If you want to bake the real time transformations and stuff from the track inspector ‘freeze’ the MIDI track.
So, if you ‘freeze’ a MIDI or Instrument track, anything you’ve done in the track inspector like MIDI channel, pan, program/bank changes, etc, or with MIDI Modulation, Inserts, Project/Track Transformers, etc, will be hard coded into the MIDI track and MIDI channel changes to ‘any’. Many track inspector settings are also disabled or reverted to defaults at this point as well. In terms of play back, you should find that the new ‘frozen’ track plays back as it did before. It’s just everything you were ‘transforming/processing’ in real time before is now hard coded as part of your MIDI track.
Until you’re confident that you understand what freezing tracks like this does, you might opt to copy tracks first and freeze the copy for evaluation and testing.
If all of your CC information lives in the MIDI part the things you seem to be interested in doing are usually pretty simple. You can use MIDI Logical Editors to locate and transform events based on simple sets of conditions.
I.E. Change all CC64 events into CC68 events.
Sometimes you might need multiple passes with the Logical Editor to get something done, but it’s still MUCH faster than going in and doing it all one event at the time with your mouse and keyboard!
I.E. First pass, find all CC64 events that are within 30ms of beat one of every bar and select them. Second pass, move all selected events so they fall precisely on the beat. Third pass, move all selected events 20ms earlier in time. Etc…
Before diving into this; however, it’s important to realize that Cubase can record, store, process, and playback controllers in a variety of ways. These days we have options. MIDI, VST3, and more.
It can be pretty confusing for new users, and even more so if you’re not pretty well read/practiced in dealing with continuous controllers for ‘any daw or sequencer’.
Neither method is ‘superior’ to the rest at this time. It’s just that they all have different strengths and weaknesses for a variety of ‘workflow’ options.
VST automation vs MIDI CC Lanes
Note, Cubase can be set to store recorded CC events on VST automation lanes, it can keep them in the traditional way inside the MIDI part itself, or it can even bind them to individual notes in the form of Note Expression. If a track ends up having data stored more than one of the ways, it can be instructed as to which to prioritize, or to ‘average’ the results of them. These options are set in MIDI/CC Automation Setup
There are advantages and disadvantages to either approach. It all depends upon your project and workflow needs at a given moment.
Fortunately, you have everything you need to easily convert back and forth between keeping your CCs on track VST3 Automation Lanes, as CC events in MIDI parts, or as VST3 Note Expression events.
Here’s a way to practice moving things about (more on why might want to do this later)
To convert all CCs kept in MIDI parts for an entire track over to an Automation Lane:
- Select a MIDI or Instrument Track. Right click the track and choose Select All Events.
Note, you can also do this sort of conversion to select events, or ranges of events. For the scope of this ‘practice session’ we’ll focus on simply converting entire tracks.
Go to MIDI/Functions/Extract MIDI Automation
Right Click the track again and choose Show Used Automation (Selected Tracks)
Now you can see that all of the CCs in the MIDI part have been moved to VST Automation Lanes.
Advantages to keeping CC’s on these project automation lanes include ease of working with them in real time via remote control (control wheels, pedals, faders, encoder pots, buttons, pads, etc on an external MIDI controller). It’s not difficult to select ranges of these lanes and copy/cut/paste them elsewhere in the project (set the cursor where it should begin pasting).
Disadvantages are that the Logic and Key Editors can’t get at them as easily for mass batch edits, or conditional sequences of edits. In contrast, CC events stored in the MIDI part can be edited with the Key Editor, which provides a lot of nice drawing/curve/scaling tools and more.
So how do you get these ‘lanes’ back into MIDI parts?
First, make sure your cursor is at the very beginning of the project. Solo the track you wish to rebuild. This merge feature ignores all tracks that are ‘muted’. It merges everything else as if rendering a new recording of the soloed ‘tracks’ to a new ‘merged’ track (or overwrite an existing track depending on the selected track and cursor position)
For conversion of a complete instrument or MIDI track, right click it and choose all events.
Tap P to quickly set the project locators so they encompass all of the track events.
Go to MIDI/Merge MIDI in Loop
Tick Erase Destination and Convert VST 3 and OK (If you want to overwrite the same track. Or, you could set up a fresh track instead, and do the Merge to the new track)
Now I find all of my CCs are back in the Key Editor as channel data that I can edit from there.
I can use the very powerful Logic Editors to hunt and edit a CC with ease.
Add 10 to all selected CC1 events.
Mirror/invert all selected CC1 events.
Insert a CC11 event at the start of each note, with a value that matches the MIDI note.
Select all CC11 events with a value of 64 or more.
And so forth.
Logic editors can really save you a LOT of time! They can be used to transform events, move them around in time, and more. See the manual for working with the MIDI Logic Editor!
Note, Cubase also allows you to work with Note Expression events. For regular channel CC events, effectively it simply binds events relative to a specific note as opposed to keeping them as independent channel data on the timeline. CCs established as NE events are bound to the note, and can be quantized (position and/or length), cut, copied, pasted, stretches/shrunk over time (relative to the note length) etc, as if they are kind of stored as ‘part of the note’ and now have a relative relationship with said note. So, if you were to select such a note, copy it, and then paste it to a new track…all that CC information comes with it! If you scale the length of the note longer/shorter, then the CC events bound to it will scale as well.
Some instruments can accept more advanced forms of NE events that are not ‘channel responsive’, but rather special VST 3 parameters tied exclusively to individual notes. I.E. for some HALion instruments, it might be possible to have several notes on the same channel, at the same time, responding to different pitch bends in different directions at the same time. For the most part though, it’s important to realize that for most plugins or MIDI instruments CC events will still be CHANNEL events, and instruments will respond accordingly even though some CCs might be ‘note-bound’.
Cubase also provides the tools to convert back and forth between channel CC, and Note Expression.
One advantage to binding traditional CCs to notes as Note Expression is that you can easily cut/paste/quantize associated CCs as part of an individual note.
One disadvantage is that it’s important to be mindful that CCs are still channel events. If you have several notes sounding at the same time on the same track, and they all have different sets of CC events attached to them the played back results might yield something unintended. Cubase does have some options for how it should attempt to deal with potential conflicts in this sort of data, as well as abilities to ‘consolidate’ overlaps, trim, and more, but one needs to be aware of how things work. For tracks that are not monotimbral (have harmony or counter melodies and such), be careful as to how you bind and implement things.
It’s not uncommon to want to bounce how Cubase works with CC events from one format to the other for various purposes. All the tools are here. Hopefully I’ve provided some examples of some ideas to practice and experiment with.