Cantabile vs. Ableton

I searched the forum for this but didn’t really find an answer.
I use and love Cantabile for live performances. The worship director at the church is moving towards more standardization, which is great. He uses Ableton on the Mac platform for tracks, and for click if there are tracks being used. He’s asked if I would be interested in using Ableton for live performance so it’s all in one tool. Alternately I’d be managing two laptops, mine with Cantabile and the Mac with Ableton.

Before Cantabile I used Cubase for live performance and it was clumsy for that purpose. There are just so many things that Cantabile does better. But not knowing Ableton, I come here to ask if anyone who is familiar with both products could help me out. Is it worth trying to use Ableton instead of Cantabile? How does it compare for live performance, knowing the capabilities of Cantabile?

I have both installed and use both, but for slightly different purposes. I think I would be able to consolidate and use either one.

I am using Cantabile as a VST host for live jam sessions at my home. I have several channels set up for vocal mics, guitars, keys, bass, etc so that each attendee can bring a minimum of equipment to participate. It works really well for this.

I am using Ableton for playing backing tracks in concert while mixing live vocal and guitar from me. I am using an FCB1010 foot pedal to start/stop songs and a few other triggers.

I don’t know that I really need both, but at the time I felt like these uses took best advantage of each application’s strengths.

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I use Ableton + Cantabile + Max for live performances.
Ableton works fine, but for me there are 2 advantages of using Ableton + Cantabile :

  • you can record every audio flow in Cantabile, (Ableton is not really suited for recording multiple audio flows at the same time). Thanks to loopback, you can even record Ableton output.
  • you can use Ableton as a “clip player”/instrument, and recall a new session without interrupting audio.

So my Cantabile setup never changes (mixing desk / fx / recorder function), and I load Ableton setups depending on what I want to play.

Best regards,



This is something I am also about to look at, so was going to ask the advice of the community to see what other people do, and thought I’d ask the Q here rather than starting another thread if it helps……

I want to be able to run MIDI in a loop and when ready progress to another loop but only after the current one has completed a whole pass through. Is that possible all in Cantabile with media players, states and bindings, or will it be best to consider running both Cantabile and a loop centric program such as Ableton?

Have never used Ableton and not had the time to research yet, so a complete newbie to the concept of looping (and hence the dumb Q)

Why am I asking? In Welsh Floyd we used backing tracks, but they have always been linear - start of song to end of song in a single pass (and Cantabile excels at that). I may be doing some solo gigs next year which will be more improvisational and I want to have prepared MIDI loops to play over but be able to move to the next one when I wish to (before the audience die of boredom :slight_smile: ) - would prefer to keep it all MIDI (internal VSTs and external synths) to allow for on the fly adjustment of the driven instruments (e.g filter sweeps, env adjustments) as well as what I play live over the loops.

I have plenty of controls on my Montage or FC300 that I can assign to bindings to move to “next loop” so that is not a problem, but something like a Novation Launch Pad looks interesting and some visual eye candy……

Hi. Is there any way to make ableton Live to “behave” similar to Cantabile?
I mean setlist, song parts/sections.
I mean to do it without the clumsy solution that is to have a GIANT set in Live with all songs in it.