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Cubase 13: New Sampler Track Features

Steinberg Cubase: Tips & Techniques By John Walden
Published June 2024

Custom modulation envelopes can now be constructed more easily in the Sampler Track’s Pitch, Filter and Amp panels using the new shape options.Custom modulation envelopes can now be constructed more easily in the Sampler Track’s Pitch, Filter and Amp panels using the new shape options.

We throw some shapes with the powerful new sound‑design options in the Sampler Track.

The Sampler Track (which is a feature in the Pro, Artist and Elements editions of Cubase) is a simple but undeniably creative tool, so it’s great for experimenting with sample‑based sound design. It’s been with us a while, but in Cubase 13 Steinberg added some new features, including some intriguing spectral‑based modes for the sample playback engine. For this workshop, though, I thought I’d explore another of the new options: the shape‑based drawing tools now present in the Pitch, Filter and Amp modulation panels. These make it so much easier to design tempo‑based patterns, so that risers, pitch drops, patterned filter sweeps and rhythmic volume effects should all feel well and truly in sync with your project.

I want to keep things simple to follow, so with that in mind let’s explore some of the possibilities when using just a single sample as a starting point — in this case, I’ll be using a sustained single note from a synth pad. There are audio examples on the SOS website that you can audition (https://sosm.ag/cubase-0624) and, with the aid of a second sample (a drum loop) and a vocal hook, these include putting these Sampler Track‑designed sounds into the context of an initial sketch for a musical project.

Shaping Shifting

We’ve explored some of the Sampler Track’s established features in previous workshops so I’ll not retread that ground other than to remind you that the engine works on a single sample and provides various means of time‑stretching (designed for different use cases), loop slicing (for working with drum loops), sample looping (to create sustaining sounds), automatic mapping of the sample across a user‑defined key range, and pitch, filter and amplitude toolsets, each with envelope and LFO‑based modulation, amongst a bunch of other possibilities.

The new ‘shaper’ tools introduced in Cubase 13 mean more options when creating modulation envelopes. In the Mod panels of the Pitch, Filter and Amp windows, a new toolbar drop‑down provides access to a whole range of Factory curves, and you can save your own user curves too. Once a curve shape is selected, you can add it to the modulation envelope using either the Draw (pencil) or Paint (brush) tools. The former lets you draw a single instance of the selected curve, and you can drag as you draw to resize it. The latter lets you add multiple repeats of the selected curve and uses the panel’s Sync setting to set the beat division (length) of each repeat (so defining a rhythm for the modulation). By dragging up/down as you use the Paint tool you can control the amplitude of each repeat, and therefore the amount of modulation to be applied. And, of course, you can...

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