There’s loads of recording software from Garage Band to Pro Tools but my DAW of choice is Cubase. It’s the heart of everything I do because Cubase is what I use to record my songs.
I’ll be explaining how and why I chose Cubase in a future My Story post so I won’t say more about that here, but I’m now stuck with Cubase, for better or worse.
Cubase both drives me mad and excites me in pretty much equal measure. It was developed in Germany and so has the predictable efficiency that marks out German engineering. The parent company is Steinberg who are now owned by the mighty Yamaha conglomerate. That sort of makes sense given the amount and variety of musical instruments Yamaha produce.
It might be efficient but Cubase has also sent me into the depths of despair. It can be utterly frustrating to use, the logic of getting from A to B sometimes defies any sort of logic, but at the same time it’s a massively comprehensive and powerful piece of software. It’s a full blown professional recording DAW and whilst it may not be the industry standard that Pro Tools is it’s used by both professional studios and DIY musicians all over the world.
Someone recently told me that being a musician these days requires you to be a software programmer or at least have a very good computer software understanding and I think they’re right. I don’t know of any musician who wants to spend time learning and then operating software but that’s the price we have to pay to be able to record music these days. The alternative is to use multi track tape machines and with the best will in the world they aren’t any easier to operate and come with a host of their own problems.
So musicians use a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) which allows us to record a virtually unlimited number of tracks. The Beatles recorded Sgt Pepper on 4 track tape, meaning they could record just 4 tracks per song. Using Cubase I could record hundreds if not thousands of tracks per song. Is it progress? Well maybe, but having access to all that recording power doesn’t, in itself, make your song any better. And let’s face it it’s the song that matters.
Part of the recording process is finding new instruments and voices to use and I love that part of recording. I can spend hours searching for just the right sound to add to my songs. That might drive some people to distraction, and to be fair it can do that to me from time to time, but most of the time I find it fascinating and enjoyable.
Also, I’m not a great musician. My keyboard skills especially are very, very limited. A DAW like Cubase can really compensate for that lack of skill by enabling you to build up tracks using MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface).
If I’ve made any or all of this sound complicated it’s really not, let’s face it, if I can do it then so can anyone. But it really doesn’t matter how you record your songs, they have to be good enough to record in the first place and that’s the trick all of us are trying to master.
I’ll let you know if I ever get that right.