Can't automate Activation of VSTi on Instrument Track

I think this deserves an issue tag but others might go with feature-request - let’s use both.

  1. Load and open a VSTi like Halion on an Instrument Track
  2. Enable Automation Read/Write on the Track
  3. Start the Transport and toggle the “Activate Effect” several times to turn the VSTi on and off
  4. Stop the Transport and return to the start
  5. Start the Transport and notice that the VSTi is not automated to turn on and off
  6. Also if you examine the list of automation none are marked with an asterisk to indicate data

I think the state of this control should be able to be automated

In many cases there are easy workarounds like Muting the Track. But for VSTi’s that can generate sound internally (drums, arpeggiators, etc) this creates problems because it also Mutes any effects, like delay, you might like to continue hearing.

I think this is not a good idea. If you disable a VSTi it gets unloaded from the processing chain, but this can cause an interruption in audio. But it depends on the VSTi.
I have several Arturia instruments who create dropouts in such cases, sometimes.

Disabling is not muting, btw.

With a real synth you wouldn’t unplug it from the power supply or pull out the cables to make it stop sounding.
You will press the mute button on the mixer.

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What’s needed is a better – and uniform – implementation of instrument bypass.


That button cannot/shouldn’t be automated, same for effects but those has bypass buttons.
Since VSTi are always handled by parts, you can mute parts.

What would the ultimate result?
To prevent the output of audio, or to prevent the input of MIDI data coming in?

Seems like both those actions are both covered via MIDI part and audio channel mutes. The insert bypass makes sense as they are in a signal chain. But a VSTi is only reacting to the notes coming in, and pushing audio out the other side.

Trying to get my head around a real world use case for this that can’t be catered for with what’s there already.

Nope, there’s a third scenario that’s not covered: mute the output from the VSTi, but not the rest of the channel. Do note that this is only an issue with “self-generating” instruments, such as drum machines, arpeggiators, generative synths etc. Some of these respond to “instrument bypass” automation, but not all – and even those that do, do it differently. I’d really, really like a “mute instrument” parameter that is uniformly implemented for all instrument channels, ie. from Cubase itself, not according to the whims of the instrument makers.


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Good point. So then a new automatable control to mute the audio output of the VSTi itself is what’s needed.