Unloading External Instruments after Freezing

I have a bunch of analog hardware synths that are monotimbral - the good stuff, right? I want to use them multiple times in a song. The hard way: create MIDI and audio tracks for each part, “printing” the MIDI to audio.

Instrument Tracks seem the perfect solution - MIDI and audio in one track, i.e., Freeze generates Audio from MIDI and then mutes the MIDI. Perfect. Except that Cubase does not release an External Instrument used on an Instrument Track after that Instrument Track has been frozen!!! I cannot think of any reason it behaves this way. By not releasing the External Instrument, I cannot use that synth on another track, even tho Cubase isn’t using it anymore.

=> Instrument Tracks should release their External Instrument on Freeze (and note that this is already an option for VSTs, but oddly not for External Instruments). That way, you can create and use additional Instrument Tracks for that same synth, i.e., record MIDI, print to audio (via Freeze), lather, rinse, repeat. <=

With the resurgence of analog synths, I’d think everyone else would want (need!) it to work this way, too.

I’ve logged this over in the Feature Suggestions section, but please, if anyone has a clever workaround, I’d love to hear it. Otherwise, it’s back to juggling two tracks for each part. Ugh.


I would recommend you to use Render in Place instead of Freeze.

RiP is a work-around, but I’ve asked Steinberg Support to log this as a bug, as it is pretty clear to me that Freeze with the “Unload VST Instrument” box checked is supposed to, well, unload the VST instrument - and External Instruments are plumbed as VSTs, fwiw. (A minor gripe: the list of External Instruments shouldn’t be buried down in the list of VSTs under Steinberg, IMHO.)

I’ve used Cubase for decades and generally find it useful and productive, but there are a few places, like External Instruments, that are rather crufty and quirky. Clearly the development energy these days is being spent with an eye towards all-software VST, esp. EDM with loops and such. No surprise - I’m sure that’s the bulk of the new users. But hopefully they don’t leave us “old-school, real-instruments, with real performers” guys behind…

In any case, fixing the unload of External Instruments on Freeze would really help my workflow, and I suspect anyone else with a mono-timbral synth or two. Or six :wink:

Why do you think, RIP is a workaround? I would say exactly the opposite. RIP is designed exactly for these kind of tasks. Freeze is designed for something else (to save CPU load).

So discouraging to see that 5 years later still this hasn’t been addressed.
Of course one can say “Works as intended” and dismiss it using technicalities as argument, but it is obvious that when you freeze a track that uses an external effect by and large you don’t wanna lock the effect. There should at least exist a preference to unload the external effects when freezing a track.
Massive flow killer.

ah, but there is an option (i’m on mac, so ymmv) - “unload instrument” (or similar) in the Freeze dialog box. it just doesnt work.

when i pointed this out - that clearly the intent was to unload it when checked - the support person said, “oh, then we should remove that option in the GUI.”. i’m not kidding.

cubase has been around for many decades (i started using it in the early 1990s) and that whole section of code, dealing with non-softsynth MIDI devices is archaeic, to say the least. i don’t think it’s been touched since the epoch. which is too bad, as there is a lot of potential: defining external devices and their MIDI and audio i/o, including latency, MIDI capabilities, even a GUI for defining control panels. I dont use any of it now, just Audio Connections as any other device, and use the MIDI ports shown in Studio Setup. Too bad, as it could have been a differentiator for Cubase.