MIDI import default VST

When importing a MID file into Cubase 11 pro, is there a way to change the default VST from Halion Sonic SE to Halion Sonic 3? Sonic 3 is not one of the default choices in the drop down menu when I look in the menu options in Preferences under MIDI file import, I have "MIDI tracks, “Instrument tracks”, and “Halion Sonic SE”. Of course I can go and individually change the tracks over to Sonic 3 instruments, I was just wanting to have them automatically be set to Sonic 3 instruments when imported.

Hi and welcome,

Unfortunately there is no way. HALion Sonic SE is the only instrument you can use. It has been discussed and requested many times here on the forum already.

Actually the advantage of HALion Sonic SE is, it loads the right sounds if your MIDI File is GM compatible. But I see your use case and feel the pain. I’m always using Import to MIDI Tracks and then route all MIDI Tracks to my preferred Instrument Track (or Rack Instrument). This is the fastest way.

Martin, thanks for your reply. I can live with that, as it isn’t too painful. I just didn’t want to work that way for a long time and then find out there was an easy fix. And you are right, the GM compatible midi files are correctly routed to the right instruments in Sonic SE, which does make it handy for a quick listen to see if the midi file is well done and worth using.
Thanks for your time!
David T

@Martin and @Dave28:

There is an undocumented feature, which may be useful to know for You, if the Default SMF Input Destination is set to Instrument Tracks.
In this case the Importer searches for a GM-Preset Attribute in the Mediabay.

Example to reassign GM Prg 2:

  1. MIDIfile Import Prefs: import to Instrument Tracks

  2. Open Mediabay and open the Attributes Sections:

  • Set the filter for all VSTSounds to find the GM Sound (sub style) 2 ->normally these are all defined for Halion Sonic SE Presets.
  • Set the GM Sound value for this sound preset to none or a value you normally do not use.
  • Find Your favourite VST Sound Preset, assign the GM Sound Attribute to 2. (GM Sound needs to be added to the visible Attributes)
  1. Load a Midifile which uses Prg Change number 2 -> Your new Preset will be loaded

This is very useful, if You own a very good VST-Piano. Just set the GM Sound Attribute to 1 for it. You are not restricted to a specific VST-Instrument, when You work in this mode, but You need to reassign the custom GM Sound Attributes.


Hi Werner,

Oh wow, I didn’t know this, thank you!

Thanks for that info. I tried it and it does indeed work for me. I would never have figured that out myself!
David T

It’ll remember the last plugin used while importing a MIDI file if set to MIDI or Instrument tracks in “Edit/Preferences/MIDI File”.

So my solution is to import a MIDI file, choose my favorite Plugin or Port for default MIDI imports, change all the endpoints to my liking, clean out the tracks, then save as a starting templates.

I’ll repeat this for my favorite templates that tend to require a lot of importing/exporting of MIDI files.

It’s also handy to know that one can do a mass change for the endpoint of many tracks in one move.

First, hold ctrl and click all the tracks you’d like to have a common end point.
Second, while all the tracks you wish to reassign are highlighted, go to the track inspector and hold shift+alt while left-clicking the output selector. Choose the new end-point and it should change for all of the selected tracks in one go.

In the event that you don’t have a template prepared…
Set in preferences if you want to import to MIDI or Instrument tracks.
Before you import…Make a MIDI or Instrument track, choose the end point that you want.
Cubase will remember that last thing you used when importing a MIDI file.

Brian, that’s great info and very useful! Thanks!
David T