Automate MIDI Channel on a track for live performance (Solution for MacOS)

Hello, everyone! How are you doing? I think this is my first post on the forum, despite being a Cubase/Nuendo user for over 15 years.

Yesterday, I managed to figure out something that had been a problem for me for at least 5 years, and from what I’ve researched, it’s a problem for many others as well.

I’m a keyboardist and also the person in charge of the sound for a 10-person band. All the channels are fully automated with reverbs, delays, etc, and all I need to do is hit play on the backtrack and all the magic happens. The problem is that, as a keyboardist, I use a million different timbres and VSTs, and I didn’t want to be pressing buttons, changing the MIDI CHANNEL on my keyboard, or thinking about anything other than… playing! So, my research was about how to automate MIDI CHANNELS on a single track so that I don’t need to switch the track I’m playing on (in my case, a MIDI track with input from the Novation Impulse 61). I tried using the Generic Device to automate changes in the monitoring track, which worked, but it wasn’t very reliable because any change I made to the track order would mess everything up, a nightmare. MIDI Remote only has 8 mixer slots, I managed to automate buttons on a device created from the IAC driver, but only 8 slots didn’t solve my problem. I tried using MIDI sends, and it almost worked for automating the send ON/OFF, but it had a strange behavior where the automation happened before the correct point, a mess. So, the solution was: IAC + track input transformer (to filter only the channel I wanted for that instrument) + Expression Map to change the channel on the one and only MIDI track I needed to activate:

  • Create an expression map for the MIDI track you will be monitoring, in other words, your keyboard.
  • In the mapping of the expression map, assign a channel for each “articulation” and mark the Direction option.
  • Now, you will create a MIDI event that will be your channel automation using the Lane called Articulations/Dynamics.
  • The output of this MIDI track goes to the IAC Driver.
  • Now you can create up to 16 instruments.
  • For each instrument, you add an input transformer (track) that filters out all MIDI channels except the one you’ll use for that specific instrument (there’s already a preset for this).
  • Set all instruments to monitor (I place them inside a folder and simply click the monitor button for one, and the others automatically monitor).
  • Set the MIDI input for all instruments as the IAC Driver (if you set it to ALL, it won’t work). The channel should be set to ANY.
  • That’s it!