Generic midi controllers, VST control, quick controls OH MY!

So I’m still trying to figure this out and having a bit of trouble discerning the differences between these approaches and looking for some help. I have a FaderFox PC12, which has 72 knobs. I have various VST channel strips and EQs in different tracks.

What I’m trying to do is to control a vast number of parameters on different tracks. Often the same plugin might be on different tracks which further complicates the matter. Regardless, I’m looking to control way more than 8 parameters per track.

From what I’ve seen, that means I need to use Generic Midi Remote. My USB controller is recognized and I am able to select it.

My concern is that when open the VST, when I right click on the various buttons, the only option I’m given is to send it to a Quick Control. Now in its name, it does look like this is an “easy” feature which doesn’t apply to me, this is fine.

But what I’m trying to do is something like “Neve EQ” plugin, I might have that on Track 1, and on Track 2. So I would need something like Neve EQ (Instance 1) - LowEQ, and Neve EQ (instance 2) - Low EQ.

I’ve done a little bit of reading and I can 't tell if this is a limitation of not having a “sanctioned” controller. I don’t think this controller has Mackie Control.

Hi,

As far as I can see FaderFox PC12 doesn’t support Mackie.

Quick Controls are meant to control parameters dynamically. So you assign 8 of your HW controllers to this “virtual” Quick Control. Then in Cubase, you can freely and dynamically assign any parameter of the given Track (Track Quick Control) or VSTi (VST Quick Control) to the Quick Control (slot). The advantage is, you can easily remap it and you have own dedicated mapping for every single track.

Generic Remote is meant to control “static” parameters. Like Transport. Or Volume Fader of selected track. Or Volume Fader of track nr. X. Or the 2nd parameter of the 3rd Insert slot of track nr. Y.

The Generic Remote is able to address tons of stuff - including VST Automation parameters exposed by the various instrument and fx plugins.

But not all plugins expose all of their parameters as VST automation by default. Quite a few plugins need to be told what to expose - and then the Generic Remote can connect to it.

Generally the Steinberg VSTs are configured to have lots of their controls exposed as VST parameters by default, so Steinberg is setting a good example.

But for example, Omnisphere doesn’t expose much by default, but can expose hundreds of parameters, if told to do so. And one can make those assignments a default for the plugin. But it can be quite a bit of one-time work.

In Kontakt, it depends entirely on the active instrument, which VST parameters are available by default and with quite a few libraries one has to do all that work oneself. And since it’s by Kontakt instrument or snapshot, it could be an insane amount of work for a library with dozens or hundreds of instruments and/or snapshots.

And there are some plugins that only expose a subset of their UI parameters as VST controls (like a bunch of Eventide stuff).

Also important to know:

Cubase treats most Generic Remote items by position, and not by name. – This is not obvious when working with the Generic Remote Editor, since it always shows the current names of the current positions. But if you move tracks around or open a different project you’ll see that the names shown in the Generic Remote have magically changed according to the new positions.

So to use the Generic Remote across multiple channels, you probably need to be extremely consistent in setting up and using templates which effectively guarantee that the order of tracks/channels is the same across all of your projects.

e.g. I set up my projects that my final stereo bus is always the first channel, and the submix group channels and fx channels are also in predictable early positions (I always have 8 group channels and 8 fx channels, even if some of them end up unused in many projects). I’m using groups of 8, simply because I’m mostly using remote controllers with groups of 8 knobs, faders, buttons, etc.

Similarly with insert FX, they’re also positional within their channel. So if you want to Generic Remote connect those, you’ll probably want to have templates for your regularly used FX chains.


Side note: This probably isn’t as important to you, but it’s entirely possible to send Generic Remote input to the Quick Controls slots as well (i.e. do NOT connect your remote controller to the 2 different Quick Slot items in the Studio Setup, but if so desired, connect via the Generic Remote as follows:

Track Quick Controls:

VST Quick Controls:

This is a trick to make the Quick controls work with multiple hardware remote controllers, but that’s another topic :grinning:

Hi, Thank you very much for the comprehensive reply!

I’ve seen this method, but as far as I can tell that still limits to 8 per track unless I’m reading this wrong.

Hi,

Yes, only 8 Track Quick Controls are available.

Yes indeed - only 8 track Quick Controls.

However for VST Instruments you can effectively get 16 Quick Controls:

  • 8 via the VST Quick Controls
  • another 8 via the Track Quick Controls, configured so they point to 8 different parameters

If that’s worth the effort is another question :crazy_face:


What would be so much better if one small, but crucial limitation or bug (what you call it may depend on whether you work for Steinberg or not :grinning:) would be overcome:

In the Right Zone, the VSTi tab, you can see and set multiple pages of VST Quick Controls. So via the dropdown menu of Page 1, Page 2, … you can make the 8 VST Quick Controls connect to different sets of 8 VST paramaters each. But you can’t remote control that drop down menu. If that was remote controllable, that would be so amazing for hardware control of instruments, since one can customize those pages via the “Remote Control Editor” panel.

It’s quite disappointing, since one can even cycle through the currently active VST Quick Control instrument via the Generic Remote (i.e. independent of the currently selected Track in the Project window). That’s really fantastic and seems to hint at a design goal of allowing easy full remote control for VST instruments via Quick controls. – So why that one remaining feature making it possible was never implemented (or fixed) remains a mystery to me.


p.s. And while there’s been a post many months ago from someone in the development team that an overhaul for better remote control stuff in Cubase is in the plans, I’m personally somewhat pessimistic of it being anytime soon, given the high priority of dongle abolition and MacOS M1 native adaptation probably taking a lot of Steinberg’s best people’s attention and work.

For VST instruments you can use the VST quick controls and map the order using the Remote Editor, and then change pages using the controls in the rack view (VSTi tab on the media sidebar):-

image

Which gives you full control on instruments, however, SB in their wisdom never made the page button mappable via external device. Incredible oversight, I have no idea why…?!

The only saving grace is that you can rest your mouse over where the page number is and mouse scroll to go between them easy. I use a trackball with scrollwheel so quite simple.

Sadly there’s no way of mapping inserts in that manner.

The other option is to use an MCU emulator, which gives you an MCUI screen on the computer and you map a generic controller to the emulator - works great, but you need to be quite familiar with a real MCU to get the most from it, and also run through a virtual MIDI port to filter the communications.

This works a treat with Win 10:- MCU Emulator – Sender Spike

You can use that software to only be a screen, and that map your controller based on MCU specs, so the Mackie input in Cubase is from your controller, and the output goes to the MCU emulator.

Is it possible to add more than 8 Quick Controls. With Cubase 12 i only managed to use 8. I would like to expand it to 16. Is it possible?

Hi,

No, there is still the 8 Quick Controls limit. But, are you aware of the new focus Quick Controls concept in Cubase 12?