Cubase 9 Pro play vsti notes transposed down by half steps


I’m a musician and composer/arranger, a long time user of Cubase (I’ve been using it since Cubase Element 4).
Recently I have just purchased a brand new Cubase 9 Pro (not upgrade, since there was promotion yielding similar price in my town) and having problem with it.

What happened is: I imported my .cpr session template from my Cubase Studio 5.5 and start to import a MIDI file to work on my project (this is the first time I’m trying it in Cubase 9 Pro after previously done it thousands times in Cubase Studio 5.5). After putting the MIDI imports to the corresponding instrument in the template, when I hit play, what I hear is: all notes of the instruments are all transposed down by half steps! Yes, all of them! (I’m perfect pitched, so I can straight away detect this by my ears).

I checked the pitch bend on the VSTi, checked -pitchbends are all in center position. So, I did a few tests to confirm my ears:

  1. I change the HMT Depth to 0, HMT Type to None. Same result, no change.

  2. I bounced some parts of the song (instrument only) with both Cubase 9 and 5. Listen to them in both Cubase and Audacity. Result: both bounced tracks sounds the same pitch (both transposed down by half step in my ears). I created new Cubase project, imported the audio, and do VariAudio Pitch & Warp of the bounced audios -and they confirms the notes are the same. But I still don’t believe the result, so I proceed to the 3rd test.

  3. I place my smartphones near my speaker to record the playback (exactly the same part) using both Cubase 9 and 5. Listen in both Cubases. This time they did sound different! The one recorded with Cubase 5 sounds the actual notes while one in Cubase 9 sounds transposed down by half step. Cubase VariAudio also confirmed it (using the same step as step 2).
    The original note C (recorded in Cubase 5) of the song is still shown as C by VariAudio, while one recorded by Cubase 9, the C shows as B -and this is also true for all other notes -e.g. VariAudio shows the E in my composition as E (playback recorded using Cubase 5), and shows the same E as D# (playback recorded using Cubase 9), etc.

So my question is, how to make Cubase 9 sounds the note as it is -not transposed down. It’s very distracting for me to hear Cubase 9 plays the song not in my original key.


  • The session template basically contains orchestral template with hundreds of MIDI tracks (as I’m using lots of VSTi).
  • I’m using Vienna Ensemble Pro to host all of my VSTi (mainly VSL instruments with some Kontakt 5 instruments, with Vienna Suite). However, during the check recordings, the VEP remains open while opening/closing Cubase 5 and 9. Both Cubase opens the same cpr file (I open and close Cubase 5 and 9 many times in different sequence during these recordings), and hence, everytime connecting to the exact instance of VEP (with different result).
  • My system is Windows 7 Ultimate on Xeon 2640v4

I also attach the picture of VariAudio of both playback recordings using Cubase 9 and 5

Please help

Best Regards
Cubase 9 Sounds Transposed Down by Half Step.png


I’m sorry to hear this but I have no real suggestions as to what happened or why. As you know, Cubase doesn’t do diatonic transposition, but if previous projects need a simple half-step adjustment to be in correct pitch that can be done from the info line.

For any new projects, things should be OK. Sorry I don’t have an immediate solution.

I could be way off the mark here, but is your Cubase 9 Pro set to the same sample rate as your Cubase 5? (a change from 44.1 Kh to 48 Kh does give an audible pitch change of approximately one semitone)