Track instruments versus Rack instrument

Hi everyone

I’m trying to setup and get my head around multi-timbrel instruments such as Native Instruments’ Kontakt 5 in which I’m desperately trying to setup multi-output drums so that I can treat the sampled drum kit as though it’s a real drum kit. Since Cubase 5 I’ve always right clicked on the track pane in Cubase and selected ‘Add Instrument Track…’

Through many NI guides on the internet about routing the outputs to your DAW it has always described to go to Devices > VST Instruments and then you click on the arrow pointing right that says ‘Activate Outputs’, so that more channels can be activated. With an Instrument track created which is my usual choose I have noticed in the Inspector pane where the instrument is listed, there is a menu called ‘Output…’. Whereas if I add a Rack Instrument from the VST Instruments (F11) it creates folder and sub folders under the track list pane.

With an instrument this obviously means I can have my MIDI regions on the instrument track whereas a rack instrument is going to require a MIDI track to send the data to Kontakt on the rack instrument??

In terms of treating Kontakt as the drums recordings (or samples trigged by MIDI in this case) what’s the best way to go about treating the multi-output drums like real drums so that I can use Cubases’ plugins and mixing facilities, rack or instrument track? Also with the original question in mind, I can only really see two visual differences, one creates a folder in the arrangement page which I can select the individual channels, and the other you do the same thing but from the output drop down box in the Inspector pane. Is there any other real advantages of using one over the other? Of course I would also like to use multi-outputs in Kontakt with the non-drum sample libraries so trying to organise the outputs from Kontakt would be less organised in the arrangement page, knowing the folder track wouldn’t just contain channels of the same instrument such as the drums.

If anyone has any experience in setting up Native Instruments multi-outputs with Cubase I would love your help.

Many thanks



I’m new to Contact and Cubase myself but I hope these links may help:

I found them while researching the same subject.


Cheers for the videos Dale. They help understand it a little bit, but when he was creating tracks he had stereo tracks assigned in Kontakt. I’m specifically at the moment trying to set 9 mono, 2 stereo and one mono tracks (in that exact order) so that it follows the mixer layout of Session Drummer - full in Kontakt.

If screen-shotted my exact steps on the link below with descriptions to show everyone exactly what I’ve done.

As you can see in Step 14, Cubase’s mixer doesn’t match Kontakt’s, and obviously in Step 11 this is what matches the same order as the mixer in Cubase; 5 stereo tracks followed by 6 mono.

In other words on Step 5 my outputs in Kontakt would be all over the place leaving Session Drummer’s mixer to no where near match (reading from left - right) Cubase’s mixer layout, because annoying it wants to order it like Step 11 of 5 stereo tracks followed by 6 mono.

This is why I absolutely hate using Kontakt with Cubase because they don’t make this easy to setup, get it working and then make sense of it when you load up project you haven’t opened in a while.

I hope someone can help me with this.

Many thanks