Freeze does not work properly for External instruments, and I think this is a BUG, at a minimum.
I have six or so analog synths, mono or bi-timbral, at best. What I want to do: record a synth, say a Moog Voyager, via MIDI on an Instrument Track, edit the MIDI if need be, and then Freeze the Instrument Track, capturing the audio. Then, I can (or should be able to) create another Instrument Track using that synth, and so on.
The BUG: Cubase does NOT release its allocation or whatever of the External Instrument upon Freeze, even with the “Unload Instrument when Frozen” box is checked. Again, this seems like a BUG BUG BUG, as: 1. there’s no difference in behavior when Freezing with or without the checkbox checked, and 2. There is NO POINT in keeping the External Instrument allocated after Freeze, as no MIDI or audio I/O will happen on that Instrument afterwards, and 3. Why else would that checkbox be there? By checking the box, I’m telling Cubase to Freeze the track and to let go of the Instrument so I can use it again. Leggo my Eggo!!!
I first reported this as a BUG but got told that this was the way it’s supposed to work, which IMHO is clearly bogus, as I just stated. The easiest thing would be to acknowledge this as a bug and simply fix the behavior, i.e., when the box is checked to “Unload Instrument when Frozen” well, hey, how about we actually unload the instrument when frozen.
One could further argue that Cubase really shouldn’t be trying to manage allocation counts of External Instruments at all!! I may have a whole mess of synths on the other end of an audio in, e.g., from a keyboard mixer, so it’s on me to set that up so that the right synth plays at the right time. Cubase can’t possibly know about this, so why should it even try to make it so that I can only have one External Instrument defined for an audio input or MIDI port. In other words, it would be much much better if Cubase did LESS here.
Instrument Tracks can be a beautiful thing, managing the MIDI and audio of a track as one single track. Not only is this much less cluttered than two or even three tracks: the MIDI, the Audio, and the Folder track to keep them together, it enables me to cut / move segments around, still keeping them together.