MIDI Channel Rotation Doesn't Appear to be Working

I was psyched to discover the Channel Rotation feature in the Inspector > Note Expression section of MIDI tracks. However, in my limited experience, it doesn’t appear to be working. When I enable the feature, there is no apparent change to the track’s MIDI data.

To test, I inserted a MIDI Monitor on the track and recorded some MIDI notes. [Note: You must put the MIDI Monitor on a MIDI Send rather than a MIDI Insert to monitor Note Expression data. Apparently, Cubase translates the proprietary Note Expression data back into standard MIDI commands after MIDI Inserts are processed.] On playback, the MIDI Monitor reveals that no changes were made to the note data. Next, I sent the output to a Kurzweil K2000 (which supports MIDI Omni Mode and a raw MIDI data scope) and verified that the MIDI data received by the synth was also unmodified - all notes arrived on the same MIDI channel. For the record, the MIDI track’s I/O was set to “All MIDI Inputs” and “Any,” respectively.

The Cubase 9 Operation Manual says, “IMPORTANT: In order to use the Channel Rotation mode, the input controller must support channel rotation,” but this makes no sense to me. If the input controller supports channel rotation, then why would I need Cubase to do it for me? The point of channel rotation is to take MIDI data from one channel and distribute it to many channels, right? How does that constitute a special requirement on the MIDI input controller? It would make more sense to me if the warning read: “IMPORTANT: In order to use the Channel Rotation mode, the destination instrument(s) must support channel rotation or, if a single instrument, MIDI Omni Mode.” Or, am I missing something? Maybe I don’t understand Steinberg’s definition of “channel rotation.”

Has anybody else gotten this to work?

Any assistance is appreciated.

I’m not an expert on this but as far as I understand Cubase can recognize and record midi rotation but you need a controller that can send this out like The Keithmcmillen QuNexus or the Roli Seaboard.

Conventional keyboards transmit through zones and they can only send on a fixed midi channel. So you can usually have like 4 zones that send out on 4 different channels. Cubase can’t know that you want separate notes within one zone on separate channels so it will only record the notes with the fixed channel on which it was send.

Midi rotation works on separate notes. So if you strike a chord of say 5 notes it will subsequently assign channels 1,2,3,4, & 5 to these notes. If you add more notes it will assign 6,7,8, etc. Once you release all notes and press a new one it will start assigning starting from channel 1 again.

Thank you for this clarification.

So, if I understand correctly, Steinberg’s implementation of MIDI channel rotation is ‘read-only’ or ‘pass-thru’ - it merely allows keyboards and other input controllers that already support MIDI channel rotation natively to better take advantage of Cubase’s proprietary Note Expression features. In other words, Cubase can recognize more polyphonic real-time controllers this way, and consequently, convert them to Note Expression format.

It’s not what I’m looking for but I’m encouraged that Steinberg is at least familiar with MIDI channel rotation (unlike most every other DAW/sequencer ever made). Hopefully, they’ll offer a ‘write’ implementation so that we can distribute polyphonic performances to banks of mono synths (duophonic synths, quadrophonic synths, etc.) from any input controller. Furthermore, I’d like to use MIDI channel rotation to coax polyphonic aftertouch out of synths that weren’t necessarily designed to support it. One channel of poly aftertouch goes in, multiple channels of channel aftertouch come out. I’m not the only one who has submitted a feature request (or two) relating to this functionality.

Thanks again!

You’re welcome.

Midi rotation is a new way of communicating within the midi standard. Cubase can record and play back this data as it was intended with the implementation, no more no less. Maybe you can manipulate the recorded data for other purposes but it’s certainly not meant for this.

It’s meant to communicate with vst’s that support this and there are still only a few as far as I know. I know of SynPlant by Sonic Charge and the supplied instrument with Roli Boards. Every single note can have it’s own pitchbend/modulation and controller data which is not possible with normal midi communication. This can only record and send this for an entire zone.