Topic: Cubase 5, some features do not work as promised

I received my brand new Alphatrack two days ago, configured it with cubase (5.01, PC, XP SP3, 32 bit, Driver 1.2.0, Cubase Plug-In 1.0.7) and immediately found some things that do not work as promised

- Punch Button
Quote from the Cubase/Nuendo Guide:
"LOOP - Toggle Loop mode; (shift) Defaults to Toggle Punch (User definable)". The default configuration for the Punch button is Category:Transport, but no Command is set. The command should be "Auto-Punch-In". With the default settings the Punch button does not work.

- Flip switch
Quote from the Cubase/Nuendo Plugin Guide:
"The FLIP button allows the user to switch the level control of the Fader with one of the encoders. In this mode the high-resolution fader can be used to adjust a parameter otherwise assigned to an encoder. At the same time, channel level will be temporarily assigned to the encoder while this mode is enabled. To make this feature even more flexible, in EQ and Plug-In mode the user can choose which encoder is flipped. Touch an encoder while holding the FLIP button to change the assignment. That encoder will update to indicate it controls ‘Volume’ and the fader will then control the parameter."

In fact, Flip only works with the left encoder, and only with the first parameter. E.g. I press the  flip button being in Plug-In mode on the 6th page using the Dynamics Plugin. Normally the compressor threshold value should be flipped to the fader, but instead Gate On/Off is put on the fader?

Also flipping the middle or right encoder does not work when I touch the knob and press Flip. Everytime only the left encoder is flipped.
E.g. in EQ mode I want to flip Freq (middle encoder) to the Fader. So I touch the middle encoder and press flip. But Gain (left encoder) is flipped with audition volume and not Freq.

- LEDs of User definable buttons F1 - F4
the status of the LEDs can not be configured. So the LEDs are completely useless. The same applies to the LEDs of the two track buttons. They could be used to display punch in/out status. E.g. LED on left button shows punch-in status, LED on right button shows punch-out.

- Solo
Solo always follows the track buttons. It is not possible to solo one track, move to another track and keep the first track on solo.
E.g. if I want to "solo" all backing vocals I would expect that I can step to all vocal tracks, press the solo button, and the status is kept when I change the track.  But when I need to "solo" more than one track I have to use the mouse. I do not know if this was designed by intention. Or do I miss something?
Mute is working as I would expect it. You can Mute a track, move to another track, and the first track is still muted.

- REC
REC behaves as strange as the solo function. You can not set up a multi track record by pressing REC and moving to the next track.  REC is automatically deselected. But more annoying is that REC is automatically enabled when you change to the next track even if you have disabled it.

Feature requests:
- Switching through the pages when using a complex plug-in is a pain in the a...
I would like to have an "AI" Style encoder (see Steinberg CC121) or a mouse emulation (see Novation Speed Dial).  The parameter where your mouse is pointing to is automatically selected and can be changed e.g. using the middle or right encoder in Automation mode.
Automation Read and Write is already also controlled with shift+PLAY/RECORD so the encoders can be used for other purposes.
Here I envy the CC121 or Novation users. But perhaps you can copy the functionality?
I think it should be possible by including a mouse driver into the Alphatrack driver. The encoder should simply simulate a mouse-scroll-wheel when selected.


- Zooming with your fingers and zooming support for Cubase
Since the strip is multi-touch capable, it would be great if you can use your two fingers not only for scrubbing but also for zooming. Moving the two fingers apart -> zooming in. Moving two fingers together  -> zooming out. (iPod/iPhone style) This would be a big advantage. So you cold use one finger for jog, two fingers for scrub and zoom.

- User defined configuration of the LEDs
E.g. Show if Click, Pre-Roll, Post-Roll, Punch-In/Out etc. is On/Off

- Send Mode
When I open the Channel Settings Window (shift + Flip) it seems not to be possible to edit the Send-Effects in Send-Mode. But I can edit the Insert effects with Plug-In mode (F1 - F2). It would be nice to use also F1 - F2 for this in send-mode.

- EQ Mode
It seems not to be possible to change the EQ type (Parametric I II, Low Shelf I II III IV, High Pass I II III IV). E.g. pressing the middle encoder to step through the settings could be used for this.


Some things that annoy me,
- the buttons are way too LOUD, they are sounding and feeling like the buttons of a cheap pocket calculator from the 80s.

- the fader control is working strange.
It seems to be a simple 2 speed control. High speed if the difference between setpoint and actual value is big, low speed if the difference is small. A analogue style  PID control would be more appropriate.

- scrubbing with two fingers on the strip is too sensitive. For my feeling a slower speed in the middle would be more appropriate.

- Marker
One small complaint. You can set markers with the middle encoder push.  But you can not delete them. The encoder push should be a toggle. One push sets a marker and when you you select a marker with the encoder turn, a push should delete the marker.


Final words:
I am still not sure if I keep my Alphatrack or if I return it. Too often I am forced to use the mouse. See my solo, AI knob, Flip, Zoom etc.  complaints. Also the non working features are annoying.

Having a AI knob/Mouse wheel emulation with automatic parameter selection by the mouse pointer would be my biggest whish. So I am still looking at the CC121 or the new Novation SL Mk II ZeRO.
Having this feature in the Alphatrack would blow away the competition.

Cheers
Digi

(Sorry for my english, I am not a native speaker)

Last edited by digi (2009-04-20 05:26:23)

Re: Cubase 5, some features do not work as promised

Hello digi,

I'll try to answer your questions in order to keep it simple.

- Punch button not working.

The Command for Shift-LOOP should indeed default to Auto-Punch-In. I just re-downloaded the v1.07 plug-in and it appears correct on my machine so I'm not sure why yours didn't appear that way. No problem though, you can simply click in the command box next to it and select the Auto-Punch-In command to set yours the same.

- Flip switch

I think the problem is with the order in that you are pressing/touching the encoders/buttons. To select an encoder to flip you must press and hold the FLIP button first, and then touch the encoder you want to flip.  The fader should then control whatever parameter was displayed on the selected encoder before you FLIP. All FLIP functions should work according to the documented instructions.

- LED's for F1 thru F4 

True, Steinberg's external control code does not support returning an LED status message for most of the user-definable commands options, therefore we leave them blank. Pre-programming certain LEDs, like the track LEDs to specific status mode such as Punch In/Out might be possible but the fear is that it could also be confusing as the labeling wouldn't match. I will enter it into the customer request list for further review though.

- SOLO and REC

This is actually a user-setting in your Cubase Preferences. Go to Cubase/Preferences/Project and Mixer. There you will find options for Solo and Rec behavior when selecting tracks.

I will log your remaining feature requests into our list as well. Some of them are limited by Steinberg's own external control SDK, and some are based on feedback from users. But we try to stay abreast of changes in both areas. Yes the AI knob emulation would require a major driver overhaul to appear as 2 different devices. I'm not sure that is something we will do any time soon for Alphatrack but a good request.

We hope you enjoy your AlphaTrack and find it helpful in your workflow.

CS


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Re: Cubase 5, some features do not work as promised

Hi CS,
sorry for blaming Frontier Design while the problem was sitting in front of the computer ;-)

Central Scrutinizer wrote:

Hello digi,

I'll try to answer your questions in order to keep it simple.

- Punch button not working.

The Command for Shift-LOOP should indeed default to Auto-Punch-In. I just re-downloaded the v1.07 plug-in and it appears correct on my machine so I'm not sure why yours didn't appear that way. No problem though, you can simply click in the command box next to it and select the Auto-Punch-In command to set yours the same.

When I click on reset in the settings window of the alphatrack, the command for shift-loop is cleared. No clue why. Perhaps a Cubase bug in the german version?

Central Scrutinizer wrote:

- Flip switch

I think the problem is with the order in that you are pressing/touching the encoders/buttons. To select an encoder to flip you must press and hold the FLIP button first, and then touch the encoder you want to flip.  The fader should then control whatever parameter was displayed on the selected encoder before you FLIP. All FLIP functions should work according to the documented instructions.

As I said, the problem was me and not your system, sorry for that. Flip works perfect. I think you should explain the order of button presses more precisely in the guide: "Touch an encoder while holding the FLIP button to change the assignment." should better read: "While pressing the FLIP button touch an encoder  to change the assignment." At least I was confused.

Central Scrutinizer wrote:

- LED's for F1 thru F4 

True, Steinberg's external control code does not support returning an LED status message for most of the user-definable commands options, therefore we leave them blank. Pre-programming certain LEDs, like the track LEDs to specific status mode such as Punch In/Out might be possible but the fear is that it could also be confusing as the labeling wouldn't match. I will enter it into the customer request list for further review though.

So it is Steinberg to blame, not you. Any chance to get such a feature from them?

Central Scrutinizer wrote:

- SOLO and REC

This is actually a user-setting in your Cubase Preferences. Go to Cubase/Preferences/Project and Mixer. There you will find options for Solo and Rec behavior when selecting tracks.

This was a good hint. Solo and REC now works as expected. The only missing function (I believe this is up to you?) is to enable a shift-REC function to delete all active REC settings like you do with Solo and Mute. Currently shift-REC has no effect.


Central Scrutinizer wrote:

I will log your remaining feature requests into our list as well. Some of them are limited by Steinberg's own external control SDK, and some are based on feedback from users. But we try to stay abreast of changes in both areas. Yes the AI knob emulation would require a major driver overhaul to appear as 2 different devices. I'm not sure that is something we will do any time soon for Alphatrack but a good request.

We hope you enjoy your AlphaTrack and find it helpful in your workflow.

CS

Thank you for your quick answer

Cheers
digi