Any Tips on basic workflow? Creating fxp files? (C3)

Hi everybody, first off: I’m so happy that C3 has been released! :slight_smile:

Having had a look around the new interface I came across some issues, some of which I would love to get solved by you guys :slight_smile:

  1. In C2 I got used to load a plugin into an exisiting “basic setup” (all now called routes were established already and remained so after removing a single plugin). How would I similarly get this behaviour in C3? My problem is that I’ve got to renew all MIDI and audio routes after removing a plugin because of replacing it. Is this what the “global rack” would be suitable for?

Is there any way to tell newly added plugins to automatically set the “Main Keyboard” as MIDI-in and an already existing rack as the target for the plugin’s “Stereo Out 1”?

  1. Kind of connected to this: In C2 it was great to have a collection of custom fxp-files to easily import them into other sessions (now songs). Unfortunately I couldn’t find any button or context menu entry to export racks in C3 to fxp-(or fxb-) files. It might well be that this feature has been replaced by a better one in this new version… (pseudo-blind me)
    Would you please tell me how to export a certain rack to a file?

I hope these question don’t sound to stupid to you guys… I’m really eager to learn (have even slowly got the hang of “embedded racks” now :wink:

Thank you very much and best regards,

Just answering this question - racks are already stored as separate files, which means you can easily re-use them in other songs - just use “Existing rack” when adding a rack to a song. They’re not stored as fxp/fxb files though, they are .cantabileRack files, which are based on the JSON format, which has certain benefits over fxp/fxb. For example you can store the rack files in a version control system, or compare two versions of a rack file to see where the changes are, or what’s different about them, since they’re just text files.

This only works for “proper” racks - embedded ones are always embedded within the song and are not reusable (unless you Save As, to turn them into a fully-fledged reusable rack).

Thank you very much for your answer, Neil. This helps quite a lot in understanding the whole new infrastructure. So, to get started with the new version, would you suggest to create new several racks and load the desired plugins inside them rather than addin the plugins directly?
I think my main goal here would be to have a decent collection of sound presets in various categories so I can throw them quickly together if I need to (e.g. “There’s this piano patch I used in this other song. I could use it right here”), even on a live session. Imho there are way to many clicks to make until you get one single sound to play (I see that there are several discussion going on rearding this topic already).

…oh man, somehow I feel quite bad asking for even more features, as Cantabile is already THE choice to make when it comes to VST hosts… :sweat: :grin:

Well my recommendation would always be to use racks if possible - the main advantage is that if you have several songs in a setlist that use the same rack, only one instance will be loaded, resulting in lower memory usage and faster song switching.

I’m still finding new ways to use Cantabile every day, but currently, the way I tend to work is to put each plugin in a rack of its own, and define rack states for common patches/settings I tend to use a lot, so I can easily dial them up. I don’t think I use any plugins directly - they’re all inside racks. Then, when I’m sure of which sounds I use in a given song, I start creating new rack states with the same name as the song, and just use that state for that song. That way if I find I need a little more reverb or something for that song, I can change it just for that song without affecting others. So my rack states tend to be split into commonly used, reusable sounds, and states I use for specific songs.

The other great use for racks is to add commonly used effects like reverb, delay, chorus etc inside the rack, so when you dial in a sound, you get your chosen effects along with it. You can always disable the effects for some states if you want the plugin’s dry output. All the complexity is then nicely hidden away in a black box.

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Hi @SeppHaslinger

I think Neil has answered all your questions - is there something you still need help with?


@Neil_Durant Thank you so much! I think your tipps are pushing me in the right direction. You’ve put it well enough fo me to understand it. I’m going to try this approach from now on.
@brad I think it’s ok now - you know, I might have thought the wrong way about certain aspects of the inherent workflow. My “wish” would be to have a basic setup for my hardware configuration with a certain amount of free “slots” where I could click 2-3 buttons to add any preconfigured instruments (the latter is achieved by using racks, I suppose :smile:) All the internal “wiring” (MIDI and maybe audio) would also be persistent along any configuration of instruments / effects.

With your guidance this seems doable now, thanks again :smile:
Im eager and looking forward to learn Cantabile more and more. Great work, Brad!

I think the difficulty is that plugins all have different numbers/types of audio and MIDI inputs and outputs, and differ in which MIDI channels they’re set to use and so on. As far as I can see, any pre-wired system would probably get it wrong a lot of the time.

Perhaps a nice feature would be a command to wire a plugin into its host rack using all its inputs/outputs. The only thing is that the rack may then have many more inputs/outputs than you need; for example I think Omnisphere has 8 stereo outputs, but you may only ever use one.

True that. But I feel like I’m missing something fundamental when I have to make the same basic adjustments every time I’m setting up a new song, i.e. choosing the Main Keyboard and Stereo Output, even multiple times when using (nested) racks.
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of doing some work, but I’d probably try to bite my rear end, if after preparing approx. 100 songs I realize that it could have been so much easier :sweat_smile:

It should get easier though, if you’re re-using racks. If you have your plugins wired to the rack audio in/out, all you need to do to use a sound in a song is:

  1. Add existing rack
  2. Add a binding from your controller to the rack (choose MIDI ports etc)
  3. Add a route from your rack to your audio device

Maybe for some setups when you always use a single controller, maybe on one MIDI channel, and you always output to the same audio device/channel, there could be some time-saving default that can automatically hook stuff up for you (steps 2 and 3). Maybe there are technical reasons why this wouldn’t work.

For me, I’m sending from multiple controller keyboards on multiple channels, and sending out to my audio interface on any/all of 4 stereo pairs, so I need to make a lot of manual choices when wiring stuff up…and consequently for me it doesn’t feel excessive because it feels necessary.

Wow, thank you so much for this valuable exchange of thoughts!
With every sentence from you this “modal” way of working with Cantabile becomes clearer and more visible to me. It’s like any kind of freedom: to be worthy of it you have to know how to use it.
…and C3 offers sooooo much of said freedom.
Can’t wait to get working on my presets and “dial-up-sound-library” :thumbsup:


One thing that I had forgotten was automatic was, when creating a new rack, to just hit the output “add new route” button and select the plugin FIRST - it then adds the input as my Main Keyboard and outputs to “Stereo Output” automatically.

I have a “Processing Rack” with a compressor and volume leveler I send many to in place of “Stereo Output” but I just routinely add that rack as a new route in the output section and then change the plugin’s output to point to that.


Thanks, Terry,
this helps a lot when doing some live jams and throwing in any predefined plugin-preset or rack. :sunglasses:

Wow, that is good to know - I hadn’t realised that. I do use often, the same setup for a few different songs, so nto having to re-load the VST’s would be a great time saver…Can I ask a supplementary question? Can you link more than one media file to the same rack?

Absolutely! Just add multiple media files to a media player’s playlist, and then the media playlist will list them all in its drop-down (in the preset column). Then create some rack states, each with a different media file selected for the media player (ensure “Selected file” is ticked in the State Behaviour panel - I believe it is by default anyway). You can even have different play ranges for each file in each rack state. So you could have a “Backing tracks” rack and use it for all your songs - each rack state would just dial up the backing for the corresponding song.


Excellent! Thanks heaps for that :slight_smile: