Change presets on song load

Tearing my hair out here.

I’ve got round the problem of re-loading the plugins for every song, as long as I want to use the same patch in every plugin in every song!?

Considering I could do anything I wanted to do in v2, I can’t do ANYTHING in v3!

All I want to do is have a set list of songs and for each song have an appropriate patch loaded in each plugin.
No verse, chorus, bridge etc malarkey. No switching presets during songs. Just set up all the soft synths at the beginning of each song.

Surely that can’t be too difficult? It works if I reload the plugins for each song but not if I don’t.

I cannot find a way of doing this using presets, states, chanting, invoking demons, standing on one leg whilst patting my head and rubbing my gut, asking nicely, shouting or throwing the laptop out of the bleedin’ window!!

I’ve been trying to convert a v2 set list for 3 months now.

Hi Jeff,

To help you it would be good to know exactly how you are set up. Please post a screen shot of your routing page.


Hmmmm, no amount of black magic is going to solve this - let’s take this one step at a time:

I assume that you have your plugins all packed into individual racks - that much I gathered from your last post.

Now if you want these racks set up differently for each song, there are multiple stages to this:

  • first: you control your individual plugins via presets. Select a preset at the top of the window, tune plugin parameters and maybe rename the preset so that it is easier to identify. Now you can call up a defined state for each plugin by selecting the preset
  • next: for each rack, define a number of rack states. These rack states are - for lack of a better term - the “rack presets”, i.e. by selecting a rack state at song level, you can configure your rack to a defined state
  • within a rack state, you define the rack’s configuration by selecting presets for each of your plugins and by setting the gain levels for all your plugins within the rack. You can also do quite a bit more (explained under “state behavior”), but for a beginning, this should be the basic steps: select plugin presets, set levels, update the state (unless it is set to update automatically)
  • once you have defined your different states within the rack, don’t forget to save the rack!
  • now you have a rack that can be configured to different rack states from the song level. If your racks are essentially instruments, you should create rack states for each patch you want to address, i.e. a rack state for acoustic piano, one for rhodes, another for strings, etc.
  • Now you can set up your song by loading the racks you need, selecting rack states for them, setting levels for your racks and connecting everything with routes.
  • A song state stores the configuration for a song (similar to rack states storing rack configurations). Mainly, this is the selected rack state for every rack, plus the output levels for your racks. In addition, you use song states to activate or de-activate routes (main keyboard addresses piano rack in verse, hammond rack in chorus).
  • for your purposes, one song state per song should be enough.
  • When loading a song within a set list, Cantabile loads the first song state. Doing this, it checks for each rack if the selected rack state is different from what the rack has currently selected (remember: preloaded set list means that the rack stays loaded in memory). If the rack state is different, it loads the new state (thus switching your plugins to a new preset), otherwise everything just stays as it is.
  • If you got all this right, Cantabile should automatically switch your racks to the state saved in the song (in the first song state) when loading the song, thereby switching the plugins contained within the racks to the preset saved with the rack state.

This should do it - it’s just two layers of states you need to get used to. Define your “high-level-patches” as rack states by configuring a number of plugins within the rack, then use the rack as a “preset synth” by simply calling up rack states from a song.

My racks have tons of plugins contained within them, chained in sequence (EPiano -->compressor–>amp–>chorus–>flanger–>EQ–>reverb), and I define my rack states as patches across all these plugins (“dirty epiano”, “flanged epiano”, “drowned in reverb”, …). Then, in a song, I simply selecvt “dirty epiano” without needing to know how this sound is created. That’s the power of encapsulated racks.

Yes, it is a bit complex - but super-powerful. Once you get the hang of it, you won’t look back!




Thanks for your detailed explanation Torsten.

I’ll have another go at wrapping my head around this tomorrow.

@Torsten: this should qualify as a sticky note, but then again, most of your replies seem to. LOL

Wow @Torsten - stellar answer.

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This is very good. I’ve been somewhat struggling with this same thing.

  • Do you need to check the left (export to song) box in the Rack State dialog?
  • If not, when would I want to check that box?

I’ve been trying to use Song States where for a given Rack in a Song, I would select a preset in the Rack, check the “Selected Program” and “Export” boxes in Rack State dialog. This hasn’t been working as anticipated and may be missing a step somewhere.

I’m going to try Torstens’ approach of creating Rack States of each preset and see how that works.



@tonemaster: @Torsten’s (excellent) explanation is how I, and I believe, most of us design songs on C3. In this workflow, the Racks become “Black Boxes” that you don’t really fiddle with–just choose the sound from the
Rack menu as you add the Rack to the Song. The Song State will remember where to set the sound you’ve chosen, the output level, and the other controls exposed externally to the Rack.

The “Left Most Check Box” of Rack Behaviour is an advanced technique. It lets you peak into encapsulated settings within the Black Box and twiddle them to override them for a particular Song. If you check this Left Box, the SONG State will remember these settings ordinarily encapsulated within the Rack and the Song State will override them. (I think of these Left Check Rack Behaviours as being able to look in the box to see if the cat is alive or dead without actually opening the box.) For >90% of the time, if you follow @Torsten’s instructions, you will not need these Left Check Boxes. The RIGHT check boxes, however, is where you tell the Rack States what to remember when you set up the Rack States as if they were instrument presets. If you were to omit the RIGHT check box, the Rack will remember the setting from however the Rack was saved (as opposed to the Rack State). There is another advanced technique that lets the Rack be completely independent of the Song, but don’t worry about that one yet, either.


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Just want to say that I had similar misgivings after being an ardent C2 fan.
I couldn’t get straight to things I was used to, mainly because the terminology had changed.
Sat down for a day to really get to know C3 and the light went on. Brad has done a stellar job and there is simply no way I would go back now.
Simple at the basic level, with the ability to go as deep as you want with configurations.
The Rack concept being a ‘transportable container’ is superb.
The hierarchy of States is simple but powerful.
The interface is elegant and uncluttered.
I suspect that you could probably create your entire setlist in one Song with your efforts going into creating the required States.

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