Can Cantabile 3 respond to system exclusive messages?


Gradually working towards a much simpler and much more versatile set up with the purchase of this software. However, there are some things that I would like to do, but I’m not sure if I can.

On my Korg Krome I use Combis for all of my songs. On many I am using both internal and external sounds. Each combi can solo and mute channels, but this only appears to work internally (unless I’ve missed something, in which case if anyone can point out my error please do!).
However, the Korg does send System Exclusive message when you select/deselect each option. Is there anything in Cantabile that allows it to respond to these messages?


You might find you have more control if you mute/solo the combi channels from Cantabile instead, using MIDI controller #7 messages (assuming each part of the combi is on a different MIDI channel). Although I think we’d need to know more about how you select/change sounds in your set up, to suggest the best way.


Hi Neil

Thanks for the reply.

I know I can send those messages from Cantabile, but it’s really the other way around I’m hoping to achieve. I want to avoid having to do anything on the actual laptop itself and automate everything as much as possible from either the keyboard or a tablet…

Since each Combi has a mute and solo button per channel it would make it so easy to mute/unmute at will from the keyboard and therefore mute the appropriate plugin in Cantabile at the same time. When a Combi channel is set to external it has no effect on that channel in the keyboard. It does, however, send a sysex message. I was hoping I could maybe have a Binding for that monitors that and acts accordingly.

When playing I often have just enough time to hit the mute/solo button on the keyboard , but being able to adjust something on the PC just isn’t possible. If the PC was touch screen then maybe, but sadly it’s not.

I’m going to take a look at Touch OSC to see how that works and if I can achieve much the same thing, but I need to get myself another tablet first.

I’m sure I can find a solution that works, so will keep on looking!


There are so many ways to select sounds in songs, and your way is definitely a good way if you’re just working with a keyboard combi. But I would say if you’re trying to coordinate other stuff external to the synth as well, you might be better making Cantabile “in charge”. One possible approach would be to use a footswitch that advances Cantabile through song states, and each song state sets up your synth accordingly, muting channels etc (or even selecting other combis, mid-song). You can then trivially have pre-defined volume levels for your sounds for different parts of the song too, and many other things - you gain a lot of versatility. It’s a bit different to your current approach, but ultimately more powerful, and easier to do other stuff with (like controlling plugins), I would say.

Then your single, simple method of moving between sounds (footswitch) could control literally everything, without you taking your hands off the keyboard. It’s what I, and may others on this forum do, with some quite complex setups involving many sounds.

Cantabile is a great plugin host…but in my opinion it’s an even better keyboard rig “control centre” :smile:


I’ve got a lot of exploring to do, I fear! :grin: Cantabile is definitely more powerful and versatile than my last host (Bloxpander) and with a very active company and forum. Being able to chat to other users is worth its weight in gold!

Thanks so much for your input. I will have a think about how I can better utilise Cantabile. As a band we unfortunately don’t work to a fixed set list so pedals might not be the best approach for me for selecting songs, but perhaps a midi pedal board could work as an alternative controller to help me do things like mute and solo without having to take my hands off the keys! I’ll have one Set List with all the songs matching all the patches on the keyboard so that when I select a new patch it will select the specific song. So at the moment my preferred approach is to use the keyboard as my master controller, or at least second to MobileSheets Pro.

I’m still getting my head around all the routing possibilities in the software. Am I right in thinking that per song I could have a binding that responds to specific midi commands (such as mute) that would ONLY affect the current song? So I could leave whatever control surface set to a specific channel (15 say) and each of its controls to specific midi commands that would work on ANY song that has a binding for it? But only the current song?

If I do work this way is there a setting I should switch off so that the song state doesn’t detect these changes and ask me to save?

Is there a limit to the number of songs that a set list can hold?

So many questions too little time!! :smile:

I was actually suggesting using a patch advance pedal for sound changes within songs, not for selecting songs. So as long as the order in which different sounds/sections come in a song remains fixed, this would work for you. Then you could maybe use a MIDI pedal board for selecting Cantabile songs (which could then send program changes to select combis on your keyboard).

To answer your original sysex question, I think I’m right in saying (and I hope experts will jump in and correct me if not) that Cantabile doesn’t have an option for recognising arbitrary sysex from other devices. Perhaps Brad might consider implementing this, as a binding type - perhaps providing a sysex window to enter a series of sysex bytes to recognise, and upon reception of that sysex message, the binding can trigger stuff, enable/disable plugins or whatever.

Yes, absolutely right. Except the “mute” MIDI command you mention is probably a synth-specific sysex message. So yes, all the bindings are song-specific, but the actual MIDI commands they’re triggered by need to be standard messages, not synth-specific sysex.

Very good question. Brad has recently made some changes to Cantabile so that songs can optionally be set to treat changes that come from bindings as temporary changes, so it doesn’t ask you to save changes when you switch to another song. It’s a really useful feature!

Ultimately, the best thing is just to get really familiar with what Cantabile can do, and find what works best for you. I think many of us on this forum keep discovering new ways to use Cantabile, that makes our lives simpler.


(I am just now finding these posts)
I have just recently (in the last two months) purchased two Korg Krome EX - 61 key and a 73 key. I have not figured out how to make them work with Cantabile. I am familiar with Cantabile and have used it for all of my VST’s and keyboard controllers for the last year. However, I do not have the first clue as to how to incorporate them with Cantabile for song changes, etc. I have custom Combi’s for basically every song that we play. I then utilize the Sequencer to create a Cue List for each set list, and then I can just click through each song/change, etc.

I apologize for the ignorance, but could someone give me a fools explanation of how I can get the Krome’s to talk to Cantabile? I tried the Korg editor, but didn’t work as expected.

Please help. Thanks in advance!