external vst instrument help


I wanted to get pointed in the right direction as someone fairly new to Cubase (had used Cubase a million years ago and am now trying C7 as my main sequencing software).

I have a considerable amount of external midi gear. I previously would have given each piece a separate midi and audio track. I am trying the external vst instrument route now for those which are stereo. certainly keep things a little cleaner for composing with fewer visible tracks to look at.

That said, I want to better understand the limitation of external vst intruments. In instances where I want to address a synth on multiple midi channels, have some parts quantized and other parts not quantized, or to record different audio passes from that instrument on to separate audio tracks I’m a little stuck. I can do any one of the above on an external vst instrument track. I am not sure if it can be used in a more sophisticated way, or if breaking into separate midi and audio tracks is the solution as obvious as it is. Breaking into separate midi and audio tracks would allow for everything I want to do, so I have a totally acceptable option. I just wanted to understand more about external vst intrument tracks before removing the instruments from my template and making changes in the vst connections in my composing template.

Directing me to a part of the manual that would help me understand practical applications of the external vst instruments for my above usage - which seems like fairly normal usage other than it’s not necessarily just a single part per instrument. I don’t see a way to duplicate the instrument as I would with a midi track targeting that same synth, so either I’m hitting the limitations of external vst instruments or I don’t know how to properly utilize them. Any and all help most appreciated so I can clean up my template and get some composing done.

As far as I know regarding external instruments (WARNING: It’s not much, lol), most hardware synths only have one stereo (2 mono) output. This means you are only be able to record audio of two mono instrument patches (L & R), record all instruments patches in Stereo (L + R), or record each individual instrument patch in stereo one at a time. Unless your hardware synth has multiple audio outputs (some come with an integrated audio interface), then this is the limit.

As far as triggering MIDI from Cubase, this should be possible as long as you designate the appropriate MIDI channel to each patch. IOW, you can have multiple MIDI tracks triggering up to 16 patches of your external instrument (or hardware synth) from Cubase. You could possibly even trigger more than this based on the capabilities of your hardware synth.

This video should help: - YouTube

EDIT: Here’s another video (done in Cubase 4 though): Cubase 4 Tutorial: External MIDI Instrument - YouTube

Thanks for your reply

I have many multi tambral synths, and some have many outputs.

Let’s say I want to use my ESQ1. It wouldn’t be unusual for me to want to use more than one sound on it at a time via different midi channels. I’m not sure how to have multiple midi tracks on different channels within a vst external instrument track. I know how I could do it with multiple midi tracks all targeting the ESQ1. Then I could record the audio from each different voice to seperate audio tracks for mixing and processing.

I’ll happily do it with multiple separate midi and audio tracks, but I don’t want to overlook any ability of a vst external instrument track to have multiple lanes on different midi channels and such.

You need to use VST Instrument Tracks (F11) in order to setup a multi-timbal hardware synth, just like you would with a software synth. The following thread has a step by step guide, plus the corresponding pages in the manual and screenshots, to set this up: