Using Automation in Cubase

Cubase Automation

When you are working using a mixer, such as the one constructed into Cubase, there will come a time when you find yourself moving the mixer controls. Cubase gives you the ability to record and play back the movements of various mixer parameters, which we refer to as automation.

The novice operation of working with automation in Cubase is quite straightforward. For example, say you have an audio track and you want to automate the volume fader. To do this, just click the track's [W] Write Enable button, hit play, move the fader to taste, and then push stop. Once a track's Write Enable button is active, any parameters that can be automated on that track will be 'armed' for automation so that when the transport is active (which is to say you either pressed play or record), any adjustments to armed parameters will be stored at the appropriate time location.

Cubase represents mixer channels that do not play back Audio Events as Automation tracks on the Project window's Track List, and automatically organises them to folders by path type.
Once you've written automation info to a track, it's a good underlying thought to deactivate the Write Enable button to hold off any accidents, and then, for the automation info to play back, you need to make sure the track's [R] Read Enable button is activated. You can toggle the Read and Write Enable buttons for all tracks simultaneously by clicking the 'All Automation to Write/Read Status' buttons at the very top of the track List (labeled [W] and [R]).

So once a track is armed for automation, parameters are actually recorded? In the case of audio-based tracks, you can automate Volume, Pan and Mute, the built-in EQ parameters, and Level and Enable parameters for each send. Any parameters for insert plug-ins you're using on the track that is being enabled to write automation are also included. You'll realize that plug-in windows also include Read and Write Enable automation buttons, and these can be used independently of the track or channel on which the plug-in is used. For example, if you have an insert plug-in on an audio track and enable the track's Write Enable button, the plug-in's Write Enable button will also become active. However, the reverse isn't true, so enabling a plug-in's Write Enable button doesn't activate automation for all the parameters on the appropriate track.

As an aside, it's major that in the current version of Cubase, when a track's Write Enable button is active, the movements of all automatable parameters are recorded.