If you require more than 8 ‘easily assignable’ remote controls at a given time, consider building a “Generic Remote Map” for your controller. QuickControls are mainly meant for dealing with a few controls on a simple MIDI keyboard controller. They are meant to be few in number, and ‘easily assignable’ so you can move them about to control different things on a ‘track by track’ basis at will. I.E. You can have the same 8 sliders on a keyboard do something entirely different for your Piano track than they do for your Drum track.
‘QuickControls’ are NOT really meant to be ‘parked’ in one place, to do only one thing. In control groups, researchers find that too many instantly assignable ‘quick controls’ of this nature seriously confuses a majority of users, and they end up spending far too much time trouble shooting controller conflicts. Personally, I think 16, or 32 would be a better number given today’s Keyboard Controllers ever growing number of programmable sliders/knobs/etc…but I guess the math and psychological studies led to the current decisions to settle on 8 track quick controls, and 8 vst quick controls.
If you have devices with ‘dozens’ of programmable controls, take advantage of the Cubase “Generic Remote Mapping” features. This is the approach meant for power users. The Remote Maps allow you to more permanently park large numbers of remote controls. I.E. In a studio setup where dozens of remote devices are available, and their functions are intended to remain fairly universal across all projects on the system.
Note, it’s just as easy to change controller assignments as needed in a Generic Remote map. In fact, I built a key command that pulls the map up with a simple key combo. From there I can simply ‘learn’ a control and then use pop-up menus to assign them to remote control pretty much ANYTHING inside Cubase. It’s very easy to add/remove/change new remote controls as needed…and it even has a ‘learn’ mode. Maps can be imported/exported, and even stacked (several different maps can run simultaneously). They also provide the ability to manage ‘map presets’ so you can change an entire setup at the punch of a button (even remotely). I.E. You might like a totally different mapping when working in the Score Editor, than you like for ‘Mixing’, and yet something even different for working in the “Piano Scroll” editor.
Cubase provides a nice built in XML editor for creating a remote map that can control nearly every command and function in Cubase. You can design them to work on ‘mixer channels’, or you can set them up to control proper VST/VSTi ‘plugin instances’ directly. Most of these remote movements can be recorded on automation lanes in Cubase, and the few that can’t (I.E. launching a macro, arming/disarming a track, automating punch points, etc.), can be tricked into being recorded on a MIDI track by simply cloning the map and routing output to a loopMIDI port and pulling that back into a Cubase MIDI track for recording (Only needed for extreme cases where you want to automate things in Cubase that don’t offer specific automation lanes).
Just as an example…
For my Akai MPK2 controller, I’ve built myself a Map that can do the following:
- Run my entire Cubase Mixer consoles.
- Drive unlimited numbers of VST/VSTi automation lanes directly.
- Manage ‘step input’ sessions in the Score Editor using the MPC Pads on the MPK2 (I never have to touch my mouse or keyboard to step input into the Score).
- Launch macros and/or Logic editors from my MPK2.
- Manage entire sets in live performances via Remote Control.
- Punch DAW tracks on and off (kind of like organ stops) using the MPC Pads.
- Via loopMIDI I’m able to automate things these maps do on pure MIDI tracks…it comes in handy for making the DAW automate various features and functions that don’t seem to have a direct way to automate. I.E. Making a sequence launch and run a Cubase Macro.
First load up a full template and give yourself a little room to grow. I.E. If you typically need 100 tracks and 30 Kontakt instances, go ahead and set up a template with all that loaded. It might even be a good idea to give your template some growing room (go for 120 tracks, and 50 Kontakt instances until your remote map is built, then you can back off to your usual size and your mappings for the extra channels/instances will be there waiting when and if you need them). Next, you’d build your Remote Map.
It’s very powerful and only limited to the number of remote control devices and MIDI inputs available on your machine. It can even run motorized faders etc.
It’s also possible to set up some virtual MIDI loop ports and record map automation directly to MIDI tracks…I.E. If for some reason you wanted to ‘automate’ things like launching macros or logic editors in real time via MIDI track.
To begin creating a Generic Remote map simply:
- Go to “Devices\Device Setup” in Cubase.
- Click the"Remote Devices" folder in the left column of the “Device Setup” dialog.
- Click the little plus button at the top left corner of the “Device Setup” dialog and choose “Generic Remote”.
Cubase will start a new map for you, and you can begin assigning controls. The top pane lists the controls that are going to be mapped, and the bottom is where you assign the controls to specific DAW or plugin commands. Yes, it is possible to give a single event multiple commands, or to mistakenly set up conflicting events, so plan well, and maybe keep a spread-sheet on what you like to assign where so you don’t inadvertently create unwanted controller conflicts.
If interested, here is a write up on how I initially mapped out an MPK261:
I also came across this older Video Tutorial that covers the topic. While it’s for an older version of Cubase, it’s still quite valid to more recent versions of Cubase: