apply the settings that you apply only to the selected channels. You can select more than one channel using the Shift or the Ctrl keys. 

The third button is Exclude Outputs and it will exclude all the commands and changes that you make, to not apply to any of the output channels.

Conclusion

In this part, I have explained the differences between the Normal view and the Extended view, the various buttons on the Common panel along with their functions and settings. 

Try out these features and understand what each of them do. The next time you are working on a project and you feel that you need to copy the settings from one channel to another, do it easily and effectively using the trick mentioned above. 

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