Advice needed: Button-Layout for Cantabile-Workstation

Hey guys,

as some of you know I’m building a hardware-workstation around Cantabile which I’ll present on the Superbooth, which is a German Music fare, by the end of April.
Right now I’m thinking about the parameters that I’d like to have direct access to. Please see this picture for a quick draft:

Did I miss something? What do you think about it? Any ideas?

I think a button for enabling / disabling a selected route would be helpful as well. But as far as I can see it’s not available for a hot key.



Wow. You’re making progress. It’s all I can do to get TotalMix to remember it’s settings.

I’ll be revisiting this - great plan! Perhaps alongside the Show Notes/Routes/Bindings a “Show Grid” button too? I think that would cover all the “views” (although would it make sense to have a switch between Table and Wiring View too - not sure if that would fit any of your use cases)?

Is this supposed to become a keyboard or just a controller that kind of handles just the Cantabile basics?

Personally I’ve never used solo on a rack so it seems a waste to dedicate 8 buttons to it. Having 8 racks routed and soloing one is also a lot more CPU intensive than simply rerouting the midi to your preferred one, though of course that has slightly different results. And there is the crux of the problem - the ways people use Cantabile are so incredibly different. Every way is valid depending on your preferred way of working. It seems impossible to create a “fixed function” controller targeted at a specific workflow. If this is intended as something that adds hardware buttons for Cantabile functions and is meant to be used alongside a “knobby” controller, I wouldn’t put any “workflow” buttons on there.

Thanks for your reply.

This will become a keyboard. You can see pictures of the prototype (which is about 2 years old) here:

I don’t use the SOLO-function while a live performance too. But I find it quite useful to solo sounds when doing the programming.

I create a song-template and backgroundrack-template for that workstation the user should work with. My opinion is that Brad did a fabulous job with Cantabile. But new users could be overchallenged due to the tons of features that come with Cantabile. So it’s absolutely necessary to give the user something to start with.

The button layout is part of it.

If you have a suggestion what YOU would need (instead of the Solo-Rack-Buttons) I’m keen to hear.

Personally I would really love to see little lcds above faders that show which CC (or even vst parameter) they’re controlling. But this has more to do with Cantabile’s “Microsoft Excel” style of displaying controller assignments. If Brad ever gets to a “Gig Performer” or MainStage style of mapping controllers it would become obsolete quickly.

Any controller I use would have to have a minimum of 9 faders for drawbar control and some solution to quickly switch to level control.

I see more value in tight integration on the software layer level (e.g. the scribble strip idea, or endless encoders with led rings) than dedicated hardware switches sorry.

The reason for this is that almost any controller these days comes with a good amount of freely assignable switches and basically all you need is some white pvc tape, a marker and a background rack to get exactly what you seem to be making. Unless I’m grossly misunderstanding something.

It seems you haven’t took a look at the link I posted. There you’ll see that the Workstation indeed has displays (OLED) above the faders and below the encoders. The OLEDs show rack name and volume on the main view and show rack content when a rack is opened.

At the bottom you see the button rows. On the old prototype it were only two rows. The final workstation has three rows.

This workstation feels already like a hardware workstation and not like sitting in front of a computer. But the final workstation will be even better. I’ll post details as soon as it’s done.

I’m sorry, I did look at the link but only spotted the displays the second time I looked, after posting.

It would be great if they could somehow correspond to assignments on screen. Alternatively, I would love it if you could have, say, three separate “control layers” to switch between a la Arturia Keylab Mk2, I use this a lot. It solves the issue of needing faders for drawbar control vs volume level control.

What I personally use a lot is direct state selection for a specific rack (I have “main keys”, “layer/lead” and “bass” each with 4 presets I select from a row of drumpads), direct state selection for a song (1 through 5 should cover most things), and previous/next song. In my case it’s usually;

  1. Bass on upper, main keys on 88
  2. Bass on upper, main keys and layer on 88
  3. Layer/lead on upper, split main keys and bass on 88
  4. Bass on upper, vocoder on 88
  5. “special” (unique for that song)

This allows me to use the same template for every song. That in turn enables fast song switching, setting up a unique configuration for every song (within a limited soundset) yet always be two or three button presses away from any other configuration. Add faders for organ drawbars and a few encoders for fx and I can get almost anywhere quickly.

This is just the way I personally use Cantabile in my “main band”, but maybe it will give you an alternative perspective. The idea of working with a template is a great idea. I just can’t fathom ever using 8 racks and using so many “solo” buttons seems waste. How about one solo button and 8 buttons that directly select a rack for editing?