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Track or Rack Instruments in Cubase?

garyhiebner

Active Member
Which is the best track type to use in Cubase?

I know before Rack Instruments were used cos track instruments couldn't address multiple MIDI Tracks. But can't you just create additional MIDI Tracks and assign them to the Instrument track and use a different MIDI channel if a multitimbral instrument is on a track instrument. Trying to really see the big difference between the two.

The Rack Instruments just see to create more clutter in the arrangement with the VST folder, then the Instrument track, and then the assigned MIDI track. Isn't this a bit overkill with Rack instruments or am I missing something.

Is there something a Rack instrument can do that a track instrument can't and visa versa?
 

Guy Rowland

Senior Member
Track Instruments

Pros

Keeps everything in once place
Able to be Archived and Disabled

Cons

Track 1 is combined audio and midi, all the others are separate which is a bit messy
When using multiple audio outs, Archiving and Disabling currently has serious bugs


Rack Instruments

Pros

Consistency in use
No debilitating bugs (!)

Cons

Cannot be archived or disabled

The bugs mentioned involve scrambling output order, duplicating tracks etc after several disables / enables / project open / closes. Steinberg have said publicly that after three years they are going to get to the bottom of the bugs, but there is currently no word on when this might be finally fixed. A possible workaround for not being disabled is to use Frozen instruments instead.

I've currently shelved my template using Track instruments archives which has proven very unreliable. I've migrated to using Rack instruments in tandem with disabled instruments hosted in VE Pro. I'm also toying with migrating multi-out synths / beats hosted in Cubase onto frozen rack instruments - by putting a dummy note at the start of a track would be possible to do this, and thus avoid the scrambled outputs with those instruments. For single-output instruments, I'll stick with Track Instruments.
 

Guy Rowland

Senior Member
Guy, could you elaborate on this? Do you mean disabling the channel in VE Pro?
Yes indeed. If it all works out, I'll do a video in due course. The basic principle is around a dozen VE Pro instances, all connected to the template and decoupled, so loading and saving is extremely quick. All instruments in VE Pro are disabled, and I've mapped automation parameters for every single channel (which was terrific fun, as you might imagine). In Cubase, I have every channel set so two pads on my keyboard (I never use the pads otherwise) enable and disable the relevant channel in VE Pro (I'm using CC19 for that chore). Very boring to set it all up, but pretty slick in action. VE Pro is ready to go by the time I'm at my launch screen in Cubase, and a Cubase project loads in around 30s. Load times then for each instrument obviously vary enormously, but most are pretty quick. I have a muted event at the start of each track which sends an Enable command, so when I'm done with a project I just enable the event on the used tracks, so next time I load it up everything in VE Pro is enabled in one easy hit, just the bits I need.

Threatening to spoil the fun - there's always something - is that very very occasionally I get full scale deflection noise from VE Pro when enabling / disabling. I've got a support ticket in with VSL for that.

Just today I've been migrating across all my instruments resident in Cubase from Track to Rack, using Freeze instrument. It's not as elegant as Tracks, and its not entirely bug free either - twice the midi tracks have gotten mis-routed to the plugin after an un-freeze. Will be watching carefully to see if its teething problems or something more tedious.
 

jneebz

Senior Member
Yes indeed. If it all works out, I'll do a video in due course. The basic principle is around a dozen VE Pro instances, all connected to the template and decoupled, so loading and saving is extremely quick. All instruments in VE Pro are disabled, and I've mapped automation parameters for every single channel (which was terrific fun, as you might imagine). In Cubase, I have every channel set so two pads on my keyboard (I never use the pads otherwise) enable and disable the relevant channel in VE Pro (I'm using CC19 for that chore). Very boring to set it all up, but pretty slick in action. VE Pro is ready to go by the time I'm at my launch screen in Cubase, and a Cubase project loads in around 30s. Load times then for each instrument obviously vary enormously, but most are pretty quick. I have a muted event at the start of each track which sends an Enable command, so when I'm done with a project I just enable the event on the used tracks, so next time I load it up everything in VE Pro is enabled in one easy hit, just the bits I need.

Threatening to spoil the fun - there's always something - is that very very occasionally I get full scale deflection noise from VE Pro when enabling / disabling. I've got a support ticket in with VSL for that.

Just today I've been migrating across all my instruments resident in Cubase from Track to Rack, using Freeze instrument. It's not as elegant as Tracks, and its not entirely bug free either - twice the midi tracks have gotten mis-routed to the plugin after an un-freeze. Will be watching carefully to see if its teething problems or something more tedious.
Thanks so much for taking time to reply in this detail. I’ve been following your adventures with Cubase as I too am still seeking a Cubase-VE Pro workflow that fits. I love some of the tricks you use and will try to implement those.
 

JamieLang

Active Member
For strings/horns, it has to be the rack, as following the HMT intonation isnt a setting for an instrument track—only midi.

Note for legacy users....prior to HMT, so v6 and back, they only applied the smaller secondary buffer to interusment tracks. So, fo low latency you used to HAVE to use it....

There really is no “best way”.....if there were, theyd only have it. That said....the rack is fully functional(now that they map those to the smaller buffer), instrument tracks are not. So....if you have to oick one, Im going with rack.
 

nickhmusic

Active Member
Hey Guy, I'm late to the party but considering upgrading to Cubase 10 and before i do - wondering how awful the bugs are when re-enabling a multitimbral Kontakt instance?

For example, I have a drum kit with buses assigned to several outputs, inserts, fx sends and grouped channels the way I want them.

When disabling this, then re-enabling - how inconsistent is it? Thanks mate!
 

Guy Rowland

Senior Member
Hey Guy, I'm late to the party but considering upgrading to Cubase 10 and before i do - wondering how awful the bugs are when re-enabling a multitimbral Kontakt instance?

For example, I have a drum kit with buses assigned to several outputs, inserts, fx sends and grouped channels the way I want them.

When disabling this, then re-enabling - how inconsistent is it? Thanks mate!
Your timing is excellent - they finally fixed it last month. 10.0.20 onwards is fine. Old archives and old disabled tracks might still be odd, but anything newly generated is - AFAIK - finally solid.
 

nickhmusic

Active Member
Just updated and doing some testing. I can confirm that all multiple outputs are correctly assigned when enabling/disabling - however unfortunately it seems that the midi channels (other than the "main master" one the track instrument is actually technically using - come back when enabled as missing.
 

Guy Rowland

Senior Member
Just updated and doing some testing. I can confirm that all multiple outputs are correctly assigned when enabling/disabling - however unfortunately it seems that the midi channels (other than the "main master" one the track instrument is actually technically using - come back when enabled as missing.
Apologies, I should have flagged that there can still be midi routing issues in some cases, but for me they've always been quite complex cases. The audio thing is fixed, and I'm 99% sure I haven't had any midi routing issues on a single archive pointing to a single source. The only times I've had an issue is with multiple midi ports in VE Pro - it can drop those off. It looks like you've got something I haven't experienced - I routinely enable multiple midi tracks from a disabled track, and they've always been as good as gold. Are you always getting this issue on a newly created archive?
 

nickhmusic

Active Member
Curious, these were freshly created in the latest version - 10.0.20. Will try in a completely new 10 project as this was previously a 9.5 cpr file. :)
 

nickhmusic

Active Member
So, i've confirmed. A track instrument of a Kontakt instance - assigned 8 outputs. Then added a few midi channels which kindly auto assigned to the said Kontakt instance - Midi channel 2,3,4 etc...

All looking good. Disabled. Enabled. Extra midi channels showing missing.

Not a huge issue for those who use one midi to one audio - but I was hoping to create bigger track instruments in the style of the old rack instruments - with multiple midi and audio channels.

Examples that spring to mind are Omnisphere, RMX, LA Scoring Strings - well to be honest anything really...

I'm not averse to going back to Rack Instruments for this - just got excited at the possibilities for building a largely disabled template!

Cheers.
 

nickhmusic

Active Member
ok, now it is being inconsistent. sometimes connecting sometimes not. Not 100% repeatable. Will try again tomorrow.
 
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