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Besides the fact that system linking your computers together controls transport functions from one computer to another and monitors the outputs of one computer on another, it also provides 16 additional MIDI ports. As you probably know, a MIDI port can carry up to 16 channels of MIDI. In other words, VST System Link provides you with an additional 256 MIDI channels. These MIDI ports can, however, only be used to control VSTi. As you might recall, Cubase does not have a MIDI input channel selection field. This will make using MIDI channels useless unless you add an input transformer filter as was mentioned earlier in Chapter 7.
To use a system link MIDI port between two computers:
On Computer 1, create a MIDI track.
From the Track List area or the Track Setting section in the Inspector area, select the VST System Link MIDI output port of your choice.
Enable the Record Ready button for this MIDI track.
On Computer 2, open the VST Instruments panel and load an appropriate VSTi in an available slot.
Create a MIDI track or select an existing MIDI track.
Enable the MIDI Monitoring button for that track.
In the MIDI input port, select the VST System Link port number corresponding to the one you chose on Computer 1 (in Step 2).
In the MIDI output port, select the VSTi you have just activated.
Bring up the Mixer window (for SX users) or open the Channel Settings panel (for SL or SX users).
Select the appropriate output bus for the VSTi channel. This is the output bus you created earlier that routes the output of the VSTi to the digital output of Computer 2 to the digital input of Computer 1.
Back in Computer 1, create an audio channel.
Route the input of this channel to the corresponding input bus (this is the bus that will receive the digital audio from Computer 2).
Enable the Monitor Input button on this channel.
Now when you play the keyboard, the MIDI is recorded into Computer 1 because that's where the track is set as Record Enabled, but it is the VSTi on Computer 2 that generates the sound. This sound is monitored through an audio channel on Computer 1. On Computer 2, the MIDI track is only set to monitor whatever MIDI events are coming in and send those events to the appropriate MIDI output port (in this case, a VSTi).
You could also elect to proceed differently. For example, you could record on Computer 1 using a VSTi as your output or another external device and then after recording, simply assign the output of that track to the VST System Link and follow the same earlier steps. Another option is to play the events on your keyboard through Computer 1 and record on Computer 2 instead. In this case, you enable the Record Ready button for this track on Computer 2 rather than using the Monitor button. All this depends on how you want to proceed, depending on the task and the resources at hand and where you want to place your events. A good rule of thumb to follow is always to keep all the recorded content in one place. This will make it easier to back up your information later on.
Using both techniques mentioned above, you can also send audio from Computer 1 to be processed by an FX channel in Computer 2 and then send the resulting audio back into an audio channel in Computer 1. In this case, you route the audio you want to process on Computer 2 to the output bus created for this purpose in Computer 1. In Computer 2, you create two tracks: one for the FX you want to use and another for the audio. This audio channel takes its input from the System Link bus, as described earlier, and then, sends its audio through the Sends FX. It is the output of the FX channel that is routed to the System Link bus and monitored in Computer 1.
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