The Complete Cubase Handbook
Writing a manual for one of today's high-powered, professional sequencers can be something of a nightmare. Most companies use an expandable, A5 system to keep it to manageable proportions, but then find that some 400-odd pages are required to describe all of the functions satisfactorily. This invariably means that the basics are not covered adequately, and that there are insufficient illustrations.
Rectifying the situation usually falls to third parties, and involves the production of practical handbooks or video manuals. The latter, though fashionable, tend to be of variable quality and have to be fastforwarded and rewound to locate specific points. By contrast, the handbook - if based on hands-on use of the software - can often fill in those areas left uncovered by the manual, and may be kept handy for instant reference. This is the thinking behind The Complete Cubase Handbook.
Although written by German journalist, Udo Weyers, there has obviously been a degree of input from Steinberg themselves. Of course, there is a danger that this could have led to a re-write of the existing manual, but happily this is not the case. With its 384, A4-sized pages divided into 20 chapters, the book covers a lot of new ground. Apart from anything else, the author has had the sense to use nine pages for the contents list - believing, presumably, that if you're buying a book of this sort, the last thing you'll want to do is spend half an hour searching for a particular topic.
While this is not a book that you are likely to read from cover to cover in one go, it's certainly worth casting an eye over the first chapter, 'Installing The System', and checking that your MIDI setup is correctly configured. The few chapters after that concentrate on your first recording, basic functions, parts, and each of the edit screens. Even advanced users can pick up a trick or two. The quality of screen grabs is exemplary throughout, and while certain areas were out of date before the book was even released (such as the part on MIDI Control Changes), the book concentrates on the latest ST version - the current Apple Mac version being practically identical (a short chapter at the end outlines the differences). Cubase for Windows is left out, as it is currently a fair way behind.
Even with this book, certain areas of operation will remain a mystery to many users - including, no doubt, the Intelligent Phrase Synthesiser, Logical Editor and MIDI Mixer. That said, they are looked at in some detail here - and certainly, anyone currently doing battle with the existing manual should find this book an enormous help. At just under thirty quid, The Complete Cubase Handbook is by no means cheap, but then neither is your time, and with hints and tips, conversion tables and keyboard commands filling out the appendices it should more than pay for itself. Anyone who is serious about their work with Cubase should carefully consider it.
More from: Club Cubase UK, (Contact Details).
Review by Vic Lennard
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