Can somebody help me with the basics please?

I have just installed Cubase 5 onto my laptop. For now, I only want to import a midi file and play it. Hopefully it will sound better than media player.

I can import the midi file but when I play it, I can’t hear it. I can hear the click track if I turn that on. Is there something basic I need to do (Like tell it what to use to make the sound) Is there not a GM default?

Sorry to be a bozo…

You need to load a VSTi in the VST Instruments Rack and select it as the output of a MIDI track. There’s a legacy plug called Universal Sound Module that’s available on Steiny’s FTP site that’s General MIDI. You can use Halion, but you need to assign the individual sounds to each part as it isn’t GM.

You can also use an Instrument Track and load the VSTi there.

Thanks for that. I really am a bozo though. Where do I start? For now I just want to get GM playing well and then maybe look to start changing some of the sounds using Halion.

Here’s a link to USM. Get the .dll and content. Put it somewhere and point to the folder in VST 2.x Plug In Paths in Plugin Info. You need to re-start Cubase to recognize it. Load it in the VST Rack and select it as the out of a MIDI track. Drag the MIDI file to that track.

OK. I’ve saved the files. I need to find ‘plug in info’ now

It’s under Devices.

Found it.

Where’s the VST rack? Is that ‘devices’ ‘vst instruments’?


OK. I’ve put the USM into the 1st field

Now select it as the output of a MIDI track.

Erm…how do I do that?

(Told you I was a bozo!)

Via the Inspector for the MIDI track.

I imported the file and then changed each midi channel to USM. Is that right?

You want to change each MIDI channel’s output to USM. The MIDI section of the Getting Started Manual will show you what to do. Have a quick read through it.

I think I’ve done that. I guess I can then experiment with the Halion sounds which I assume are better

Are you able to play the MIDI track now? You can get free GM VSTi’s at KVR Audio.

Yes, it’s playing. I can change the sounds too. It sounds very artificial but I guess that’s the quality of the midi file. Are the ones you pay for much better?

Remember, a MIDI file is just data and not sound. The thing that would be wrong with a MIDI file is the timing. The VSTi is what provides the sound quality.

You can quantize the MIDI file to get a more human feel and adjust velocities, etc…

You need to listen to the demo’s of the purchased files as just like anything there are good and bad.

Yes I appreciate that. The instrument sounds are much better than media player for sure.It is the timing & velocity that makes it sound very mechanical. I guess the free file I downloaded to get it going wasn’t a very professional one. Are the paid for ones generally better?