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Cubase: Exploring The Project Logical Editor

Steinberg Cubase: Tips & Tricks By John Walden
Published October 2023

Toggling the bypass status for insert plug‑ins on multiple tracks: a great shortcut for A/B comparison.Toggling the bypass status for insert plug‑ins on multiple tracks: a great shortcut for A/B comparison.

Embrace the power of Cubase’s Project Logical Editor, and you can become a workflow ninja!

In last month’s workshop I demonstrated just how powerful the MIDI Logical Editor, found in both the Pro and Artist versions of Cubase, can be for manipulating MIDI data, but as I mentioned in that column Pro users also have something called the Project Logical Editor. This is a similar logic‑driven tool that allows you to simplify complex tasks, but in this case rather than work with MIDI data, it’s used to streamline project‑level tasks. As with the MIDI Logical Editor, if you’re not used to working with Boolean logic, the Project Logical Editor can feel intimidating at first, but exploring just a few example presets will soon get over that initial speed bump.

Better In Or Out?

We’ll start our introductory tour with a preset that’s conceptually easy to understand yet does a super‑useful job. ‘Toggle Inserts Bypass of Selected Tracks’ is found in the Mixing category of the Factory presets and does as the name suggests: action this preset and all the insert plug‑ins on the currently selected tracks will have their bypass status switched, with active plug‑ins put into bypass and bypassed plug‑ins made active. The first screen shows how this is achieved.

As with the MIDI Logical Editor last month, the options in the Event Target Filters panel dictate what objects are to be selected. The Event Transform Actions panel then specifies what changes are to be made to those selected objects. In the upper panel, the ‘Container Type’ is selected if it is ‘Equal’ to ‘Track’ and if its ‘Property Is Set’ to ‘Selected’. This means that only tracks that you’ve selected within the Project or MixConsole windows are going to be changed by any of the commands specified in the lower panel. In that lower panel, a single entry applies a ‘Track Operation’ to the ‘Inserts Bypass’ parameter: it ‘Toggles’ the status of the bypass setting. This preset can be a really useful function for A/B comparisons. For example, you can select all your subgroup bus tracks and quickly bypass their insert plug‑ins to check whether all those mix processing moves are helping as intended, or hindering. Another scenario is use it on one or more tracks to toggle between two instances of an EQ or compressor (or both) that are configured with different settings, to see which you prefer.

And since you can configure a key command to execute any Project Logical Editor preset, once you’ve selected the tracks you wish to work with, a single click lets you toggle the bypass status of all the insert plug‑ins. There are other (equally useful) presets within this Mixing category that provide similar ‘bypass’ options for the sends and EQ panels within the MixConsole — I’ll leave you to explore their potential!

It’s easy to clear out unwanted automation data for only the selected tracks in a specific song section.It’s easy to clear out unwanted automation data for only the selected tracks in a specific song section.

Automation Reclamation

Have you ever got deep into a mix and decided that within one section of the song, the mix just isn’t quite right? Stripping out the automation data (for example, volume, pan, EQ, and any send and insert effects) in a single project section can be a time‑consuming process. Thankfully, there’s a Project Logical Editor preset for that: ‘Delete All Automation Data for Selected Audio, Instrument and MIDI Tracks inside Cycle’.

The name may be a bit of a mouthful, but this preset does what it says on the tin. Once you’ve placed the left and right locators around the appropriate section of the project timeline, simply select which tracks you wish to remove the automation data from, then execute the preset. As shown in the screenshot, four entries in the Event Target Filters panel do the heavy lifting. The first two selection criteria identify that ‘Media Type’ that is ‘Equal’ to ‘Automation’ data and that it is ‘Contained’ within an ‘Event’ (ie. an audio or MIDI clip). However, the selection process also considers the third and fourth criteria: the automation data must have a ‘Position’ ‘Inside Cycle’ (between the left and right locators) and the ‘Parent Object Is Selected’ (the ‘Parent’ property is the Track upon which the event sits), so only tracks you have already selected will be acted upon by the preset.

For the automation data that fulfils these combined selection criteria, no transformations are specified in the lower panel. But at the base of the UI, the ‘Delete’ action is specified. When we hit the Apply button, any selected automation data is therefore deleted and replaced by a straight automation line joining the nearest automation points before and after the left and right locators. As a means of cleaning up an unwanted mess of automation data within selected tracks in a portion of a project, it’s a pretty speedy solution.

When this revised version of the preset is applied, volume automation is reset but other automation data is left intact...

This preset is a great candidate for DIY modifications. For example, if you select the last of the current criteria, you can use the Insert button to refine the selection further. And if you enter ‘Name’ as the Filter Target, ‘Contains’ as the condition, and ‘Volume’ as Parameter 1, then only volume automation data will be selected. When this revised version of the preset is applied, volume automation is reset but other automation data is left intact — very useful if you just want to rethink the track levels within a song section. Of course, you could also apply the preset across your entire project by simply placing the left/right locators appropriately...

Ready to tidy up your unwanted muted parts?Ready to tidy up your unwanted muted parts?

Refuted When Muted

As I work through a busy project, I’ll often end up with lots of audio and MIDI clips that I muted as I ‘trimmed the fat’ while mixing. Once I’m happy that these elements are surplus to requirements, the ‘Delete All Muted Parts And Events’ preset (in the Parts And Events category) provides a speedy way to declutter. The screenshot shows the selection criteria used to find all the muted elements in your project (as with the previous example, no transformations are applied in the lower panel; the selected items are just deleted when you hit Apply). The key thing to note is how the selection criteria find only ‘Container Types’ that are ‘Equal’ to MIDI ‘Parts’ or (in the Bool column) audio ‘Events’ or ‘Audio ‘Parts’. The final entry then ensures only those Events/Parts that are currently muted actually get selected. Usefully, there’s also a Delete Muted Tracks preset (in the Tracks category) if your project requires a different ‘tidy up’ strategy.

It’s easy to add the date (or other details) to selected track names with the Project Logical Editor.It’s easy to add the date (or other details) to selected track names with the Project Logical Editor.

Make A Date

The final screenshot shows the ‘Add a Date to selected MIDI + Audio Track Names’ preset (from the Naming category). Given our earlier examples, the approach used in the four Event Target Filters panel should feel familiar. The four entries combine to identify all ‘Container Types’ that are ‘Tracks’, and that have the ‘Property’ of being ‘Selected’ and the ‘Media Type’ is ‘MIDI’ or ‘Audio’.

All tracks that meet these criteria (essentially all MIDI or Audio tracks that you have selected within the Project or MixConsole window) are then subjected to the entry in the Event Transform Actions panel. The Action Target is the track’s ‘Name’, and the Operation is set to ‘Append’ (that is, add something to the existing name). In this case, Parameter 2 is set to ‘Std. Names’ (if you click on this, a drop‑down menu of options appears) and Parameter 1 is ‘Date’. When you hit the Apply button, every selected audio and MIDI track has the current date added to its existing name.

For projects you’ll be working on over an extended period of time, adding the date to specific tracks can be a really helpful reminder of how the project has evolved. Which vocal take was the original? What’s the most recent version of the saxophone solo? And, if you work with collaborators and want to keep track of who added what to a project, you can simply adapt this preset by clicking on the ‘Date’ entry in the Parameter 1 column and type your own text such as your name or initials. Run both this modified version and the original ‘Date’ version, and every track you select can get your name/date added to its name, making it easy to see who has done what (and when) as the project moves between the various collaborators.

Surface Scratching

The above examples are very much the tip of the Project Logical Editor iceberg, but they should show you the potential for automating some pretty complex tasks. I hope they’ll encourage you to explore the various preset categories to find titles that might be useful to improve your own Cubase workflow. And remember, many of these presets can be candidates for the kinds of simple DIY customisation demonstrated above — even if you don’t feel ready to roll your own presets from scratch.

Combining the MIDI Logical Editor and Project Logical Editor with the use of key commands and the Cubase Macro features (both topics we have covered here in the past but are probably worth revisiting soon) can be absolutely transformative to your Cubase workflow — and bring Cubase ninja status within reach!

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