Playing VSTs Live

Hi – I’m trying to use Cubase to host a number of VSTs in a live setting, and I can’t find a way to do what I want.

I’d like to be able to define two or three zones on my controlling keyboard (for example, two octaves to channel 4, three octaves to channel 5 and three octaves to channel 6) and then have Cubase route everything I play on channel 4 to one VSTI (let’s say, a bass sample), everything on channel 5 to a different VSTI (a piano, perhaps) and so on. I’d then be able to play two or three VSTIs at once.

I can see how to set up instrument tracks, and if I select any one track then I can play that instrument – select two tracks, and two instruments play in unison. That’s not quite what I want, but it’s what I’d expect with all the instrument tracks set to accept any MIDI channel. I thought I’d be able to get each instrument responding to its own keyboard zone by changing the channels in the track inspector and VST control panels from “Any” to a different number (4 for the bass, 5 for piano and so on), but then the instruments either don’t play at all or carry on responding to all MIDI channels.

There’s definitely no problem with the instruments themselves, because I can play them individually using their stand-alone applications, in which case they respond to just the MIDI channel that I set in the instrument’s control panel, so there must be something that I don’t understand in the way that Cubase passes incoming MIDI to the VSTs. What am I missing?

I’m using Cubase AI9 version 9.0.20 build 209 with a UR22 Mk II interface, and my VSTIs are from Kontakt, Synthogy and GForce.

Hope you can help …


In Cubase Pro, there is the Input Transformer, which would solve it. Without it… I don’t know.

If you use HALion Sonic, you can define the range for every single MIDI Channel, this would also work. But for this VSTi only.

I do not know if my answer will come too late, but in any case …
In the Cubase inspector (the detail of the selected track, placed on the left side) below the volume and the pan, there are indications concerning midi inputs and outputs.
Before the symbol that allows you to open the interface of the vst intrument, there is the number of the midi channel that the cubase will use to communicate with vst.
Initially it is valued with number 1.
You have to change it with the value ‘any’ (choosing from the list).
Then enter the interface of your vst and set as the input midi channel the one you want to play that instrument (depends on the vst you are using, but generally they all set up a midi input channel).
Go back to the inspector and press the ‘speaker’ button (the yellow one) that will let you hear your vst even without the corresponding track being selected.
This, of course, as long as your keyboard has the split function and the ability to assign a different midi channel to each section.
Although with more than one keyboard, but I use the same method to play live.
I hope, though late, that this may be useful to you.