Cantabile Lite for live gigs w/ Kontakt & Omnisphere

Hi everyone, I’m new here and the reason I joined is to find a solution for playing live keys without using my DAW (Mixcraft), which has a bad habit of choking while I’m playing live. I went through all the possible settings for audio performance a year ago.

I thought using a VST host could solve this, and found Cantabile. So here is the setup:

  • Windows 10 laptop with Core i5 with 32GB RAM
  • Focusrite Scarlett Solo (or Audient i14, depending)
  • Omnisphere 2.5
  • Kontakt player 7

I normally have a 4 tracks setup in my DAW, which I can mute when not using.

  • Kontakt - Noire with the reverb Deelay
  • Kontakt - Noire with the reverb Deelay (different settings)
  • Omnisphere - acoustic guitar patch
  • Omnisphere - string pad patch

I use the sustain pedal a lot to allow the patches reverbs and particles to add textures to the sound. And that’s where the issues happen, when we play ambient-ish music.

After a minute or two of that, the DAW registers a very high CPU usage and the laptop starts to choke, distorting the sound, and a few times leaving me without an instrument for up to 30 seconds. It would only come back after I completely stop playing for a bit. Not ideal in a live gig! :slight_smile:

So - can Cantabile Lite manage these VSTs (Kontakt sampler and Omnisphere synth) without causing these issues? They should both be loaded and ready to fire.

Thank you for any tip!


Hi ZOn3

You need to use Profiler to detect where your loads are coming from.

In Cantabile:
Omnisphere can cause extreme loads, and many of us do not use it live due to possible crashes. Using two instances makes it worse. You have many samples in the plugins you are using.
I have used Omnisphere live without incident. It is important to me to also have a fast ssd running plugs. Your reverb being held from the Noire could also cause a load issue. I definitely wouldn’t run those 4 plugs in one pass. DAWs tend to use some load, but some of them are load hogs.
As far as Cantabile goes, I assume Lite should carry it, but paid versions have many tools to help you. Use the profiler in Cantabile, if it is included in Lite. In Cantabile, muting a plugin does not mean the vst is stopped. The vst will still be running until a connection to the vst is disconnected.



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Hi @Z0n3,

welcome to the forum!

As @Corky said, there are some limitations to Lite which can make things more difficult, but in principle Cantabile should be able to cope with a setup like yours. Just look here to see what people is achieving with Cantabile!


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Thank you Corky, so basically a standalone VST host will not lighten the load on the CPU as I’d hope. At least not Cantabile Lite. And yes I’m running this on an SSD.

I tried UNIFY as well but still can’t navigate its GUI properly, which I don’t find intuitive enough for my workflow. Seemingly you can assign Omnisphere in Unify to use different cores, but I can’t find my way.

I hoped a VST host like Cantabile Lite could bypass all the load from a DAW. If I knew one of the paid version could replace a DAW. I don’t need to do any recording with this, just use it live



Thanks for the welcome, Gabriel, wow, which version of Ctble are you using for this impressive list? I just need to load 4.

Hope restored? :slight_smile:


Wow, that’s quite amazing!!

I wish I could find a video of how these guys do that. But loading and using the plugins are two different realities, imho. That’s where the load get heavier.

But there are people here using Cntble with Kontakt, Omnisphere, Ivory, etc, so I’ll keep reading.



Keep in mind that the thread started in 2017! Maybe it’s a better strategy to start reading from the bottom! :wink:

Anyway, the key parameter to look at in Cantabile is the “Time load”. As far as I understand, it is the percentage of the audio buffer lenght (in time) which is used for actual calculations. If you get too close to 100 % you risk glitches. You can try installing Cantabile Lite, load your plugins and watch for the “Time load” number (the Profiler, which was already mentioned, gets you a more detailed info, with the contribution of each plugin to the total load etc.). If it stays safely below 100 % with your desired plugins, you are in good shape. There are also strategies to reduce the total load (e.g. Cantabile can “suspend” a plugin you are not using in a certain section of a song). They have also been discussed many time in this forum (just use the search function and look for “Time load” for a start).



Hello and welcome

The best advice I can give you is try it, as a lot will depend on your setup and how much horsepower your gig computer will have.

Cantabile Lite is free, and you can evaluate the other versions (same build, just different licensing and features enablement) for 30 days.

I have used both Kontakt and Omnipshere live with no issues, but not as many instances.

As cdv_gabriel says, the main thing is to check the audio load to ensure it is not getting towards 100%, I personally don’t like it going above 60% so there is always something in reserve. However, that is something you will need to check yourself on your system with your plugins.

You may find that a live VST host is more efficient processing load wise as a live host and DAW are designed for two very different purposes.

Hi Z0n3 and Welcome to the Forum!

The PC a user chooses is a huge part of it. The CPU clock speed and number of physical cores are the biggest part of the deal combined with a lot of RAM and an dedicated SSD or fast HD for streaming samples and proper configuration. You need all that to improve your situation. Also both of the VSTi platforms you prefer need a good bit of all the above to run well. The libraries are huge and sometimes the streaming can’t keep up depending on your rig. People do run both so it’s do-able for sure. I hope you find a way :slight_smile:



I was about to say, the laptop I was using then was probably kind of comical by today’s standards… and only 5, 6 years ago! Modern benchmarks should stomp that into the dirt.

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Hi Dave, thank you!

The laptop specs:
Intel Core i5-8265U 1.6GHz 1.8

Hi FredProgGH,

I read your post (from years ago), and loading many VSTs. Are you still using Cntble for your live gigs? If so, may I ask which one you are using?

ProgRock lives on! :slight_smile: