My Stereo Out Channel Died

Short version: All of my instrument tracks are routed to Stereo Out, but Stereo Out doesn’t receive signal. This happened after creating and routing some Stereo Group channels.

Long version:
I was working on a project when I decided I wanted to try using Stereo Groups instead of the Mono groups I’d been using. This was in large part due to the fact that I could numerically enter Panning into the Stereo Group, versus having to open a new Automation Lane, creating “Standard Panner - Pan Left/Right” , and having to draw in the automation lane. I created five Stereo Groups - Four are for the collective microphone positions of multiple tracks, which have their Output set to “Piccolo Flute FX.” The last one, “Piccolo Flute FX,” has its output set to Stereo Out.

When I tried playing…I notice that all of my Piccolo tracks were silent. Then I noticed that all of my VST Instruments were silent, not just the ones using PLAY. They’re sending a signal, and at first it appeared as though Stereo Out was receiving a signal, but just wasn’t playing back audio. In the regular-old project view, my Stereo Out channel was in black text instead of white, leading me to believe it had been disabled somehow.

After a lot of Internet searching, false-leads, and finally, looking around in “Control Room” and “Studio Setup,” I wasn’t able to find a way to ‘re-enable’ Stereo Out. I saved a separate version of the project and loaded an earlier one that didn’t use Stereo Groups. 20 minutes later, I saw that it was working fine, though I had made a lot of progress since then. Then I closed said project to reactivate the new one. “Stereo Out” was in white text this time, but doesn’t seem to be receiving any signal.

Does creating a Stereo Group usually mess with Stereo Out? Are there additional steps that need be taken beyond just setting the Group Type when creating the channel? I’ve checked all the other channels, and they seem to be routed properly. I’ve also checked for dumb little things, like ‘the channel is muted’ – but that doesn’t preclude the possibility of me having made some other dimwitted mistake.

Cause of Death: Still Unknown.

I went back to the earlier version of the project, added a bunch of Stereo Groups Channels, and did not reproduce this effect. It works fine, but it bothers me that it happened at all. I haven’t noticed any discrepancies between Track Settings, so something on the Project level had to have changed.

In the “Stereo Out DOA” project, while no audio is depicted on the meter, the Equalizer panel shows activity corresponding to the instruments that would be playing. If I were to go to the Fader via the Inspector on the left, I find the whole thing encased in a red outline box. That’s a clue, but I don’t know what it means. Did I switch off its ability to monitor, or play back audio? I don’t know, but nothing I’ve tried so far fixes it.

I’ve seen this many times in past. Here are a few suggestions of other things to check and try.

  • Check that the output of the group channel is set to your desired output

  • Delete the output routing in the Control Panel and recreate it

  • Lastly and least preferable - Close out Cubase, delete your preferences file and restart Cubase.

For some reason anytime I’ve had the issue it has gone back to the preference file that Cubase uses becoming corrupt.
I have absolutely no idea why it does that and it can be really annoying at times. I do know that abnormal crashing of Cubase will sometimes corrupt the preferences file though and that’s one of Supports favorite go to responses when things like that happen.

I get this time from time. Deleting the stereo output in F4 and rebuilding does the trick.