With no promise of avoiding Spinal Tap-related puns, this review investigates the latest version of Cubase — 11 — featuring major enhancements to the Key Editor, Audio Mixdown window, Sampler Track, and more. Is this the workflow update you’ve been waiting for?

Note: this article is currently a work in progress, with future parts being added every couple of days. So do check back!

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Cubase 11 Pro in all its glory.

For the last eight years Steinberg have released a significant annual update to Cubase, the company’s Advanced Music Production System, towards the end of year. Starting with Cubase 7 in 2012, even years have seen full…


When I was younger, I remember noticing and joking with a friend that almost every Danny Elfman soundtrack album had a track named “The Final Confrontation.” This must surely have been deliberate, and — one would presume — something of an in joke.

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What do these three film soundtrack albums by Danny Elfman have in common?

When I later began working in the world of film music, I started to understand a bit more about the process of naming tracks on soundtracks. Firstly, it became obvious that this seemingly dark art was pretty much arbitrary, and, in most cases, it was likely both the last thing to think about and the last thing…


The modern era of Cubase comes of age this year and can finally have a drink, at least in England, as it enjoys its 18th birthday. After attending the product’s unveiling at the Frankfurt Musikmesse in 2002, I’ve followed the development of what started out as Cubase SX since the beta versions, reviewing many of the releases for Sound On Sound magazine in the intervening years.

To celebrate the announcement of Cubase 11, I’ve pulled together the introductory text and conclusion from those reviews with links to the original articles. So, sit back, and set your clocks for 2002…

Cubase SX: SX Appeal?

August…


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MacBook Redux?

On November 10th, 2020, Apple will hold an Event at its Apple Park headquarters in Cupertino, California dubbed “One more thing”. And, as Apple aficionados know, this was a phrase employed by the late Steve Jobs, usually at the end of a keynote, where he would use his showmanship to unveil a significant product as though it was a forgotten afterthought. In the post-Jobs Apple era, CEO Tim Cook has used the phrase only once, during the “Spring Forward” Special Event in 2015, to introduce the Apple Watch.

When Apple announced the company’s Mac computers would begin a transition from…


At Apple’s “Hi, Speed.” Special Event on October 13th, which heralded in the new iPhone 12 range with faster, 5G wireless modems, the company also took the opportunity to unveil HomePod mini, a junior version of the HomePod smart speaker.

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Apple’s original HomePod (left) and new HomePod mini.

The original HomePod’s raison d’être was to provide a great listening experience in the home, and this was arguably the device’s strength over similar speakers from companies like Amazon and Google, or even comparable music-oriented offerings from competitors like Sonos. And Apple succeeded. While the HomePod wasn’t perhaps the smartest speaker — Apple’s voice assistant, Siri, was rather limited at…


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Apple has made significant strides in developing custom silicon over the last few years, using ARM CPU cores as the foundation for a range of chips to be found across the company’s product line. There’s the A-series system-on-chips that power the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and modern Apple TV devices, the S-series variants that help the Apple Watch keep time, the T1 and T2s that have enabled certain Mac-based features, and even the AirPods and similar products have used the H1 chip since 2019. …


After restoring faith amongst musicians and audio engineers with a line-up of desktop Macs that cater to their needs, the company has also turned its attention to reinvigorating its professional portables. Is the new 16-inch MacBook Pro the laptop you’ve been waiting for?

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The 16-inch MacBook Pro in all its glory, seen here, as one would expect, running Logic Pro X. (Picture courtesy of Apple)

Apple have arguably had a complicated relationship with the customers of the company’s Mac line featuring the “Pro” appendage over the last few years, with a disconnect seeming to emerge between what Apple thought professional users wanted from the company’s hardware and what they needed. Much has been written about the somewhat disastrous 2013 Mac Pro redesign…


Technology moves inexorably forward, but you never know when you’ll need to dig up the past.

Last year I had to resurrect some old Cubase files from the early 1990’s, and this turned out to be a surprisingly interesting challenge. How do you open *.ARR (arrange) and *.SNG (song) files authored with one of the early Macintosh versions of Cubase over 25 years after they were created?

While I still own a Macintosh Plus capable of running the version of Cubase with which these sequences would have been written, I didn’t have the copy-protection device required to run the software. …


To kill one sequencer may be regarded as misfortune, to kill two looks like carelessness.

History repeated itself on November 17th, 2017 when Gibson announced the cessation of future development on Cakewalk’s products. This demise can be traced back to 2008 when Roland purchased a majority investment in Cakewalk, only to later sell that stake to Gibson in 2013. And just four years later, Gibson’s reason for the termination was explained with typical corporate clarity: “to better align with the company’s acquisition strategy that is heavily focused on growth in the global consumer electronics audio business under the Philips brand.”

Cakewalk’s most significant product was Sonar, a Windows-based application for music and audio production. And…

Mark Wherry

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