VST Instrument Recording

I am new to the computer version of Cubase (8 Pro) although I have used Cubasis on the iPad for a while. My work to this point has been primarily with audio tracks, but I am trying to learn how to use the VST Instruments. I have observed the beginning Quick Start Videos 1-4 and have a copy of Power Tools for Cubase 7 (nothing available for Cubase 8 yet) in which I have read the first four chapters.

I am attempting to use Groove Agent SE to make a rudimentary drum track. I have been able to create a track with Groove Agent selected, and the technique of dragging and dropping prerecorded patterns works. However, when I try to manually play the individual pads while using the usual recording procedure with the record button activated no track is recorded.

Can someone suggest what I might be overlooking.

Thanks in advance for suggestions.


I think that you will find that most VST instruments don’t record from their graphic pads or keyboards. You really need a MIDI keyboard to do this effectively, it isn’t really practical to use the mouse button. However, if you don’t have any MIDI hardware or don’t want to spend the money on one you can record in real time using the Cubase “virtual keyboard” (alt-k) feature and your computers keyboard in a pinch.

A few words of warning though. When you have the virtual keyboard active you can’t use your keyboard shortcuts. Also, you will have to hunt around the octaves to find the drum mapping on the virtual keyboard. If you really want to input notes in real time I’d invest in a cheap little MIDI keyboard and then you will have the advantage of having velocity input as well.

Thanks for the feedback.

I’m just trying to follow the materials in the Cubase 7 Power Tools book, which suggests that it is possible to do this without doing a full MIDI mapping.

I already have several keyboards that are MIDI capable: A Kawai ES7, an Ensoniqs KS32, and a Hammond XK3C organ with upper & lower keyboards and pedals (all of which have MIDI interfaces). I also have an Alesis SR18 drum machine which is MIDI capable. In the past I have used these tools to record audio tracks rather than record MIDI and transfer them as such, but I see the advantage of doing MIDI tracks in Cubase. I suspect that the drum machine may be simpler to map (as a start) as I’m only dealing with 12 pads.

I’m using Cubase 8 Pro in 64 bit mode with a Steinberg UR44 interface (6 channels & MIDI in and out), and an ASUS i5 laptop with touch screen, Windows 8.1, 8GB of RAM. I may look for a small weighted keyboard just for portability as you suggest.

I really appreciate the help on the forum. The turn around is much better than with Steinberg tech support.

I’ll update as I find what works. Perhaps it will be of use to some other beginner.