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Cubase Pro: VariAudio 3 Smart Controls

Steinberg Cubase Pro Tips & Techniques
By John Walden

VariAudio 3's Smart Controls make possible much more than just pitch correction.

In my SOS May 2019 column, I considered how the overhaul of VariAudio in Cubase Pro 10 made routine pitch correction more efficient. But VariAudio offers more than pitch correction alone, so in this follow-up article I'll consider some of the corrective and creative options.

Stretch In Time

If you enable Show All Smart Controls in the Inspector's VariAudio tab (discussed last month), when you hover over a pitch segment in the Sample Editor you'll see Warp Start and Warp End Smart Controls, located centre-left and centre-right respectively. These don't change the pitch, but when grabbed and dragged left/right, Cubase will apply its audio-warping algorithms to time-stretch or time-compress the portion of the waveform bounded by the selected segment. (As you move the Warp Smart Controls for one segment, any segment adjoining the edge being moved is also stretched/compressed to compensate.) In a corrective context, this makes it very easy to make small timing adjustments to a performance. You can, for example, adjust the phrasing of syllables to hit an underlying beat/groove. As with quantising, a little can go a long way here, but if you're after that super-slick, polished vocal style, this can help you achieve it — and when you make these kinds of small timing adjustments, the results can be incredibly transparent.

A vocal phrase before (upper) and after (lower) gentle use of the Warp Smart Tools to align pitch segments within a phrase more closely to the musical grid. Note that some pitch correction has also been applied, and the warp markers are displayed in the adjusted version.A vocal phrase before (upper) and after (lower) gentle use of the Warp Smart Tools to align pitch segments within a phrase more closely to the musical grid. Note that some pitch correction has also been applied, and the warp markers...

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Published June 2019