Melodyne in Cubase with ARA

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  • Melodyne in Cubase with ARAThis short film shows the advantages of the ARA integration of Melodyne into Cubase.
  • Perfecting comping in CubaseSee here how, thanks to ARA, Cubase makes perfect comping with Melodyne possible.

Thanks to ARA integration, the interaction between Cubase and Melodyne is many times faster, simpler and more powerful. This tour explains all you need to know on the subject.

Required versions and compatibility

To use Melodyne with ARA in Cubase, you require at least Cubase Version 10.0.40 or Nuendo in Version 10.2 as well as Melodyne in Version 4.2.3 or higher. For all the possibilities described here, you require at least Cubase 11 and Melodyne 5.1.

If you open old projects from the pre-ARA era with this program configuration, Melodyne is integrated in the form of the Transfer plug-in, as was usual back then. All your Melodyne editing is preserved and you can continue modifying it. Naturally you can also apply new Melodyne editing to older projects via ARA.

The chord track

Melodyne and Cubase each have their own chord tracks – each with its own advantages: The Cubase chord track can control all the MIDI tracks, whilst the Melodyne chord track can control all the audio files – and even polyphonic instruments.

The Cubase chord track can derive its contents from an analysis of previously recorded MIDI tracks but is incapable of analyzing polyphonic audio tracks. With Melodyne, it’s the other way round: Melodyne can recognize the chords in any audio track and generate a lead sheet for it with blinding speed. However Melodyne cannot examine MIDI tracks (unless you have previously converted them to audio signals by bouncing them).

What this means for your workflow is that you will probably want to combine the two chord tracks. Thanks to ARA, this is easily done: You can display the chords from Cubase within Melodyne and in this way quasi-control the Melodyne chord track remotely from Cubase. This gives you full access from the Cubase chord track to both MIDI tracks (directly via Cubase) and audio tracks (from Cubase via the remote-controlled Melodyne).

The return path – which amounts to the remote control or automated filling-in of the Cubase chords by Melodyne, for example when it comes to discovering the chords contained in polyphonic audio recordings – is not yet realized via ARA in the current Cubase/Nuendo versions. You can get there, however, by exporting the lead sheet generated by Melodyne, importing this into Cubase, and using it to fill in the Cubase chord track.

Inserting Melodyne

With ARA, Melodyne is no longer inserted as a plug-in in the channel strip; instead audio events are equipped with it directly. This can be done by right-clicking on the event (and selecting “Melodyne” under “Extensions” from the context menu) or, even more swiftly, via the Info line. You can do this event by event or select multiple events and equip them all with Melodyne simultaneously :

As soon as you do this, Melodyne obtains access to all the audio data (of all the events) and can display their musical contents at once as audio notes that you can edit directly in Melodyne.

Rearranging regions – Melodyne follows

In older versions of Cubase, without ARA, changes in individual events on the Cubase track were not automatically reflected in Melodyne, which meant making the necessary adjustments to the blobs in Melodyne by hand. With ARA on the other hand subsequent actions affecting the events are reproduced automatically in Melodyne.

  • Moving events
  • Copying or repeating events – Melodyne treats these initially as ghost copies. If, however, you use the command “Convert to Real Copy” in Cubase, Melodyne will then treat each iteration (repetition) as a separate entity.
  • Changing the volume of events
  • Muting events
  • Reducing or extending event boundaries
  • Setting fades at event boundaries

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Changing what’s shown in Melodyne from within Cubase

As soon as you select an event in Cubase, its contents are displayed in Melodyne. If you now select a different event, Melodyne will show the contents of this second event instead. This is the default behavior, but, if you like, you can change it in Melodyne by choosing Options > Follow Selection in DAW.

In Melodyne, you see not only the contents of the current event but also that of the events preceding and following it on the same track (always assuming such tracks exist and that the Melodyne extension has been applied to them as well). The ability to edit freely across event boundaries is very convenient, as it makes it possible to edit entire tracks quickly and efficiently – even tracks that have been pieced together from a large number of events of very short duration.

As an alternative to this Track Edit Mode, Melodyne offers a Clip Edit Mode that allows you to look beyond event boundaries.
More about these two modes…

Transport functions

Thanks to ARA, you can also control playback and cycling in Cubase from within Melodyne. That means fewer mouse movements and lets you to work more swiftly.

Tempo adjustments

Events to which Melodyne has already been added cannot later be set to Musical Mode in order to adapt to changes in the song tempo. The opposite procedure is therefore recommended: First switch on Musical Mode and only afterwards add Melodyne to the event. The musical behavior that adapts to any tempo adjustments is then retained at all times; furthermore, this is implemented using the Melodyne algorithms, which, depending on the instrument being edited, result in the eventual sound being better than that of the ‘naked’ Musical Mode.

Comping

The comping workflow also benefits from ARA. All takes can be optimized at any time without the comping process having to be completed first and set in stone by means of a bounce or audio mixdown.

So you have all Melodyne’s possibilities at your disposal to edit the segments under consideration, so as to be sure of selecting at each point in the song the option that is truly the best. Furthermore, you retain at all times an overview over the entire track, however intricate it might be, and no matter how short, and how numerous, the segments of which it is composed. And: Thanks to Melodyne, you can now easily bring problematic take transitions under control.

Discover how to master comping with Melodyne in Cubase/Nuendo here.

And we’ve put together a collection of more general tips and tricks on comping (in Cubase but not only in Cubase) for you here.

File management

When creating backups or sharing a Cubase song with collaborators, ARA performs all the requisite housekeeping tasks for you. All Melodyne-relevant information, in particular all musical changes made in Melodyne, are automatically part of the Cubase or Nuendo project.
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