Cubase Pro 11 Sequencer switching instrument tracks live?

Hi all - I would like to use Cubase as a live performance sequencer - so do I need a MIDI track to send program change messages that select different instruments.
Do I need a MIDI loopback?

To be clear, I want to be playing, say, VST acoustic piano on Track 1 from a MIDI (USB) keyboard but sometime between beat 4 and the downbeat of the next measure I need the MIDI keyboard to switch to playing VST string ensemble on Track 2. It is not clear to me how to use a MIDI track in Cubase to select between different Cubase tracks, can someone help?

Thanks in advance.

You would Navigate to the desired track using the Generic remote.


So I would use the generic remote - how does the generic remote input get mapped to a MIDI track in Cubase? Then I use the MIDI channel 0 program change to jump to different tracks? Sorry, I couldn’t figure this out from the manual.

Oh, the action is ‘VST Quick ControlsManager’ but do I need a MIDI loopback program like LoopBE?

No. Not at all. :slight_smile:

I suggest you learn one thing at a time, won’t take long.

First route the midi device to a Generic Remote, have it learn the MIDI note or control you plan to use to switch tracks for the top slot in the upper pane, and set the command it performs in the top slot in the lower pane.

You only want a very simple command to start with. – Navigate up or down.

Come back once you’ve done that.

Couldn’t you set it up so the VSTi on Track 1 is using MIDI Channel 1 while Track 2 uses Channel 2. then just switch the Keyboard Controller to the desired MIDI Channel. That way you don’t need to mess with the Generic Remote at all.

Hey! Steve, it’s working! I had to follow your suggestions exectly (not my strength).

Raino the problem is I am too busy playing with hands and feet to change the channel. This is from Yes: Close to the Edge so it’s a little busy!

Are you playing along with other Tracks in Cubase or just using it as a Virtual Instrument?

Playing along with other tracks - like drums and bass.

In that case I assume your live playing is going to align with the Timeline in Cubase. If so you could use basic automation to mute/un-mute the Tracks, or toggle the Track’s Monitoring. to switch instruments.

Good point!

But how do you do like Steve was saying, having a MIDI track output coming back into Generic Remote? That seems pretty cool.

Well that is absolutely a great approach if you need to have a control that you physically interact with to trigger the change. But if you want to always switch sounds just before bar 96 using automation will be less prone to errors, where if you physically initiate the change there is always a chance of not executing correctly. It really depends on the use. If you are in a situation jamming where you need the sound to change when you decide on the fly it needs changing then the Generic Remote is the way to go. Where if it is a set of changes you always want to occur exactly the same then Automation is likely better.

raino I’m confused, yes, I am an engineer and I would much rather have automation, and you’re exactly right, I want to switch at exactly a certain point at exactly a certain time. I thought having a MIDI track issue those commands WAS automation.

I should mention that I am new to Cubase, never done a song with it.

That tends to work!

Note that the Generic Remote doesn’t do anything in terms of routing midi or audio into or out of tracks. It’s simply a feature that allows midi sent from some device to replace keyboard shortcuts.

If you want to automate it, there are a few ways… I think @raino started to show how to do that?

I should mention that I am trying to change not just 1, actually 3 to 6 MIDI keyboards to different VSTi’s. Making a MIDI track, sending MIDI messages out, using LoopBE to bring those as MIDI inputs, then using the remote control to change a particular MIDI device to a particular track number would work, although a little complex.

The Automation is always on a Track (of any type) and effects whatever is happening on that specific Track. Reading @steve 's mind (danger, danger) I’m pretty sure he thought you wanted to use a Keyboard Controller to switch sounds on the fly.

While using Virtual MIDI Cables to loopback can let us do some cool things, as I understand your situation I don’t think it is needed. Track Automation lets you control almost any element on the Track. In the first pic below “Inst 1” & “Inst 2” would each have a different sound, the Playback Cursor is in Bar 2 and you should only hear Inst 1 because the Track for Inst 2 is Muted. You can also see that around the start of Bar 3 there is Automation to change the Mute state on both Tracks. And in the 2nd pic you can see with Playback mid Bar 3 the Instruments playing have been swapped.

You can see the Automation Lanes by using this control


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Thanks raino, sorry, last night I reached my posting limit as a newbie to Cubase! I am going to play with this. Looking at the documentation I see there are some subtleties that are not fully enumerated, this is fascinating!