Automation of 'Activate Effect' Synth on and off button for live set


I am setting up a live performance set in Cubase and I am trying to run the smallest buffer sizes possible. I have 5 VST synths in my set which I use for different songs. I current have all synths record enabled and just change synths for each song by muting the ones I don’t need. Since I can not automate ‘record enable’ I have done it this way. I have found that if I turn record enable off or turn off the synth (turn off the activate effect button) that I am not using in each song I can run the session at lower buffer sizes but it seems that you can not automate these parameters.

Does anyone know if you can automate these or have a better solution?

Thank you


That’s an interesting puzzle. Are you saying you’re using automation because the switch from one synth to another must be unattended? In other words, you can’t interactively press a key on a computer keyboard to do the switching?

Assuming you can’t use a computer keyboard, that’s going to be tricky in Cubase. The simplest way to do something like this is with a single multitimbral synth. For example, in Omnisphere you can load up to 8 synths and easily automate the switching between them. Or even better, you can you trigger the switching from your midi controller. Live mode in Omnisphere is ideal for something like this. Not only would it be easy to switch, it would also greatly improve your cpu usage.

1 Like

It’s possible to automate arming/disarming the recording or monitoring of tracks. The magic bullet is the Generic Remote Device portion of Cubase. Such remote maps will allow you to remote control nearly everything in Cubase.

This is a handy method to sometimes automate things that don’t have dedicated automation lanes/tracks of their own, such as arming/disarming tracks for recording/monitoring.

I.E. I have a Cubase Project that I enjoy using to emulate organ stops my with MIDI Controller’s MPC pads. I can use whatever VSTi instruments I like to build each ‘rank’. I can arm/disarm tracks (ranks) in Cubase by tapping MPC pads.

My 16 rank Project Template and Generic Remote map looks like this. I record stop changes in the red MIDI track called “Stops”.

I can tap an MPC pad, it lights up and arms a corresponding Cubase Track. Tap it again, and the light goes off, and disarms the track. In this particular case I’ve programmed the MPC pads of my MPK261 into a toggle configuration, and used simple Note On/Off events in the map, but you could opt to use CC events instead if it’s more convenient for you due to your controller, or the way Cubase handles note-off in the Key-editor (Cubase key-editor doesn’t deal with note-on and note-off independently, so you might be in for drawing some REALLY LONG notes across many measures using my approach if you want to enter them by hand in the key-editor…not a problem for me, but if it bugs you, go with CC events instead).

If I use a virtual MIDI port, I can also record my ‘stop changes’ in a standard MIDI track and/or enter/edit them with the MIDI Key-Editor. Such a MIDI track would in turn be routed through a Virtual MIDI port into the Generic Remote map.

The Workaround:

  1. Set up a virtual MIDI port. On Windows I personally like the free loopMIDI driver. On Mac you can create virtual MIDI ports with the native Core Audio cpl.

  2. Make a MIDI track in your project, set its output to your Virtual MIDI port, with channel “any”.

  3. Create a Generic Remote Device in Cubase, and assign MIDI events in to arm/disarm your track(s). In my example above I simply used Note On/Off events.

Don’t forget that Track order matters, so bind plenty of events to more tracks than you think you’ll need, and keep the stuff you wish to automate at the top of the project, and in the proper order. Be sure to set the MIDI INPUT of your remote map as the same Virtual MIDI port assigned above.

  1. Open your key editor for the track you created above, and draw in the events required to Arm/Disarm your tracks as needed. You could also elect to assign a MIDI controller as the input for such a track and record events live. Note, you’ll most likely want to keep this “Automation MIDI” Track at the bottom of your project order. You can also mute/unmute this automation at will, and keep as many different versions of an Automation Track as you like.

Using a Generic Remote Device/Map gives you more options than simply arming/disarming tracks in Cubase. You can opt to go even deeper, and enable/disable things inside the instrument rack itself…

So…it’s a pretty neat trick.
Want to automate something in Cubase that doesn’t have a native automation lane? Just assign it to a remote MIDI event in a Generic Remote Device, and route a MIDI track into it using a Virtual MIDI port. Abracadabra…Tadah…

Hi Glen.

Thanks for the reply!

I can actively press record enable while I play through the set but I guess I am trying to press play and forget/concentrate of playing the instruments. I also want to try and have the computer off stage. I could control it with MIDI but yeah I guess I am trying to only focus on playing.

Brain amazing!

I will give this a try asap.

Thank you


I forgot to mention above. Once you’ve built a Generic Remote, do export a copy as backup. Some people report losing their map if they don’t do this at least once before quitting the Cubase session they initially built the map in.


I have got as far as getting ‘RECORD’ on the VST track to turn on but I can’t get it to turn off. I have done this in the generic remote and a Virtual midi port, the 2nd option on your page

this video also helped a bit

I have gotten to the point where have the midi note at C (cc60) and I can get it to turn record on at the start of the note and I can also get it to turn record on at the end of the note but I can’t figure out how to turn ‘RECORD’ off. I have copied the settings from your screen shot with still not luck and also tried a different midi note set to ‘NOTE OFF’

I feel like I AM SO CLOSE!

I have been playing with the flag setting with no luck. Any help is appreciated. I have added a screen shot of my current settings


The reason it works for me, is because the MPC pads have an option built into the controller to make a pad ‘toggle’. The first time I push it, it ONLY sends note-on (and lights up). I press it again, and it ONLY sends note-off (and light goes off). So I bind a note-on to arm a track, and a note-off to disarm it.

If your controller doesn’t have buttons you can set to toggle mode, it might call for a different strategy.

If you don’t care about using a controller, and just want to draw the stuff in with the key-editor, keep in mind that Cubase doesn’t do note-off independently like some sequencers. Thus, you’d have to drag the note length for as long as you want record to stay armed. When the note ends, it should disarm.

Here is a copy of my remote-map using the toggled note-on/off method with an example project template.


If you are using CC, and binding record on to CCx,127, then doing a second entry to turn it off bound to CCx,0 doesn’t work then try this…

Stack two maps. Have one take care of arming (CCx,127), and a second map to disarm (CCx,0). They can both get input from the same MIDI port.

To save time, set up a map with just CCx,127 to arm the tracks. Export it, then import it into a fresh map, set it to the same port as your arming map, and change all the CCx,127 entries to CCx,0, should be good to go then.

There’s something about these remote maps that sometimes don’t let you stack the same CC on the same channel to do more than one thing. Cases may vary depending on what you are trying to bind, and to what commands. The good news is, you can stack more than one map as needed…

There might also be cases where fiddling with the many flags can get things working. It’s worth a try, but if all else fails, stack maps :slight_smile:


I need up getting to work. I put both on NOTE ON and made one CCx 127 (C3) for anoth NOTE ON and Made a CCx,0 for OFF. Works now with my having to use a controller to change anything.

I have attached an image if others want to have a look.

I also made sure I did an export. After I did it seemed to come back ok when I opened the project with out my having to load up a xml.

ONE THING TO NOTE if anyone else is doing this. If you move tracks up and down in you session it changes targets on the Generic Remote. Super annoying.

THANKS SO MUCH BRAIN! I don’t know how I would have got here otherwise