How do I get Cubase Pro to see multiple MIDI devices & keep their MIDI channels separate?

I apologize if this is a dumb question, but I have been looking through menus & trying everything I can think of, & have been looking everywhere I can in the manual for this info & I cannot find where or how to set this. How do I get Cubase Pro to see multiple MIDI devices at the same time & keep their MIDI channels separate? I’ve got two MIDI keyboards. One is set to send on MIDI channel 1 & the other on MIDI channel 2. I can easily get Cubase to see them both, but no matter what I do, I can’t seem to find a way to play in 2 channels. For example in HALion each part is SET to it’s own MIDI channel, but Cubase still puts all incoming MIDI data on Channel 1. What do I need to do to get it to keep channel 2 incoming MIDI data on channel 2 so I can play multiple sounds at once. One on MIDI channel 1 & the other on MIDI channel 2? It usually very easy in every other DAW I’ve used. I’m absolutely stumped. What the XXXX am I missing? I know Cubase Pro 11 can do it. It has to be me missing something simple. Would someone out there PLEASE tell me what I need to do. I’m up on the 24th floor window ledge (metaphorically speaking) & I’m about at my wit’s end. :crazy_face:
This has been driving me crazy for longer that I can say. :roll_eyes:: Well, let’s just say FAR too long. I should have been here weeks ago asking. :upside_down_face:

Thank you!


Hi and welcome to the forum,

Hi, set the MIDI Channel of the track to Any. If you set tracks’ MIDI Channel to 1, all incoming MIDI data will be transferred to MIDI Channel 1. If you set tracks’ MIDI Channel to 2, all incoming MIDI data will be transferred to MIDI Channel 2. Etc. So if you want to keep the MIDI Channel of the source, set the tracks’ MIDI Channel to Any.


Set track channel to ANY, or it gets channel mapped before going to the connected instrument. This setting is considered a real-time ‘MIDI Modifier’.

Note, when recording, the parts store exactly what came in, and their original channels (even if the insert channel is something different). A track’s channel setting forces a real-time transformation. If a track is ‘frozen’ using MIDI Edit features, it will force track inspector settings/modifiers, and in some cases the MIDI inserts (toggled preference) to be etched permanently into the track.

I.E. If you record into a track while your keyboard is transmitting on channel 2, and the insert channel setting is 1, it is real-time transformed to channel 1. Open the part into a MIDI editor, and you’ll see that Cubase still knows when it recorded the event, it came in over channel 2.

If you do MIDI/Freeze MIDI Modifiers, then look at the part again in the MIDI Editor, you’ll see most of the settings in that track inspector are now ‘frozen’ permanently into the track. Including the MIDI channel.

At some point, you might wish to do something like, split your keyboard into zones, and have the left zone (channel 1) control one track, and the right zone (channel 2) control another.

To do this, you’ll use Local or Insert MIDI Transformers.

These would allow you to build a filter for each track to ignore/delete anything coming in that the track should ignore.
Example: This track should reject anything that is not on channel 1.

Note that in this case (splitting a keyboard into zones that each send over a different MIDI channel), you could still use each track inspector’s channel setting to reroute the track endpoints to any instrument/channel you like.

Study transformers and practice a bit.

You can build a global one (up to 4 in series) that can be snapped to tracks at any time. This comes in handy for a configuration you wish to reuse often.

Each track can also have its own local transformer (again, up to 4 in a series). Use this if a track requires a unique set of transformers. It can be ‘different’ for each track.

If you need more than 4 transformers for a given situation, an additional 4 transformers can be added as MIDI Inserts.

Why would you need so many? Well, you can also do things like layer velocity mapping across different tracks.

I.E. Say you’ve made 3 sample tracks, and drug in three different snare drum samples to each sample track.

You could build logic to:

Strike a key gently, and a snare brush scraping across a head happens on track track 1. Strike it harder, and you get a brush ‘tap’ instead. Tap it even harder, and you get a brush ‘splat’ on yet another track. Etc.

It can also be used for things like making a pedal work backwards. Correcting that one flaky key on a MIDI keyboard that always wants to fire at max velocity, no matter how gently you touch it (something needs cleaning or replacing…good fix until you can get around to it).

Maybe you want to force a single pedal on your controller to do more things at once.
Say it sends CC64, but you want it to instead play a kick drum and a high hat crunch at the same time.

Convert the CC64 event to the two note on events you want for triggering those sounds, randomize the velocity a bit, and give them a duration of say, 1 beat each.

So…it’s worth it to study and practice with Transformers, and Logic Editors in Cubase!


Thanks for this explanation: I’ve been trying to figure out this for quite a while now.
I, however, don’t like this behavior at all. It should be much easier to set up a single MIDI channel routing for a track without having to use a modifier or filter. Selecting the MIDI channel in the track inspecter should route that channel to the track and not automatically transform it. I get that it creates some more power downstream, but that still isn’t a good reason to make a basic function this complicated and confusing, IMHO. The transformation should only be invoked when you enable it. The current behavior just slows down a common workflow.


What do I need to do to get it to keep channel 2 incoming MIDI data on channel 2 so I can play multiple sounds at once. One on MIDI channel 1 & the other on MIDI channel 2?

Set up as External Instruments. It’s how I do it.
Create one for each and assign the midi channels there.
I have several on the same midi “thru” with different Midi channels assigned so I can just add them as tracks when I need them.
I currently have about 10 pieces of outboard midi gear coming in and have always used the External Instruments route.


Perhaps, and I don’t disagree that it’s a worthy feature request, but it’s currently the Cubase way. Plus, there might be OTHERS that I haven’t thought of yet, or that require third party adds, or I just felt are overkill for the presented situation. There is OFTEN more than one way to do things in Cubase.

It ships dumb as a box of bricks. It has power tools under the hood to make it behave as you like.

In time you make presets, bind commands to macros, etc, that allow you to do just about anything with a tap of a remote control or a key-combo.

The idea, is that it’s possible to build workflows that you don’t have to wade 32 levels into menus and click around to change stuff in real time situations. Imagine sitting at a 16 foot long mixing console. The screens are 5 feet away, and you have 6 of them up there. The project has over 300 tracks. The band is playing and you want a certain group of effects NOW, so you reach out with your toe, tap a pedal, and those UIs pop up as a group you can see with faders and pots already linked and ready to go. That’s the sort of thing you can ‘build’ with Cubase. It doesn’t ship that way though…because, well, they have no idea what you’ll be teaching it to do.

Give it a little time, and you’ll have templates and such like the pros use.

See, it’s pretty difficult to ‘assume’ what kind of devices and work-flow users will have.

In this case, I do agree that it’d be nice to maybe have a simple icon for each track that brings up a grid…toggle channels you want filtered, but it’s not there, so this is what we’ve got.

Take advantage of presets. Templates. Also the ability to export entire empty tracks that already have your favorite settings ready to go.


WOW! Thank you!! I’m just awestruck (awestrickened?) by all of these great responses. I was able to (duh) get what I needed to work. I’ve been putting off coming to the forum, again. I had a bad experience years ago & stopped using Cubase as a result. I thought I’d give things another try, so I purchased Cubase Pro 9 , then 10, & now 11. I’ve never quite understood what I was doing & of course got poor results. I finally got fed up with myself & after (no kidding) spending 40 or so hours trying to figure this out. As my “Hail Marry” decided to try here & take my knocks.
You have truly made my day & turned my whole attitude around. I’ve got enough info here to last me a week. I’m able to do what I needed to do. Got it on the first response. I would have been here sooner, but I couldn’t figure out how to check for any responses. Yes. That’s pretty sad. I did get here finally. To see these posts with screenshots & arrows, is quite inspiring & extremely supportive. Thank you all SO very much. I really have to get back to playing now that I can actually do what should be MIDI 101. I’m just doing my happy dance!!!
I’ll be back!!

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I’ve been digesting these answers & was wondering if you would be willing to provide a bit more detail please? I started setting up External Instruments in hope that it would result in a solution to my problem. I don’t use my MIDI keyboards that way. I use them solely as Keyboard controllers for playing MIDI out to a 16 x16 MIDI routing system & then to several computers. I set up one External Instrument for each of my MIDI keyboards & was about 90% into setting up a composite of both keyboards to see it that would work, but I couldn’t figure out how to get things to show in places I was expecting them to show up & then thought that this tool was meant more for being able to have Cubase trigger the MIDI presets & sounds on the External Keyboards which I don’t even have plugged in so I bagged it & came here.

I’m quite experienced with MIDI & many other vendor’s products but when it comes to Cubase even though I owned Cubase 1, it has always seemed needlessly complicated to me & I went in other directions. That said, many of my other old timer’s software while great for MANY years have met their death at the hands of corporate owners that were not as honorable as Yamaha. If I would have been able to stick it out with Cubase I would possibly be a whiz by now. As it is, I’m a total newbee with a smoking brain from trying to read 1500 pages of the Cubase Pro 11 manual. I made it to about page 99.

Sorry for the “I was born in a log cabin” thing. Would you provide a little more detail on how you have set things up as External Instruments & if it’s relevant what hardware you are using to make things happen?

Thank you.

This was exactly what I needed to know. I had everything setup correctly but this. When I change it to Any, of course it worked right away. THANK YOU.

I can’t thank you enough for both replies you provided. I know it’s not that much of a compliment for me to say, but from reading what you wrote, I probably know twice as much about Cubase Pro as I did when I posed the question. As I read what you have written I found many questions that I had accumulated while foolishly trying to read the manual, you explained clearly & gave me a far better foundation to build on as I trudge on through this Cubase Pro blizzard of settings & information. I’m still reading & re-reading what you wrote, because I need to understand & not just follow the steps. I’ve got a horrible memory, so I have to learn it because I won’t remember it. If it makes sense to me, I can find my way back through the forest. There are just SO MANY settings. It’s just overwhelming to see that the vast majority of them sound like they’re in another language. I look at them I think, “who would EVER want to do THAT” or “Why would anyone need to do …”. Your example splitting my keyboard into Zones, is exactly that. It doesn’t really matter if I would really ever want to do it, it matter that If I ever wanted to do it, this is what I need to know to do it. Examples are priceless. They are how I learn the best.

Your second reply was also spot on. I think it’s pretty clear that SF_Green & I share a similar experience. I always love hearing things break down to common sense. I’m an Electronics Engineer with some programming experience & Tech Support thrown in. I worked for a company that had a knack for making things complicated that were NOT that complicated. They finally complicated themselves into bankruptcy after being in business for more that 100 years. ANY knucklehead can explain something & make it hard to understand. Only a gifted few can explain hard things & make them easy to understand. I definitely got that from your writing. I copied it screenshots & all so I can keep looking at things & learning. I even got a little more familiar with this website. That’s been a nightmare for me for many years as well. I’ve got a million bookmarks so I can find my way back to anything I find. I have NO idea how to navigate this maze. I feel like Hansel without Grettle. I have noticed a bit of improvement in the last year or two. That probably means that the people that spent years learning where everything was, can’t find anything now.

I’m done babbling. I just had to say thank you for your extra time & effort that you put into make things clear enough so that even I could understand it. Screenshots?? That’s the icing on the cake. Pictures just make things so much clearer. Especially to those of us who are lost in the menus all the time trying to remember where that one thing was that I changed, thinking it would help, but finding out now something else doesn’t work. I am grateful. Thank you.

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Yes, much of the world has forced itself to ignore ‘behaviorist’ and ‘cognitive’ learning psychology and fully embrace ‘constructivist’ learning psychology.

All three are wonderful at different times and places.

Back when Cubase was born, the world was a different place. We still got manuals with coffee stains, and used big 3 ring binders with hand written notes in the margins. Even technical manuals were sometimes witty, entertaining, and loaded with ‘character’. They came with huge fold out sections for flow charts showing the theory behind the engine, and sections with the specifications for the protocols, and more. It was also pretty friggin’ cool to be chugging along in a major project, and find a sticky from your girl, or a picture of your kid tucked in between random pages. If your girl got a little jealous of your toys, she might intervene a bit and make a trail to the bed room with all those stupid disks and binders :wink:

The manual that came with my first Peavey DPM V3 sound module is pretty huge, yet it does far less than a single plugin that only comes with an 8 page PDF for docs. The manual that came with my first laser printer included how to make your own drivers, and build pages at post-script or HPL, EPS levels.

Also, they started with far fewer technologies in front of us to introduce and explain, so there wasn’t as much the program could do. It wasn’t considered unreasonable to read a 30 page primer on MIDI Protocol, as MIDI was pretty much all the thing could do anyway! Then you read the manual for your synth, and the one for your printer, etc. The older guys that have been doing this since the 80s (cars still had points, distributor caps, and corroborators) didn’t have to learn all this in 5 minutes! It was a gradual acclimation process.

And software can be like hardware at times as well. That Mercedes-Benz Sprinter would have 30% MORE horse power, and you wouldn’t have to put it in the shop 3 times a month if you could just get rid of the computer, or in the least, reprogram it. They put this DF emissions system on it that has been recalled at least 3 times (Major chunks of the system had to be totally replaced each time, expensive stuff that took a lot of ENERGY and materials to produce). It’s supposed to cut down on CO2 emissions, but to be honest, people who own the mess have added at least 800 miles each (several fuel refills) to the thing carrying it back and forth to the damn shop! Had to go for days with no replacement or rent something else (usually something built 20 years ago that just WORKS and was grandfathered out of requiring the emissions system). Multiply that by the thousands of people who own one, and well, it hasn’t helped with CO2 emissions one single bit! It’s probably made it WORSE…taking into account the industry involved in making and distributing the stupid soap solution, that comes in a huge plastic container that rarely if ever gets recycled one has to buy every so often and dump into the thing. Oh well, it’s the LAW, and if you FIX the problems, you can go to jail for it :wink: Kinda funny really…an oil pipeline that’d been running since the 1950s and never missed a day of pumping could somehow be brought to its knees by some guy in another hemisphere with a hand-held device, and bring it down for WEEKS. Welcome to ‘progress’!

With software and computers, SAME PROBLEMS in different wrappers. Rolling back to stuff that ‘just worked’ is often impossible too…the OS parts changed, the hardware we run it on changed, regulations changed. Etc.

So, for someone brand new to digital music making, who really wants to UNDERSTAND what is going on in a modern DAW, I always say start by reading a primer on the MIDI Protocol. Even though a lot of new technologies have bolted themselves onto this ‘old protocol’, it’s still the heart-beat of the technology. There are loads of them online, and if you have used book stores near by, it can make for an interesting time to drop by every once in a while just have a look around (They tend to keep really small technology sections, if at all, but you can still strike gold and it cost very little to bring it home with you). Of course the better primers tend to be buried WAY BACK in the search engine hits, while someone that wants to sell you brand new stuff is going to be at the top of the hits (they actually pay for that priority).

Another thing that can help is to go way back to older versions when manuals were written differently. You don’t have to install the old versions, but just get the manual in PDF and browse it. Because legacy support is still a big deal in something like Cubase, you’ll find that things covered way back with Cubase VST are still the same today in Cubase 11.

In the effort to slim-line documentation, hyper-link it for a constuctivist learning model, and make it fit and look like the present ‘GUI’, well, the newest manuals just can’t cover it all! People complain and moan that it’s too much ‘useless’ stuff in there.

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