This guide will show you how to load a multi-timbral instrument like Equator into Cubase.

Short answer

Create an instrument track receiving on all channels, and load a multi-timbral plugin such as Equator. Edit the polyphonic expression data (Glide, Press, Slide) using Note Expression.

Detailed answer

The Seaboard Block and Lightpad Block use multiple channels of MIDI to achieve polyphonic dimensions of touch. Cubase is very compatible with BLOCKS because it accommodates multiple MIDI channels on a single track which can host a multi-timbral plug-in like Equator.

Step 1: ROLI Dashboard Settings

  • Connect your Blocks and launch ROLI Dashboard
  • If you're using a Lightpad Block, load the "Note Grid" app and then click the "Edit" button.
  • Ensure that the MIDI Settings in ROLI Dashboard are set as shown below.

We have selected:

  • MIDI Mode: MPE
  • MPE Zone: Lower
  • No. MIDI Channels: 15
  • Pitch bend range: 48 semitones

Step 2: Create an Instrument Track

Open your Cubase project.

Project ➝  Add Track ➝ Instrument

Select a multi-timbral plugin like Equator.

Step 3: Select all MIDI channels

In the inspector, select the Seaboard or Lightpad Block as the MIDI input, and set the channel to Any. (In this example we’re using a Seaboard Block and the Equator plugin.)

Step 4: Equator’s MIDI/MPE Settings

By default, Equator's MIDI/ MPE Settings will already match those that we select for ROLI Dashboard in step one. But since a mismatch of settings in ROLI Dashboard and Equator can cause silent notes or incorrect pitch bends, it's worth double-checking them now.

  1. Open the Equator plugin from your instrument track in Cubase.
  2. Click on menu (☰) in the top right and select MIDI/MPE Settings.
  3. Ensure that Equator’s MIDI Settings match the ones we set in ROLI Dashboard in Step 1 (by default they should already be correct). Now that Equator is listening for MIDI on the same channels that the Seaboard is sending it, there will be no missing notes.

Equator MIDI MPE settings page standard MPE setup

Step 5: Setup Note Expression

Before you record, you will want to setup Cubase’s Note Expression which makes it very easy to edit the Blocks' polyphonic touch dimensions.

All you need to do is go to the Note Expression tab in the Inspector for your instrument track.

Scroll down and select Pitch Bend for Glide; Aftertouch or Poly Pressure (otherwise known as Channel Pressure or PolyAftertouch) for Press; and CC74 for Slide.

Check that MIDI as NoteExp is ticked. Now, any expressive data recorded from the Seaboard will be editable by Note Expression in the Key Editor.

Step 6: Recording

Simply arm the track and record in the normal way. All notes will be recorded onto the instrument track and audio will come from the plug-in’s stereo output.