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Cubase’s Input Transformer Explained

Steinberg Cubase Pro Tips & Techniques By John Walden
Published February 2022

Cubase Pro’s Input Transformer; somewhat intimidating but capable of some very useful tricks.Cubase Pro’s Input Transformer; somewhat intimidating but capable of some very useful tricks.

The Input Transformer can do all sorts of useful things to incoming MIDI signals.

Most Cubase users will know of the Logical Editor, which is an amazingly powerful tool for transforming MIDI parts you’ve already recorded, but the Pro edition of Cubase also includes the Input Transformer. This is a more streamlined tool that operates in real time on incoming MIDI data and it’s capable of performing some very useful tricks. In this article, I’ll walk you through some simple examples that demonstrate the possibilities.

DIY Switch Builder

Many sample libraries have the ability to keyswitch between different sounds (for example, string section performance articulations). But for those that don’t, you can turn to the Input Transformer. The main screenshot shows an example which switches between different sounds in the first three channels of an instance of HALion Sonic SE (HSSE). By default, these sounds respond to MIDI channels 1, 2 and 3, respectively. I’ve constrained the MIDI note range to C1‑G8 for each sound, so as to free up the MIDI notes below C1 for use as DIY keyswitches. Also note the instance of the MIDI Monitor plug‑in that I’ve placed in the track’s MIDI Insert panel; this lets you see, as you experiment, exactly what MIDI data is reaching HSSE.

To access the Input Transformer click on the ‘squiggly arrow’ button in the top‑most Inspector panel, and you’ll see three options: Off, Global and Local. Global means the Input Transformer actions you create will apply to the incoming data on all the project’s MIDI and Instrument tracks. With Local, selected here, only the current track’s MIDI input will be affected. The Input Transformer window looks similar to the Logical Editor: in an upper Filter Conditions panel you specify which MIDI events you want to trigger an action; and, beneath, an Action List panel specifies what actions will be performed when those MIDI events are detected. The four Module tabs, each activated by a small ‘power’ button, allow you to configure up to four independent Input Transformer setups, all of which operate on the same input signal.

Some virtual instruments offer velocity‑based sound switching... and your DIY keyswitch can achieve the same thing for instruments that lack this feature.

Assuming your external MIDI keyboard is set to transmit on MIDI channel 1, the instrument in the HSSE’s first slot will be the default sound. In the main screenshot, though, you can see how I’ve set up Module 1 so...

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