Cantabile as plugin (again :))

There is no DAW I have come across that makes constructing playable setups of VSTi and FX as pleasurable as Cantabile. C3 as a VST/AU plugin would be an amazing boost to Brad’s pocket and profile,

We have discussed this in the past - back in C2 days, but I think it’s worth putting it back on @brad 's radar again for two reasons:

  1. Totally selfish, boy do I want this :smiley:
  2. It would open up sales in a very significant way - and that equates, I would suggest, to the lifeblood of this software.
    Something along the lines of Metaplugin, which also has built in bridge technology, provides up to 8 audio outs per instance, would be a great starting point, but with a Cantabile interface. Being able to load entire keyboard or guitar setups into my DAW would be a YUUUUGE benefit.
    I know there’s other fish to fry, but this is more than another ‘feature’. Each of us using a DAW would have no problem in introducing 5 people to the possibilities.
    One YouTube vid and few FB/Twitter links… booom. Yer off mate…

Could it be done with ReWire support? I’m only vaguely familiar with ReWire but that’s more or less what it is, right…

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The biggest problem with this is that Cantabile’s UI is really engineered as a desktop app, not a plugin. I tried making a plugin version of Cantabile 2 at one point and it became an unholy mess fairly quickly.

I higher possibility would be something like Rewire, or some other interfacing between Cantabile and other DAWs. Would that cover it, or do you really want a stand-alone plugin?

I’m willing to reconsider this but I’m going to need to be really convinced about it. Speak up if you feel this is important.


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Ya never know - maybe C3 is easier! :slight_smile:
I think rewire is just one of those bothersome things one is forced to use when there’s no full integration or when you’re trying to work with two DAWs simultaneously
In a perfect world, it would be a plugin. I think that would be far more attractive to potential new users too.
If it were Rewire, I would certainly not sniff and walk away - but then,
I’m already a Cantabilite. .

I can see there might be some benefits of being able to use C3 as a plugin in a DAW but personally for me, these are two different disciplines. When recording in my DAW, my aim is generally to come up with a “radio-ready” (or stream-ready) song, which requires different effects (and sometimes different (VST instruments) than for a live performance.

I don’t have any skin in this game, but I think I understand why someone would want a Cantabile plugin. It’s because Cantabile above everything else takes convoluted concepts and connections and makes them easy to work with. I was sold on Cantabile for playing multi-backing tracks because it made sense to me minutes after I downloaded it.

Maybe instead of trying to shoehorn the Cantabile UI into a plugin, create a bridge type plugin that allows midi and audio mapping from a DAW into Cantabile and vice versa?

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This is somewhat straying off subject, but feel a need to say it. There have been so many discussions on this for quite some time. I do understand those who wish to use C3 in a DAW. I know the many benefits it could bring to a DAW, and maybe a bridge of some kind could possibly make that happen. Now I shall stray.
Brad’s web page boldly states " Serious Live Performance Software".
I used a DAW for live performance for awhile, but gave it up when C3 was announced. When members start asking for many DAW functions I tend to cringe. Ableton might be a better choice in those instances. C3 is so stable and multifunctional, but my biggest fear is that it becomes bastardized to a point where it gets bogged down with DAW functions, many unnecessary for live performance, and ruins the cpu load and speed I need for my live performance. Kudos to Brad for standing guard at the gate on that.


You still want to play the most inspiring configuration of instruments and effects as quickly as possible.
They are part of the same discipline, I would suggest.

Bingo and extra characters to allow this to post.

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Hi Corky,

what you expressed meets exactly my thoughts, nothing to add👍.

Regards, humphrey

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Agree with Corky. It is horses for courses. I use Cubase for Studio work, and Cantabile for live work.

Not sure what a Cantabile plugin would give me that Cubase can’t when I am in studio mode?

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And why should that not be part of the DAW process? I don’t see how you’ve managed to disassociate one from the other, Corky.
Is Cantabile serious live performance software? Without doubt.
Do I want to seriously perform live into my DAW software? Without doubt.
Is it faster to call specific, in depth collections of plugins in Cantabile than in DAWs which tend to emulate the studio environment? Without doubt.

Now consider this… in a studio… and I’ve recorded in quite a few over the years… there is plate glass between the studio and the control room. The musicians, back in the day when humans recorded together, stayed on one side of the glass and the producer, engineer and assistants stayed on the other.
One of the most crushing things the creative flow could encounter was waiting around while someone futzed with this, that or the other before the red light could go on.
To keep these two worlds divorced is, I might suggest, a little anachronistic.
Some things do not change - and the desire to record quickly, while the inspiration is hot, is no less today than it ever was - but we’re doing the jobs that used to be done by 5 people. That means the control room
and the studio (the ‘live’ area) are now one environment.

So - is Cantabile faster for putting together and recalling specific arrangements of plugins than your DAW?

And this is without even discussing the huge potential market increase that Brad could benefit from.

I don’t understand what can’t I do in Cubase that having Cantabile as a plug-in would do for me. I doubt that I would want the complication of something like Cantabile as a hosted plug-in.

I feel that there are many improvements that would be of benefit from Brad’s efforts before this.

Just my take on it…

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This seems like an oxymoron. Cantabile is fast and quick to access complex setups. This is the point - no?
Let me be specific - Can you not envisage wishing to gain fast access to setups you’ve created in Cantabile?
If your DAW was as good at doing what Cantabile does, wouldn’t you use that live?

Hi Adrian

This is my statement prior to the one you quoted:

As you see, I am not opposed C3 being somehow interlaced with a DAW. But, in my particular situation a DAW is not needed.
I also stated that I too used a DAW for live performance before latching on to C3. I also had major resource problems when using a DAW in live use, and yes, I do not own a $2500 computer that might run a 99 track DAW with 3 instances of Omnisphere and Keyscape. Not much fun performing on a DAW in public when it crashes. C3 saved me from that.

I didn’t know that I managed to disassociate anything…just happened I guess. :grinning:
I understand that recording is also a live performance. I also have recorded in many studios over the years, not to the scale you have though. In more recent recordings, I have used C3 from my laptop to the studio DAW. Even if I was using my own DAW, I would be using it the same way, frankly because the DAW would be over-taxed with VST’s (again…$2500)

Live into DAW software is what I do, so no need for C3 being a VST.

Again, I have no resourced argument against a C3 VST per say, I merely stated that there have been several people in this forum who want to turn C3 into a DAW. I quite frankly would hate to see C3 go down that hole, and never be again, what it is today.

This is how I made my first recordings in 1968. :laughing: One big room, get it perfect the first time…or else.

Adrian, I have much respect for you and the many things you have done. Your points are well taken, and I enjoy your enthusiasm. Nice lively discussion. Thanks.

Many Regards


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I don’t need Cantabile to be good at what Cubase does. Neither do I need Cubase to be good at what Cantabile does. I prefer them in different pockets of my tool bag.

To each their own.

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That would be quite a departure from suggesting C3 be born as a plugin. :slight_smile:
I’m 150% in agreement with you, and have made that very point several times on the forum. This doesn’t change the character of what C3 is one iota. Agreed?

But Corky, thanks for considering the points. I only request that people read what I’m suggesting and think about the possible huge audience that Cantabile would be opened to - and remember what it is about Cantabile that makes it such a joy to play through.
Many, many more musicians play in home studios than venture out live. Not one of those musicians wants to make life more difficult and pretty much everyone wants to grab the most creative musical environment, as quickly as possible.
For me to set up my guitar rig in Cubase would be a total PITA - especially with all the various routing options.
Now that great sound could be living inside Cubase in seconds, with a C3 plugin.
Metaplugin could provide that kind of instant access but its a bear to set up a deep session. There is a market for what Cantabile does - off the live stage - and where people PLAY.

I have to bang on a little more, because if I don’t address some of the points then it may look as if I’ve accepted their premise.
With regards to overtaxing a DAW, I would ask you to consider the following:

  1. Most DAWs (def Cubase/Nuendo) offer a freeze function.
  2. Cubase/Nuendo offer ASIO guard which only applies the user nominated ASIO buffer to the current live (monitoring/recording0 track. All tracks which are not ‘live’ run at a higher buffer to protect resources.
  3. Modern computers are more than capable of handling higher loads and for those with older, slower, machines, the challenges are no different whether Cantabile is a plugin or not. You simply use what you can and apply freeze… something you cannot do when running live. Multiple instances of C3 could do enormous work in a modern DAW.
  4. Perhaps stretching it a little, but anyone who uses Guitar Rig, or S-Gear, or Halion or Kontakt, or any VSTi which offers a routing architecture through its built in FX, inserts, mixer, etc - is already using a limited form of what Cantabile is. The only difference is that those are proprietary interfaces which cannot speak to the outside VSTi world. Whether people accept this at face value or not, those plugins are designed to be self contained mini studios.

Thanks for taking this all on board.

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Good topic for discussion, thanks to Adrian for OP. I gonna try to enter into the discussion from another angle so here goes. I thought I’d introduce a side by side list of the technical side of creating a C3 plugin and how it is different and the same as the current Vst host it is. I invite additions or subtractions and any other logic that would help us figure this out. Because in the end for Brad to consider taking it on will hinge on the man hours needed to produce the plugin and have it work it multiple other hosts complete with beta testing etc … I thought Adrian’s presentation was especially appealing here IMO …

so kudo’s to this argument, it has strong legs. Anyway here are my techie point by point breakdowns of the 2 products with some suggestions as to what would be needed to get one made.

First : Cantabile 3 as a standalone host (current Software)

  • has it’s own optimized Audio Engine

  • chooses and manages the hardware audio and midi input and output ports for use by the application

  • has internal audio routing for Vst and Vsti wiring

  • has internal MIDI routing for Vst and Vsti

  • has extensive binding power for use with internal and external MIDI connections

  • has it’s own MIDI and Audio media player abilities

  • has timeline triggering of bindings from loaded media files

Second : Cantabile as a Vst plugin

  • has internal audio routing for Vst and Vsti wiring

  • has it’s own optimized audio engine

  • has internal MIDI routing for loaded Vst and Vsti plugins

  • has a means to port it’s audio engine final output(s) to the DAW host as a mono, stereo or multichannel Vst plugin.

  • has a means to accept the MIDI ports the DAW has configured to connect controller keyboards etc … to the plugin

  • looks and feels like the original in use

  • has a means to connect the existing DAW audio ports to the plugin

  • not sure if you keep the media players and timeline triggers or just drop them since the vst plugin version is more for blending other vst’s than timeline triggering or media playback. That could be done by the DAW probably if even needed at all.

In practice you would need to remove the hardware MIDI and Audio configuration sections of the standalone and build a virtual vst port system as yet undefined. It could be like Kontakt with Stereo, 8 channel, or 16 channel audio versions of the plugin. The DAW would then be in charge of the hardware routing of MIDI and Audio to the plugin as with all other Vst’s. An arbitrary plan would need to made for a 16 channel MIDI port (maybe more than one port) on the plugin as well since the DAW controls the physical MIDI devices for Vst and Vsti and would expect the C3 plugin to present those parameters in advance when it was loaded. Many of the internal parts of the standalone might be ported to the new plugin without much work or it might be a royal pain. That would be for the developer to decide.

Anyway, great thread, really enjoying it.


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Thanks for that Dave.
That’s pretty much as I would envision it, with the same question marks attached to the media player and timeline. Those are definitely supportable options but perhaps redundant in a DAW environment where timeline triggering/playback is the DAW’s essential function.

Recalling states, and the hierarchy that Brad has established so far, would be another question mark. Cubase’s media bay would probably be able to address files the equivalent of Cantabile songs, along with an internal file manager, a la Kontakt. which gives access to files from within C3 VST itself. Preloading is already a function that top end sample players employ.
I think it makes sense to assume all of Cantabile’s functions are up for inclusion until Brad determines that something is too tricky or redundant.

It just seems to me that MIDI into a C3 computer optimized for what it does, ADAT/TOSLINK/SPDIF out, and into a discrete DAW workstation.