Advice/op about huge templates versus saving track presets

I have been away from my DAW for some years (really since Cubase 5) and have recently updated my system (to Cubase 8.5 and updated all VSTS). I am currently in the business of creating orchestral templates before starting on a big project. I have several orchestral libraries, East West stuff, BFD3, some VSL, Kontakt, Halion, Absynth all of Spectrasonics, several pianos plus more - quite a good collection.

The kind of music I am targeting is modern ‘cinematic’ with orchestras.
I have set up two orchestral templates one for Halion Symphonic and another for East West Orchestra. Both of these have my custom expression maps.

I am wondering if orchestral templates are the way to go? Would it be better to create a whole bucket of presets and load them as required? I dont really need to emulate a concert hall, (sound stage mixing wise) and will also be using a lot of Omnisphere type sounds with the orchestra. What is the best work flow?

BTW I work in Surround 5.1

An alternative workflow design would be the mega template. I notice that you can now ‘disable’ tracks in Cubase as well as freeze them. You can also hide tracks. What is the best way to organise this? Is it possible to have one gigantic template with all parts loaded and hidden with little or no load on CPU? what is best practice here please?

I tried to disable a whole orchestral template, but I found that the project still loaded slow - meaning that the wav files presumably still loaded to RAM - I think…

Would love to hear other’s ideas…


Win 10 64, 16 gig, intel 5820 six core processor X99a Mobo, Focusrite Liquid 56 channel sound.

If you go the big template route disabling the Track will cause it not to use any resources.

Both approaches are equally valid. The real difference is which makes your workflow easier and that’s kind of a matter of personal taste. You could also go with a hybrid of the two where you have a big template with everything you use on a regular basis. And then have Track presets of occasional use stuff.

Personally I’d go with a big template. But that’s because I’d remember I made a preset for XYZ, but I’d forget its name and spin my wheels looking for it. :confused:

HI Rodger,
I ran a few tests and even a disabled track list uses quite a bit of resources compared to an empty track. I think the disabled project uses about 2/3rds of a fully loaded track, not sure why…

test using EW symphonic orchestra Platinium - full template.

Templates all use MIDI tracks (not instrument tracks) and one instance of Play shared by different tracks, Keyswitch Multies loaded. Also included Omnisphere, Keyscape and BFD3 which for some reason will not freeze.

Win 10 64, 16 gig six core intel 5820, X99A mobo

1 ] With no apps running except this browser 29 % memory. 12% CPU

2] With Only Cubase loaded (and this browser) 30% RAM, 13% CPU

3] East West Orchestra template no disabled tracks: 3 minute 15 second load time CPU 20% Memory 90%

4] East West Orchestra template all EW disabled tracks: 1 minute 45 second load time CPU 20% Memory 66%

5] East West Orchestra template all EW frozen tracks: 1 minute 45 second load time CPU 15% Memory 59%

Still wondering whether to go the freeze the disable route, the Operations manual is not that clear. Also wondering if to build huge templates or simply load presets from a saved bank

Cubase 8.5, 64 bit Intel 5820K Corei7 16 gig RAM PC Win10, Focusrite Liquid 56 Running in Surround 5.1 British Rail sandwich circa 1967, a singing fish and an inert K9.
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ZeroZero Member Posts: 617Joined: 08 Jan 2011 22:58Has thanked: 9 timesBeen thanked: 12 times

In that case it sounds like you have your answer - go with Track Presets.

There is a complication. If your loading your orchestral patches from a Track Preset, then it gets an instance of its player for itself. So if you load say 35 instruments you would get 35 players - not a good solution. When I designed my templates instrument tracks were not multitimbral, so there was no choice, use MIDI tracks and an instance of the Player (Kontakt, Play) which had each instrument on a different channel.
When you load an instrument track preset a VST loads with it, when you load a MIDI track preset no instrument loads. Both load expression maps BTW>

I am still a bit confuzzled, there seems to be no way to load a track preset MIDI channel, I am moving back toward the giant template idea (though its hardly an elegant) perhaps with disabled tracks. But this still uses a lot of unnecessary RAM.

There must be a logical answer to this?

Well if you end up eventually enabling most of those tracks it’s a wash in the end. Also consuming resources when you don’t need to is not a problem as long as that resource usage doesn’t put you over the top and consume all of the available resource. If your huge template consumes an extra 8GB of RAM that’s not an issue until it is your last 8GB. If your template doesn’t use it, that memory just sits there being unused & wasted. And that extra resource use does provide you with something valuable in the form of ease of use etc. And while the huge template will increase load time, that may (or may not) be a reasonable cost to pay for the benefits the template provides. Only you can decide what the right trade-offs are for your particular situation. But it seems like you’ve figured out the benefits and drawbacks of each approach.

You could also try using one approach on one project and the other on a second project to see which you prefer to use. Granted that will mean some extra upfront work. But that could be an investment in workflow optimization that pays off in the long run.

Hmmm running these projects without any music, the RAM shows 90% in my 16 gig system, so I yesterday ordered as further 16 gig.

thanks for the thoughts, its a tricky business, the pros and the cons of this…


You can create multi-timb VSTi track presets, I’ve done this with HALion, E/W Play, and NI Kontakt. They are smaller than your needs (4-10 MIDI Tracks) so I can’t say if larger multi-timb presets will load faster than what you have experienced so far.

Here is a video on how to set them up: