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Steinberg Unveils Cubase SX3

Steinberg Media Technologies today announced the latest generation of its Cubase music production software with new features and technologies. Cubase SX3 will ship on September 6th 2004, and is priced at Euro 689.00 excluding VAT...

September 3, 2004

Steinberg Media Technologies today announced the latest generation of its Cubase music production software with new features and technologies. Cubase SX3 will ship on September 6th 2004, and is priced at Euro 689.00 excluding VAT.

Cubase SX3 offers new facilities for composition and songwriting. Audio Warp, a real-time time stretching and pitch shifting tool, offers new audio and processing capabilities, including ACID file support. Combined with the new Play Order Track, a new tool for pattern-style composition, Cubase SX3 offers loop-based composing and arranging. The new Inplace Editing system allows convenient editing of MIDI data directly within the Project Window in context with audio and video data.

Workflow efficiency and user ergonomics are an increasingly important part of the software DAW environment. Cubase SX3 users can utilize the new user-definable workspaces to create virtual desktops, with a separate work area for each step of the production process, and switch between them with a key command. The Freeze functionality introduced in Cubase SX 2.0 to free up CPU resources in the host computer has also been extended to include audio tracks and insert effects, and is now faster and more effective.

Easy and flexible integration of external hardware within the modern DAW environment has become paramount to many recording facilities and project studios. Cubase SX3 sports new MIDI Device Maps and panels that allow direct, user-customizable access to outboard MIDI hardware such as synthesizers. The External FX Plug-ins allow direct integration of external effect processors such as reverbs and compressors into the VST mixing environment. Now top class outboard hardware can now be integrated into the mixing process as easily as software Plug-ins, including automatic latency compensation.

Cubase SX3 is the first version of Cubase to support a 64-bit operating system, and supports up to 4GB of RAM when used with a 64-bit operating system such as the upcoming Microsoft Windows XP 64-bit Edition and appropriate 64-bit processors such as the AMD Opteron. This doubling of maximum available RAM resources is accompanied by a significant performance boost when used with the latest generation of 64-bit processors according to Steinberg.

Cubase SX3 also sees another first: implementation of the first level of Studio Connections announced this year at Frankfurt Musikmesse. Representing the first fruits of the development alliance between Steinberg and music instruments and audio hardware manufacturer Yamaha, Studio Connections technology has been incorporated into the SX 3 release, with total system Recall functionality. SX3 integrates Yamaha's Studio Manager 2 software which serves as a link between the sequencer and hardware editing components. Each editor component can be opened like a Plug-in from within Cubase SX3. Entire studio setups are saved and recalled with the project. Supported hardware currently includes Yamaha's DM2000, 01x and 02r96 mixers, as well as the Motif ES synthesizer and SPX2000 signal processor.

A brief excerpt of some of the new features found in Cubase SX3:

  • Audio Warp: Realtime Time Stretching and Pitch Shifting offer extensive new audio editing and processing capabilities, including ACID File support: loops automatically adopt a project's tempo; audio files can follow tempo changes in realtime.
  • Intuitive Play Order Track for pattern-based arranging adds a new level of creative music editing. Divide your song into sections, and then re-arrange it on the fly. Compare alternative versions of your song and then convert them back into a linear form for mixdown and mastering.
  • New Inplace Editor supports ultra-fast direct MIDI event editing from within the project page. Edit MIDI events in context with audio or video.
  • New MIDI Device Maps / Panels support direct access to external MIDI hardware with user-definable graphic editing panels. Import VST Mixer Maps or create your own editing panels, even for the Track Inspector or the mixer's channel strip.
  • User-definable Workspaces (window layouts) help organizing your desktop. Create and save a separate workspace for each step of the production process. Switch Workspaces on the fly, as if working on multiple computers or monitors.
  • Studio Connections "Total Recall" support (optional integration of Yamaha's Studio Manager 2). The first step into a new dimension of software/hardware integration. This modular editing system builds a powerful bridge between the virtual and physical studio. Opening a project can recall an entire studio setup within seconds.
  • External FX Plugins allow for direct integration of external hardware effects processors into the VST audio mixer. Use your favorite outboard gear just like plugins -- including automatic delay compensation.
  • Extended Freeze function for virtual instruments and audio tracks with added flexibility and improved performance. Freeze virtual instruments with or without insert effects. Then automatically unload the instrument to free up RAM. Freeze audio tracks with insert effects to free up even more CPU performance.
  • A Dummy Plugin automatically replaces missing plugins when a project is transferred to a different system. This project can be saved and sent back -- the original plugins will automatically open up again.
  • New part-based Volume Envelopes for direct control of dynamics. Fix level problems on the fly without wasting automation tracks. Then move events with their volume envelopes.
  • User-definable Color Coding for tracks and VST mixer channels provides more clarity and better orientation -- especially in complex projects

For more information, visit their web site at www.steinberg.net

By David Mellor Thursday January 1, 2004