Instrument vs. MIDI track -- feature request(?): easily mute just the instrument

Ok, coming from way back, I was sceptical towards the new and shiny instrument track. I was used to the rack + midi tracks. But, the instrument track has grown on me. A lot. Per now, I only see one problem with it – but it’s a big one.

It’s easy to describe. Create an instrument track with a drum machine and a delay. Let the drum machine play a hat hit on every 1.1. Adjust the delay to taste. That’s fine and dandy. But then your track enters the drumless breakdown. How do you turn off the machine – but not the now decaying delays from the previous hit? Because: a track mute is exactly that, a full mute of the entire track. Bummer.

Some VSTis have built-in output mutes that can be automated. But, some don’t, and some have them for ALL their channels (uToniq, I’m looking at you…)., which is super-tedious. And in any case, that’s a parameter that you need to search for, waaaay down in the parameter list. It’s a chore.

So, what I want is an a “mute track instrument” button/parameter that’s instantly accessible and automatable. Perhaps it’s already there? If yes, do tell where it is.



If you use multi-outs, the MixConsole Mute (which is the one you automate) mutes the Audio Return. The Project window Mute mutes the source MIDI data. That’s all you need.

Thanks, but no. In this (my) case, there is no midi, the drum machine runs from its own sequencer. If it’s midi, you can of course just delete the midi data where appropriate :slight_smile: What I do now is to either use the instrument’s mute parameter, its output volume, or, which is in fact the easiest way, insert a simple gain plugin between the instrument and the subsequent effects, and automate that one.


I don’t get how what you are currently doing differs from your feature request - “easily mute just the instrument.” That is exactly why the Instrument’s Mute Button exists. What would easier look like for you?

Ok, I guess that this is one of those “not a problem unless you work like me” things :slight_smile: I’ll try to explain it a bit better:

Firstly, this only applies to VSTis running on their internal sequencers/generators. Instruments needing midi data are of course super simple to silence – just stop sending midi.

Then, what I want to achieve is: an easy way to automate an instrument’s output on/off status. There are several workarounds, but they’re all real creativity killers.

What doesn’t work: automating the track mute. That silences the entire track, the instrument and all inserted fx. A delay, reverb etc will be cut alongside the instrument.

What works, but is clunky:

  • Don’t use inserts, but send the track to a group with the fx. Then you can mute the instrument track. Otoh, then what’s the point of an instrument track in the first place?
  • Automate the instrument’s output volume. This is very restrictive, and makes making later adjustments finicky.
  • Automate the instrument’s output mute. This is time consuming, having to wade through a looong list of parameters to find it (them…), if it all exists.
  • Insert a track control/gain plugin post the instrument, and automate that one…

This is the best solution: Automate the instrument’s “bypass” status. BUT: not all instruments have it, and that particular parameter is placed nilly willy in an instrument’s parameter list. If this was implemented in a standard way by all instrument makers, I’d probably be, if not happy, then at least somewhat content. But it isn’t.

What I’d like: a “mute/bypass track instrument” track parameter that may have an inspector button (if you so choose), and that can be automated. If this already exists, I must definitely improve my Sherlock skills.

Does it make sense now?


Edit: the below solution only works if the instrument is properly implemented. As an example, SugarBytes’ DrumComputer behaves perfectly fine, while Audiomodern’s Playbeat doesn’t. In the latter case you have to dive into the parameter list again. Argh.

Ok, your answers got me thinking (!), and a solution presented itself: hit “write automation” and then simply click the instrument’s bypass button. Then the automation lane/parameter is automatically assigned to the bypass – and you don’t have to find it in that long parameter list. Why didn’t I think of that before? Not enough coffee, I guess.

Thanks for kicking my brain into gear :slight_smile:


I was playing with that yesterday using BFD3 playing internal MIDI but couldn’t get it to work right. The Bypass button seems to only stop MIDI on the Track from being sent to the VSTi - so the internally generated stuff still played. Then I tried using the button to disable/turn-off (not at DAW for proper name) the plug-in. While this worked as expected when I physically clicked the button it did not write those state changes as Automation

A different approach would be to route the Track to a Group Channel that has your effects on it. Then you could just Mute the initial Track without turning off the effects.

Yep, this is the core of the problem, there is no consistent and uniform way of muting/bypassing an instrument track VSTi. Using a group track is, as I mentioned before, workable, but it’s basically a mixer hack. Since the VSTi is always the first in the track chain, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be a simple thing to add a dedicated function for this.


Well it’s either a bug or a feature request