Help with Midi (Can Cubase even do this)

Ok Cubase experts, I have a question about the Midi implementation in Cubase 5 and want to know if it can do what I want it to.

During our Church services, we use Cubase to play certain backing tracks for musicians, vocalists, etc. However, all we have done at this point iss just play back audio tracks. I would like to add a MIDI track, and have it cue our lighting console for scene changes to correspond with the music being played. I have googled and searched the forums and have found lots of information about external midi controllers, triggering midi instruments, etc, but can’t find anything specific to what I am trying to do.

To trigger our lighting console, I need Cubase to send Midi continuous control messages in a specific format. The message format for scene changes on our lighting console is as follows:
0Bxh pp nn, where x is the MIDI channel (0-15 decimal), pp is the scene page (0-98 decimal) and nn is the
scene number (0-47 decimal).

Ideally, if I could “write” the midi trigger messages directly, that would be great, but if necessary, I could record them from the lighting controller and then rearrange the midi track to make the messages align with the audio files where we want the lighting changes to occur.

Is this possible?


The technical depth of the language behind Midi Continuous Controllers is beyond me. However, Cubase does record this information when you play a midi track.

You should be able to add a midi track. Play a simple sequence of notes, assign that track to a specific midi channel (just to be safe), and assign controller events to each note. This should then be recognized by the Midi software included in the lighting console.

Beyond that, the language of each event and how it is read by the console I couldn’t tell you.

This is off the top of my head so apologies if it’s not what you need.

Go ahead and connect the lighting console to Cubase and hit record. Once done, you can open a list edit window and have a look at the messages, learn what they are, edit them and/or copy paste to your heart’s content. (you might have to turn off the sysex filter if the device uses those instead of CC messages) This method will teach you about midi and is also faster than waiting for a response here.

Maybe you already got it done!

btw, a midi continuous controller message is already a midi message in a specific format; if it is indeed cc messages you need you can draw them in in the controller lane at the bottom of the key edit windows. (You might have to activate a lane using the drop down menu if it is the first time you are doing this.) Also, maybe read up on midi in the cubase manual.

good luck,


It’s a protocol named “Midi Show Control”. It’s requires recording and playing back SysEx messages, not CC, I think.

You’ll probably be better off running software designed for that alongside Cubase or dumping your sequences from other software as midi (if possible) into Cubase. They even show Cubase as a partner sequencer for this software. I assume once you get your show running you can dump the SysEx into Cubase to play it back.

Those are standard MIDI Controller messages.
So “pp” is the controller number, and “nn” its value.

There is a MIDI Monitor plugin in Cubase that you can use on a MIDI track and see what MIDI data is received on that channel.
What happens in the MIDI meter in the Transport Bar if you connect the lighting console as you would a master MIDI keyboard? Does the meter jump? Then there are good chances that you can just record the movement of your lighting console? Unless I overlook something obvious and that has happened!

Preferences/Midi Filter and turn off the sysex filter.
Is on by default.

Thanks to everyone for the help. It sounds like the consensus is plug it in, hit record in cubase, and see what happens. I’ll play with the options and such that were mentioned and will post back once I get a chance to test it.


Hello all, I use this setup. I have a Chauvet Obey 40 (but any dmx controller with MIDI will do). I use track 16 for my “lighting track” but again, any track will do. I have programmed all the scenes I need into the Obey 40 controller-each scene in the controller is assigned a MIDI note number (up to 128). Here’s the beauty of this setup. I open Cubase,load the project and as I’m playing back the song, I can “play” the lights (scenes)with my keyboard along with the music, recording just like a vst. If you goof or change your mind, just go in an edit just like an instrument.
(many times I do a one-man show using MIDI as backing and this has really worked out well-one less thing to think about) :slight_smile:

Okay, I got a chance to test this out today and was successful in recording and playing back the lighting cues. The good news, is that it works. The bad news, is that because of Elation’s midi formatting on this particular model (Show Designer 2), It’s not quite as easy and seamless as I had hoped. However, it will still work for what we want it to.

For those interested, the MIDI commands are, in fact, continuous control messages. The CC channel seems to map to the page number of the scene being played or recalled (minus 1 decimal), and the value of the CC message is the specific scene number (minus 1 decimal). However, there is apparantly more formatting in the MIDI messages than that simplified explanation because when I try to draw a new midi event on the timeline and adjust the relevant CC channel and value, it doesn’t do anything on the lighting console. The only messages that the lighting console seems to recognize are ones that I “played” from the console and recorded into Cubase. The upside though, is that once the CC message is recorded in cubase, I can manually change the value and it plays back correctly. This means I can record a MIDI message from each page on the lighting console, and then copy and paste them on the timeline and adjust the specific value as necessary to recall the specific scenes. In other words, I don’t have to record a MIDI command for each of the possible 4752 scenes on the lighting controller - only one for each of the 99 pages.

Additionally, playing back scenes on different CC channels (pages on the lighting console) works fine until Cubase playback is stopped. Then, for some reason, Cubase seems to send CC comands again causing the lighting console to revert to the last scene called on the highest CC channel (page number). I’m assuming there is probably a setting in Cubase to turn off the rebroadcast of CC information when stopping playback, but I found another workaround in Cubase by using automation to mute the MIDI channel after the last lighting cue has been called. With the mute engaged, the lighting console stays on the last scene called, regardless of what page it is on.

I should also note that I carried out my proof of concept testing by using Cebase LE4 and not Cubase 5. I’ll need to load up C5 and dig through it’s extra MIDI settings to see if it would be able to handle things more smoothly.

So, it is nice that this works, but there are some frustrations to it. It still beats trying to manually hit scene changes at exact times during songs.

Thanks again to everyone for the advice and guidance.


Cubase ‘resets’ or ‘turns off’ some specific midi controllers when you stop play and I don’t think this behaviour can be turned off (unless you globally turn chase midi off perhaps?). Examples of these would be Sustain (#7), Aftertouch, and maybe a few others. If you were to program your rig to use other CCs instead then you would avoid the problem. I find that I have to do this with VSTi’s sometimes.


Try turning your lighting controller on last in the boot chain. If there’s any running status commands or handshaking this should settle things down.

The setting you are refering to is Preferences>MIDI>Reset on Stop. Chase Events is in the same window.

One wonderful way to troubleshoot these kinds of problems is to get an old Windows laptop, anything from Windows 2000 upwards, a USB MIDI interface, and MIDI-OX … insert it between Cubase and your lighting controller and it will allow you to see exactly what’s being transmitted.

Well, I think changing the MIDI chase settings fixed the problem of recalling scenes unexpectedly. Thanks to Mike and Steve for the advice to check that.

I played around a little bit more and was able to create a new midi CC event from scratch and have it call the correct scenes. I think that last time I tried it, I tried to recall something on page 12 of the lighting controller but using CC channel 11. Only After digging around in Cubase today did I find that CC channel 11 uses Hex character “A” instead of decimal/Hex character 11. Since the lighting console only recognizes decimal characters and not HEX characters A-F, I realized that I needed CC channel 17 in Cubase to output character 11 and call the correct page on the lighting controller. (I may not have the numbers exactly right, but this should be enoughto explain the logic of why it wasn’t working.)

I programmed a simple lighting scene sequence for one song on Sunday, so we’ll give it a try and see how it goes. All my test run-through’s went perfectly.

Thanks again to everyone for the help and guidance.


This lot look handy. Actually one of the enquirers could be you.

and a useful looking tutorial:

I don’t know if they’re entirely helpful here but my search was just “lighting control midi programming” which seemed to get a few links. “Theatre lighting automation” plus “midi” “midi control” “cubase” or DAW might throw up some good sites too.
Sorry if they are links you’ve already come across. Cubase should do what you want as much as any midi keyboard controller but I think for a deeper explanation other theatre and show lighting sites may be quicker.
Happy new year all.