Insert VST track vs MIDI track!!

Hey guys,

So I read the manual about these two type of tracks we could possibly use to record MIDI. If I use an instrument track I may be limited and pan and volume can only be altered through the mixer or something?? And when I insert a MIDI track I have to add a HALion 4 vst into that “f11 window” the vst instruments one and that creates a master track linked to it each time. Am I not suppose to have one master track routed to all my MIDI tracks? Or is it okay to have master 1, master 2…?? I’m not always good at explaining my issue lol but if u understand what I’m saying or where I’m coming from then explain or clarify please! Thank you!

Umm, not really, the general idea is right though.
If you want to use a midi track, you indeed have to use the instrument rack (f11) to load your instrument. Doing this also creates a track in your project for this instrument, where you can control things like volume and pan.
Using an instrument track, you kinda combine the midi track and the instrument parameter track in 1. This is convenient to have it all together, disadvantage is that this does not work for multitimbral instruments, and you have to load as many instruments as you have tracks this way. Using midi tracks you can relieve the load on your system by using multiple tracks triggering the same instrument.

IE: if you don’t use multitimbral VST instruments, then instrument tracks are convenient. If you use hardware or multitimbral VST instruments, you’ll want midi tracks.

What you were saying about master tracks is not really clear to me I’m afraid, you don’t need more than 1 master in either case.

Aloha e,

everything in a computer DAW system is a trade-off.

1- Load 1 instance of HalionSE (the same can be done using many diff plugs)
and within that one HASE plug access all 16 MIDI channels
with a different instrument on each channel.

Play a song and note the cpu usage.

2-Now do the same thing using 16 different instances of a HASE and you will soon
see that the computer now uses more cpu juice and has to work a lot harder.


In the second example you get much more flexibility (outputs,routing etc)
but a much higher cpu cost.

Being a real MIDIot from back-in-the-day, when Steiny introduced ‘Instrument Tracks’,
I ranted against them as being both a blessing and a curse.
But now I almost never use old-fashioned MIDI tracks.

Except for percussion (and sometimes specifically for percussion)
I now treat every instrument as a separate VSTi.

This can mean lot’o tracks going on at once but the advantages are:

The sound is un-compromised and flexibility is unrestrained.

(as long as the 'puter can handle the load). :slight_smile:

HTH (hope this helps)

I never use instrument tracks. I use the Instrument Rack and multiple outputs from v.i’s, which I find is the most convenient, CPU-efficient and flexible method for my style of composition.

I also tend to favor the VST rack.
Mainly for multi instrument plugs.
And sometimes I like to have several midi tracks feeding the same instrument for an assortment of reasons.

Here’s a good tutorial on steinberg’s YouTube channel.

I’d be lost without the VSTi rack.

This is exactly my experience. I used to have everything in the VST Rack but found it far too constraining when you are under a timeline to get things done. The multi-timbral approach with Rack is definitely more CPU efficient but it’s much harder to pan, automate, or quickly throw a processing plug-in or EQ on just one instrument without having to set up additional output channels and all sorts of mess. Instrument tracks are dead simple and really get you back to the workflow that makes the most ergonomic sense.

This is true for chromatic instruments. But when it comes to drums
I’m more flexible in mixing them via the F11 rack. It’s just perfect for that
reason. And faster than splitting up the Midi notes and bouncing the single
sounds to audio files and things like that.

I also still use multimbrals like Halion or Kontakt in the F11 rack.
I usually have project templates where the outputs are already
activated. This saves a lot of time and keeps me flexible in things of
sounddesign. Plus it is usually faster to load up a new instrument in
a multitimbral than load another instance of it in an instrument track and
choose the instrument there. And the oversight is way better and you
save CPU power…

When it’s not a multitimbral there’s no reason using the rack…
But if… like I said.

Hey Guys,

thanks for all the replies…still confused lol but I guess I’ll play around and see what works for me!!

If you look at the picture below this is what I meant about having more than one master track (on the left hand side) because of the f11 route I took!
what did I do wrong? :unamused:

Thanks for that vid that helped me a lot!

You have two masters because you have two instances of the same plugin opened.
That’s the usual way. :wink:

Ahh Okay…thanks

So is it possible to route one midi (or instrument) track to multiple instruments simultaneously? Say for doubling guitar parts panned left and right? From what I gather the multitimbral thing does multiple instruments, but only one at a time.

Aloha n,
Yes you can.

1-Using HASE (or other plugs like NI or SampleTank) route one MIDI track
or Instrument track to it.

2-Once the MIDI info is routed to the HASE load up to 16 different patches (sounds)
and set them all to the same MIDI channel.

3-They will now respond to the same initial MIDI track. This is called ‘layering’

4-You can then route each sound to its own output which will then show up in the mixer
as separate channels for further editing etc and ‘bob’s yer uncle’.

HTH (Hope this helps)

You could also activate a midi send (without putting an effect on it) and route the signal to four different
VSTi’s at the same time.

As someone started to point out, besides tuned and percussion routing, instrument tracks suck at libraries with a large number of articulations. Especially when they are not keyswitched in a single patch. I have a trumpet library that has something like 60 or 70 articulations. Who the heck wants all the instrument tracks?

Every time I start trying to use instrument tracks I end up trying to do a send or control from another MIDI track etc… and simply get stymied. I rarely use instrument tracks even for single instance VSTi. When I do, I eventually do something that makes me go DAMN, I can’t, it’s an instrument track.

Yep. Absolutely. Same here.

If you use Kontakt, which I do for many things, it’s so much easier to have 16 tracks and outputs setup in advance, then just add instruments at will with outputs showing up in the mixer. A separate instance of K5 for everything seems inefficient, even just in the opening and closing of so many windows.

VE Pro and lots of templates help efficiency a great deal as well.

Aloha guys,
Being old school I tend to look at music as one player per sound.

So for instance my drummer is really 12 different people
each playing one sound only. Add in some percussion players and I am now well over
20 people (instrument tracks)

Sometimes I’ll have 4 kik drums going or 3 hi-hats (open/closed/pedal) etc.
One Instrument track each.

So my ‘orchestra’ can get to be quite large; but I can ‘talk’ (edit/route etc)
to each ‘player’ directly and quickly tell them things like:
‘Turn down’ or ‘turn up’ or ‘turn into a different instrument’ or ‘go for coffee’ etc.

This all works for me theses days because
I don’t have to worry so much about cpu juice/ram/HD memory etc.

With my old PPC gear I would HAVE to use MIDI tracks a lot more.

I would bring up one (or more) instance of SampleTank or HASE
and load up stuff on different MIDI channels.

This would help to save on cpu juice but would slow down workflow.
(much harder asking the triangle player to ‘go for coffee’).

Everything in a 'puter is a trade-off. At least we have two options.