Using Cubase VST Synths live


We are using Cubase 6 to compose, record and arrange our songs in our rehearsal room / studio. In order to be able to have everybody work at home on the songs as well, we decided to use only Cubase VST plugins until we are ready to go to mixing / mastering.

Therefore we explored the available Cubase synths and dig their sound. So we currently are thinking how our keyboarder could play these VST instruments in a live situation.

How do others use their Cubase VST plugins for their work? Anyone using them live?

Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks


Hi, Oli

AFAIK, there are no standalone versions of Mystic, Spector, Halion Sonic SE or Groove Agent. Thus, you have to launch Cubase and create the relevent tracks for them. Starting from this, all depends on if you want to be able to select the instruments played from Cubase directly or from your MIDI keyboard (which could be quite useful on stage, I guess…).

  • In the former case, you can use MIDI+VST instrument tracks or Instrument tracks directly and select the track needed in Cubase.

  • In the latter case, things get more complicated. The MIDI+VST instruments tracks (F11) become mandatory and you’ll have, first, to allocate each channel to a specific MIDI channel number, then use the Input transformer (the right button on the first pane of the inspector). For each channel, use the ‘Local’ option ans select in the preset field a ‘Channel filtering - Pass CH xx’ relevent preset. This will allow only the relevent incoming MIDI data from the selected channel to be used Be sure that the module used is activated. Once set, activate the monitor button for all the tracks. You should be able then to select the track/sound you need at a specific time only by selecting the relevent MIDI channel from your master keyboard.

Keep in mind that if you need different sounds from ther same VSTi (Typically, Halion Sonic SE), you’ll have to use as much MIDI track as sounds you need from it at disposal, each of them set to a different MIDI channel, of course. This is not possible by using Instrument Tracks.

Following is an example of project that use different Cubase bundled VSTis selected only via my Studiologic master keyboard, with the following setup :

  • Ch 1 : Mystic
  • Ch 2 : Spector
  • Ch 3, 4 and 5 : halion Sonic SE with 3 different sounds, hence 3 different MIDI tracks.

While making the screenshot, I was playing on the MIDI channel 2 (dedicated to Spector). I didn’t test with GA One, but I guess it works the same. I would use only one MIDI track with several outputs, but to each its own…

Hope this will help.

EDIT : seems that the attachment is having a problem at the first click : try again and it should be normally displayed.

Hi Cubic

Thank you very much for this in depth answer and even making an example screenshot!

Your answer will be very helpful for us to find out how we will proceed regarding the use of plug-ins vs. standalone synthesizers. It’s a bit of a bummer that the Cubase VSTi can’t be used in something like V-Machine or Receptor. I wonder what the reasoning behind this is.

Anyway, thanks and happy holidays!