Is Yamaha planning on updating integration between the Motif XF series, FW16E, and other DAWs aside from Cubase?
I am a professional recording engineer/artist with over 20 years experience. I have the full arrangement of Cubase 8 Elements DAW working in conjunction with my Motif XF 8 workstation (acting as the ASIO) & the FW16E, both of which are working in conjunction with my MacBook Pro (Quad-core processor - 2015 release).
Everything is running fine in said arrangement.
However, I find Cubase to be a little bit cumbersome to use effectively. I am not really certain if it is my 'learning curve' getting in the way of understanding the architecture of Cubase, or that Cubase is a bit tedious to utilize. Does Yamaha have any plans to improve the integration with other DAWs such as ProTools (11 or higher), Sonar (Platinum and the Alpha version release for Mac this fall), or similar?
Personally, I find Cubase to be a bit cryptic and not as intuitive as ProTools & Sonar, not to say that Yamaha's decision is to never 'seal the deal' with other DAWs of other companies. It seems that it would be in Yamaha's best interest to improve on the integration with other DAWs as well and not be inclusive to the Cubase realm.
John Metcalf productions
To compare the Cubase Elements version, with Pro Tools 11 and Sonar Platinum, is very flattering for the lowly Elements version. Perhaps a better apples to apples comparison would be Cubase Pro 8 (or later). So we will disregard your comments about being "cumbersome" since you have not experienced a full version of Cubase, and most things are clumsy until you get used to them. I don't find it so at all. As the price goes up the user interface does tend to get more elegant... True in most things, I find, including/especially software.
The tight integration between the Motif XF and Cubase features something that currently Avid and Cakewalk do not have available for Yamaha Synths, these include the special Extensions that help you get setup and bundle your Motif XF parameter settings in the Cubase Project file (no need to document your synth setup separately, Cubase can even handle it all in the background, if you wish). Including the ability of Cubase to directly IMPORT Motif XF Song data, both MIDI and audio, directly to respective Cubase MIDI and Audio Tracks. And the ability to catalog both XF Voice data and Mixing setups in the MediaBay/SoundBrowser function. These are things that the others will not likely ever have...
There already exist Remote Control templates so that the XF can control both Pro Tool and Sonar software (Digital Performer, and Logic Pro). These templates allow you to control other DAW softwares from the DAW REMOTE layer.
I highly recommend you spend a bit more time with Cubase, and if you are looking for tighter more elegant workflow, move up to a comparable Pro version to better match the software you've mentioned. There is quite a HUGE difference between Cubase Elements and Cubase Pro. You might want to look into getting Cubase Pro...
Perhaps attending a Club Cubase meeting - where, monthly, users of Cubase get together and share workflows, tips and tricks. Often Steinberg Specialists attend and you can get specialized one-on-one assistance with any issue you are having. Contact Steinberg via your MySteinberg Account for Club Cubase meetings near you.
"Intuitive" is a word we all tend to misuse/overuse. Few things are intuitive - (perhaps the toilet seat) 😉 that might be intuitive. But most things, once learned, we look back and say wow, that was easy. But it is always after the learning of the basic fundamentals. We must respect this fact. I saw someone, in the early days of smartphones, make the claim how intuitive operating it was... He tried to prove it by handing it to someone who never operated one, only to find, yes, all things have a learning curve. The person couldn't do anything, including not even being able to make a phone call (the prime function)!!! If you don't know to click, click and drag, press and hold, swipe up, swipe left, use three fingers, use four fingers, pinch, etc., you find it cumbersome and clumsy... Right up until you do.
So being a former teacher, recording engineer myself, when someone says the subject matter is "not intuitive", we always just silently agree and get to unfolding the basics (which once encountered) form the foundation of "ease of use". But nothing worth using comes with no learning curve. It's how you go about tackling that curve! I've taught signal flow through a recording console to people who came in not knowing the business end of a microphone from the counterweight on the Atlas stand holding it. 🙂
I had to go through the computer-based DAW learning curve myself. Back when Yamaha was still in the music computer business, I had to learn Cubase, Cakewalk, Logic, Pro Tools, Digital Performer, and a few others. This was back in the early nineties, I found they all worked about the same in terms of you have configure them, and you have to learn to navigate through the particular system to get to the basic record, overdub, playback and mixdown functions. At first, I thought them all non-intuitive. But I learned them all... Finally got to the point where I could compare them on how well they handled the audio (that's what counts). And on that I'd stick with the Cubase/Nuendo audio engine... for my ears.
There is also an extensive online tutorial series on Cubase Pro (well worth the viewing, even if you only have Cubase Elements) covering practically every feature, start here:
Any way, we do try to have smooth workflows with all the pro DAWs in the market. But unless you have engineers from each company working closely together, you can't expect as tight an integration as Yamaha and Steinberg have achieved with the XF and Cubase. (Which is a minor miracle in itself... Trust me) We work hard to smooth the user experience between the hardware and software, it's been a mantra of ours for a couple decades now.
I have a very comparable situation in that I use Cubase 8.5, with a Motif XS with mLan/Firewire as you John, and I can absolutely fly on this rig. Like you, I produce full-time (radio jingles here mostly) . . . and the last 4-5 years I've take a little bit of time each month to work on the rig while NOT under the pressure of getting a jingle finished. It's paid off hugely in both productivity, and frankly, a lot of fun.
After reading this post, I'd like to offer some comments - -
- -The features of navigating, editing, customizing in Cubase are vast, useful, and amazing. Try and learn just a couple each week maybe, and you'll astonish yourself in no time.
- - In addition to the YouTube link BadMister listed, subscribe to the Steinberg YouTube channel and watch the "quick tips" videos. They are each just 5 minutes or so, and cover one topic to make your world more efficient. Here's one that just came out on automation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3faopB0FPw
- - I can't emphasize this one enough: DESIGN YOUR OWN TEMPLATE, and start each project from that. Dream up everything you'd want available and organized ahead of time in Cubase, and save it as a template. You can always tweak and update your own template. Eventually, you can have project templates for certain clients or project-types. Most of my jingles have large amounts of vocal tracks pre-assigned, but I have one client that is an electric string quartet that does techno music - - no need to open 24 vocal tracks when I'm starting on something for them. .
- - Between the Motif and VST's, you can pre-organize like sounds into groups channels. My audio chain is like a pyramid (scheme??LOL) of groups which flow to groups into more groups, and ultimately the stereo bus. (if you're really reading this and interested, chime in and I'll elaborate).
Good luck . . It's difficult to read a post that says Cubase is "cumbersome" or "tedious". It's really a marvel - -you owe it to yourself to at least learn the thing before you compare to another DAW. 🙂