Steinberg released a new version of their flagship DAW today: Version 10.5 of Cubase includes a whole array of new features, as well as significant workflow and performance improvements. Let’s cut to the chase, here is a list of all the new features:
1. Spectral Comparison EQ
Until now, spectral comparison in Cubase was only possible with the help of third party plugins, such as Blue Cat Audio’s frequency analysis tool FreqAnalyst Multi. It allows simultaneous visualization of multiple tracks and comes with many features and advanced options.
In Cubase, this feature is now build-in natively, which translates to ease of use and less hassle setting up the process. Just open the EQ in the channel strip, add a second track and your good to go. Unlike external VSTs, Cubase can visualize two tracks at a time, which should be more than enough when attempting to identify potential frequency clashes (such as kick & bass, synth & guitar and more).
Setting it up is pretty simple, “just route a second signal from any track into the EQ and compare the spectral curves within the EQ display. Toggle between the EQ controls of the source and comparison channel and adjust the mix without losing focus on what you’re doing.” (Steinberg). This new features in Cubase was a surprise to many users, but a very pleasant one nonetheless.
2. Colorized Mixer Channels
Long in demand, it is now finally possible to add a little bit of color to the tracks in the mix console. The fact that you can also change the brightness of highlighted tracks, should be of great help when concentration diminishes after a long day in the studio.
3. New VST Effect – Tap Delay
In version 10.5, Cubase comes bundled with another creative plugin, the all new “MultiTap Delay”. Steinberg’s dev team has been very busy enhancing Cubase’s on-board ecosystem. It is safe to say, that third-party plugins are becoming increasingly redundant with every new release of Cubase.
It’s nice to see that newly updated and released Steinberg plugins have matured to become professional workhorses in any studio enviroment. The overall user experience has also improved greatly, as older UIs are being migrating to more contemporary dark designs. For users new to DAWs and Cubase, I would strongly recommend getting to know your internal plugins first, before shopping for new ones.
Steinberg’s VST3 plugins make side-chaining a breeze and integrate seamlessly with Cubase’s 64-bit sound engine. These new plugins sound superb and ship with a plethora of features and presets, so there is really nothing to complain about. Steinberg has exploded its YouTube presence in the past year, so you’ll be able to find tons of new tutorials covering a range a topics, including VSTs.
The new tap delay is a creative effect which uses eight taps per delay loop. The overall look and feel is very intuitive and pretty straight forward. You can add effects directly within the plugin, just before the output, so simulating digital delays and classic vintage echo units is a breeze. A very nice addition to the already complete VST collection included in Cubase 10.5.
4. Granular Synth Update: Padshop just got pimped
The already superb sounding granular engine from Steinberg has just received a new spectral oscillator, promising to make your lush pads as creamy as your morning cappuccinos! You can also add your own samples in version two, which until recently was reserved for PRO licensed users only. A new arpeggiator section makes it a great creative tool. Dive into the world of pads and drones, add some atmosphere to your Sunday afternoons. A great instrument for cold winter days (for those countries that still have them).
Version two of padshop comes with a generous addition of 100 new presets, all of which alone should make your heart go boom. The presets are not only fun to play with, but designed to be a learning tool to help you get the most out of this fantastic synth.
5. Video Export
Steinberg has understood that upgrading to Nuendo just for the occasional video editing task is a little bit of an overkill. We like to focus on creating music, podcasts, voice-overs and what not, but we live in a multi-media world: a lack of video support can be a real showstopper! So thank you Steinberg for giving us a little bit of Nuendo in Cubase 10.5. Exporting videos directly from within the DAW is a very convenient plus.
According to Steinberg “the new video export feature lets your render videos as MP4 with H.264 video compression and 16-bit stereo audio in 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz. Export the whole video or just footage within the locator range, adding the timecode to the video export for the next production process.”
6. Retrospective MIDI Record
Did you ever perform in a rehearsal that worked flawlessly, until the record button was pressed? One of those moments you wished the little red button was presses a wee bit earlier! Well, now you don’t have to worry anymore. Cubase will record any Midi input into a cache (per track), which can then be re-called onto your instrument midi track.
Great for artist, who tend to perform better when no one seems to be listening. From now on, Amazon Alexa will record anything you say and Cubase anything you play. The only difference: it’s a lot easier to recall your recordings in Cubase!
In fact there is more: Importing tracks from other projects was possible before, but the whole process has now been streamlined. The tool is more advanced, allowing import of various track types and a selection of other items (such as inserts, channel settings, automation, events, parts and more). A very handy improvement indeed.
The combined selection tool is another fine enhancement: it’s now possible to use the selection and range tool together. Depending on the location of your cursor (either at the top or bottom of an event), the tool will switch automatically. A well implemented hybrid tool (this time made in Germany), that will help you save considerable mileage on your mouse movements.
Other improvements in Cubase 10.5 include the score editor, improvements in macro creation, LUFS normalize, safe start mode (launch without plug-ins) as well as workflow & performance enhancements.
You can check out all the details at Steinberg. If you’ve seen all what is to see on Netflix, you can also check out the Cubase 10.5 manual, which will explain all the new feature in depth and will also keep you busy for quite some time.
To wrap it up, here is the one-million-dollar question (or better: the 60 € question): Is Cubase 10.5 worth the upgrade? Sure it is. The question shouldn’t be “if you should upgrade”, but “when you should upgrade”! You might be inclined to think that it’s safer to wait a couple of weeks. For any mission critical studio application a delayed upgrade is certainly advisable, at least until all major bugs are removed. Steinberg is usually pretty quick in delivering maintenance updates after major releases.
For the more daring among you, go get the upgrade now. You can always ditch another unnecessary plugin purchase in favor of improving your existing audio workstation. In case you’re not married, you can safely purchase both the plugins and the upgrade.
In case you are married: Did I mention that Cubase 10.5 could be the perfect holiday gift for your wife (;
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