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Guitar Musician   e-zine     04/06//05

In This Issue:

  Don't ask me what I think of you, I might not give the answer that you want me to.

                                                                     - Fleetwood Mac, Oh Well

Some Humor


Morris, an 82 year-old man, went to the doctor to get a physical. A few days later the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm.

A couple of days later the doctor spoke to Morris and said, "You're really doing great, aren't you?"

Morris replied, "Just doing what you said, Doc: 'Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.'"

The doctor said, "I didn't say that. I said, 'You've got a heart murmur. Be careful.'"


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Steinberg Cubase SX3 and SE

A quantum leap for music production

By Philip Stanley

Steinberg Cubase SX3 and SE Steinberg's Cubase has established itself as the top music production software available. Steinberg has kept Cubase in that position by making the software available for both Windows and Mac platforms, and by continually striving to improve upon its product. Cubase SX3 is a perfect example of that with its 70+ new features. And in an effort to include those on a tighter budget, Steinberg created Cubase SE. Based on Cubase SX, the SE version provides an astonishing amount of audio and MIDI recording features, as well as loads of effects and editing capabilities. Whether you're designing a studio at the pro level or setting up your first home studio, Cubase is an essential requirement.

Cubase SX3-features galore!
I have had some experience with Cubase SX in my own studio and, knowing how much it can do, I was amazed to see that SX3 contains over 70 new features! Instead of trying to give you one sentence on each of these, I'll focus on some of the most notable ones and how they'll make your time in the studio much more productive.

Audio Warp is one of the most useful new features to be introduced in Cubase SX3, offering realtime time-stretching and pitch-shifting. This feature is extremely intuitive, and even supports ACID files and AIFF loops. I loved how easy it was to just drop ACID loops into my project and have them automatically adjust to the tempo I was working with. Don't know the tempo of the clip you want to use? No problem. The Audio Tempo Definition tool will easily find the tempo for you. The file will then time-stretch in real time. With pitch-shifting, you can easily alter the key of a selection. Simply highlight the area you want to change, enter the number of semitones to match the key you're looking for, and voila!

Steinberg has also greatly improved the Cubase working environment. You can build and save a different workspace for each step of your production, and with a simple command you can switch among up to nine different ones! The workspaces are fully customizable and you can easily define color-coding for tracks and mixer channels thanks to the new color tool. This was especially handy with some of my more complex projects that involve many tracks.

Another great addition to Cubase SX3 is the Play Order Track function. This will revolutionize the way you arrange your compositions. You can take the individual sections of your song, arrange them in whatever order you want, and play them back. Think that an extended verse is too long? Try a shorter one n its place. Not sure where that bridge should go? Listen to it in different places before you decide. I still can't get over how easy this makes arranging a song. This is one feature you're going to get a lot of miles out of.

SX3 is also loaded with new MIDI features. The new MIDI Device Maps provide direct, customizable access to your external MIDI hardware. In-place MIDI event editing has also been integrated into Cubase, saving you time by allowing you to edit directly from within the project window. As if MIDI editing wasn't easy enough in Cubase, Steinberg has found a way to improve it. Brilliant!

I've only begun to describe all that you can do with Cubase SX3. In the final analysis, if professional recordings are what you want, then Cubase SX3 is something your studio can't do without.

Cubase SE-value-priced!
If you think Cubase sounds great but is out of your price range, fear not. Steinberg created the feature-rich Cubase SE for those who don't want to sacrifice quality by buying a less-expensive product. SE can handle 48 audio tracks and unlimited MIDI tracks at up to a 24-bit/96kHz resolution. It supports up to 16 VST instruments, so you won't be limited in what you create. With all its features, its easy-to-use interface, and full upward compatibility to Cubase SX/SL, Cubase SE gives you a lot of bang for less buck.


Features & Specs:

Cubase SX3: Cubase SE:
  • Over 70 new features
  • Audio Warp realtime time-stretching
  • Play Order Track to easily arrange projects
  • Inplace Editor for direct MIDI editing
  • MIDI device maps give to access external hardware
  • User-definable, customizable workspaces
  • Use your hardware just like plug-ins
  • Extended Freeze function for instruments and tracks
  • Color coding for tracks and mixer channels
  • Part-based volume envelopes for direct dynamics control

    Minimum System Requirements:


  • Windows XP, Pentium/Athlon 800MHz, 384MB RAM
  • Windows MME-compatible audio hardware (PC)
  • Mac OS 10.3.3, PowerMac G4 867MHz, 384MB RAM
  • CoreAudio-compatible audio hardware (Mac)
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • USB port for copy protection key
  • 1024 x 768 display resolution

    Recommended System:


  • Windows XP. Pentium/Athlon 2.8GHz, 512MB RAM
  • ASIO-compatible audio hardware (PC)
  • PowerMac G5 1.8GHz, 768MB RAM
  • 1152 x 864 display resolution, dual monitor setup
  • 48 audio tracks, unlimited MIDI tracks
  • 24-bit/96kHz audio resolution
  • Supports up to 16 VST instruments
  • 5 insert and 8 send effects per channel
  • Audio and MIDI plug-ins included!

    Minimum System Requirements:


  • Windows 2000, XP, Pentium III 500MHz or AMD K7, 256MB RAM
  • Windows MME-compatible audio hardware (PC)
  • Mac OS 10.2 and up, PowerMac G4 450MHz, 256MB RAM
  • CoreAudio-compatible audio hardware (Mac)

For more info on ordering this product email us

Guitar Q & A

  Quick Tuning Tips

Q Is there anything similar to the Performer, TransPerformance�s computerized tuning machine for electric guitars (, available for acoustic guitars to help with changing tunings quickly in a live situation?

Marc Vall�e
Charlotte, North Carolina

To my knowledge, the TransPerform-ance/Klein guitar built by Steve Klein ( is the only acoustic guitar with a built-in mechanism for changing tunings. I�ve played this instrument, and it�s very impressive. However, the necessary modifications are pretty radical, and it would be difficult to retrofit an existing instrument. In addition, the weight of the electronics significantly affects the guitar�s acoustic performance.

Perhaps the best solution for preset alternate tunings is the Line 6 Variax Acoustic 700 guitar (see Gear Review, February 2005). Instead of actually retuning the strings, the Variax electronically changes the audible pitch. On several tours, Joni Mitchell successfully used a guitar with a MIDI pickup and Roland�s VG-88 processor, which allows a similar virtual retuning process.

The above solutions work well as advertised, but they are acoustic-electric instruments and the retuning features only work in an amplified setting. Watch players like Peppino D�Agostino or Martin Simpson for great examples of how you can retune quickly and without bothering the audience. You can also structure your set so that you move gradually from one tuning to another. For example, if you move from standard to dropped D to D A D G A D to open G, you�ll never have to retune more than two strings at a time.

�Teja Gerken