MIDI Device Panels

I picked up from reading Computer Music that the MIDI device panels are “broken” in Cubase 9.

I was about to update from 8.5 Pro but I’d like to check first if this true and if so anyone know if Steinberg are working on fixing this?

There has been no progress in MIDI Device Panels since Cubase 5 when they fiddled with the styling of graphic elements but did nothing to fix broken sysex entry or simplifying the incredibly user unfriendly interface or fixing snapshots so they worked like they used to in pre SX versions…all of which are still broken to this day.

No one at Steinberg really gives a crap about this section of the program and it shows. It’s a plug-in world to these guys, in spite of the resurgence of retro hardware synths and continuous new devices produced yearly.


Sadly, I’d have to agree. I wouldn’t go as far as to describe it as totally broken, but development has stalled completely over the years. This is unfortunate (as Weasel points out) given the rise of modular hardware and advances in MIDI (wireless, network etc.) and the potential for Device Panels in lighting control (DMX512).

ok thanks for the reply.

The Computer Music article show the use of Cubase 8.5 with MIDI device panels saying it was “broken in Cubase 9” so that implies it is now worse than it was.

You know, the sad thing is that Steinberg had this all worked out beautifully in the pre-SX versions. The original MIDI Device panel was simple to use and had a ton of useful features that were unceremoniously discarded with the advent of the later versions. Yes, graphically, it was dated, but functionality-wise, it was elegant and virtually bug-free. When you recalled a snapshot, all the controls would snap to their saved settings and send it to your synth. You could continue tweaking from there. It was like recalling any plug-in preset but for GUI-less external hardware synths.

And to top it off, Steinberg had a program written by WaveLab’s Philippe Goutier called Studio Module. That little beauty could read and write any external MIDI device’s sysex data and create libraries for them. Practically anything that existed at the time was available. You could launch it and it could interrogate every synth you had plugged in and restore all the presets in one go. At the end of a session you could do the reverse…it’d initiate sysex dumps from everything plugged in, in one go. It was amazing. But Philippe was moving on to start WaveLab, lost interest and Steinberg let it go as they transitioned from the Atari platform to the Mac and PC.

Even by today’s standards, this stuff was pretty high tech and should have been stewarded by someone who cared, as they moved forward. Whoever was responsible for the current version had no grasp of the concept of the original iteration’s elegant usability and never coded a working interface that could properly assign complex user-entered sysex strings to graphic objects. What it can do (with great effort) actually provides no more useable functionality than Quick Controls. The preset “librarian” portion of the program borders on laughable.

I apologize for turning this into a rant. I just feel they could have maintained this part of the program a lot better over the years. Surely, over the last 10 years it could have been incrementally improved to something useable by now.


Yes, I really miss the Studio module a lot too! And I too am very disappointed they just dropped it like it’s of no importance what so ever. It was gone with the introduction of the SX versions. It was like you said a real beauty and a very well written tool and this is the closest Cubase ever came to ‘Total Recall’. Nowadays I’m fumbling around with MidiQuest which ‘works’ at best but there’s always something wrong and the vst’s don’t work in C9 at the moment. So I have to set up my synths separately from Cubase before starting a session and there’s no integration what so ever now. It’s usable but that’s about it.

And now with the broken device panels it’s a whole ‘important’ area of namely external synths where Steinberg has no solution to offer. For a DAW with in this price range this is at the least very disappointing. People with external synths that need patch management are bound to go look elsewhere because there’s no way to conveniently handle them in Cubase today. And to be honest I have given it some thought also lately. As a longtime user it’s hard to leave the platform you practically grew up with but if Steinberg can’t provide what me with what I need they really don’t leave me any choice.

With C9.5/10 we’ll probably get some more not so interesting new features and even more hidden buttons/menu’s nobody’s been waiting for? So you can’t really click anywhere anymore without unintentionally triggering some unexpected hidden feature. Real useful stuff like the Studio Module and Device Panels have been buried and will probably never be implemented again. Your loss Steinberg!

Maybe this will move up the agenda as more and more of previously all ITB people add all this lovely new hardware that has been appearing.