How to Bulk Change MIDI Track Channels & Events in Cakewalk

You may be working with MIDI tracks that don’t behave properly with your VST instruments in Cakewalk — especially if you’ve imported them from another source.

Sometimes, there’s extra data hard-coded into the MIDI tracks themselves. That data might include the output channels, pitch bend, pedal on/off, and so on.

Thankfully, there are multiple ways to reassign MIDI channels and events in Cakewalk. Let’s explore some of those methods.

Updating Tracks Within the Track View

These first two methods are incredibly simple and should solve most issues.

Method #1: Change the MIDI Track’s Output

In the Track View, go to your MIDI track and find the Output drop-down menu. From there, select the instrument you want playing that track.

The MIDI data should now be sent to that synth.

Some virtual instruments offer multi-channel support, like Cakewalk TTS-1 or Native Instruments Kontakt. When applicable, you can route MIDI tracks to different channels within those instruments to play specific sounds.

Method #2: Copy or Move the MIDI Clip to an Instrument Track

Instead of splitting the audio and MIDI tracks, you can use a combined Instrument track. In most cases, the instrument will accept any MIDI data coming from its track regardless of what channel the notes are set to.

  1. If you haven’t done so yet, create an instrument track by pressing the [+] Add Track button. A menu will pop up with tabs that read “Audio” and “Instrument”. Make sure Instrument is selected.
  1. Select your VST instrument from the drop-down menu. The five most recently used instruments will appear at the top. You’ll also find sub-menus containing other plugins in your collection.
  2. Copy/paste or drag your MIDI clip onto the instrument track. It should be able to play your file.

Some VST instruments simply won’t work unless the MIDI signal is coming from Channel 1. You can force the change by manually updating the channel in the MIDI events list itself.

Manually Updating MIDI Events

I’ve found that some VST instruments have compatibility issues with certain MIDI files. In some cases, they simply won’t work unless the MIDI signal is coming from Channel 1.

You can force the change by updating the MIDI events within Cakewalk. Here are a few ways to do that:

Method #3: Updating MIDI Events Using the Event List

You can manually update events one by one using the Event List. This way is incredibly tedious and time-consuming, but it gets the job done.

  1. Right-click the MIDI clip you want to edit. Then go to View > Event List. This will open the Event List.
  • Helpful Shortcut: Alt+8
  1. Double-click on the event’s channel and type in the new channel. You can also change it by clicking and dragging your mouse up or down. Alternatively, you can press the + or keys on your number pad.

Method #4: Using the Event Inspector Module

This is a module that you can access from the control bar at the top of your screen. 

If you can’t see it, right-click the empty space on the control bar. Then go to Modules > Event Inspector and make sure it’s checked.

Once it’s there, follow these steps:

  1. Highlight the desired MIDI clips or notes.
  2. Click on the channel number in the Event Inspector module.
  3. Change it to the desired output channel.

Note: This will only change the notes in the channel. Other events like pitch bend and pedal data will stay on the original channel.

Method #5: Using Process > Find/Change

The quickest way to change all the MIDI events in your project is by using the Find/Change function in Cakewalk. You can find the Process function in the main menu.

  1. Highlight the desired MIDI clips or notes. Then go to Process > Find/Change. This will open an Event Filter.
  1. Select the MIDI event parameters you want to change. You can be as broad or specific as you want. Once you’ve made your selection, click OK.
  2. You’ll see another Event Filter. Select the changes you want to make. Then click OK again.

This should have updated all the previously selected events. You can verify your changes by checking the Event List.