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Spot a Better Price? Call Other Options: Description Nothing beats the Pro Designed to meet the requirements of professional producers, composers and mixing engineers, Steinberg Cubase Pro 9 stands for cutting-edge technology, highly efficient workflows and unlimited possibilities.
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Steinberg Cubase Elements 8 review

For the fourth year in a row, Steinberg have delivered a major update to Cubase. Released on December 7th, Cubase 9 introduces new ways of working, new tools and many improvements.

And, for the first time, new versions of Cubase Pro and Cubase Artist were released simultaneously, along with the entry-level Cubase Elements. Given that the installer is the same for Pro and Artist, I assume they might now just be the same application, with the licence on your Steinberg Key dictating whether the Pro or Artist functionality should be enabled.

Either way, this will be a welcome step for Artist users, who no longer have to wait for the upgrade to become available after the Pro release. The first major change to note is that Steinberg have redesigned the Cubase icon.

The familiar diamond and circle on a transparent background is now a less tinted red on a white background, with app-like rounded corners. Rezoning After installing and launching Cubase 9, I felt a little discombobulated when the Project window appeared for the first time. The toolbar is now split into three sections, with new left and right sections justified left and right accordingly joining the original toolbar controls. The Right section provides a new home for the Setup Window Layout button, where you can specify what parts of the user interface are displayed in the Project window from a pop-up.

I find it slightly odd Steinberg decided to move this to the opposite side of the window from where it was previously located — the visibility buttons have been on the left-hand side of the window for nearly 15 years — but there we are.

One improvement to what is now called the Right Zone is that it can be made much narrower than before. Whereas it used to require pixels of horizontal screen space, Cubase 9 reduces this to a much more reasonable pixels, and what a difference!

The visibility of the toolbar sections can be toggled as before, and you can dismiss the new left and right sections by unticking the Left and Right Divider items when right-clicking on the toolbar or clicking the new Setup Toolbar button. And I should point out that this updated design for the toolbar has been applied to all windows that make use of them. The Transport Zone provides a full implementation of the controls found in the traditional Transport Panel, except for the Arranger controls, and contains the same left and right dividers as the toolbar.

Being based on the Transport Panel, the Transport Zone features the same cryptic icons that were introduced in Cubase 8. But some users will undoubtedly find it helpful, and it does solve that ever-pressing philosophical question of where one should position the Transport Panel. In a sense, Cubase has had this Zone since the introduction of Chord Pads in version 8; but where this real estate was previously reserved only for Chord Pads, it can now also display other aspects of the interface, such as the mixer and various editors.

Again, you might be reminded of other music and audio applications with interfaces that make a single-window workflow possible. At the bottom of the Lower Zone is a series of tabs, allowing you to select what the Lower Zone displays, along with a slightly superfluous settings button that configures what tabs are displayed in the bar.

The Mix Console tab displays much of the Mix Console interface, and there are buttons on the left side that allow you to toggle the toolbar and set whether Faders, Inserts or Sends are displayed in the Zone. If you notice the interface becoming vertically cramped, you can resize the Zone by hovering over the dividing line between the Event Display and the Lower Zone until the mouse pointer changes to a resizing tool, and dragging upwards.

When you double-click an event or part, Cubase 9 defaults to opening the appropriate editor in the Lower Zone, rather than in a separate window as before. You can also set whether the Open Editor commands open editors in the Lower Zone or a new window. This is set to Window by default and applies to both menu choices and key commands, but if you leave it this way you can still use key commands to open the different editors in the Lower Zone, as Steinberg have added extra commands for exactly this purpose.

A nice touch when a MIDI editor is open in the Lower Zone is that a pop-up menu is added to the tab so you can easily switch between the different editors. An Inspector Calls Now, you might be thinking that displaying editors in the Lower Zone is all well and good, but what about the Inspectors for these various windows, which do not appear in the Lower Zone interface? Well, Steinberg have thought about this, and the Inspector now features tabs at the bottom to switch between the Inspector for a track on the Project window and the Inspector for an editor.

And, conveniently, the appropriate Inspector is automatically displayed depending on whether the Event Display or the Lower Zone has focus. Last but not least is a really neat command called Link Project and Lower Zone Editor Cursors, which is available in the Key and Drum Lower Zone editors as a button on the toolbar, next to the Auto-Scroll button it is also configurable as a key command.

Its snappy name is somewhat misleading, since the Project cursor is always linked, wherever you adjust it; but what is really linked are the zoom factors and horizontal scroll position. This makes it possible to line up both the editor and Event Display precisely, and if you scroll or zoom in one part of the user interface, the other will be updated accordingly. If you divide the Track List and keep these tracks at the top, you can size the Lower Zone to a height that keeps them visible.

Whether or not the Lower Zone will be useful to you depends entirely on how you use Cubase, and how many displays are attached to your computer.

Sampler tracks are probably the biggest new creative feature in version 9, and I think a large number of Cubase users are going to love them, particularly anyone involved in electronic music production.

There are two ways to create a Sampler track; the first, as you might expect, is with the Add Sampler Track command, but the second is to drag an audio event from the Event Display or the Audio Pool or even the desktop onto the Sampler Control page in the Lower Zone. You can adjust the start and end points, as well as creating a fade in and out by dragging handles, much as you would for an audio event. Sampler Control is where you edit the Instrument being played by the currently selected Sampler track.

By default, the sample is mapped from C0 to C6 with C3 middle C being the root note, and you can modify these parameters by dragging the handles on the Sample Control keyboard. As with a classic sampler, playing a note above the root results in the sample being sped up to play at a higher pitch, and playing below the root slows the sample down. However, Sampler Control includes an Audio Warp mode that, when enabled, results in the sample being pitch-shifted so the speed remains constant even as the pitch is adjusted.

Next to the Audio Warp settings are sections to adjust the pitch of the sample, a filter, and an amplifier stage. The pitch can be adjusted in semitones and cents, with a glide control that lets you specify the length of a pitch glide from the previous pitch played to the current.

The filter offers multiple types such as Tube, Classic and Clip and shapes LP24, BP12, HP6 and so on , along with the requisite cutoff, resonance and where applicable drive controls. Finally, the amplifier section offers volume and pan controls, as you might expect.

The Pitch, Filter, and Amp sections each offer a multi-stage envelope that can be edited in Sampler Control. When a Sampler track is created, Cubase automatically creates a default Quick Control mapping filter cutoff, resonance, drive, and envelope amount, attack and decay, plus amplifier envelope attack and decay , although many more parameters are assignable, such as sample start and sample speed, which could be fun. And Sampler Control also features Read and Write Automation buttons on the toolbar, so you can create automation from directly within the interface.

You can set whether the sample should be one-shot, or choose from a variety of loop modes, and you can also set the sample to be fixed pitch, such that there is no transposition across the keyboard. In addition to showing and hiding Sampler Control via the general Lower Zone controls, each Sampler track header has a button for setting and indicating what track is being edited in Sampler Control.

After that, everything works as expected. In addition to being able to work with Sampler Control as a page in the Lower Zone, you can also open it in an independent window by clicking the Open in Separate Window button on the Sampler Control toolbar. The reason for this is so a Sampler track preset can also include insert effects and other track-based settings. Should you wish to perform more complicated manipulations, Sampler Control lets you transfer the Sampler track Instrument to the included Groove Agent SE, or the full version of Groove Agent or Halion, if you have those plug-ins installed.

Simply click the Transfer to New Instrument button on the Sampler Control toolbar, and if you select, say, Groove Agent SE, Cubase will automatically create a new Instrument track with an instance of that plug-in and with your Instrument loaded, which is rather nifty. A small visual bug I noticed was that, when triggering a Sampler track from an external MIDI keyboard, the on-screen notes on the Sampler Control keyboard stay highlighted, even after a note has been released.

Clicking on the keyboard notes resets them. However, not all actions performed in Cubase were undoable. For example, if you moved a fader on the mixer, this would not be recorded as an undoable action.

Mix Console now has its own independent history for mix adjustments. The orange line represents its current state. To browse the history of mix steps, a new History tab is provided in the Left Zone. This lists each action performed with a detail on what was changed. In addition to being able to undo and redo one mixer step at a time, you can also drag the orange line representing the current Project state, upwards to move back through the history or forwards, just like in the normal Edit History window.

The following Mix Console parameters are recorded: Meet The Sentinel There are many plug-in-related changes in Cubase 9, and now that Cubase is only available as a bit application, Steinberg have decided to end support for bit plug-ins.

I never found running bit plug-ins via VST Bridge a particularly satisfying experience, although you may be able to work around its absence with third-party solutions such as Vienna Ensemble Pro.

The Plug-in Manager now features a third tab for plug-ins that have been blacklisted by the Plug-in Sentinel. To enforce this change, and to guard against potentially unreliable plug-ins, Cubase 9 also includes the so-called Plug-in Sentinel, which, for some, may be as overbearing as it sounds! The Plug-in Sentinel was first introduced in Dorico where, by default, it allowed only VST3 plug-ins to be used, admitting only VST2 plug-ins that were on a whitelist supplied by Steinberg.

Although this list was user-editable just about , only plug-ins on the originally supplied whitelist were officially supported. However, the Plug-in Manager now includes a third tab for plug-ins that have been blacklisted by Plug-in Sentinel.

The only plug-ins that cannot be re-enabled are of the bit variety. Apple have apparently fixed the problem in Mac OS Sierra, but the only solution for those running on an earlier OS is to get updated versions of the affected plug-ins from the developer. Frequency is a very precise EQ that is only available with Cubase Pro and offers eight fully parametric bands. Linear phase operation can be enabled on a per-band basis, and each band has a handy button to invert the current gain value, so you can sweep a boost to find the offending frequency and then switch it to attenuate instead.

And, as you hover the mouse over the EQ curve area, a crosshair appears, along with a box to report the gain and frequency of the current mouse position, the closest note pitch and by how many cents it is off.

A spectrum display shows an FFT analysis, and you can either disable this or view it as a band bar-graph. Frequency is a new eight-band parametric EQ included in Cubase Pro 9. Maximizer is a loudness maximising plug-in of the type commonly used for mastering, but has its place in other situations as well. Two modes are provided called Classic and Modern.

Classic mode has controls to set the percentage of loudness optimisation, and whether or not to soft clip the signal to give it a tube-like warmth. The Modern algorithm adds two more to adjust the release time and the recovery time, which allows for a faster signal recovery at the beginning of the release. Where its predecessor had just four simple controls Rate, Width, Sync and the choice of two waveforms , the Cubase 9 incarnation is considerably more flexible.

The waveform has 14 adjustable points; there are three presets to get you started Sine, Triangle and Pulse , along with a random mode that generates a random waveform, and a random continuous mode, where a fresh waveform is generated every cycle.

Steinberg have also applied the design of the new and updated plug-ins to Brickwall Limiter, Compressor, Envelope Shaper, Expander and Gate. Maybe they could take a look at Chopper next?! The last plug-in-related improvement is the ability to enable side-chain inputs for compatible VST3 instruments, allowing you to route the output of an audio track through the processing of an instrument plug-in.

Currently, as far as I know, the included Retrologue synth is the only plug-in that yet supports this. The Ninth Wave Cubase 9 is one of those versions that might, on the surface at least, not seem as exciting as previous updates.

But as you begin to delve into the new features and improvements, you start to uncover the level of depth that people have come to expect from Steinberg.

Some of the new features are admittedly very specific, so existing users will only see benefits where Steinberg have tackled something applicable to them. The Lower Zone, for example, is great for laptop users, but less so for multi-monitor workflows. And the admittedly brilliant Sampler track is something that users will embrace or find irrelevant. Compatibility Cubase is now a bit-only application and, on the Mac, is officially compatible with macOS Sierra As with Cubase 8.

Nonetheless, the point remains that an increasing majority of laptops and monitors now feature high-resolution displays, and it would be nice if Cubase could appear a little crisper on them. The active Marker track is indicated and set by a new Activate button on the track header, which is symbolised with a tick icon.

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Steinberg Cubase 9 Pro Software Cubase Pro 9 condenses decades of music software development experience into the most advanced and intuitive audio production environment available today. Used by star producers and musicians for composing, recording, mixing and editing music, Cubase Pro combines outstanding audio quality, flexible handling, state-of-the-art audio and MIDI tools with a range of inspirational VST instruments and effects in a way that cements your personal approach to music production. Uniting technical innovation and artistic inspiration, Cubase Pro represents an awesomely powerful yet instantly accessible music production environment. Nothing beats the Pro Designed to meet the requirements of professional producers, composers and mixing engineers, Cubase Pro stands for cutting-edge technology, highly efficient workflows and unlimited possibilities.

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Steinberg Cubase Pro 9 Music Production Software. Unleash your creativity with Visit product page to order. Overview Specs Warranties and Docs Reviews. Pro Tools to ; Studio One Professional to ; Logic Pro X to ; Cubase to ; Nuendo to ; Digital Performer 8 to 9. APPLE SYSTEM COMPATIBILITY APPLE SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS ProTools 8 and above; Logic Pro 9 and above; Cubase 6 and above; Ableton Live 6.

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