How to play MIDI sounds in Cubase 7?

I am not sure if it’s even possible but it would be one of the best things ever for me if it is…

I have some MIDI files that recreate the music from old playstation games, for example Final Fantasy etc.

If I open the files straight from my desktop (double clicking) it starts playing the music automatically in Windows Media Player.

I can open the files in Cubase and it gives me all the MIDI notes but doesn’t assign any instruments etc to them.

How exactly is Windows Media Player playing these MIDI files, is it generating sound from the MIDI notes in the MIDI file, or is it a pre-recorded audio piece?

I was hoping it was generating sound from the MIDI file telling Windows which instruments to play, is there any way of making Cubase or Windows play these instruments exactly the same as they play when I open the file in Windows Media Player?

I wish to do some remixes of these old songs and i’d like it to be as authentic as possible keeping the sound as original as possible just adding some extra drums/bass lightly over the top…

I would like to be able to either load up the MIDI files in Cubase with the same instruments that play in Windows Media Player, or able to extract each individual audio track if it’s a pre-recorded audio piece…

If anyone could help me understand these files better I would greatly appreciate it ! Thanks !

When you double-click a MID file and actually hear distinguishable music as a result, it’s because whatever your default MIDI file player is (QuickTime or Windows Media Player, usually) has access to a General MIDI sound set. See that link for more details, but basically, it’s a known set of instruments that are supposed to sound more or less the same across different synths or music programs.

The Halion Sonic plugin that comes with Cubase actually includes a full GM sound set. I haven’t done this in quite a while but I think I remember that if you import a MID file to Cubase, it puts each part on its own MIDI track and assigns each part with an appropriate Halion patch (assuming the file was saved with GM patch numbers).

I don’t know if that’s changed with the current Cubase, but if it still works, you’ll probably find that the sounds Cubase gives you are actually better (higher quality, more professional sounding) than the ones in your default MIDI player.

EDIT: Take a look at the “Importing MIDI Files” section of the Cubase operation manual.

Hey, thanks for replying !

The Halion Sonic thing you said sounds awesome but what version of Cubase do you have that Halion Sonic plugin comes with it? As far as I am led to believe (and after checking it on Steinberg’s website) Halion Sonic is seperate VST workstation:

Anyway, when I load MIDI into my Cubase it loads all the MIDI information but doesn’t assign any instruments to any MIDI tracks.

Is there any way to use the General MiDI sound set you were talking about in Cubase?

Thanks again !

EDIT: Ok I read the operations manual and followed instructions I seen:

I went to Preferences > MIDI > MIDI File >

  • If you select the “HALion Sonic SE multi-timbral” option, several MIDI tracks are created, each routed to a separate instance of HALion Sonic SE in the VST Instruments window and the appropriate presets are loaded.

So this was already selected, I I open the MIDI file, and everything loads fine, I play the track and it shows that all the instruments are playing, yet no sound is being made.

When I check the Input/Output Routing I get this:

Input - All MIDI Inputs
Output - Microsoft GS WaveTable Synth

^^ I don’t even know what that means but that and “Waves ReWire” are my only options, I tried Waves ReWire although I didn’t think it’d work, but yeah, it didn’t work…

I must have to set some other parameter somewhere but I can’t figure it out…

Hi Komito,

which exact version of Cubase do you have? LE, AI, Elements, Artist or the full version? is it 7 or 7.5? or maybe an older one?


Hi Luis,

The version I have is Cubase 7

Also if it helps, I am running Windows 7 - 64 bit

Cheers !

Hi Komito,

first of all you have to make sure that your MIDI Tracks are being routed to HALion Sonic SE. Then open HALion Sonic SE, click on Options and on “Program Changes” select “GM Mode”.


Hi Luis,

Ok so i’ve never used HALion Sonic SE before i’ve tried a few google searches but can’t figure it out sorry…

Is HALion Sonic SE part of Cubase 7? I ask because I can’t find it, I can’t route the MIDI tracks to anything except “Microsoft GS WaveTable Synth”.

I have however had a look inside my Cubase 7 box and noticed the “Additional Trial Versions” and also on one of the leaflets inside it has serial numbers for several products, “HALion Sonic Trial” being one of them.

I am guessing I need to install this for it to work, but I want to check 1st with you?

If I need to buy the full version in order to guarantee playback MIDI files then that’s cool I have some money saved up for anything music related anyway, but of course I only want to purchase something if it’s neccessary :slight_smile:

Thanks !


I forgot to mention, I know it’s obvious you must install something to use it, but when I go to Preferences > MIDI > MIDI File, there is an option where I can choose HALion Sonic SE which makes me wonder if it’s intergrated with Cubase 7 or not…

Hi Komito,

HALion Sonic SE is part of Cubase which is a reduced version of HALion Sonic. HALion Sonic isn’t part of Cubase, so you don’t have to install the trial version to get this to work.

Please have a read at the HALion Sonic SE manual that you can find by clicking on the “Help -> Documentation” menu in Cubase to learn how to use it.

Best regards

Hi Luis,

I looked through the HALion Sonic SE manual under Help > Documentation.

I didn’t come across anything that tells me how to actually load HALion Sonic SE.

Is HALion Sonic SE a VST? It doesn’t appear in my list of VSTs in the instrument rack, it is also not an option when I load an instrument track…

Actually I can’t find HALion Sonic SE anywhere…

What’s up with that?

I’ve been using Cubase for at least 5 years I can do alot of advanced stuff with it, but this is a mystery to me…


Are you sure it got installed? Does it show up in your list of installed programs in Windows? I believe the “content” should be on a separate disk (not the “full” HALion Sonic trial version, but the SE version). It might be worth re-running the complete installer. It should give you options of which components to install. The complete ISO images can be found here …

Hey !

That’s awesome thanks man, I got sound coming out now, I guess I had to install it after all :slight_smile:

Yeah I had all the discs anyway, I thought the HALion Sonic SE content disc was part of the HALion Sonic Trial…

What exactly is the difference between HALion Sonic SE & HALion Sonic anyway?

I did have a question about HALion Sonic SE though…

I opened up a Final Fantasy MIDI file and everything was playing, a few things sounded off immediately.

The timing of a few things which I can resolve myself, but also I noticed the sustain in some of the piano sections is way too heavy, I couldn’t find a sustain knob anywhere in the program, I checked the operations manual and failed to find anything relative to sustain.

In the HALion Sonic SE documentation under the Editing Programs > The Amplifier Section I see the following:


However in the actual program I get:


Is there a way to see the usual ADSR knobs at all?

^^ Just curious, but I will replace all these sounds anyway, as they still sound a bit off, but at least now I can load MIDI files and play them straight, that’s incredibly awesome thank you so much for your time & help :slight_smile: