SO I compose in Cubase. MIDI tracks when we record the keyboard midi controller, it records into midi cc. But it is reflected in Mixer. If you both turn on volume fader and volume CC, it could be duplicated and confusion… I’m thinking maybe we should just use one.
But if we use midi controller, then it’s not shown in mixer, if we use volume fader, then 100 midi tracks would result in 200 lanes and volume fader takes one lane.
First, I do as much as I can directly in the MIDI instrument tracks before going to the main CuBase Mixer and external plugin effects. When it’s time to mix down, or get fancy with complex effect chains that require extra real time ‘automation’:
Set up a virtual MIDI port (I’m on Windows so I use loopMIDI and name the new virtual port(s) “Automation_x” [with x being a number or letter]).
Set the input of my remote Map(s) to the loopMIDI virtual MIDI port.
Make a MIDI (or multiple tracks if desired) with my MIDI controller(s) as the input, and the output directed to my “Automation” virtual ports.
This setup routes everything through a MIDI track before forwarding it into my Generic Remote map(s). This allows me to easily arm/disarm when and if my remote maps are active. It also allows me to record in real time any and all controller movements I like in a MIDI format.
There are still a number of things I’d rather just use quick controls and VST automation lanes directly; however, there are quite a few things one can automate in CuBase through generic remote maps that do not have native ‘track types’ or ‘automation lanes’ (Launching Macros, stopping the transport, arming/disarming tracks for recording/monitoring, manipulating cycle points, etc). This setup allows me to automate all that good stuff directly from a MIDI track. In short, you can ‘remote control’ nearly every feature, mouse click, or key-combo via assigned MIDI events! By routing it all through MIDI Tracks first, you can ‘record/edit’ all those remote events to your heart’s content.
Other interesting benefits to running controller movements through a MIDI track like this include:
MIDI tracks support multiple track versions, and quite a number of options in automating how one handles ‘cycled’ recording sessions. I.E. On Cycle: Replace/over-write existing part, merge with existing part, start a new part in the same track, start a whole new track, etc. One can also take advantage of introspective MIDI recording. This gives you something kin to unlimited ‘undo-redo’ abilities when recording automation passes live. Make a ton of them, and then mix and match the best of all your automation takes. Introspective MIDI recording is one of my all time favorite CuBase features…so why not take advantage of it when ‘automating the entire DAW’?
MIDI events go into ‘parts’, which are easy to cut, paste, splice, drag around in sections, etc. The track automation lane editors aren’t quite as flexible (though the new 9.5 release does give us some new ‘range’ features).
It’s easy to edit this stuff in the MIDI Key Editor, and you’ll also get the bonus of the Logical MIDI Editor.
It makes it possible to automate things in VST effect plugins that don’t normally have a way to control them via MIDI with your MIDI Track insert effects (I.E. MIDI LFO).
Using track transformers, it’s easy to set up multiple tracks and arm/disarm remotes as needed (with record and monitor buttons).
When it’s time to freeze things into the VST automation lanes (where applicable), I can convert various CC lanes in the KeyEditor into track automation lanes, and from there they are easy to ‘cut and paste’ right onto VST/i automation lanes. Or, I can just activate write for the relevant VST/i automation lanes, play a pass, and it’s ‘frozen in’ as true VST/i meta events. Last, I disable my original MIDI automation tracks, turn off the write switches, turn on the read switches, stash the MIDI automation tracks in an out of the way folder of the project, and make a back-up copy of my remote maps with readme files in the project directory case I ever need them again in the distant future. At that point I’m ready to take care of any ultra fine edits/bumps on the time-line that might be necessary (due to latency on my system when trying to mix with remote controllers).
Here are some threads with posts I’ve made over the years on the technique:
No, first I ignore the CuBase Mixer and VST effect slots while playing in/recording my parts. I’ll get things roughed in with the instrument’s internal controllers first. I.E. CC7 only works the volume in the plugin (I.E. HALion) directly.
Once my tracks are laid and I’m ready to start working with the CuBase Mixer and VST plugins in the mixer inserts, I directly remote control the entire DAW through a “Generic Remote Device”. I.E. If I link a CC to a control on the CuBase Mixer, to a control in a VSTi like Retrologue, or to a VST slot effect like REVerence, then it totally bypasses project automation lanes and works those controls directly. Since it is passing through a MIDI track first, I have the ability to ‘record’ any of these controller movements. I can also open the Key Editor, or the activate ‘edit in place’ and draw automation events straight into CC lanes.
Instead of doing DAW automation on VST/i automation lanes, I am simply routing all of my live controller movements through a MIDI Track and storing it all as MIDI events inside a normal MIDI part.
I don’t worry about freezing it to VST/i automation lanes until late in the project.
It is a round about way of doing things, but my reasoning is that MIDI Tracks have a lot more options for recording/versioning/editing things than those VST automation lanes. I can throw together macros and logical editors to make quick work of so many things that are a major PITA on the VST/i automation lanes. I can use the key-editor or edit in place editors and get a nice grid at my disposal, with all the tools for quantization, bumping and sliding, etc. I can take the same automation curve, and slice/glue/clone/stamp/copy/paste/route/echo/transform/etc. it to other places more easily. We don’t get much of that editing power in the little drop down VST/i automation lanes of the project editor.
I don’t freeze things to VST automation lanes (with the R and W buttons) until some of the last stages of my project. Since I’ve done all my automation on MIDI tracks, when it’s time to do this freezing process, pretty much all I need to do is click a bunch of W buttons for the lanes I want and play the project for a pass. Next I un-toggle the W buttons and click the R buttons. Finally I mute/disable/hide the MIDI Tracks that I’d been using to record/edit my live controller movements. At that point the project is no longer ‘dependent’ on my Generic Remote Device maps.