How to cycle between open windows in Cubase (on a Mac)

I’ve seen a lot of people asking in forums and on other sites how to cycle focus between your open windows in Cubase. Since Cubase will process your keyboard shortcuts in the window that currently has focus, keeping track of where you are in the DAW becomes essential for a fast and smooth workflow.

On a PC you can step through an applications open windows using Alt+Tab, but on Mac its not that simple. So, here’s how I solved it for my setup.

First open up the Keyboard settings.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 20.56.49

Next witch to the Shortcuts tab at the top of the settings window.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 20.57.46

Next find the group called Keyboard, and the setting called ‘Move focus to the next window’.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 20.58.07

I  have it set to Command+=, which at least in my english installation of Yosemite does not collide with any other setting.

Voila! Your all set cycle through your open windows using the keyboard. One less annoyance to slow down your workflow.

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Switching from Ableton Live to Logic Pro X

I mentioned briefly in a previous post that the reason I was upgrading to Mavericks was to explore Apple’s Logic Pro X. Having lived in Ableton Live for the past 2-3 years I knew it was not going to be an easy switch, but the inherent workflow of Live with Sessions / Arrangements and so on just never felt right to me. Live is super powerful, especially for electronica and for improvising live over an arrangement, but for straightforward, linear composing it always felt like forcing a round peg in a square hole…

la-fi-tn-with-new-logic-pro-x-apple-signals-co-001It’s now been 4 days since I purchased and downloaded Logic from the Apple App Store, and I have to hand it to Apple. Even with no prior experience using the software it was incredibly easy and intuitive to get up and running. Even with a complex setup as mine with lots of outboard gear, hardware synths, control surfaces, mixers, effects and interfaces I had a complete template set up within just a couple of hours.

Logic-Remote-1I’ve already started work on a new track which is a lot more traditional electronic pop in flavor, and I can feel how Logic just lends it self to easily getting the structure of a song down in a linear fashion. Of course its not going to work for everyone, and part of my new found inspiration might just be the lure of an exciting new acquaintance pulling me in, but regardless there is nothing as energizing as feeling inspired.

Also want to point out that despite the title of this post, buying Logic is not really a ‘switch’ away from Live, it is just an addition to the toolbox for a different way of working. Sometimes when you feel stuck or blocked creatively, changing the tool or environment can really help in my experience.

Let me know if you have any questions about the transition, or if you are considering the same move!

Novation Launchkey Mini vs Arturia MiniLab

Disclaimer:
I have not used the Launchkey Mini yet, the below is based on specs and photos.

launchkeymini_angle-640x412So Novation has announced the Launchkey Mini (sp ~$99). With 25 mini keys, 16 pads, 8 rotary knobs and 2 performance buttons, all assignable of course, it makes for a sweet little MIDI keyboard, not at all unlike the Arturia MiniLab that also launched recently.

I got a chance to play around with the Arturia board for a couple of days and it certainly has the upper hand when it comes to design in my opinion. Of course the two are not entirely comparable given that you get a bloody awesome collection of 5000 analog synth emulation presets with the Arturia board..

My biggest gripe with the Arturia MiniLab was the touch strips. Very poor quality and performance which in the end rendered it almost unusable for me. The keys and the pads though were very nice and responsive. The Launchkey Mini has gone a step further and done away with the traditional modulation / pitch controls entirely. My suspicion is that you can use the two ‘performance buttons’ for this by assigning them your self?

MiniLab_275In terms of connectivity the only difference is that you get a foot switch input on the MiniLab. This could be important to you depending on your playing style. Both are USB powered and class compliant. I for one really wish they had a MIDI out port for connecting straight to some of my older analog gear, but that dear old round connection seems to be an endangered species these days…

Looking at the bundles software (Launchkey Mini: Bassstation, V-Station, Live Lite, Samples, Launchkey app for iPad vs. MiniLab: AnalogLab with 5000 classic synth presets) it really depends on your style of music and workflow. I love the Arturia emulations since they fit very well with the kind of music I make, but the flexibility of the Novation soft synths where you are not limited to presets is also very attractive. In the end it’s up to you.

Check out the rivals at their respective websites below:

New Bitwig Video Released

It’s been a while since I wrote anything about Bitwig Studio, but this latest video shows off some of the features (specifically around modulation) of the much anticipated DAW.

It also shows how much the software has matured since last time. Also, the UI seems to be heading in a very pleasant direction. What’s your take on Bitwig? Still excited?

Problems with Sound Locks on the Analog Four

While I intend to invest in a Machinedrum from Elektron at some point in the (hopefully near) future, at the moment I’m restricted to only the Analog Four for song production.

# I’m traveling so I do not have access to my full studio. Yep, I miss my modular…

Because of this predicament I have been learning a lot about the A4, and I’m getting really impressed by its feature set. Restricting myself like this has also proven to be a very exciting way to work, but that’s for another post.

Anyway, when you are limited in the number of ‘voices’ and instruments at hand, the Sound Locks of the Analog 4 can be a real killer feature. Essentially it allows you to ‘lock’ a sound to a particular step (or ‘trig’ in the Elektron parlance) in the sequencer. Thus you can use just one of the A4 sequencer tracks to play back for example a Bass Drum, Snare and HiHat, instead of using 3 tracks. Make sense?

However, while this works great for synthesizer lead patches and many other types of sounds, I’ve run into an interesting issue with one of the Bass Drum presets.

The following video actually explains it better than I can with words:

Essentially locking the Bass Drum with any other sound on the same track causes the ‘volume’ of the BD to drop sharply as soon as the other sound plays, only to slowly come back up over time. If patch 2 is continuously triggering on the same track the Bass Drum will never return to audible lands. Note that this behavior only occurs with certain kicks.

There is also a thread on the Elektron forum discussing the same phenomenon. Essentially it would appear to related to the filter, and an effect of kicks constructed by self-oscillating it. Here’s a secondary thread that provides more info and a few other angles.

I will continue to research this but if you have run into this problem, found solutions or have any thoughts on plausible causes please share in the comments!