Abstracting Buttons and knobs with a rack

Hi guys,

I’ve just bought myself an MPK261, great little board, lovely key action (I’ve been using 2 weighted boards for years but was yearning for a synth action again!).

I want to be able to abstract all the buttons and knobs and things using a rack, like you do @Torsten, but I can’t get my head around how to do it! Would anyone be able to show me one of your racks that does this sort of thing? Or an idiots guide as to the whys and wherefores of how to do it?



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OK, here we go:

this is my “main keyboard rack”: it has multiple output ports (notes, aftertouch, pitchbend, modwheel).The main route routes only keys to the “notes” output:

In its bindings, it sends the main controllers to separate outputs:

This makes it easy to connect my keyboard within songs: send the keys to multiple destinations, but the pitch bend to only one of them, etc.

You see that this rack DOESN’T use all the fancy knobs, sliders, etc - for that, I have a separate rack: “Faders”: this one doesn’t have any default routing, but does everything via bindings:

Essentially, it maps the controllers on my main and my second keyboard to “logical” outputs. These logical outputs can then be connected within the song. I have logical controls for main keyboards sound volume, solo volume, reverb levels, string levels, master levels for keys and guitar, plus a free parameter for main and upper keyboard that gets specific assignments per song (e.g. tremolo depth).

My rack essentially maps the knobs and faders on my devices to “logical” controls, and it unifies the CCs - volume controls get CC7, all others CC11 - makes things super-simple. When I need other controller numbers within a song, I use a route filter to re-map CC numbers.

BTW: a “logical” control can be affected by faders / dials on both my keyboards - sometimes very convenient to have a solo volume control on both layers…

Then I have a rack “pedals” - it routes the pedals of my lower keyboard to individual outputs. This way, I can easily assign expression to the sound I play on my upper KB, while sustain works on the right zone of the lower keyboard sound only.

This is how it looks in a real song:

Hope this helps!




I do something similar, but I separate all the elements I need using a Linked Rack, so I can point any number of physical devices at it and have the results pop out regardless of they came from.

Thanks guys,

I’ll try and wrap my head around all that this weekend!


I don’t mean to plug other software, and Cantabile definitely has the edge in routing, but it’s crazy how complicated this is in comparison to something like Gig Performer 3. I’m really hoping for some kind of graphical knob-to-function hook up like they have, in the future.

It really is only as complex as you choose to make it - the thing with Cantabile is that you have the choice. If you want simple, then go simple!

Don’t judge Cantabile’s routing by my examples - this is pretty advanced stuff! Basic routing is as easy as it gets in Cantabile - especially with the graphic view, it’s very intuitive.

My example is about the situations where you want very fine-grained control of your routing while at the same time remaining independent of the actual hardware you use (so it is easy to change keyboards or controllers without having to touch all your songs. This kind of working requires a bit of planning and abstraction - not sure if GigPerformer is even capable of this level of control. But I must admit I have only looked at it for a short time about a year ago, so can’t really judge…



I don’t mean to make this too much of a battle-of-the-hosts, but there is a big difference in ease of use between working with a long list of text based bindings or setting up auto learn knobs/sliders.

The main issue for me isn’t that it’s hard to make the connections, it’s that the same knobs and sliders and knobs on my controller can do tons of different things for different plugins and with Cantabile’s way of displaying these connections it’s really hard to figure out what’s going on in a live situation.

Still really hoping for a “widget” kind of pop up window that shows me the controls I want for a specific song/patch/rack.

In some sense the needs are the same, but the implementation is different. I too use abstracted racks, and I too think a graphical ‘widget’-like interface would be preferable. All for the same purpose: being in-control on stage. Many ingredients are in place: graphical routing, on screen variables, buttons, sliders… just a matter of time, I gues. There are some Trello cards for this, keep voting!

For now I’m very pleased with the flexible routing, the progress on vst3, the very good multi-core processor handling and stability.

Oops - wrong thread! Please ignore.

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I know it is rude to necro such an old thread, but this is closest to what I’ve been searching for. It would be AWESOME if Cantabile would add a drag-and-drop DIY control panel like Gig Performer, just as it added visual routing to its combo-box routing system. My ideal setup would have 4 levels of racks

  1. center around an ABSTRACT RACK that has keys, 4 start/stop backing track hit pads, volume, mod wheel, PB, and 4 toggles for FX/routing, exposing the functionality that I need in a uniform way
  2. have a PHYSICAL INPUT rack for every physical keyboard that maps its controls to the abstract rack in a uniform way
  3. has a GRAPHICAL PANEL that I design per song that connects to the abstract rack and loads the per-VST racks.
  4. has a per-VST rack

Then, when I need to switch in a new keyboard, it’s trivial, even if it’s an entirely new one that I haven’t used before. When some VST gets updated to remove bugs, I can change the one rack hosting it, rather than dig into all my songs. If I realize I need some new functionality, I can just change the abstract layer rack to add it. We’re so close to that with the existing Cantabile…just a programmable front panel remains.

Just sayin’. I’m not about to change from Cantabile to any other system. But adding the ability to make front panels would make me marginally more confident about adjusting stuff live, especially once the setups get complex. I’m kinda afraid of messing with my abstracted layer now.