Using stereo plug-ins on surround channels?

Hi guys, just wondering if anyone has any experience of using stereo plug-ins on surround track, in my case 5.1.

Looking through the manual the information is a little confusing. The first section I found states the following:

Cubase supports surround-specific plug-ins, that is, plug-ins with multi-channel support specifically designed for surround sound mixing tasks (the included “Mix6to2” plug-in is an example of this). Furthermore, any VST 3 plug-in features multi-channel support and can therefore be used in a surround configuration, even if it was not specifically designed for surround. All plug-ins are described in the separate PDF document “Plug-in Reference”.

This to me made it sound like I just needed to insert my stereo plug-ins onto the 5.1 channel and all would be fine but then I found this:

Whether an effect plug-in supports mono, stereo, or multi-channel processing depends on the capabilities of the corresponding plug-in. Regardless of this, all VST 2 and VST 3 plug-ins can be inserted on tracks with a multi-channel configuration. Surround-capable plug-ins are applied to all speaker channels (or a subset of these), while mono or stereo effects can only process one or two channels. For example, if you insert a plug-in on a 5.1 track, Cubase tries to apply a 5.1 configuration to this plug-in. If the plug-in is surround capable, this is accepted. However, if you insert a stereo insert effect, the first speaker channels of the track (L and R) are routed through the effect’s available channels, and the other channels of the track are left unprocessed. To apply the effect to other speaker channels, you can use the Routing Editor, which can be opened via the Channel Settings window.

So now it would seem that the stereo plug-ins will only be applied on the 5.1 channel but only be heard on the L and R channels, unless I change some setting in the routing editor.

Can anyone confirm what the case is here when using stereo plug-ins on surround channels?


I tried common Steinberg Compressor plug-in. All 5.1 channels are affected by the plug-in by default. If I want to affect one (or multiple) bus only, I can do this in the Inserts > Routing, or the Routing Editor.

Yes, this is correct.

A Stereo plug on a 5.1 channel will only effect Front L and R.

You can edit the routing.
However, this is still limited to effecting 2 channels at a time in the case of a Stereo plug.
So you can do only the rears, etc.

I believe, though, that most of the plugs supplied with Cubase ARE 5.1, with the limitation of . . . maybe the Amp simulators and a few others.

Just need to try them.



Even the AmpSimulator (which displays I/O: Stereo/Stereo in the Plug-in Manager > Plug-in Information) displays 5.1 routing as a default one on my system. An all Channels are affected by the plug-in here.

Thanks guys, really helpful stuff. I’m away in another studio at the moment so I’ve not had chance to test for myself but will doing so this week. The plug-ins are 3rd party (Slate Digital) so I’ll have to see what happens with them. Good to know that the stock plug-ins have good compatibility though.

I’ll have to give Reverance a whirl in 5.1.