Recording automation into MIDI parts?

Hi folks,

Is it correct that the ONLY kind of automation one can record into a MIDI part is when you have a physical knob mapped to a VST plugin via the “midi learn” function that’s built (or not built) into your VST plugin?

So, in this scenario, if the track’s automation write button is NOT enabled, but the track’s normal record button is enabled, and you press record , then tweaking your hardware knob will record the automation data into the MIDI part.

Apart from the scenario outlined above, i can’t find any way of recording automation into a MIDI part.

So, it doesn’t work by tweaking the same knob on the VST interface with my mouse.
Nor does it work if i have that knob mapped via a quick control and then tweak it (either via my hardware knob or via the quick control slider on the left in the inspector).

Any pointers would be appreciated because i can’t quite get my head around this!

One other point:
If i go to: MIDI > CC Automation Setup, each individual controller is marked (by default?) as: Use Global Settings
I understand this, you can over-write the individual setting for each controller.
But the expression: “Use Global Settings” is confusing. For “settings” one normally goes to the preferences…or one of the other places where there are settings, like the automation or quantize settings…but this isn’t what’s meant here. I think what they mean is that it’ll obey the current state or combination of states of your automation write and track record buttons…so if you have automation write enabled, then it’ll write to an automation track, and if you don’t, and record normally, it’ll write to the MIDI part. But as i outlined above, this only seems to work in the one very specific case of having a hardware knob mapped via “MIDI learn”.

Thanks! … J

It’s possible to automate pretty much the entire DAW through MIDI tracks. You’ll need a virtual MIDI port set up on the system. From there you set up a ‘remote device’ and route controller movements through a CuBase MIDI track, then into the remote map via your virtual port.

Is seems you are confusing a couple of issues …
MIDI Input, in the form of CC data from a controller or keyboard is not the associated with internal VSTi.
Parameter automation of VST has no direct relationship to MIDI
The mapping of an external MIDI controller to an internal parameter for plugins is a mapping exercise.

CC is directly associated with MIDI only …
You can however map CC to the QC to give some level of external device control over non-CC parameter values.

Some VSTi allow direct CC mapping from the external controller. These will show up in CC automation lanes in the Midi Editor.
Some do not and require the use of Parameter automation on the Instrument track for example. If you want external control in this scenario you have to use Quick control or VST Control mapping.

I believe “Use Global” you are referencing is just in relation to weather you want the CC values to be exposed as normal automation lanes on instrument tracks always. This doesn’t change how CC are used at all just where it will be written.

Lets see if I can simplify an explanation …
We used to have MIDI TRACKS and Rack VSTi tracks only …
One handled MIDI and MIDI editing
One handled the instrument audio routing and parameter automation

Any automation of the controls done on the VSTi knobs/params happened via normal Cubase automation lanes. If you wiggle the mouse on a control with Write enabled. You are editing a host parameter. It has nothing to do with CC.

The MIDI track records and send MIDI data. MIDI data includes CC and a bunch of other stuff.

Then you point the MIDI track at the VSTi which were written to process Note On events and typically handle the SPAM events like pitch bend and mod wheel.

The MIDI track just pushed the keys on the VSTi, which then made a noise that was sent to an audio out.

The CC confusion starts because some VSTi will allow you to control the knobs on the VSTi by receiving CC. That automation could be recorded in both the MIDI CC lanes of the MIDI data AND/OR in the VSTi automation track as Host Parameter Automation if you happened to turn on Write of the VSTi track while sending mapped CC data.

Using your mouse only creates Host Parameter Automation.

Enter Instruments track. Now you have a merging of all of these messages and mappings. Incoming CC, Host Parameter automation AND the mapping of CC to those parameters. So, when you wiggle the mouse on a VSTi control, you are still only dong Host Automation because nothing is sending CC down the selected channel.

Thanks for the reply JM, i’ll need to find the time to go through this and check out what you’re saying, i’ll come back to this!

@Brian: thanks for the suggestion. To be honest i gave up on trying to do those kind of tricks with virtual ports, it always seems to make Cubase unstable and crashy. That’s my experience with it, anyway.

Here’s my shot at explaining this:

CC lanes in the key editor are midi only. If you have a hardware knob that sends midi, it will be recorded in the midi part when you press the record button.

Automation lanes in the project window are a different animal. When Write is activated on a track, any moves you make on the track will be written to the automation lanes. You can make the moves with Cubase’s or a VST’s faders, buttons, dials etc, or, you can make the moves with MIDI controllers that you have mapped to them with the Generic Remote, or Quick Controls. the result is the same. Automation is written, not MIDI CC messages.

The SB devs added a way to WRITE midi CC messages to automation lanes. This is accomplished by going to the CC Automation setup under the MIDI menu, and telling Cubase what to do. e.g., you want all CC 1 that you send to Cubase to be written into write enabled tracks automation lanes. Now, CC 1, (mod wheel) behaves as if it were a VST control, it gets written to write enabled tracks, and does not get recorded when you hit the record button.

There’s more to it, but I hope this explains the concepts.

Strange, and sorry it didn’t work out for you. A properly built MIDI loop driver (make sure it is 64bit if you’re on a 64bit OS) should pose no problem(s), be the stream incoming from hardware, or simply piped virtually, it’s at a driver level. It does not affect how CuBase itself runs, and should never ever ‘crash Cubase’ (just be sure not to set up an infinite loop by accident when connecting things…in the case of loopMIDI if this happens it just disables the port until you fix things and re-enable it).

I’ve been doing it for years here on rather modest Windows systems…also with rtpMIDI over the LAN. On Macs, it is already built into the OS as a part of core audio, so no problem there either.

For most projects I don’t really need this much remote based modulation, but when I do need it, it works quite well. I simply start with a fresh map and build as I go (on need basis).