Backing tracks-Media player in a rack with playlist, or player in each song?

Checking current good practice - last thread on this seems to be a year ago.

I have drum backing tracks for each of our 30 songs. Should I create 1 rack with a media player with all 30 songs in it. and then 30 states within the rack, one for each song. Each state would select the correct song within the playlist.?

Or, create a media player directly within each song with only one song in the playlist.?


I only need to run tracks on 3 songs and I went the separate-player-in-each-song route. It seems safer to me. Maybe having 30 players juggling would an issue for system resources but I suspect it’s trivial, especially since only one needs to be active at any given time. Will be interested to hear thoughts on this…

Like Fred I do 2 media players in my blank song template and load just the track(s) i need at Song level. I do it this way so the song file name is automatically displayed in the media player slot as opposed to creating multiple rack states and having to “Name” each state so I could see them in a drop-down list at the Song level (in my mind way more work!). And if you use set-list pre-loading then you still end up with the same memory use either way you go. I’m pretty sure you only run one at time even when using rack states so the resources either way are close to the same. For me it’s all extra typing to make it usable and the extra layers of information management to do what can be straight forward. Anyway that’s one opinion.


Mine may be the most boneheadish. I play in a band with no bass player(drums, keys, etc are live). All bass is tracks with a click, vocal triggers and MODObass recorded, Click and vocal cues are in headphones, as well as, song announcement privately to everyone’s wireless in ear monitor. Then I have a media player with 45 songs in order of our show with a multitude of VST Synths loaded. My MPK261 has drum pads that have “previous” “next” “play” and “Stop”. No need for pause. My Motif Classic addresses respective presets via master mode/midi channel and patch selection with Drum pads on the MPK… Motif sounds are integrated with Cantabile. Live, my backing track goes, (for example: and I don’t like this song, but everyone seems to like it) I hit a drum pad on my MPK assigned to PLAY then my band hears “Don’t Stop Believin’…Intro…1…2…3…4…” the click is recorded in the song, as is the vocal cue. Few know that we don’t have a bass player. We have moved away from Canabile media player, though. I trigger Ableton via midiloop with the same previous/next/play/stop pad assignment. I run both Cantabile and Ableton who share one UR28M with two Audio drivers pointed to one interface. We have done several flawless shows as such and my Canabile is dedicated to being my syth, and Ableton is a player with the ability to mix each instrument and add in audio effects/sounds, backup vocals etc fully stereo. Sorry it is so long.


Interesting. I was curious how you integrated with Ableton. What driver do you use on UR28M?

I can provide pictures if needed, but it is easy if you are familiar with ASIO4ALL. First, I want to say that you can run more than one instance of ASIO4ALL as it can be used by two separate programs at the same time. ASIO4ALL simply says (Ableton Live)ASIO4ALL and another system tray icon (Cantabile)ASIO4ALL. But that is not what I do.

The UR28M is a 6 output (or 3 stereo) device. 1-2, 3-4, 5-6. All of my live sound I run stereo. So. I open Cantabile and use the ASIO4ALL driver at 512 buffer. I disable 3-4 and 5-6. All of my Cantabile runs through 1-2 stereo to the mains. I open Ableton Live Standard 9.7 and use the Steinberg ASIO driver and disable 1-2, and enable 3-4 and 5-6. Therefore, while Ableton is playing through 3-4 and 5-6, I play along with my software synths in Cantabile over 1-2.

Some extra info is that our Ableton has Stereo Bass since all other stuff has to run stereo through the same output, and pre recorded backing vocals, horns, thunder, explosions (you get my drift) stereo through 5-6. Click and vocal cues from Ableton come through 3, and 4 is left open. 3 is routed to a wireless transmitter for the band to hear (in ear monitors in one ear), but not the audience. 5-6 are routed to the mains.

Here is a short clip, all of the bass is prerecorded (we have no bass player) and everyone is responding to an in ear click with vocal cues. All that is left to accomplish is better musicianship and singing. I am the keyboardist (some bad notes there, too. Sorry). This is running Cantabile and Ableton through the same laptop at the same time.

Thanks for the replies. Like Howifeel, I do actually use Ableton on the same PC as Cantabile using the same audio interface. I use the current Cantabile song to trigger the correct scene in Ableton, and this does actually work very well.

Was just considering whether to change it and put the backing tracks into C3. I think I’ll leave them in Ableton!

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I always feel there is a lot to be said for reducing complexity whenever possible. Tracks in C3 should be more stable than running a 2nd DAW- so there’s that consideration. BUT- if it’s working, you probably shouldn’t mess with it!

Argggh - I thought I understood rack states and exported settings, but no…

I did an experiment.

In my “global out” rack which is linked in each song, I added one media player. I then added my backing tracks to it.

I selected the ticks in the plugin behaviour as follows.

I expected to then be able to select the media player track I wanted and save that with the parent song.

The next parent song would have a different file selected.

But no, which ever file I selected in the media player stayed selected across different parent songs.

What am I missing?

Hi @a6325435

I’ve just looked into this - it does work but there’s a bug where the parent song isn’t prompting to save if you switch the selected song in the rack’s media player. I’ve just made a fix for this which will be in the next build.

In the meantime you can work around it by going into the rack, selecting the media file you want for the song, exiting the rack and explicitly saving the song.


Hi Brad, thanks for the reply. I tried this, but still had the same issue. I am using build 3244.

Here is a little video.

Hi @a6325435

Hrm… this is definitely working here for me. I noticed you don’t have any song states - wonder if it’s related to that. Although I tested that case here too and it worked could I get your try that - just create a state in each parent song and see if that makes a difference.


Hi Brad, I added a state to each parent, then tried the same again, but made no difference. Media player track was not saved with the song.

But, I then tried adding a brand new rack with a media player in it, and the same settings, and that worked fine - the media player track was saved with the song.

So it is just a setting within my global out rack. That makes sense, because normally I don’t want any settings in that rack to change between songs.

Problem solved - thanks.

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Hi @brad, would it be possible to be able to “undock” the media player? For example, with plugins I can double click the plugin and get the GUI up for the plugin, which stays on top of the window regardless of whether I close the rack that contains the plugin or not. Could we do the same with Media Player?

I’d like to see what track is selected, and possibly select a different one easily, without it being buried within a rack.

Actuall this applies to any element - for example, if I’m working in the background rack, then changing song closes the rack. It would be helpful to undock it, and be able to keep it open?

Hi @a6325435

Unfortunately that windows was never really designed to be modeless so this wouldn’t be a trivial fix. Can’t remember the details offhand but I know there’s some complication about what it does when you finally hit OK that wouldn’t translate well to modeless. ie: it’s not a trivial fix.

Still, it’s a good idea and I’ve logged it.


Thanks @Brad. I edited my post and added a 2nd question about undocking racks in general, but particularly the background rack. Would that have the same issues? Cheers.

Hi @a6325435

Racks have a different problem - they have a set of menu items that need to go along with the rack - not a big problem though and certainly feasible. It’s just a matter of priorities :slight_smile: