Howto: Use Cubase And Renoise Together

Hi Everybody. This is my first attempt of helping fellow Renoise users so I hope you all find it useful. I apologise if my use of jargon isn’t 100% but hey…

The purpose of this tutorial is to allow Cubase users to compose VST tracks using Renoise. Before you start you will need the following:

  1. Cubase SX - thats what I used
  2. Renoise 1.9.1 is what I have at the moment
  3. Midi Yoke (get this from

If you manage to follow my tutorial successfully, you’ll be able to click on Play or Record in Cubase and Renoise will start playing at the same time. Renoise will send midi commands to Cubase and Cubase will play the VSTs assigned to the Cubase tracks using the pattern data in Renoise.

You will be able to record Renoise pattern data as Midi events in Cubase. The main achievement (for me) is that you will be able to use Cubase to do multiple-take recording of your very bad guitar playing instead of using the limited record functionality of the Renoise Sample Editor.

Installation & Configuration
The first thing to do is download and install MidiYoke. MidiYoke is a means of creating virtual midi input/outputs. This allows you to direct the midi output of Renoise to Cubase and pipe the midi clock synchronisation through to Renoise from Cubase. Cubase is always the ‘master’ in this setup.

After installing MidiYoke, start Cubase and Renoise.

Configuring Renoise

In Renoise, select Edit->Preferences… and click on the Midi tab/icon. In the Midi Clock Master section, change the Out Device to one of the Midi Yoke Channels. I used “Out To Midi Yoke: 2” in my setup. Check all four checkboxes in this section.

In the Midi Clock Slave section, change the In Device to “In From Midi Yoke: 1”.

In the “MIDI Master Keyboard / MIDI Mapping” section, you’ll see in my screenshot that I have my In Devices set to None. This is because I figured this out on my laptop with no music keyboard attached. I haven’t tried this on my main setup yet but I would say that this would be your usual midi keyboard input device… assuming that you are going to use your music keyboard to enter note data in Renoise.

Here’s the screenshot:

Once you’ve changed these settings you need to configure the Renoise Instrument Settings so that your instrument sends its Midi data back to Cubase. Since I’m not that sure how channels and Midi Yoke channels fit together at the moment, I chose another Midi Yoke ‘channel’ to keep it simple - I set Device to “Out to MIDI Yoke: 2”. If you have a VST already configured here in Renoise… get rid of it and set it up in Cubase instead. I added a second Renoise instrument and set Device to “Out to MIDI Yoke: 3”. This bit I’m a little unsure about but over time I’m sure I’ll figure it out unless one of you nice Renoise users tell me. :wink:

Last thing to note with Renoise is the little clock icon next to the BPM setting (“Act as MIDI Clock Slave, when enabled” says the tooltip). If this is enabled, Renoise will follow what Cubase does. In other words, you press Play in Cubase, Renoise will play as well. Most of the time you’d want this enabled. If you have recorded Renoise’ midi output within Cubase and want to use Cubase on its own for a while, disable it and Renoise won’t interfere with what Cubase is doing.

Configuring Cubase SX

I use Cubase SX3. Starting from an empty project, add a new Midi track. Set the “In:” midi device to “In From MIDI Yoke: 2”. Set the Out: to the VST you want to drive (which you would have already added to your “VST Instruments” list (by pressing F11 and selecting your VST).

I added a second instrument in Renoise. In order to route the instrument to a seperate midi channel in Cubase, I set the “In” midi device to “In From MIDI Yoke: 3” for this second instrument.

Thats all I thought I had to do at first but I couldn’t get Renoise to start playing at this stage. So… I clicked the “Transport->Sync Setup…” menu option and all became clear… I set the MIDI Timecode Destinations and MIDI Clock Destinations to “Out To Midi Yoke: 1” and ensured that the “MIDI Clock Follows Position” and “Always Send Start Message” are checked.

Here’s the screenshot:

After doing this, I can click on Play or Record in Cubase and Renoise will play when Cubass does.

Hope that helps… and I hope the screenshots are visible too.


nice one!

i shall give it a try with nuendo later today.

is there a program similar to midi yoke that works for macs?

Yes, it’s built in. It’s called the Inter-Application Communication (IAC) driver