Oh, you’re using a MIDI Track and not an Instrument Track. If you used an Instrument Track you’d see a list of your VSTi’s there. Using a MIDI track the list will show midi destinations. These can be either physical midi out ports or the inputs to VSTi’s which are loaded into the VST Instruments rack. See page 599 of the 8.5 manual for how the rack works. Pg. 89 describes Instrument Tracks & pg. 96 MIDI Tracks.
While the two different track types generally do the same stuff, MIDI Tracks offer some additional flexibility by separating the track from the synth (for example you’d need to use one to drive an external synth) . While Instrument Tracks offer convenience by combining the track & VSTi together.
I almost always use Instrument Tracks while others prefer MIDI Tracks.
AFAIK Cubase automatically creates MIDI tracks - not instrument tracks - when you import or drag a MIDI file into the project.
I’ve never found a way to stop it from doing this, so I’ve always had to create the instrument tracks manually and drag each MIDI part to its new track.
If you do it regularly, the only way to speed things up is to build a template with many instrument tracks already created and loaded with instruments if you tend to use the same ones in different projects.
True. I always just move the part onto an Instrument Track and delete the MIDI Track created by the import. But it would be nice if there were a preference you could set for the type of track to create.
If you drag a midi file into the project (instead of using Import) you can put it directly onto either an Instrument or MIDI Track. If the midi file has more than one midi part in it the subsequent parts will end up on the next MIDI/Instrument Track(s) below the one you dragged onto. If there aren’t enough tracks for all the parts, additional MIDI Tracks will be created. If you drag onto an empty section of the Project Window new MIDI Track(s) will be created.
The templates I use are all pre-populated with a bunch of my go-to VSTi’s on Instrument Tracks. The tracks I almost always use, at least when starting a project, are enabled (piano, drums, bass etc.). The tracks that I may or may not use are disabled in the template (like extra Kontakt & HALion instances). That way they don’t slow up the load time but are easy to enable when I want them.