External Instruments - Live Audio Recording

I’ve watched so many YoutTube videos about using External Instruments in Cubase that I feel I could wear an “expert badge” on how to set up Ext Instruments for MIDI playback. Unfortunately, this seems to be where everyone stops… and the subject of capturing audio from a live performance is glossed over. I know I can render the audio, but that would mean capturing the MIDI data, and then playing it back again (which doesn’t work for some MIDI instruments, say, with breath controller data).

I understand that I could just define the instrument inputs as normal inputs and leave it there, but then I feel I’m missing out on all of the Cubase goodness, but as soon as I define the External Instrument I/O I can no longer assign the inputs from my interface to any audio tracks for live recording.

As a specific example - I have a drum brain that has 8 discrete outputs, so I’d really like to be able to capture the live (electronic) drums (2x stereo + 4x mono) on 6 tracks for later mixing.

Is there a way to have Cubase accept this configuration so I can enjoy the convenience of defined External Instruments, along side the ability to record the Ext Instrument return channels as well (to discrete tracks)?

Many thanks in advance!
P.S. I have sufficient physical IO on my audio interface for all this - the physical bit isn’t an issue.

I guess that you have the Pro version, otherwise, what follows won’t work…

  1. Be sure that the involved instrument has been created in the External Instruments panel of the Studio>Audio Connections window, with the relevent audio inputs selected in its Return bus.
  2. You 'll have to define a ‘dummy’ bus, as a kind of link between the audio return of your instrument and an audio track to record it, in the Groups/FX panel of the same window, with No bus selected in the Output Routing column. I’ll call it _render.
  3. Create a MIDI track and set its Output routing to its related VST instrument channel.
  4. Set the Output Routing of the VST instrument channel to _render.
  5. Create an Audio track with the newly created bus _render as Input Routing choice.

Should work this way, after being sure that the Monitor button of the MIDI track is activated, as well as Record Enable button of the Audio one.

EDIT : you should get something like this - the audio event has been directly recorded from a Yamaha TX802 defined as an External Instrument (with two ADAT inputs as Return bus channels).

Thanks so much for this - I had read about making groups somewhere else, but I wasn’t sure if that was a “best practice” thing or not. It still feels a bit like a workaround (as I can’t see why the input bus becomes exclusive when it’s attached to an instrument) but it does work.
The only trouble I had was with the additional inputs (as I have 6 busses) - but once I found the option to turn on additional outputs it came together nicely.
Many thanks again!

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