Can I select MIDI instruments by changing MIDI channel


Here’s what I want - 16 midi tracks, each with a different instrument assigned, and each midi track has a distinct midi channel between 1 and 16. I change the midi channel on my keyboard, and a different instrument plays.

Here’s what I’ve got - I play the keyboard, and have to select a midi track to hear an instrument play. If I select 2x midi tracks, 2 instruments play. There is no difference between different midi channels selected on the keyboard.

Please - how do I get what I want? :smiley:



I don’t know that I would do 16 of them but I have 5-7 instruments setup that I work with in every song.

Gets a consistent sound like a band used to be. Also easy to move parts from one song to another.

You just click on the track you want to work on and you’re good to go.

Monitoring and record enable happens when you click on a track, changing incoming midi wouldn’t do that unless you figure out some command that would do it with the generic remote.

You can send program changes and change the voice you’re using but you’d still be on the same track.

One way to do this is:

Create one instrument track, and load it with the VST you want, and into it load the instruments you want.

Set the midi channel of the track to ‘any’.

Now, when you set your keyboard to a channel the instrument, on that channel will sound.

Create the midi tracks and set them all to midi channel ‘any’ as well, and route them all to the Instrument track.

Now, when recording on those midi tracks only the instruments on the channel your keyboard is sending will sound, but you will have to take care that you record on the correct midi track.

Additionally, you could set up an input translator to filter out the unwanted channels for the midi tracks.

Hi Tacman,

I won’t really be doing 16 instruments, this was just an example.

What you’ve suggested is what I already have, to change the instrument I have to change the Cubase track. I want to change instrument by changing the midi channel on the keyboard.



I am wondering if there is a solution for this, which seems like a legitimate question. Anyone ?
(Forgot to say I do not consider the Input Transformer as a good solution…)

1 Like

The question is of great importance. I use the DAW a lot for live performance and my projects always include playing multiple instruments at once, setting up my controller keyboards in split. I have a controller with simultaneous sending of 16 midi channels and a second one with 2 midi channels, which I can direct to the instrument of my choice. I do this easily in Logic Pro and Studio One, but each of these DAW has other issues that are pushing me to migrate and I’m only left with Cubase that I have in version 11. But something that should be extremely simple is as obscure as possible or does not have the function, which is to be able to direct each of my 18 channels (16 + 2) from two controllers to each (track/rack) VST instrument. I’ve tried creating midi tracks, I’ve tried creating racks and not tracks. What it seems to me is that Cubase has the selection of midi channel 1 to 16 for output only, conditioning in the VST the input channel, but not having the option 1 + 16 when selecting the input. I already thought that my two controllers were automatically recognized only as if they were only able to send one channel at a time and I tried to add manually to try to include 16 channels, but all to no avail. In Studio One Logic it’s something absurdly simple, but with its own problems, being the cubse one more DAW that I’m abandoning, this one in particular for lack of practical, simple and adequate support, which I find with other companies. At the moment I’m trying to get to know the DAW Luna from UAD, weigh the value of a bundle.

Not obscure, actually :

  1. Set 18 instruments tracks (or MIDI ones, if multitimbral VSTi are involved) : the 16 first ones should have the Input Routing drop down list set to the MIDI port corresponding to your first controller - the 2 last ones, of course, connected to the MIDI port related to your second one. As you have two different MIDI ports involved, you potentially have also 32 MIDI channels at disposal.
  2. activate for ALL these track the Input Transformer as ‘Local’ (button on top right of the track inspector, just below the track label).
  3. Select for each track the already existing Channel Filtering>Pass CH xx channel preset needed, being sure that the module in which you select the preset is active (on/off toggle on the left of its name should be lighted in blue).

Done (perfectly working here, no matter @Dr-Mad statement)…

Yes you can!
Obviously depends on the exact situation but if you have a multitimbral VSTi suach as Halion sonic SE simply create an instrument track . Assign the various instruments to the channels in Halion.
Then create a midi track and assign output to Halion and set chammel to any. When you play a key on your keyboard whatever sound is on that channel will play. (e.g if drums are on chn10 and bass on chn2 if you send midi from your keyboard on chn2 it will play bass, chn 10 will play drums).

I think this is what you want? Good luck :slight_smile:

I don’t understand. How do you implement your step 1 when you have both a keyboard and a Midi controller needed as inputs for the same MIDI track ?

Maybe I missed something, but it didn’t seem that the OP was asking for a setup with two MIDI controllers on the same track.

But even if it was the case, it is still doable, as long as you have two different MIDI ports available in the Input Routing drop down box of the track inspector. In this case, the two MIDI controllers would have to use the same MIDI channel for this to work efficiently, the user selecting one controller or the other as wanted.

And if there is really the need to make them both work at the same time, there’s always either the MIDI Y merge box or, if existing, the eventual Thru connectors (never had to use one of these workaround, to be honest, as always managed to have an interface with two MIDI input ports - currently, a Fireface UCX), all my external instruments being connected on just one MIDI output port via a MIDI patchbay (an antiquated Akai ME30P that is still working…).

…which is why I said the Input Transformer is not a good solution. I love Cubase but I think Steinberg missed something there. There always are workarounds, as you mentioned, but it should be simpler than that.

Let’s be honest, here. I’m not a DAW specialist, far from it : I have actually used only three of them during variable amount of periods : Cubase, Reaper and Sonar (at its 8.5 version, I don’t even remember how it works, as I gave up with it in just one month : never really got used to it…).

All I can say is that even with my limited experience, I have never seen a DAW which natively allows the use of two MIDI controllers at the same time : it’s one or the other. Even Reaper, which is considered by its aficionados to be the ultimate routing gold mine, doesn’t allow this. But still to be honest, it indeed allows a kind of input filtering by allowing to choose the MIDI channel that a given track will receive. That’s great but, IMO, it’s not that much greater than the input transformer set as ‘Local’ with the relevent filtering preset…

Thanks Cubic13, your guidance solved it perfectly, I just tested it following the steps you indicated. I wouldn’t have found this solution if it weren’t for your immense collaboration, even for lack of time to continue researching and find this solution, which I still find unintuitive (that’s why I meant obscure or hidden), but in fact Cubase has the solution. I think that next to the controller selection, there could only be the option to choose the channel, without having to transform something that is basic and essential. The path is slightly long, not so much of course, to activate on each track if there are many, but it solves my question perfectly. I greatly appreciate your help, wishing you every success.

1 Like