Assigning MIDI Channels

All I trying to do is assign MIDI to an instrument. i.e. I want to send data on Channel 15 to a VI. How is this done? I’m coming from Studio One Pro so I’m totally confused


Joe B


Set the Channel in the Inspector of the MIDI Track, please.

Let me start over.
I figured out how to import a MIDI file into a new project/document
I now have 7 tracks of MIDI, little circular midi icon at the left of each track.
If I click play in the transport bar, I see all the Audio bars to the light of the tracks bouncing up and down. So far so good.
I create 7 track instruments in the far right pane. I want to use a different MIDI channel for each instrument. In the instrument editor for each VI I sent the channel 1-7. Back to the left side I now have 7 instrument tracks.
In each of the MIDI tracks I select the corresponding channels numbers.When I drag the MIDI events down from their imported tracks down to the instrument tracks, they will ONLY work if I have MIDI channel 1 assigned in the MIDI instruments which is NOT what I want.
If in each MIDI track I right-click and select Add Track>Instrument I’ll get the instrument track BUT it only works if I have channel 1 selected in the virtual instrument.Same result.
WHAT am I missing here?
In Studio One I could just drag a VI from the browser onto a MIDI track and set the MIDI on the track and the VI and everything worked.
Sorry for my ignorance! I want to move from Studio One which is increasingly buggy and get back to writing music. I use almost exclusively East West libraries and their support folks us Cubase so it makes for easier issue debugging but I need to understand how to get this simple stuff to work. I already have gotten key switching and other types of automation working just fine but this simple concept is killing me. I really can’t have everything on Omni or channel 1.

Thanks in advance for any help!!!


Joe B


If you add an Instrument track, the track is set to MIDI Channel 1 by default. If you want to use other MIDI Channel (what doesn’t make sense in the most use cases) change the MIDI Channel on the Instrument track.

In general you have two options:

  • A: Use one instance of the East West Instrument and route the MIDI Tracks to this Instrument. This safes some CPU load. But it’s a bit more complicated if you want to use multi-outs and a dedicated Insert effects to the dedicated Audio Return Channels.
  • B: Use East West Instrument Track per interment (MIDI Channel). Then you don’t have to deal with the MIDI Channels (all tracks are using Channel 1) neither multi-outs. Every single Instrument track has its own MIDI in and Audio Return. But the CPU usage would increase.

I really am not understanding this at all.
Let me get REALLY simple, no multi-input VIs, just a simple Kontakt instrument, a Bass Guitar, which I’ve added as a track instrument. The MIDI input on the Bass is set to 3. I add a MIDI track, create a MIDI event 1 measure long (4 bars) that has C,D,E,F quarter notes (4 of them) Iset the MIDI channel of the MIDI track to 3.
WHY does the Bass not play unless I set it’s input to 1 not 3.
And do I even NEED instrument tracks? Why?
It’s not like I don’t understand DAWs. In addition to Studio One I have Logic Pro X, Reaper, Pro Tools and NONE of them is as difficult to get this simple concept working.
I can’t believe it’s THIS difficult and as you can tell I’m extremely frustrated. I appreciate your help but I am nowhere closer to understanding how Cubase works.
And yes, I have tried to figure this out with the manual to no avail.

Joe B


Where is this MIDI Input set, please? Do you mean in Kontakt?

Hi Joe_Banko.

Let me start by saying, once you get the jist of how Cubase works, your frustrations should hopefully start to dissipate.

When you create an Instrument Track in Cubase, that Instrument Track is defaulted to MIDI channel 1. This is “not” a global MIDI channel and is independent to that specific Instrument Track. That is why each Instrument Track will start by using MIDI channel 1.

If you change that MIDI channel 1 to, say, MIDI channel 2, you will hear no sound because there is no data on that MIDI channel 2 for that track. You would first need to change the MIDI channel from within the actual Instrument first, and then change the MIDI channel on the Instrument track, but what are the benefits?.

Instruments’ like Groove Agent SE, Kontakt etc, with multi instrument support, can utilise those other MIDI channels for that particular Instrument Track.

For example:

You create an instance of Kontakt, the first instrument in Kontakt, defaults to MIDI channel 1.

You then load another instrument in Kontakt and select MIDI channel 2.

Then you create a MIDI Track and from the drop down list for Output, you would select Kontakt and that MIDI channel 2 will be used for the second instrument you’ve created in Kontakt, and so on for all Instrument Tracks’ created with multi instrument support, meeting the required criteria.

There is no reason, in Cubase, to use a different MIDI channel on newly created Instrument Tracks, other than MIDI channel 1, if you are only using one instrument in that Instruments Track. Remember, each Instrument Track created is totally independent of the other. So seeing MIDI channel 1 on all newly created Instrument tracks’, mean totally nothing to the other tracks created.

Hope this helps to clarify things a little.


There is no MIDI Input Channel in Cubase. Cubase (and its tracks) always receives the data at all MIDI Channels. If you want to filter some MIDI Channels, you have to use the Input Transformer on the MIDI/Instrument Track.

The MIDI Channel you set on the MIDI/Instrument Track is the output MIDI Channel of the MIDI Track. If you set exact value (1-16) all MIDI data are send out over this MIDI Channel. It doesn’t matter, what MIDI Channel have the data in the track. The track’s MIDI Channel overwrites this. If you set the MIDI Channel to Any on the track then the MIDI Channel of every single MIDI data in the track matters and is applied.

If you use an Instrument Track, add Kontakt and set the MIDI Channel 3 in the Kontakt’s Instrument, you have to set the MIDI Channel of the Instrument track to 3 to send the MIDI data to the 3rd Kontakt’s MIDI Channel. Or you have to add a MIDI Track, route its output to the Kontakt Instrument Track and set the MIDI Channel to 3.


I may have miss understood what you were saying/trying to achieve. Apologies.

As others try to point out it kight not be necessary to worry about MIDI channels at all in the scenario you describe. If each MIDI track is routed to an individual VST rack instrument it is as if they have their own MIDI port.

WOW! First thanks to all those who tried to help me with this!!
All it took was a call to remote support where interactive conversation led me to the fact that I was missing the Inspector column to the left of the tracks! DUH!!!
Yes, everything fell into place once I found out how to get this VITAL part of the interface visible.
And again, THANKS to all the patient folk who tried to help!
Now I can get back to actual composition…

Best to all,

Joe B

Great to hear hear Joe.

Happy Producing.

As you said, just understanding the lay of the land. 6+ years in one DAW and you get kind of rigid in thinking! Everything is indeed falling into place. Off to tackle automation…


Joe B

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Oh yeah, that one is important :slight_smile:

The Inspector is housed in what is called the Left Zone. Default key command for toggling it is Ctrl + Alt+ L

And, the Inspector is opened by default the first time you download and open Cubase.