For some reason Cubase doesn’t let you pick a MIDI channel for it’s track input - only port. So that’s why the input transformer exists. Yes, it’s more of a pain than just having a pulldown box for ‘any’ or channel ‘1,2,3 etc…’ but at least it’s there (Logic you can’t even do this!).
And, it does a vast number of other operations too. (such as remapping for E Drums etc.)
There’s also two types of transformer, global and local. And you don’t have to use them as a MIDI insert, you can use the controls at the top of the track info. That’s my preference and i use global mode as it applies to all tracks with it enabled.
There’s also presets which will pass only the channel you require, so you don’t have to work backwards and disable those you don’t - if that makes sense.
But yes i 100% agree it’s very convoluted if you only want to select a specific MIDI channel. In my case i use a Maschine controller set to MCU mode (Channel 1) and the pads are on Channel 2 - i only want the Pads to come in to Cubase sequencer. Yet i have to jump through hoops setting the Maschine controller as to NOT come through on ‘ALL MIDI’ channels, and run the transformer to only allow channel 2.
I think it’s because older DAWs that were built around external MIDI devices would have one keyboard mapping direct to another, so only the output channel seemed to be a requirement for selection, as if you were using Omni mode you would use the master keyboard to define the channels it sends on - things have changed though.
Not sure if you’re aware but it’s also possible to record multiple MIDI Channels on one track and explode it to other tracks after recording, but this doesn’t work for me - and neither would it for you, i suspect. As i want to receive to each track live.