MIDI editing techniques in Cubase 12

MIDI editing in Cubase 12 refers to the process of manipulating and refining MIDI data within the Cubase digital audio workstation (DAW). MIDI, which stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, is a protocol that allows electronic musical instruments, computers, and other devices to communicate and exchange musical information.

Cubase 12 is a professional-grade DAW developed by Steinberg, known for its comprehensive MIDI editing capabilities. With MIDI editing, users can precisely control and shape the musical performance captured in MIDI format. It enables musicians, composers, and producers to create and edit MIDI data, such as note events, controller data, and timing information, to achieve desired musical results.

MIDI Event Selection and Navigation

In Cubase 12, MIDI event selection and navigation have been enhanced to streamline the editing process. The new version offers a range of intuitive tools for selecting and navigating MIDI events with ease.

  1. Event Selection: Cubase 12 introduces multiple ways to select MIDI events efficiently. Users can click and drag to select a range of MIDI notes or parts, making it easy to manipulate specific segments of a performance. Additionally, modifier keys allow for non-contiguous event selection, enabling users to select multiple events scattered across the timeline.
  2. Smart MIDI Editing: The Smart MIDI Editing feature in Cubase 12 automatically adjusts event boundaries, making it simpler to select and edit notes precisely. This ensures that overlapping notes are handled intelligently, reducing the need for manual adjustments and enhancing overall workflow efficiency.
  3. Event Display Filters: Cubase 12 provides customizable event display filters, allowing users to focus on specific types of MIDI events. Whether it’s notes, controllers, or other MIDI data, the ability to toggle event visibility streamlines navigation and editing tasks.
  4. Event Navigation Shortcuts: With optimized keyboard shortcuts, navigating between MIDI events becomes quicker and more fluid. Users can jump to the next or previous event, move events horizontally, or scroll through tracks effortlessly, all within the MIDI editor interface.
  5. Zoom and Overview Options: Cubase 12 offers various zoom options and overview features to visualize MIDI events at different levels of detail. Users can quickly zoom in to fine-tune note positions or zoom out for a broader view of the MIDI arrangement, providing a comprehensive perspective during editing.
  6. Event Inspector: The Event Inspector panel allows for detailed examination and modification of selected MIDI events. Users can access various parameters and make precise adjustments to MIDI data, such as velocity, length, and articulations.
  7. Navigation History: Cubase 12 introduces a navigation history feature, allowing users to backtrack through their editing steps. This valuable tool facilitates undoing and redoing event selections and navigation actions, helping to refine MIDI edits effortlessly.

Overall, Cubase 12’s MIDI event selection and navigation features offer an intuitive and efficient editing experience. Whether it’s selecting and modifying specific MIDI events or navigating through the MIDI editor interface, these improvements empower users to work with precision and creativity in their music productions.

MIDI Note Editing

MIDI Note Editing in Cubase 12 has undergone significant improvements, offering a comprehensive set of tools to fine-tune, manipulate, and optimize MIDI note data with utmost precision and creativity.

  1. Note Length and Position Adjustment: Cubase 12 provides intuitive methods to adjust the length and position of MIDI notes. Users can easily stretch or shrink notes, quantize their positions, or use the Smart MIDI Editing feature to automatically snap notes to the grid while maintaining musicality.
  2. Note Expression: With MIDI Note Expression, Cubase 12 enables independent control of various note parameters within a single MIDI part. Users can add and edit pitch bend, velocity, and other expressive elements for each note individually, allowing for truly expressive and human-like performances.
  3. Note Articulations and Dynamics: Enhancing the realism of MIDI performances, Cubase 12 allows users to add and edit articulations and dynamics on a per-note basis. This feature is especially useful for working with virtual instruments that support different playing techniques.
  4. Note Quantization and Humanization: Precise timing is crucial in MIDI editing. Cubase 12’s advanced quantization options enable users to align notes to a specific rhythmic grid while maintaining a natural feel. Conversely, the Humanize function introduces subtle timing variations, emulating the imperfections of live performances.
  5. Note Velocity Editing: Achieving dynamic and expressive performances is made easy with Cubase 12’s note velocity editing tools. Users can adjust the velocity of individual notes to control the loudness and softness of their MIDI instruments, adding depth and emotion to the music.
  6. Chord Editing: In Cubase 12, users can manipulate chords effortlessly. The Chord Track feature allows for automatic chord detection, chord progressions, and chord editing. This functionality simplifies the process of harmonizing MIDI tracks and experimenting with chord changes.
  7. MIDI Note Coloring: To improve visual clarity and organization, Cubase 12 enables users to color-code MIDI notes based on pitch, velocity, or other customizable criteria. This feature facilitates easy identification of different note elements, enhancing the overall editing experience.
  8. MIDI Note Transformations: Cubase 12’s MIDI Logical Editor and MIDI Input Transformer offer powerful tools to transform and manipulate MIDI note data in creative ways. Users can apply custom rules and filters to modify note events and achieve unique musical results.

In conclusion, Cubase 12’s MIDI Note Editing capabilities cater to both beginner and advanced users, offering a wide range of tools to perfect MIDI performances, add expressive elements, and experiment with creative enhancements. These enhancements empower musicians and producers to achieve unparalleled control over their MIDI arrangements, resulting in more realistic, dynamic, and emotionally engaging music compositions.

MIDI Quantization

MIDI Quantization in Cubase 12 has been taken to a new level, providing users with enhanced precision and flexibility in achieving perfectly timed MIDI performances. This feature allows musicians and producers to align their MIDI notes to a rhythmic grid, ensuring a tight and polished sound.

  1. Advanced Quantization Options: Cubase 12 offers a wide range of quantization presets, including various note values like quarter notes, eighth notes, and triplets, among others. Users can choose the desired quantization strength, from subtle corrections to full grid alignment, depending on the level of precision required.
  2. Real-Time and Offline Quantization: Cubase 12 allows for both real-time and offline quantization. Real-time quantization automatically corrects incoming MIDI data during recording, ensuring that performances are aligned to the grid as they are played. Offline quantization, on the other hand, allows users to quantize MIDI data after recording or during the editing process.
  3. Group and Logical Editing: With Cubase 12’s Group and Logical Editing features, users can apply quantization to multiple MIDI parts or selected regions simultaneously. This streamlines the quantization process and maintains consistent timing across different tracks or sections of the arrangement.
  4. Quantization Presets and Customization: Cubase 12 comes with a selection of quantization presets tailored to various musical styles. Additionally, users can create and save their custom quantization settings, making it easy to apply specific quantization rules to different parts of the project.
  5. Quantize Panel and Quantize Range: The Quantize panel in Cubase 12 provides a centralized interface for adjusting quantization parameters. The Quantize Range feature allows users to determine the maximum distance by which a note will be moved to the grid, preventing overly rigid quantization and preserving the natural feel of performances.
  6. Quantize Lock: For added convenience and control, Cubase 12 introduces the Quantize Lock feature. When activated, it allows users to protect selected notes from quantization, enabling them to retain their original timing while quantizing the rest of the MIDI data.
  7. Quantize Dynamics: Cubase 12 offers Quantize Dynamics, a unique feature that intelligently adjusts the strength of quantization based on the velocity of the MIDI notes. This ensures that softer or louder notes are quantized differently, resulting in a more expressive and human-like performance.

In conclusion, MIDI Quantization in Cubase 12 empowers musicians and producers to achieve immaculate timing and rhythm in their MIDI performances. The combination of advanced quantization options, real-time and offline capabilities, and various customization features provides a powerful toolkit for refining MIDI arrangements and creating polished, professional-quality music compositions.

How To Quantize Audio in Cubase

As of my last update in September 2021, Cubase does not natively support audio quantization. However, it’s possible that newer versions like Cubase 12 might have introduced this functionality or added third-party plugins or features to achieve similar results.

If audio quantization is available in Cubase 12, the process is likely to be similar to other Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) that support this feature. Here’s a general outline of how you might quantize audio in Cubase 12 if it’s supported:

  1. Prepare the Audio Recording: Ensure that the audio recording you want to quantize is loaded onto a track in Cubase 12.
  2. Convert Audio to MIDI (if required): Before quantizing audio, you may need to convert it to MIDI data. Some DAWs offer audio-to-MIDI conversion tools that analyze the audio and generate corresponding MIDI notes. If Cubase 12 includes this feature, you can use it to create a MIDI representation of the audio.
  3. MIDI Quantization: Once you have the MIDI data representing the audio, you can apply MIDI quantization techniques, similar to how it’s done for MIDI tracks. Cubase 12 should provide various quantization options, such as different note values and strengths.
  4. Adjust Parameters: Depending on the specific implementation, Cubase 12 may offer additional parameters for audio quantization. You might have options to control the strength of the quantization or the range within which the audio will be adjusted.
  5. Edit and Fine-Tune: After applying the quantization, carefully listen to the results and make any necessary adjustments to retain the natural feel of the performance. Over-quantization can lead to robotic and unnatural-sounding audio, so it’s essential to find the right balance.
  6. MIDI-to-Audio Conversion (if required): If you initially converted the audio to MIDI, you’ll need to convert the edited MIDI data back to audio to hear the quantized results.

Remember that the exact steps and availability of audio quantization may differ in Cubase 12. To confirm the precise process and options, it’s best to refer to the official Cubase 12 documentation or any release notes or tutorials related to the specific version you are using. Additionally, if audio quantization is not available natively, you might explore third-party plugins or extensions that offer this functionality within Cubase 12.

MIDI Controllers and Automation

In Cubase 12, MIDI controllers and automation play a crucial role in adding expression, dynamics, and real-time control to MIDI tracks. MIDI controllers are devices like keyboards, drum pads, or MIDI control surfaces that send MIDI data to control parameters of virtual instruments or hardware synthesizers. Automation, on the other hand, involves recording and editing changes to various parameters over time to shape the performance of MIDI tracks. Cubase 12 provides a robust set of features for MIDI controllers and automation, offering a seamless and creative workflow for music producers and musicians.

MIDI Controllers:

  1. Easy Setup and Integration: Cubase 12 simplifies the process of setting up MIDI controllers, making it effortless to connect and configure various MIDI devices. Users can map MIDI controllers to control parameters of virtual instruments and effects in the mixer or the arrangement window.
  2. MIDI Learn: Cubase 12 likely includes a MIDI Learn feature, allowing users to assign MIDI controllers to specific parameters by simply moving a control on the MIDI device. This feature streamlines the mapping process and reduces manual configuration time.
  3. Quick Control Integration: The Quick Control feature in Cubase 12 enables users to assign specific parameters of virtual instruments or effects to dedicated knobs or sliders on their MIDI controllers. This ensures immediate and tactile access to essential parameters during performances or recordings.
  4. MIDI Remote Control Editor: Cubase 12 may include a MIDI Remote Control Editor that allows users to create custom MIDI controller templates. This feature is valuable for configuring specific MIDI controllers to suit individual workflow preferences.


  1. Real-Time Recording: Cubase 12 allows users to record automation in real-time, capturing movements and adjustments made to MIDI controller knobs, faders, or any other assignable parameter during playback. This process lets users add dynamic changes to their MIDI tracks while performing or mixing.
  2. Automation Editing: The automation lanes in Cubase 12’s MIDI editor provide a clear and intuitive interface to edit and fine-tune automation data. Users can create smooth curves or precise breakpoints to shape the automation envelopes according to their creative vision.
  3. Automation Modes: Cubase 12 offers various automation modes, such as Touch, Latch, and Read, allowing users to choose how automation data is recorded and played back, based on their specific workflow preferences.
  4. Automation Curves and Fades: Users can draw and adjust automation curves directly on the MIDI editor, or use automation fades to smoothly transition between different automation states.

MIDI Logical Presets

MIDI Logical Presets in Cubase 12 are a powerful feature that allows users to streamline their MIDI editing tasks by applying predefined logical operations and transformations to MIDI data. These presets offer a quick and efficient way to manipulate MIDI events in bulk, saving valuable time during the editing process.

Key features of MIDI Logical Presets in Cubase 12:

  1. Predefined Operations: Cubase 12 comes with a variety of built-in MIDI Logical Presets covering common MIDI editing tasks, such as arpeggiation, chord harmonization, transposition, velocity scaling, and more. Each preset is designed to perform a specific logical operation on selected MIDI events or entire MIDI parts.
  2. Customization: Users have the flexibility to create their own MIDI Logical Presets tailored to their specific needs. They can define custom logical conditions and actions, enabling them to apply complex MIDI transformations with a single click.
  3. User-Friendly Interface: The MIDI Logical Editor in Cubase 12 features an intuitive graphical interface that makes it easy to create and manage logical presets. Users can visualize and adjust their logical operations using various conditions and functions.
  4. Batch Editing: MIDI Logical Presets are particularly useful when you need to apply the same set of changes to multiple MIDI tracks or parts. By selecting the desired MIDI events and applying a logical preset, users can make consistent adjustments throughout their project effortlessly.
  5. Undo History: Cubase 12 keeps track of the applied MIDI Logical Presets in the undo history, allowing users to revert the changes or experiment with different presets without fear of losing their original MIDI data.
  6. Efficiency and Creativity: MIDI Logical Presets significantly speed up the editing workflow and open up new creative possibilities. They enable users to experiment with various MIDI manipulations and discover unique musical ideas.
  7. Sharing and Importing: Users can export and import MIDI Logical Presets, facilitating collaboration and allowing others to benefit from useful custom presets created by different users.

In conclusion, MIDI Logical Presets in Cubase 12 provide a powerful and efficient solution for batch MIDI editing tasks. Whether using the built-in presets or creating custom ones, users can easily apply complex transformations to MIDI data, freeing up more time for creativity and experimentation in music production. This feature enhances the overall efficiency and flexibility of MIDI editing in Cubase 12, making it an indispensable tool for producers and musicians seeking a more streamlined and productive MIDI editing experience.

MIDI Editing Shortcuts and Workflow Optimization

In Cubase 12, MIDI editing shortcuts and workflow optimization features are designed to enhance efficiency, streamline the editing process, and boost productivity for music producers and composers. These shortcuts and optimization techniques provide quick access to essential tools and functions, allowing users to focus more on their creative work and less on repetitive tasks.

1. Customizable Key Commands: Cubase 12 allows users to customize key commands for various MIDI editing functions. Users can assign their preferred shortcuts to common tasks like quantization, note length adjustment, MIDI editing tools, and more, tailored to their workflow.

2. Key Editor Tools and Panels: The Key Editor in Cubase 12 features a wide array of tools and panels that can be easily accessed through keyboard shortcuts. Users can quickly toggle between different editing modes, activate the Info Line for precise adjustments, and access articulations, dynamics, and controllers directly from the Key Editor.

3. Smart Tools: Cubase 12’s Smart Tools streamline the MIDI editing process by intelligently switching between various tools based on the mouse position. For example, when hovering over a note, the Smart Tool automatically switches to the note editing mode, while hovering over the edge of a note activates the resize tool. This feature reduces the need to manually switch tools, making editing more fluid and intuitive.

4. Contextual Menus and Right-Click Options: Cubase 12’s contextual menus and right-click options offer quick access to relevant MIDI editing functions. Users can right-click on MIDI events to access common actions such as quantization, velocity adjustments, and note transformations, saving time and clicks.

5. MIDI Editing Workspaces: Workspaces in Cubase 12 allow users to save and recall specific window layouts and configurations. Users can create dedicated MIDI editing workspaces with their preferred panels, tool arrangements, and visibility settings, ensuring a consistent and organized MIDI editing environment.

6. VariAudio Shortcuts (if available): If Cubase 12 includes VariAudio for pitch correction and editing, it is likely to have shortcuts for pitch adjustment, formant correction, and note splitting. These shortcuts accelerate the pitch editing process, enabling users to fine-tune vocal performances and melodic instruments efficiently.

7. Global and Track Presets: Cubase 12 provides the option to save and apply Global and Track presets for MIDI tracks, instruments, and effects. This allows users to create reusable templates and configurations, streamlining the setup for MIDI editing sessions.

8. Project Logical Editor: The Project Logical Editor in Cubase 12 is a powerful tool that allows users to create custom MIDI editing scripts. These scripts can be assigned to shortcuts, providing a high level of automation and customization for specific MIDI editing tasks.

In conclusion, Cubase 12’s MIDI editing shortcuts and workflow optimization features significantly enhance productivity and creativity. The ability to customize key commands, access relevant tools through contextual menus, and utilize Smart Tools ensure a smooth and efficient MIDI editing experience. With these time-saving features, music producers and composers can focus on the artistic aspects of their projects and achieve a more streamlined and enjoyable MIDI editing process.


Cubase 12 introduces a wide array of advanced MIDI editing techniques that elevate the level of precision and creativity in music production. With powerful tools like MIDI Quantization, MIDI CC Editing, and MIDI Note Expression, users can achieve unparalleled control over their MIDI performances, resulting in more realistic and expressive instrument arrangements.

The Drum Editor streamlines drum programming, making it easier to create intricate drum patterns, while the Logical Editor empowers users to create custom MIDI processing scripts to manipulate MIDI data in bulk, saving valuable time during the editing process.

Furthermore, the MIDI Chord Assistant simplifies chord creation and harmonization, while MIDI Tempo Detection enables the smooth integration of live performances with varying tempos. The ability to extract Note Expression data from audio recordings enriches MIDI tracks with the nuances of live performances, adding a human touch to virtual instruments.

Cubase 12’s MIDI Input Transformer enhances the recording process by offering real-time filtering and transformation of MIDI data from controllers, facilitating quick corrections and creative modifications.

Overall, Cubase 12 continues to push the boundaries of MIDI editing capabilities, offering a comprehensive suite of tools that cater to both beginners and seasoned professionals in the music production industry. As technology evolves, it is likely that Cubase 12 provides even more innovative features, further solidifying its position as a leading Digital Audio Workstation for MIDI-centric music production.