Why doesn't Cubase 11 MIDI work like Ableton Yet?

If you have one or two MIDI devices that you use in predictable ways, VST quick controls can be a good option. But in 2021 where it’s not uncommon to have MANY cheap MIDI controllers that utilize different techniques for music-making - and Ableton is a thing- this whole Quick Control thing is cumbersome and outdated.

When trying to make music quickly and efficiently, I don’t want to think about which controller I have set up for Cubase to recognize as Quick Controls and which knobs I have mapped to which QC input. Then, if I decide to use a different controller, have to jump through all these hoops swapping presets in the Audio panel to do it. What a workflow killer.

Just do global midi learn like Ableton. The automation panel can already recognize even the smallest, idiosyncratic change in a VST instrument and display the proper automation lane when Automation Write is enabled. Cubase already recognized all manner of crazy MIDI inputs from as many controllers as your computer has input ports. Just stick them together.

I can’t answer why the universe is the way it is. :man_shrugging:

But until Steinberg makes it easier with a re-architected remote control API (which apparently they’re working on), I’m using the following workaround, which is quirky, but seems to work:

  • Make a Generic Remote for each desired hardware controllers
    – (I know you can’t give them custom names, but I won’t let that stop me)

  • In each Generic Remote, configure 8 or 16 controls for use as one or both of
    – VST Quick Controls
    – Track Quick Controls

  • Use the upper part of the window to midi learn the controls you’re flying in from that hardware controller.

  • Use the lower part of the window to assign what Cubase is supposed to do with them

VST Quick Controls can be targeted via

VST Quick Controls | Device | Quick Control 1
VST Quick Controls | Device | Quick Control 2

VST Quick Controls | Device | Quick Control 7
VST Quick Controls | Device | Quick Control 8

Track Quick Controls is a lot less obvious but this worked for me:

  • Select an Audio or Instrument track in your project which has all 8 Track Quick Controls assigned (doesn’t matter what they are assigned to, but they have to be assigned to something),
  • then, in the Generic Remote settings, you should be able to find and configure the following:

Mixer | Selected | Quick Controls > QuickControl1
Mixer | Selected | Quick Controls > QuickControl2

Mixer | Selected | Quick Controls > QuickControl7
Mixer | Selected | Quick Controls > QuickControl8

The result on my setup looks like this:

NOTE, that bottom half shows whatever the Track Quick Controls are on the currently selected track - (very confusing indeed) - but it works. Like when you have a different track selected and go back into the Generic Remote settings, that window shows different things in the Value/Action column.

This kind of setup allows me to have several different controllers simultaneously connected to Quick Controls.

:warning: Important undocumented trap (no error message if done wrong): When setting up Generic Remotes configurations: The Control Names have to be unique within a Generic Remote configuration, since they serve as the key linking the top and bottom half (mapping the hardware remote and the Cubase software connections respectively).


Thank you for this incredible response!!