Setting up a new project in Cubase (Part 1)

7 12 2011

When setting up a new project there are a couple of things to keep an eye on. I will guide through the process and drop a couple of valuable pro-tips as I go along. Make sure you stay focused and ready to pick them up. For a newbie every single one of my droppings can be a crystal ball, a unique insight into the world of pro audio recording.

First, you have to think of a name for the project. What is it about? What do you record? What is the name of the song? The answer to any of those questions can give you ideas for a sensible project name. Many beginners make the mistake of ignoring this aspect, but they later regret it. Choosing a good name is crucial if you want to keep track of what you’re doing.

Cubase 6

Cubase 6

The more Cubase projects you have, the more important is it to be able to tell what is what,  without having to open the actual project and listen to the song.
As a pro engineer I have to tell with a quick glance, which project is which. I choose razor-sharp, precise pro-recording-names. The moment a project name hits my retina, I know exactly whether I want to open it or not. No fooling around. Time is money. Good housekeeping is essential.

Let’s say you want to record an Indie rock band called ‘Johnny Meets Julie In The Park’. The song is called ‘Memories of my past life’. The whole thing is to be released on a record, which does not have a title, yet. Now the first step would be to use the band name, as well as the song name for the project. But if the band ever comes back to record another album with you, then you would have a hard time telling which song belongs to which album. It is therefore desirable to include an album title in the project name. What can you do? Well, it’s time to get creative here.

In the music business, or actually the whole entertainment industry, it is common practice to come up with what is called a working title. You will hear that particular term often when it comes to new movies. They don’t decide on a title until the movie is almost ready to be released. Now in order to be able to talk about the project, and be sure the other person knows what they are referring to, they use a working title. That’s a title that its attached to a project, but is known to be temporary in nature. The finished production will probably have a totally different title. Although, it could have just as well have the same title. But it has not yet been decided upon by the powers that be.

Back to our project, the first approach that comes to mind is to ask the band which you record, if they have a working title for their upcoming album. But since they’re a bunch of Indie slackers to begin with, they have probably not thought about this, yet. Plus, they will probably have a hard time coming up with something, because they fill up everything with meaning, and then cannot agree on anything. Even though it would be necessary in order to move things forward, to simply get things done.

They can argue endlessly about this type of things. These people have no clue, what it is like having to work for money, and maybe having to do things that you don’t enjoy, simply because you want to be able to pay your own bills. With these types, everything has to be clever or ironic, or at least what they think of as clever. Because most of the time, there ideas are in fact not clever or original at all, but merely a poor copy of something that has already been done a lot better 30 years ago.

The fact that they are not able to come up with a working title for their own album does not mean, however, that they won’t complain about a title somebody else comes up with. They probably will. The best practice here is to think of a name, and then not tell the band about it. Even better is it, to use something that does not evoke any emotions, like a number. So you would name the new project:
‘Johnny Meets Julie In The Park – 912 – Memories of my past life’

Now, that’s a little long, isn’t it? We will see what we can do about this in the next part of this pro recording tutorial…

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