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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Apr 2019 > USING AUTOMATION IN CUBASE


Cubase contains loads of tools for creating and editing automation data, and practically every mix, instrument and effect parameter can be controlled via this data. Adam Crute gets automated to bring you the details

Automation is one of the features that make DAWs such powerful music-making tools, with much more creative potential than basic mixer control. Synths can be brought to life by modifying just a couple of parameters over time, while even modest automation of effect parameters can have a dramatic impact on sonic interest.

Deciding when, where and how to apply automation isn’t always easy. Also, when working with tracks that already contain automation, it becomes too easy to get muddled over which parameters are being automated, or to interfere with existing automation data unintentionally. So, over the next couple of issues, I’m focusing on automation in Cubase, starting with the basics and working up to some neat tricks and techniques.


Automation can be added to a number of different track types: audio, MIDI, instrument, group, effect, sampler and VCA (the latter being a special case, as I’ll explain next month). Each can host as many automation lanes as required, one for every automatable parameter that’s available to the track. These lanes appear below the track they’re associated with.

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About MusicTech

Aside from the art of writing a melody, crafting the perfect lyric and finding the most suitable chords for your music, beatmaking (or sculpting the rhythmic elements of your track) is perhaps the most important stage to get right, particularly if you work in the EDM arena. It’s often, however, something that can start to feel quite ‘samey’ and characterless for some, as those musical elements tend to take priority. In our cover feature this month, Martin Delaney explores a variety of routes to making your own distinctive beats in unique ways. Follow his do-it-yourself guide and before long, your tracks will have extra oomph and rise above the din to sound unlike anybody else. Also this issue, we speak to the fascinating Cleaning Women, a Finnish band who adopt a similar DIY approach to beat and music-making. They have built their own instruments out of former household appliances and have performed with them for over 20 years. Elsewhere, we catch up with Alexander Archer, a young producer who is currently working with some of the industry's hottest names as he engineers recordings for Vevo UK. On the review front this month, we dive deep into Native Instruments’ veritable ocean of delights, Komplete 12, as well as Ableton's latest hefty point update to Live.