Need advice for using Cubase for live performance

I have an upcoming show with 3 sets, around 10-12 songs per set.

I am using a keyboard rig with 4 boards (Juno DS61, Novation61, Novation25, StudioLogic117).

For each song, I have 2-4 different sounds that I need to switch over to the various keyboards.

I’m fairly new to such a complex setup, so am trying to figure out the best way to switch between songs. My initial thought was to load up all the sounds, in different tracks (each outputting to the board I’d use for that particular sound on that particular song), for all the songs in one set. This is actually how I’m rehearsing songs now. Then after each song, trigger Cubase (somehow… ideally a pad on one of the boards) to disable the tracks I need for the next song, and disable the rest of them. That way, I wouldn’t have to load every single song up separately, just each set. The issue is, I have no idea how to accomplish this. I did look a bit at the arranger track, but wasn’t able to find anything about enabling/disabling tracks.

The second part of this is that I will need to play a few samples during the first set. I have a Roland Juno DS that can handle that, but not when it’s slaved to Cubase. The thought here is that, since the samples are few and far between, I could unslave the Juno as needed, play the sample directly form there, and then reslave it. I plan on doing this with a pattern sequence I need to be able to tempo adjust on the fly as well. Does this make sense? Or is there also some way to have Cubase shoulder the load here and save myself a lot of switching around mid-song?

Really appreciate any advice/direction! Thanks!!

Although there is probably several ways to do what you need…
I might try to load the songs into folders in cubase, you can organize things nice, but arrange the songs one after another. Then create a marker track (you can have more than one). But I don’t know the extent of switching you need but Cubase can handle any program changes is needed on midi tracks. Also you probably can use a tempo track as well to change tempos.
With markers set at beginning of each song you can setup a keycommand or trigger to jump to that point. Default is shift-1, shift-2, 3,4,5 etc… you can setup keycommand to be whatever u want. Then you can play songs in different order with no changes to mixer settings, no muting etc…

The arranger track does all this. In literally a hundredth of the time.

If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re basically saying layout the songs one after the other and then just skip around the timeline to move from song to song.

If so, then I wasn’t clear. Aside from the samples (which are just a few short sound effects), nothing is canned that I’m doing, everything is played live.

For example:
Song one might have the VST1 outputting to board 1, VST2 to board 2, VST3 to board 3 and VST4 to the foot pedals.
Song two might keep VST1 on board 1, but VST2 isn’t used at all. Instead I need to output VST5 to board 2 instead and VST6 to board 3.
Song three might use a whole new set of VSTs.

Over a set I may have 12 different tracks, but I only have 4 boards, so I have to be able to tell Cubase what to use when. All I need to do, as far as I can tell, is enable/disable tracks. Arguably, maybe I could have all the tracks active and mute/unmute as needed, but I’m worried that might cause memory issues to have tracks just muted instead of disabled. Admittedly, I’m not sure how Cubase handles the memory load of a muted vs. a disabled track.

Using a tempo track also won’t work here as everything is live (there will never be a guaranteed set tempo). The tempo adjusting on the fly is to match the current tempo of the song as needed so the pattern isn’t off time. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to use the JUNO’s tap tempo for that.

I that any clearer? Apologies, this is pretty new to me!

Okay, not sure what you really need Cubase for if your playing everying and you don’t need midi or virtual instruments. Are you wanting to mix the audio from your synths?
When you say “load up the sounds in different tracks” what to mean? Because you say your your playing your hardware synths.

What do you mean "Song one might have the VST1 outputting to board 1, VST2 to board 2, VST3 to board 3 and VST4 to the foot pedals. " What is your Vst? audio midi or virtual instrument?

I’m not not using the right terminology. I’ll look at the Cubase UI to try and get the terms right. I see now I was saying ‘output to boards’ which is incorrect, I’m inputting from the boards to the DAW.

In Cubase, for a set, I might have 12 different instrument tracks. Each of these tracks has a VST (Halion or otherwise) assigned to it, as well as an Input Routing (IE. Juno DS61). As I only have 4 midi controllers, each one is of course routed to input to multiple tracks in Cubase.

So, for song 1, track 1 might be a Halion Grand Piano which accepts input from the Juno DS61 hardware and Track 2 might be a Halion Cello which accepts input from the Novation 25. I guess you would say Cubase is just acting as the synthesizer.

For song 2, I might keep the track 1 piano on the Juno, but then need to ‘switch’ the Novation 25 to use a Synth Pad on track 3. The novation is still routed to both track 2 and 3, but I only need one of the tracks to produce audio based on which song I’m playing.

Last night, I did mess around with just muting tracks per song. In other words, I left all the tracks activated and just muted the ones I wasn’t using for a particular song, and it seemed to work okay (except for one Oberheim VST instrument track that I may have to adjust some). I think I CAN mute/unmute tracks via a remote midi trigger, so this may be the solution. Possibly even better, I think I can turn the input routing off and on via remote midi trigger, which would theoretically mean I wouldn’t have, for example, a hardware board sending signal to one unmuted track and several muted ones (not sure how much of a processing/memory hit sending to muted channels might be).

If I was doing this I setup the instruments you need as VST racks, then use as many midi tracks as I need for each song that send to the vsts in the vst rack. Then put the midi tracks in a folder you can enable monitor for whole folder at once. Check your preference settings for how you monitor midiper track, then whatever each midi track input output assignment will be exactly like you need.


just make maps for each song and prepare the final situation for each track in that map.
You seem to make it more complicated as it is.
First thing is the timeline. That is going form A to Z without interference.

live, you never want to change anything except changing the maps to activate some things, and everything should be pre-programmed to accept or to do what is needed.
so a normal live timeline is just from start to finish, without any twiggles, no buttons to be pressed, except for the maps, and even so if the system can handle it, just put everything live from scratch.

in a gig, just switch the maps and activate in the map what you need.

clue: when preparing the map just duplicate what you reuse to that map but refine it for your specific needs for that track.
then save the bunch, and off you go.

kind regards,


My set is less complicated then yours, but…
i use it without any maps, but i use colours on the different tracks so i still know where i am.
Important is that i am present in front of the laptop so i can control things by an instant.
There are others who are being fed by sounds from my system at any given time.
But once tracks are prepared for any live situation, it is just activating them to get things done.
push the button. :slight_smile: