Major oversight in integrating External Gear into Cubase?

I’m trying to integrate my external preamp into Cubase and have discovered what I consider a major oversight. I use a mono Preamp connected to my audio interface on input 1. The preamp also has EQ/Compressor sections, and an “audio input” to use the EQ & compressor on already recorded material. I have connected this to my audio interface on output 3. In Cubase, if I choose the output of a track as output 3, it goes to the preamp and I can EQ/compress it, and then send it back on Input 1. In Cubase, if I set this up as an external FX in VST connections, I can use this as an insert on the audio track! AWESOME! However, if I then want to actually record new audio using the preamp, audio input 1 is no longer available; inside VST connections its “not connected” and if I choose to connect it I get the error “The selected device port is used exclusively. This connection will be ended. Do you want to continue.” If I choose continue, this breaks the external FX connection.

This is all fine and good, but in my opinion, Cubase should remember both of these connections, and automatically (or manually like a patch bay) toggle between their uses. So if I need to record with my preamp, when I choose “audio input 1” as an input source and record enable the track, this track should get priority on audio input 1, automatically and temporarily breaking the external FX connection. Once I’m done recording though, priority for audio input 1 should go back to the external FX.

Why I call this an oversight is that I can still use the device sort of as I wish if I do not use the external FX feature and instead output the audio track to output 3, create a new audio track and use the input as audio 1. So it is possible to use my preamp both as a mic preamp, and a line signal processor for the EQ/Compressor. However, because it not setup as an external FX, I cannot simply place the unit as a external FX insert on my audio track, but now have to add multiple audio tracks and routings which just adds to clutter/confusion (which is why external FX connections were created in Cubase in the first place).

Why cant I simply setup my preamp as both an audio input and external effect, and have the audio input priority automatically switch based on how its being used in cubase, basically acting like a virtual patch bay, instead of cubase permanently break the connections and forcing me to re-connect them each time I want to switch uses?

This issue is also happens with External instruments that have line input options. Once you setup the device as an external instrument, allowing you to use it as a VST instrument in Cubase with midi and audio on a single track (which is AWESOME!) again the output for the instrument is hard wired in Cubase and you no longer have access to using it as an external FX as well. A solution is to split the output signal from the external gear (using a split cable?) and use a different input on my audio interface, and while this is indeed an option, I unfortunately do not have any additional available audio inputs - they are all in use. And again I feel this is really unnecessary as a DAW should be able to act as a digital patch bay and adjust based on how you are using it.

If anyone has any solutions or can share their experiences integrating external gear into Cubase I would appreciate it. If you also experience this frustration and agree with my solution let me know and I’ll make sure to post it as a feature request. I’ll probably do that anyway unless someone can offer an alternative solution and/or explain to me why this limitation exists.

+1 been saying this for ages

No need to hijack an i/o

Look at Logic for example, there you can use an i/o both for ext inserts and normal i/o

Yeah, +1 please. They’ve always been exclusive, but I’d prefer Steinberg to relax that rule. In response SB might well either say it’s so they can correctly calculate the delay compensation or it’s to avoid us creating a feedback loop (which personally, I’d like to create occasionally anyway!!).


The external fx and instruments needs a rewrite, it is stiff, and we need flexible.
I know it is on their to do list, the Nuage and need for a new mixer put that on the back burner.