QUESTION: What's The Difference Between a Rack and a Track?

…in the new list of VSTis loaded.

There’s an upstairs button for Rack instruments and a downstairs arrow for Track Instruments.

Aside from the obvious Marxist implications… :smiley:

…I’m failing to see much other difference. I understand that a ‘Track’ can now be linked to multiple MIDI tracks now (hooray!) but other than that, why the big distinction?

Are there other differences in how one -uses- them? I’m asking because other than how they were -created-, I don’t see any -functional- difference… or at least, I don’t see why they are segregated into two ‘classes’.

It seems like if they took so much trouble to set them apart there must be other ‘rules’ differences.

What am I missing?


There are a couple of threads on the new Instrument (T) rack 2.0 in which I have shown my doubts and confusion about them. It is comforting that someone with such long experience as you also show some doubts. Either we are too dumb (at least me :open_mouth: ), or Steinberg has not explained this new feature very well.

My -guess- is that this is a transitional deal… trying to ease people into using ‘Instrument Tracks’ exclusively. But it’s confusing to -me- because I don’t see why they are separated visually in two ‘classes’. To =me= a VSTi is a VSTi.

Instrument track i still Only stereo. Vst rack is multiout. The update make it more natural to use the rack with quickcontrols etc.

  • I don’t seem to be able to load a VSTi without a track as I could do with previous versions. Some times I want to change an instrument on a midi track. What gives there?

I think you’re right.

To me Instrument Tracks 2.0 in 7.5 are VST Rack instruments that have an Instrument Track in the project window.

edit: what the heck, here’s what Steinberg GMBH has to say:

Instrument Tracks
The handling of instrument tracks has been improved. Instruments that you add via instrument tracks now support the same features as rack instruments.

•Instrument tracks support multiple audio outputs.
This allows you to play back, mix and record different instrument outputs of VST instruments that support multiple outputs.

•Instrument tracks support multiple MIDI inputs.
This allows you to route additional MIDI tracks to multi-timbral instruments that are loaded in an instrument track.

•Instrument track presets allow you to save and load all VSTi audio outputs for the instrument track. Also they save and load volume and pan settings.

•Multitrack presets allow you to save all connected MIDI tracks.

Right click in the rack or click the work Rack in the divider.

Actually you -can-, it’s just tricky if what yer experiencing is what -I- experience.

Sometimes, the header of the window (with the RACK and INSTRUMENT headings) disappears. Hitting the V icon on the right makes it magically reappear. And then you can add a new ‘rack’ instrument by clicking on RACK.

Another case of the magically delicious icons I -looooooooove- so much.

Stupid design. Stupid design. Stupid design.

Here’s how a ‘professional’ program does it:

Dear Cubase Customer,

When we first created VSTis we had -no- idea how popular they would become or how many ways they would be used. We’ve recently enhanced VSTis in ways. By Dec 2016 we will discontinue supporting ‘rack’ instruments in new CPRs, so we encourage users to start taking advantage of Instrument Tracks asap and use ‘rack’ instruments only for legacy work. You’ve been warned.

…Don’t change the UI. Just stop offering ‘racks’ in 2017.

What Cubase often does is try to have things both ways… and never settle on ONE way of doing things. They say it’s about ‘choice’ but all it does is lead to UI inconsistencies and lots of features few people use because they’re so frickin’ odd.


This was my dissertation on the topic. :slight_smile:

I understand everything now except for tiny one thing…

Every muthafukin’ word you wrote. :smiley: (sorry, couldn’t resist.)

“In other words, for me, I would rather have a device with sixteen MIDI tracks pointing to it, rather than fifteen MIDI tracks pointing to a sixteenth instrument track. Though anymore, I more often than not, just create another instance of the instrument instead. But I can certainly understand the need to use a multi-timbre instrument. Some are even made better, used that way.”

When you create an Instrument Track, it simply creates a MIDI track (or a few I guess) to the VSTi. But at any time, you can simply break the link by re-assigning the MIDI track(s) to another VSTi. Also, if you delete the VSTi from the ‘rack’, the MIDI tracks remain… just like a ‘Rack’ VSTi.

So… at the end of the day, the only difference I see between an "Instrument Track’ and a ‘Rack’ VSTi is that you get a little convenience when you create the VSTi… fine. But the implication of an Instrument Track is that there is some ‘link’… I dunno how else to say it but I expected it to be ‘object oriented’. ie. that an Instrument Track would somehow be intimately connected to it’s ‘tracks’.

For example… if you could manipulate the -audio- (MixConsole) half of the equation in the same ‘track’ as the MIDI… Now THAT would be something.

But to -me- the current situation seems strictly cosmetic.

The difference between the two becomes more apparent when using a multi-timbre VSTi…

Instrument Track:
1 “integrated” MIDI Track and VSTi.
15 MIDI Tracks pointing to the integrated track above.

In this case, the integrated MIDI track cannot be detached from the instrument, yet the remaining 15 MIDI Tracks already are. I.e. they can be re-routed to any other MIDI device.

E.g. I want the MIDI on the integrated track to play a different VSTi (or external device), but the other 15 MIDI Tracks to remain with the current VSTi as is. I would need to create another track, and move the MIDI content from the integrated track (i.e. copy and delete). Now I have a blank (no MIDI) Instrument Track with 15 other MIDI Tracks using it. Disorganized. Less versatile. (Potentially confusing.)

Instrument Rack:
1 “stand alone” VSTi.
16 MIDI Tracks pointing to the rack instrument above.

In this case, the stand alone rack instrument is a separate instrument, detached from all 16 MIDI Tracks. Any of the 16 MIDI Tracks can be routed to any other MIDI device.

E.g. Any of the MIDI Tracks can be re-routed anywhere. The VSTi can be removed. There is no “owner” track. Straight forward. More versatile.

I agree with Elektrobolt.

As I wrote here . . .
. . . it seems kind of inconsistent to have one Track which is both a MIDI Track AND the first output of your VSTi.
Then a bunch more outputs that are ONLY outputs and even more that are ONLY MIDI . . .
Mixed up.

It makes a little more sense if you are using the Instrument Track for just ONE sound - but Multi-Timberal . . like Drums.

However, one BIG current ADVANTAGE of Instrument Tracks is that they (and all of their associated outputs and setting and inserts, etc) can be saved as an Instrument Track Preset OR as a Track archive (and this could include additional Group Tracks).
Neither can be done with Rack Instruments. . .

Which brings me to my highjack of this thread:
I’m having problems doing the wonderful Instrument Track Preset and Track Archives that I just mentioned.
Wrote about it Here:

Is anybody doing this successfully? No problems?
Any idea what I’m doing wrong?