Changing plug-in presets with state change

Dear all,

I’m afraid this is a rather beginners question as well, but I cannot find a clear description in the guides and/or forum.
With a change of state I would also like to change the presets of the plugin. I’ve seen that this is possible by specification of the snapshot (by the way: can I change the names to something else than snaphot 1, snapshot 2?), but there is also a checkbox Selected Program which I would expect to do that for me as well. That doesn’t work, can somebody explain me the working of this?


if I understand your question correctly, by using rack states, there really is no reason, at least that I can think of, to need to change presets on the plugin itself. That’s because the rack state is essentially a preset… It saves all the parameters of the plugin, like a snapshot. The only difference is you’re saving the “preset” in cantabile, not in your plugin. Just be sure to look at state behavior and check all the appropriate boxes on the right side. Also read up on Exported States, which saves a snapshot in the song state, but that is helpful only in certain situations, since you can’t call up a song state from another song. Hope that helps

Hi Twaw,

thanks for your reply. Still I have two questions:

  • can I rename a snapshot to something different as Plugin snaphot 1, Plugin snapshot2,…
  • What is the function of the checkbox Selected Program for State Behaviour?


I don’t really use snapshots per se so I can’t really help you on that. I know there are some plugins where using the plugins preset mapping is necessary, but I’ve yet to run into that. Is there a reason why you really want to use the plugins snapshots? As mentioned before most of us use rack states not presets, because it’s faster, it’s a much more efficient workflow, and it’s very easy to organize it however you like.

You want to check the right check box for selected program on song state behavior. That means that you can create different songs states each using different rack states, so by checking the box you are saying you want each song state to call up whichever rack state you have selected. I guess selected program would be better called selected rack state.

Try reading up in the guide on rack states and song states. And then read up on exported State, which is completely different than using rack states, and allows you to override the rack state settings just for the song you’re working on.

Rack and song states are different but operate pretty much the same. Once you wrap your head around that it gets a lot easier. I’ll try to explain how I and many others use it, but cantabile is so flexible there are always other ways to accomplish the same thing.

I’ve found it’s easiest for me to put each plugin instrument into its own linked rack. For example, I have a sample player rack with two instances of the free sforzando plugin (I used two because quite often it’s a faster switch to have one loaded with my first sound, another with my second sound, and then just muting or unmuting the active routes I want. Routes typically change faster than a new sample sound, particularly with sample players, but that’s a whole other topic). But I also have another rack with two Synth one plugins, another rack for guitar amp sim, another rack with all my effects like reverb, compression, EQ, etc. So think of a rack like a module and inside that module you have a bunch of presets you created.

So as we add new songs and need new sounds or parameters we just add more rack States. So the rack states are the presets for that particular rack. Here’s how to get started.

Create a linked rack And then add your VST plug-in… For example let’s say it’s a sample player with strings. Double click on the rack to open it and at the top select routing, not bindings. On the left panel select States. So now you’re in rack States. Add a new state and name it… For this example let’s call it state 1. Set the pluginto what you want for your " preset"… Set to strings, and get it the way you want it. Lock it and save all. Add another state and call it state 2. Under state behaviors check every box on the right column until you get down to undefined parameters. Those check boxes are defining what will be saved with ALL the rack states, for that entire rack, regardless of what song you use that rack on. If there’s a parameter you don’t want saved with that state for some reason, which would be rare I think, just un check it. Of course you could change the saved behaviors at any time. On the far right lock each of them. Save all.

Now go into state two, unlock it, and change the sample to something else… For example piano. Lock it and save all. Now, when you change from rack state one to rack state two, it should change from strings to piano. Then start playing around with other parameters…Try changing a parameter in state two that’s different from state one, lock it and switch the states while watching what happens to the plugin. If the parameter doesn’t change then check your state behaviors.

Keep adding more rack states if you want. So essentially, in this rack/module, it’s kind of like you’re building patches on a synth, each rack state is one sound/patch. Here’s where the beauty of this approach pays off:
Now I’m going to build a song. The verse has a strings sound and the chorus is piano. I create a SONG state one, to the right of my sampler rack I click and now I see all my rack states/presets. I choose the strings rack state I had created earlier. Great that’s done, now create another song state, click on the rack and choose piano. Now I go to song state one, right click and create a clone. I call that verse 2. Now I go to song state 2, and create another clone of that. I drag and drop verse two and chorus 2 to the correct places. I’m done, I just created a song in about 30 seconds. The other advantage to this approach is that when I created my rack states, I made sure that all my volumes and EQ for each state were pretty much the same. Now, regardless of whatever song I put those in, my volume for my strings rack State will be the same. You can always modify that in the song state mode on the rack itself, on a per song basis.

It’s kind of hard to explain, but I hope this helps!

Hi there - to right of the snapshot field is a drop-down. You can rename the snapshot and Cantabile retains a numeric prefix too.
To use a patch change command you simply create a binding which loads the required patch, or the next or previous, when the state is called.
You can automate patch changes too, using a media player. There’s a lot of ways to approach this, or any midi instruction you need to address the required plugins/destinations.

Hi Twaw, thanks for your extended answer!
I’d think I’m on this way now. I’m actually grouping my instruments in racks, i.e. I have a strings rack with various possibilities like sustain, spiccato, solo, etc, a pad rack with a few synth pads etc. Now it’s easy indeed to build up the song, test a string, change it if I do not like it etc.
Extra trick is needed for fast changes. You should make it in a way that nothing needs to be loaded at the switch, that can be done at a previous switch were you had more time. Very usefull in the story are the symlinks that make it possible to load the rack multiple times, in particular to have the instrument loaded in time when you need it.

Yes, for fast changes you’re on the right track… that’s why on some complex songs with samples, I’ll have a preset with both sofrzando plugins active and 1 loaded with sound 1 and the other with sound 2, but the midi route is turned off on sound 2. the next preset reverse it, sound 2 is active and sound 1 is midi route off. Good luck!