A little background: playing live over the last couple of years, I’ve used two keyboards on different midi channels to play two different sound sets off a single hardware synth. I’m now trying to slim the rig down, because keyboards are heavy, and use just one keyboard to play three or four different sound sets off a PC or laptop using Cubase 6.5 - for instance, intro, verse, chorus, and solo all having different sounds, and switching between them with a footswitch using the arranger track to cue up each section, and expression maps that change to a different MIDI channel for each sound set.
This is how far I’ve gone: I can load up an instance of Halion Sonic or Kontakt, each of which can load different sounds on different channels, fed by a single MIDI track, and the expression mapping and switching works brilliantly. However, I don’t want to be limited to using just these instruments - I’d quite like to be able to add in some other synth sounds as well. I can use MIDI sends, but they’ll only work on one channel and I won’t be able to turn them on and off at will with CC or note expression commands - right?
So what I’m looking for is some way to load up a set of sounds on various VSTis on MIDI channel 1, a set of sounds on a different set of VSTis on channel 2, and then play a single keyboard live and be able to switch from set to set with a footswitch. The ideal for me would be a plugin that could replicate the Kontakt or Halion Sonic interface, but be able to load individual VSTis (instead of programs) into each slot with an assignable MIDI channel - or am I going about this entirely the wrong way? I know that other software exists that may be better for my purposes, but I’m most interested in learning how to do this with Cubase, so any creative suggestions are welcome.