External MIDI Instrument As VST Warning

In my Cubase Pro 11 setup, all external synths have their audio recorded, not their MIDI.

While learning to set up an external synth as a VST External Instrument in Cubase Pro 11, a stern warning is presented: “. . . proceeding will disconnect all other uses of this MIDI . . .”


I use a Yamaha MM6 MIDI output to play (1) all Cubase VST instruments including The Grand 3 [which is really 5] (2) two Yamaha TX-7s (3) recording a MIDI track consisting of “long notes” that select which Groove Agent 5 pattern to play at which section of the song (4) recording a MIDI track of hand-played drum hits for Groove Agent 5.

Question 1
Will proceeding to set up my Yamaha MM6 as VST external midi instrument REALLY stop my current use of MIDI?

Question 2
Will setting up my Yamaha MM6 then setting up my Korg M1 as MIDI external VST instruments REALLY disconnect the MM6 setup?

Anybody “been there; done that?” A little reassurance would be most welcome.


Hi you, I think I can answer Question 2:
You can set up any number of external instruments (there might be a limit, but I did not come across it) - as long as they dont share the same audio connections and midi connections. In other words: If you have e.g. three external instruments, each of them using its own midi ports and audio connections (your interface has to provide the necessary number of course), you can use all instruments at the same time. The key word in the warning is “THIS”…

I am not sure about Question 1.

Hi Ellen!

Thanks for the help!

The warning must mean something.

My Cubase MIDI in comes from
Yamaha MM6
Roland GR-50
2 Yamaha TX 7s
Scarlett 18i8

Its an old-fashioned MIDI chain [thru to next in]. I have an active MIDI distribution box but don’t use it because there is no latency or stuck notes going on, sometimes referred to as “Dreaded MIDI Choke.”

The Cubase MIDI out goes like this
Scarlett 18i8
MM6 in

If I can add a MIDI external instrument as a VST I’ll do it but don’t want to go past that warning without a good answer to Question 1.

Thanks again!


Hi, you are welcome. I will check whether I can answer Question 1 - I have a Motif XF and I will check how things behave when I set up an external instrument for it in Cubase 12.

See you :slight_smile:

Hi you,
i did the following: I created an external instrument for my xf - and I DID NOT connect it to a “midi device” (which would be possible in the setup dialogue). In this case the midi of the XF is available as input for whatever i want to control - in other words: I can both control the xf and any other vst via the XF. Then I connected the XF external instrument as a midi device (for no reason…) and the behaviour is the same. I did not get any warning - could you describe/post the whole warning and what your steps to set the eternal Instrument up were?

Hi Ellen!

Wow! You are so thorough! Thank you!

So I was playing follow the leader with Greg Ondo when I got cold feet at the warning message.

Greg’s video essay is here.
youtube dot com/watch?v=d_S63n3V71Y

Rolling your own External MIDI instrument as a VST is, to me, a VERY challenging procedure. I’ve read the Cubase Pro 11 manual over and over but no light bulb went off over my head. How Greg got from the manual to the procedure he teaches at YouTube is beyond me.

Later today I will fumble through Greg’s video again while documenting the steps. When the warning appears, I’ll screen shoot it.

Thank you again for your ideas and enthusiasm.


Hi Ellen!

I did as you requested. I went through the process taking notes as I went. I’ll try pasting the rfid file here and see what happens.

Greg Ondo’s
External MIDI Instrument Method

Greg made a colossal mistake by using a keyboard that hooks up to the Mac with USB. Because of this, he completely left out the step of creating a VST instrument from scratch. Bummer.

1.	Studio > More Options > MIDI Device Manager
2.	Click Install Device button
3.	There was no Yamaha MM6 device, so I chose Yamaha MM  

4.	Close the MIDI Device Manager window
5.	Project > Add Track > MIDI
6.	Choose the YAMAHA MM device  

Pasted Graphic 1

7.	Set MIDI In To All MIDI Inputs
8.	Set output to Yamaha MM (Scarlett 18i8 USB) 

Pasted Graphic 2

9.	Make a MIDI recording. Just like in Greg’s video, we can see the MIDI in Cubase but cannot hear it.  

10.	Go to Studio > Audio Connections
11.	Go to the External instruments tab  

12.	Click Add External Instrument
13.	Click Associate MIDI device and choose the Yamaha MM device
14.	Click the triangle to the left of Yamaha MM device to display the output choices
15.	Click the triangle to the left of Return Bus 1  

16.	In the positions where Not Connected is displayed, select the Scarlett 18i8 input ports where the audio will be presented. In my system this is 18i8 port 7 and 8.  
17.	Immediately the warning appears.  

This is the oh oh moment for me. Continue or not . . . that is the question.

OHh now I see -could it be the case that the audio ports that you are trying to assign as audio returns are already used somewhere else in audio connections?

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And let me add: Did you realize that the warning that you described in your last post differs from what you wrote in the first / inital post? …?

Hi Ellen!


I think I have learned enough to come to an intelligent (?) conclusion.

Using an external MIDI Instrument As a VST instrument is not a worthwhile endeavor.

(1) It is very difficult to set up
(2) If forces the artist who records audio to record MIDI, instead
(3) It forces the artist to GIVE UP two precious inputs in the hardware DAW interface.

I’m already using a passive four channel mixer to merge the audio from my Korg M1 and Yamaha MM6 into audio inputs 7 and 8 of the eight-channel Scarlett 18i8. This is not so much for the purposes of recording, but for the purposes of learning twin keyboard performing.

My sincere thanks to Ellen for helping me and to Greg Ondo for his excellent training video on YouTube.


Hi you,

there is a good solution for your setup imho. I understand that you have connected your external instruments to cubase (audio) via a mixer and use 2 of your interface’s audio ports for the sum of these signals. It is logical that cubase this way cannot “know” to which of th external keyboards the audio signals belong. This is why it requests unique audio ports for every external instrument (which is absolutely logical and consistent).
The solution for cases like yours is to set up a single external instrument with whatever phantasy name you like to give it and use this for the total of your physical external instruments. What you benefit from this is firstly the ability to record the audio easily (or even use features like bounce) and you also benefit from latency compensation (in this case for the total of your external instruments).

That is the way I would do it in your case :slight_smile:
BR, Ernst

Hi Ellen!

You are a Dedicated Champion for sure. Back when I was the Chief Engineer at Sunwest Recording Studios (at Sunset & Western in Hollywood) upon meeting you, I would hire you immediately. You have that very rare combination of intellect, drive and helpfulness.

Your idea is well taken and brilliant. If I had a two input interface I would work until I realized your idea. I am, however, a “throwback” to an earlier time in sound engineering history—a time exemplified by Phil Specter (before his crime spree). He would fill a big recording studio with ALL the musicians to complete the entire orchestration for a record, right down to the tambourine and castanet players. He would drive the music executives crazy because, with all those expensive strings, horns, percussion, rhythm section players, singers and the primary artist waiting (and being paid) he would go out in the studio to work on the sound of the tambourine. He would come back to his control room chair, use the talkback and say, “OK. Let’s try one.” The two track would be put into record. All the musicians and the nervous sound engineer would get it just right. Phil would jump up and say, “That was great; thank you!” and walk out. Job done. Record finished.

The (now nearly obscure) point I’m trying to get to is that in the old way of doing things in the studio, players would be able to hear all the other musical parts because all the players were present. They would play WITH each other instead of (like today) playing all by themselves as one track is added at a time.

Right now, with eight audio inputs, I can record drums, bass, keyboards, guitars and singers all at the same time and all on separate “tracks” in Cubase. This leaves only “sweetening” (strings, horns) to be added to finish the song.

In my peculiar way of working by myself, I must IMAGINE the other parts already playing along with me while I’m recording one of them. Then, all I have to do is record all the remaining parts from my imagination into Cubase.

In the really really old days, all the composers had was blank orchestral score paper and a pen. They could hear every part played by every player in an entire orchestra and choir as they worked to write down all the notes for each performer to play or sing. In the movie Amadeus, a demonstration of this extraordinary skill is portrayed.

I have really really good luck. Part of my luck was being invited into the rock band Spirit and jumping from being a Chief Engineer to becoming a “rock star” bass player and vocalist in one evening. Part of my good luck was receiving help from YOU. Thank you for helping me through this exploration.


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What can I say - thank you for your so kind words. I am 61 btw. and my “personal musical history” is merely amateurish. Together with one of my brothers and 5 other friends we had formed a band decades ago here in Vienna/Austria. We were no “cover band” - instead our goal was to play music that was strictly for ballroom dancing - and bar music. So mainly instrumental - which was rare at that time already. My brother and myself arranged all songs for our band - by writing scores most of the time. Later - when family life brought a natural end to the band-life we switched to “home music” with Cubase as our daw - actually it had not been a daw back then… ATARI-days ;o).
I have studied computer science (as one of the early generations of doing so) and technology is a kind of second or third hobby. Since a couple of years I am working self-employed as a coach, facilitator and advisor for organisations and people in change. My family life is happy, even though full with “real life” (a handycapped daughter, two of my four sons with serious mental issues and one that died very early). I enjoy what is possible - and life and people. It is a great thing to meet people like you here… thank you very much again!

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