From Academic Kids

Cubase is a MIDI, music sequencer and digital audio editing computer application (commonly known as a DAW - Digital Audio Workstation) created by the German firm Steinberg in 1989.

Cubase started as a MIDI recording and editing tool. Later, features for recording raw audio were introduced. Cubase was originally written for the Atari ST, and has since been ported to Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows.

The original Cubase used its own operating system called MROS (MIDI Real-time Operating System) which runs on top of the computer's own operating system. MROS did not initially work well on Windows 3.0, which was not intended for real-time applications. However, modern operating systems are designed to support multimedia applications, so modern versions of Cubase no longer use MROS.

Almost all versions of Cubase use dongles for copy prevention. Older versions on the PC used parallel port dongles, which can present some problems, while newer versions use cross-platform USB dongles, allowing use on multiple systems.

Cubase creates projects which allow the operator to edit MIDI files, raw audio tracks, and other associated information like lyrics, and to present them in a range of formats including musical scores, editing console, event lists, etc. The operator can also mix the various tracks down into a stereo .wav format ready to be saved on a CD.

While MIDI is a fairly ubiquitous standard for representation of digital music, there is no broadly accepted standard for the interchange of projects between Cubase and other competing recording/editing software (e.g see Cakewalk (company)). i.e. one can't easily import a Cakewalk recording in its native format into Cubase and vice versa.

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Cubase has undergone three main incarnations - initally Cubase, which featured only MIDI, and which was available on the Atari, Macintosh and Windows. After a brief period with audio integration, the next incarnation, Cubase VST featured fully-integrated audio recording and mixing along with effects - VST stands for Virtual Studio Technology, a standard for audio plug-ins which has led to a plethora of third-party effects, both freeware and commercial. Cubase VST was only for Macintosh and Windows - Atari support had been effectively dropped by this time, despite such hardware still being a mainstay in many studios. Despite Cubase VST offering a then-unheard-of amount of power to the home user, computer hardware took some time to catch up, and by the time it did, VST's audio editing capability was shown up to be weak compared with systems such as ProTools. To address this, a totally new version of the program (which is based on Steinberg's flagship software Nuendo), called Cubase SX was introduced, which dramatically altered the way the program ran, and featured a steep learning curve to older Cubase users. However, once the new methods of working are learned, the improvements in handling of audio and automation make for a truly professional sequencer and audio editor.

The latest version of Cubase SX features real-time time-stretching and adjustment of audio tempo, much like Sonic Foundry's ground-breaking ACID.

VST Instruments

Cubase VST 2.0 in 1999 introduced a virtual instrument interface for software synthesizers known as VSTi. This made it possible for third-party software programmers to create and sell virtual instruments for Cubase. This interface has become a standard for other digital audio editing tools on the Macintosh and Windows platforms.

See VST article for more information on the VST instruments.



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