VST instrument workflow problem

I just got the CC121 and it’s great. However it’s not so great when working with VST instruments. The reason being, once you select the audio channel in the mixer of your VST so the CC121 controls it, the midi channel for your VST is deselected so it no longer plays. I understand I could select the monitor button first, but this really gets cumbersome to have to monitor on/off every track whenever I want to make adjustments.

Linking channels seemed like a possible solution, but the problem is it links the volumes (and pans), meaning the midi volume, and audio volume, which is a mess. I never use midi volume, really not interested in the midi mixer at all, it just seems to really get in the way. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but to me the mixer is a place for audio, nothing else.

Anyhow, there is a somewhat relevant setting in preferences, “link project to mixer”, which I have set to linked. If it’s unlinked, CC121 will not operate properly as you can only select things in the project window, not the mixer.

I didn’t really have this problem so much before the CC121, because you could mouse click on the fader and mixer controls, without the audio channel being selected and therefore deselecting the midi channel in the project.

Anyone else share this frustration or know any workarounds?