Mixing problem - no output

First, although I am an BEE broadcast engineer with many years of studio experience with “real” mixing consoles, I am a newbie at DAWs and Cubase. With the coronavirus shutting everything down, I have plenty of time to learn…

I have a frustrating problem. In Cubase 9.5 LE:
(1) If I open one of the stock templates and do some midi tracks, the mixer panel works as it should, (solo, mute etc.) and the faders adjust levels (and meters) and send to the master stereo out (and meter). Audio is in my speakers. I can export to audio mixdown just fine. Everything seems to work as I would expect.
(2) If I import a midi file (some example I found on the internet) into a project, I get all of the midi instrument tracks, I can edit them (copy, move etc.). However in the mixer panel the faders have no effect. Channel levels (meters) are unchanged no matter where the faders are set and there is nothing sent to the master stereo out (no meter activity). Channel mutes do function. I still get audio in my speakers, based on what is unmuted. I also just get a blank file if I try to export to audio mixdown.

It’s as if all the midi channels are patched directly to some solo or monitor bus (which I can’t seem to find) that goes to my speakers but not to the stereo main mix bus.

What am I missing here?

Hard to be sure without seeing what’s going on, but I suspect the useless faders are for MIDI Control Data and not Audio.

There are 2 types of Tracks in Cubase that can Play MIDI - MIDI Tracks and Instrument Tracks. It is very worthwhile to read the Ops Manual on them to understand all the differences.

With MIDI Tracks you have to load a VSTi into the Rack as a Rack Instrument (not Track Instrument) and then in the MIDI Track’s Inspector assign the Track’s output to this Instrument. So the sound doesn’t come from the fader(s) with the Track’s name but instead from the fader(s) with the Instrument’s name. Initially this was the only way to use MIDI.

Managing all that for a bunch of Track’s can get tedious and create busywork so Cubase eventually introduced Instrument Tracks which are like a MIDI Track and a VSTi combined together. So you don’t need to care about the behind the scenes routing of MIDI data to the VSTi. With Instrument Tracks the fader in the MixConsole will have the same name as the Track.

MIDI Parts can be dragged between the 2 Track Types without issue.

I’m guessing you are using MIDI Tracks that are not connected to a Rack Instrument.

Make sure the Routing section in the MixConsole is visible so you can see what’s routed where. Also those provided templates are best used as starting points. I’d encourage you to create your own customized Templates as needed.

OK, that seems to make sense to me. As I think more about it, I wasn’t hearing “real” instruments in the imported midi file, just “wonky” carnival sounding tracks. I will look at applying rack instruments.
In this era of coronavirus, I am working with my grandson’s choir group and my wife’s orchestra group to produce “together” performances from individual files. The starting point is to get a melody track with a click track together that they can listen to and play/sing with, then time align their tracks all together and mix it in Cubase. It seemed like it might be easier to start by providing one main melody “instrument” from a midi file with a click track for synchronization. It’s a learning project…
I am 70 years old, started doing this stuff in high school with a tape recorder, razor blades and an editall block. Does anyone even remember tape?

I’m only a few years behind you, but I was a total disaster with with razor blades - digital editing is much easier. Got shelves of tape that can’t be played because of the adhesive breakdown.

If you were hearing really cheesy sounds there’s a good chance your MIDI was getting routed to Window’s internal synth. I’d recommend, especially when just getting started, using Instrument Tracks and not MIDI Tracks. It will simplify a lot of stuff. Except for a couple of esoteric capabilities Instrument Tracks do everything a MIDI Track can with a more integrated user interface.

Keep in mind that unlike the analog world in a DAW you can align (and snap to) a Bar & Beats ruler in addition to Minutes & Seconds.

In the Cubase Hub there are links to “how to” videos and if you search this forum there are several threads of video recommendations.

Thanks for the reply and the info.

Most recently (inspired by my grandson’s concert and theater performances) I have been doing multi-camera video editing, syncing with separate sound recorded on my Zoom H6 so I am familiar with the “DAW” editing principle, only with multiple video (and audio) tracks snapping to minutes, seconds and frames. I never worked with midi before, though.

BTW, I have successfully recovered my old audio tapes after “baking” them. Played them back on my Otari MX-50, digitized and then to CD. Some from college, over 50 years old. Worked with some people at public radio. Perhaps you might try it with your tapes. Here is a link to the process…


Even after baking there was still some oxide shed. Generally the tape deck required a thorough cleaning after each tape played, I tried to get everything set up so I would only need one pass through the heads.

A few years earlier I recovered some of my father’s old disk recordings from when he was on radio stations in Pittsburgh. THAT was a project. He was a band leader from the mid 1920’s through the early 1950’s, an era that pre-dated tape recording. The big stations used in-house disk cutting lathes when they needed to record something. For playback I used a Panasonic Technics SP-10 turntable, SME-III arm and Stanton cartridge with various type stylii (supplied by The Needle Doctor here in Minneapolis). I custom built a preamp with several old equalization curves (RIAA was not standard then) and custom built an L/R combining matrix to extract vertical or lateral cut disks. Then on to digital noise reduction and parametric eq. Took me several months but it was a nice Christmas present for my sister (also a musician).


I looked into tape baking awhile back, even have a bookmark folder full of links. But the problem was you need to hold the temp at about 130F. Most home ovens don’t go that low. Mine’s lowest is 170F. I could hire the baking out but that seemed costly. However it recently occurred to me that I now have a sous vide circulator which can easily hold 130F and could use that to heat the tapes - double bagging of course. So now it is down to pure laziness of actually doing it. The flip side is right now I envision finding lost treasures ripe for sampling - perhaps it is better not to uncover the reality.