Creating an overall volume fader for each song

I’ve been reading (and rereading) some earlier posting, particularly those by Torsten, about using FreeG as a master fader for songs. I’ve gotten as far as embedding FreeG in each of my instrument racks. I’ve created a song with a couple of racks with a specific state saved for each rack and have adjusted the volume level of each rack so that I have a good balance for the various instruments. My goal is to have control of the overall volume of all the components of a song, so that I can raise or lower the song’s volume on the fly during a live performance.

Let’s say I’m playing Song A and realize during the performance that while individual elements are balanced, the overall volume is too low. I move the keyboard slider which I’ve designated to raise the Trim level in FreeG (which simultaneously makes that adjustment in each of my racks). Then I want to save that overall volume setting so that next time I play the Song A, it will be at the correct volume. But here’s the problem (I think)- when FreeG volume adjustments are made in each rack, how do I save those adjustments only for Song A- since changes saved in the racks will carry over to each instance of the rack, across songs?

It seems to me that an even simpler approach would be to not include FreeG within each rack, but instead to add an instance of FreeG to each song. If a song has two racks and a plugin, then the output of each of those would be routed to FreeG where the overall volume can be adjusted. Changes in FreeG would be song specific, since the changes would occur outside of the racks. I’ve tried this but I haven’t had any luck routing a Rack into FreeG.

This is difficult to explain. I hope it’s making sense. Again, I’ve read through earlier postings about using FreeG, but I’m confused about what I need to do to achieve my goal.

Does this have something to do with rack state behavior settings?

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Hi Lee,

first: don’t use “trim” parameter but “1: Gain” - test it with the plugin’s GUI open. If the main fader moves when you push the fader on your controller, you’ve got it…

I actually have THREE layers of interactive volume settings (and fader bindings):

  • at the individual rack level (one FreeG instance per rack) to modify one rack’s volume (e.g. raise or lower the level of the string layer) - use faders A-D for this
  • next, I have one “MainKeys VolFX rack” which contains a reverb, a delay and a FreeG instance. It has three input ports: Main input, reverb input, delay input. Within a song, I route all racks that contribute to the main/basic keyboard sound to this rack, with additional routes to the delay and reverb inputs where useful. All this together gives me an integrated, pre-mixed sound for my basic sound, say a piano/wurlitzer mix plus strings, seasoned with reverb and delay. I use a separate fader E (which controls the 1: Gain parameter of the FreeG instance in this rack) to raise/lower the volume of this mix overall. This way, I can control this instrument in relation to, say, a lead synth sound that I am playing elsewhere on the keyboard. I usually initialize the level of fader E at the beginning of a song using a trigger that sends a volume value of 64 to this rack, thus setting FreeG to 0 dB. This avoids nasty side effects from previous songs.
  • lastly, I have my master rack with master EQ and volume for keyboards and guitar. Another two faders (H and I in this case) control this master volume. This rack has all state behavior turned off, so in preloaded state volume and EQ settings do not get reset on song change. I use these two faders to control my overall volume and EQ on sound check, when I have the feeling that my keys or guitar are overall too loud in the mix or any corrections over the course of the gig.

Your idea of inserting FreeG at the song level would have the consequence of resetting the volume at every song change - plus you would have to pre-load as many instances of FreeG as you have songs. A bit of overhead…

Easy to avoid using FreeG in a master rack.



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Thanks Torsten, trying to wrap my head around this. So I need to:

  • add on instance of FreeG to each rack and assign a keyboard controller for each instance (i.e, rack)
  • Create a rack which contains FreeG (since I’m only using this to control volume, not effects, FreeG would be the only plugin in this rack).
  • Add this rack to each song. Route each component of the song to this rack using stereo out->in (FreeG). This will give me overall volume control of each song.

I’m not following what’s below…

  • so this Master Rack, this is also a rack containing FreeG? Where is it inserted in relation to the song?

OK, let’s take this step by step:

  • create a new rack called “master volume”. By default, this rack has stereo audio ports for input and output
  • double-click the rack to edit it; insert FreeG as a new plugin
  • de-activate all state behaviors for FreeG
  • in the “input ports” section, delete the MIDI connection from main keyboard to FreeG
  • create a route from Rack: Stereo In to FreeG Stereo In
  • Change the output route for the FreeG plugin from “Output Port: Main Speakers” to “Output Port: Rack Stereo Out”
  • Create a binding from Rack MIDI In (Controller CC7) to FreeG (Parameter 1: Gain)
  • save your rack and exit it
  • now route the output of all your racks to “master volume - Stereo In”
  • Route the output of the “master volume” rack to wherever you want it to go - probably “Main Speakers”

Now every rack is sent through the “master volume” rack.

To connect a fader to the FreeG within the rack, you need to

  • create a MIDI route in your song’s input ports section that connects your main keyboard to the “master volume” rack, but filters out (MIDI Filters) everything but the one controller you want to use (let’s say CC27). You also need to also insert a MIDI filter in this route that converts CC27 to CC7.

Now your selected controller CC27 will send CC7 MIDI commands to your “master volume” rack and thus move the FreeG fader. Cool so far…

Now about the trigger stuff: for those volume levels that I need to have a defined state at the beginning of a song (or a song state), I create triggers (Song Start or State Load) that simply send a MIDI CC to the respective rack. If you want your master fader to be set to 0 dB at the beginning of a song, simply create a Song Load trigger in this song that sends Controller #7, value 64 to your “master volume” rack. This will set the fader to 0 dB. A value of 0 will set the volume to mute, 127 will set it to +18dB.

Now about my master rack:

You can see my master rack, plus a bit of description in this post: Rack volumes persisting through songs?

This is the final rack in all of my songs. It has two instances of FreeG, one for my guitar sounds (software amps) and one for all keyboards sounds. All other racks in the song end up routed to one of its inputs (but some of them pass through “MainKeys VolumeFX” before, which in turn is routed to “MasterRack”.

When I set up my basic song template, I actually drew up a flow chart of all my racks, plugins, and volume control points, to make sense of this multi-level volume control. Now that it’s matured, it is an extremely powerful setup that allows me to show up at a gig with just one 88 key masterkeyboard, a guitar, and a laptop with audio interface. And my setups are pretty complex, with tons of layers, splitting zones, and automatic switching of my vocal effects as well. And I drive this all mostly with one big red button at the center of my keyboard that I use to step forward through song states (plus one sustain and one expression pedal).

I’m thrilled with the possibilities that C3 offers me…




Fantastic, thank you for the detailed instructions. In the above quote you state that two filters are needed in this route- one to convert my slider CC to #7 and another to filter out everything except that controller. I’ve remapped my controller, but how do I do the “filter out everything except…” part? Would that be the “suppress” midi filter?

Exactly: insert a “suppress” midi filter first, select everything that isn’t a controller, and even in controllers (text box) insert “0-26,28-127” (if your controller on your keyboard is cc27; otherwise adapt accordingly). Then insert your controller remapping filter AFTER this one to remap cc27 to cc7.

BTW: if you only want to be able to LOWER your rack’s volume, then set the range of your mapping to 0–>64. Maximum value on your controlled FreeG will then be 0dB. I usually use this setting for expression pedals, where I don’t need an 18 dB boost, but only want to control between mute and my preset maximum volume.



Not sure what I’m doing wrong, but the song Racks do not appear to be going through the Master Volume rack. There is no activity on the Master Volume rack meter. Interestingly though, there is one plugin in the song which is not in a rack. I have channeled that into the Master Volume rack as well and it is going through OK (master volume meter lights up).

I’m probably going to have to get back to this a little later. The Super Bowl is starting soon and my home team (Carolina Panthers) is playing!

Just a nagging suspicion: where are your plugins in your racks sending their output? They need to send their output to the rack stereo out for this to work. If your plugins within the racks send their output to “Main Speakers” there is nothing any routing at song level can do, because the Stereo Out of your racks doesn’t receive any audio…

Within the instrument rack, I had set the output for each plugin to go to the FreeG plugin within that rack, as you had suggested. When I changed each plugin’s output to “rack stereo out” it sends the audio to the Master Volume rack, but now I don’t have FreeG volume control for individual racks. See pic

Hmm, looking at your screenshot, the problem lies with the FreeG within your rack: it sends its output to MainSpeakers. Change your FreeG’s output routing to Rack: Stereo Out, and then route your M1 and Kontakt to the FreeG stereo input.

Now everything should be all right: the synths send their output to your FreeG, then after volume control, everything gets sent to the rack stereo out, so that you can route it at song level.



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Almost there Torsten, thanks to your excellent instructions. The only issue remaining is that assigned keyboard cc is not controlling the master volume rack. I can’t see where I’ve overlooked anything, but apparently I have. Here are a couple of screen shots of what I’ve done.

That’s a pretty simple one - you just need to change the order of your MIDI filters. At present, your first filter converts your controller 91 to cc7, but your second filter doesn’t let cc7 pass, only 91. Result: no controller passes through the filters.

Move your “suppress” filter to the top of the filter list, and things should be OK.

Filters get applied in sequence from top to bottom.

Cheers, Torsten

Here some more illustration how I set things up: I tend to concentrate all this filtering at the song input routing level. Plus, I create separate routes for notes only, specific controllers, and my assigned faders. This makes things easier to handle when handling complex layers and splits (now: which sounds should the mod wheel affect, where does my expression pedal apply, how do I make slider A blend between Rhodes and Grand Piano, …)

So I create one route for notes only (suppressing all other events). This route I then copy for all the layers and splits. Now the pure “Note-on/off” is all done.

This is the MIDI filters dialog for the “Notes only” route:

Then I create separate routes for all controllers used in the song, filtering out everything but this controller. In the example above, this would be for Mod Wheel. Here is the filter:

Last come the sliders that control volume. For these, I need controller mapping in addition to filtering:

Just make sure that the sequence is correct - filters are applied top-to-bottom.

BTW: the re-mapping logic is not only useful for volume changes. I frequently re-map my channel aftertouch to modulation using controller mapping. Very useful for one-handed organ soloing when your other hand is busy comping and your right foot is occupied with expression duty - aftertouch then controls leslie speed! And no, I couldn’t use my left foot to control leslie speed via sustain pedal - I play standing up :sunglasses:!



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Thank you, that did it. I’m glad it was a simple problem this time :relaxed:. And thanks again for taking the time to guide me through this. I’ve learned a lot about how routings work in the process

Lots of food for thought here. It’s pretty clear that I will never be at a loss for new things to learn about Cantabile.

Is there anything else other than FreeG? Oh and is FreeG, well, free?

I could not get to an actual download page for FreeG - it asked me for a name and email address but then gave me nothing. Perhaps it was a browser issue? (Was using Firefox.)

[EDIT] It appears they have fixed their installer and now a “Download Demos (and FreeG)” selection appears which did not when I first tried last week. You have to install ALL the demos and then remove them in order to get FreeG.

I seem to remember seeing another volume-only plugin that allowed selecting linear or logarithmic for its response curve, but that was months ago. I’ll look around and see if I can remember which one it was.


There’s also GFader from GVST, which is a very basic fader plugin. They also do a load of other useful very simple plugins here.


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thanks, I will check them. I would prefer not to go through the hoops Sonalksis present haha!

Hey Pax, It’s not really the plugin that presents challenges, it’s how you decide to use it. FreeG is a basic plugin. The challenge for me was learning to use it as an overall volume control. Torsten’s approach is pretty complex, which would be the case regardless of which volume plugin you use.