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Starting a Project

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Once you've installed and configured Cubase SX 2, the next step is to begin working on a project.

A project is the basic file type in Cubase, in the same way that a document is the basic file type in Microsoft Word. A Cubase project includes the audio, MIDI, automation, and settings for a piece of music. Most people create a new project for every song, though not everyone will work this way. Cubase allows a great deal of customization; someone working on audio postproduction or audio for video, for example, may set up a very different type of project than a person working on a country song.

In this chapter, you will learn how to start projects, including how to use the templates bundled with Cubase and how to create your own templates. You will also learn how Cubase manages the various files that are created as a project grows. Many music projects need tempo information to work properly, so you will learn how to set up a metronome click track. Finally, you will learn how to use the powerful audio-to-tempo matching features in Cubase, which allow you to sync the Cubase tempo to an audio snippet or audio drum loop.

Creating a Project

When you start a new project, Cubase automatically asks you where you want to store the files for that project. You can browse an existing folder or create a new one; often the easiest approach is to create a new folder for each song. As a project grows, Cubase creates new files and folders in this working directory, allowing you to easily manage files and, if necessary, move a project to a new machine. Be sure to create the working directory on a drive with enough free space to hold your audio files, and give the project and folder identical and logical names, so you can easily find and move the project if you ever need to do so.

In addition to a directory, you'll also be asked to select a template when you start a new project. Cubase offers a standard list to choose from, including 16-track and 24-track templates and MIDI and audio choices. If you don't want to start with a preexisting template, choose Empty. However, whether you're creating music for a soundtrack, a corporate video, a hip-hop tune, a live recording, or any number of other purposes, you'll likely find a template already set up and easily accessible for that particular job. See the sidebar "Templates Included with Cubase SX 2" later in this chapter for a description of the templates that ship with the Windows and Mac OS versions of Cubase. You can create your own custom templates as well.

To start a project

  1. Choose File > New Project.
  2. In the New Project dialog box, select a template from the Templates list ( Figure 3.1 ).

    Figure 3.1 Making a selection from the list of templates.

  3. For any new project, you will be asked to choose a directory to store it in. Select a directory or create a new one; then click OK. A new project is created.
  4. Save and name your project using File > Save.
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