Now that with Cubase Pro 8 the line is blurring between Instrument Tracks and the Instrument Rack, I’d like to add a suggestion with the hope that a developer at Steinberg might actually read this.
I work almost exclusively with Vienna Ensemble Pro, which holds a very large virtual instruments template. The Instrument Rack in Cubase holds a couple of VEP plugin interfaces which connect to VEP and have many outputs enabled (around 80 per instance). The Cubase template has MIDI tracks set up accordingly, one per VEP instrument.
The signal flow goes like this:
Cubase MIDI track -> VEP Instance 1 on MIDI Channel 1
VEP Instance 1 MIDI Channel 1 -> Virtual Instrument in VEP with Output 1-2
Cubase MIDI track has Output 1-2 selected in the Fader section of its Inspector
Multiply this by around 70.
I switched to Cubase from Logic for two reasons, Expression Maps and the possibility to see, in the Inspector of any MIDI track, the corresponding audio fader and sends/inserts without having to go to the mixer or dig up audio channels. You can also rename the output to match the MIDI track name which is very useful. In my case this works wonders when it comes to workflow, especially when you have a large number of tracks in your template.
However, when set up in the above manner, it’s impossible to edit the automation for the audio output from within the MIDI channel (and MIDI automation doesn’t address the same functions, of course). So it’s still necessary to scroll down to the “VST Instruments” folder and find the corresponding audio output for the MIDI track, of which there are very many (and AFAIK Cubase can’t select the output track automatically for you).
A workaround is to move each and every VST Instrument output out of the “VST Instruments” folder, place it below its MIDI track and use Cubase 8’s “hide others” option in the new visibility menu. But this is cumbersome and could be much improved.
Since there’s no problem in a MIDI track knowing where its audio output is going (it’s shown in the Audio Fader section of the Inspector), there should be no real obstacle to editing the audio automation from within the MIDI track itself by clicking a toggle on the MIDI track (“Show audio output automation” or something).
This would finally combine MIDI and audio editing on the same track and would be very, very handy. I’m no developer but seeing how Cubase displays related information of MIDI and audio outputs this doesn’t seem like a great deal to implement.
Just my 2c.