Fast instrument switch by Midi control

Hello, I am a new user for Cantabile 3. I found this program very useful for live performance. I use multiple VST instruments during live. I want to ask about how to set up midi control to switch between instruments quickly. For example, I have a saxphone rack and a flute rack. I can set up midi control to turn on/off each rack but I have to click midi controller button twice to turn on and turn off the rack/instrument. Is there any way I can set up instrument/rack change by one touch or less clicks on midi controller? I prefer this way during live performance as it can be very busy during live.

Thank you so much for all your help.

Best regards,



Hi Min,

Firstly, you don’t need to turn racks on and off - leave them running, and then when you switch sound, it won’t cut off any envelope or release tails. The only real reason I’ve found for turning racks/plugins off is if the Cantabile load is getting too close to 100% for comfort; then I would start to think about disabling any plugins I’m not currently using in a song. But having said that, I don’t think I’ve actually done that yet, even in complex songs with a load of plugins.

The best way to switch sounds is to switch MIDI routes, usually by simply changing the destination of the MIDI route from the first rack to the second rack. Don’t worry, any held notes will continue to sound until you release them, without hanging. And the best way to do this route switching is to use song states; set up your first song state to have your MIDI route pointing at your sax rack, then in your second song state have it pointing at your flute rack. Using song states in this way means you can do sophisticated changes instantly, with a single click. You can also program in volume changes, or anything else too.

To step through song states you can set up a binding (typically in your background rack) to map MIDI controller button or footswitch presses, to trigger the next song state. Or if you want to do it on-screen, there’s a button already there by default in Live Mode.

There are a few other complications relating to song state, primarily involving the state behaviour of things. It’s worth having a good look at the guide on song/rack states if you haven’t used them much yet.

Good luck and let us know how you get on!



You probably have a button as latch programmed, that’s why you have to push it 2 times, like on off state. You can change this probably. What controller are you using?

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Thank you so much , Neil and So-Godly. I will try states function. I am using EWI 5000- I was trying hold/interval button on EWI to change instruments while I am playing. I set latching turned on. That is why. Thank you so much again for quick reply. very helpful.

Best regards,

sono un utente nuovo di Cantabile 3, utilizzo un controller Vortex 2
per la mia poca esperienza in materia, Ti chiedo gentilmente se puoi fornirmi qualche indicazione utile per effettuare cambio strumento e regolazione volume dal controller.

Hey Romeo,

welcome to the forum. Usually, this is a really helpful crowd, but please note that the common denominator on this forum is speaking / writing in English. You’ll not get a lot of responses in Italian - and is it really so much to ask to go to Google Translate or DeepL and create your request in English? Otherwise people who would like to help you and don’t speak Italian have to do that - not really polite if you’re asking for help…

On your request: I would recommend watching @brad’s excellent introductory videos and reading the guides section - with focus on the topics “bindings” and “states”. Once you’ve understood that, a lot will be clearer, and you’ll make your way forward. Cantabile needs a bit of work in learning the basics.

Once you’ve found your way around these basics and tried your luck, absolutely do come back with specific questions.



Ciao Romeo,

benvenuto nel forum.Di regola, questa è una folla davvero aiutante, ma tieni presente che il denominatore comune su questo forum è parlare / scrivere in inglese. Non riceverai molte risposte in italiano - ed è davvero così tanto da chiedere di andare su Google Translate o DeepL e creare la tua richiesta in inglese? Altrimenti le persone che vorrebbero aiutarti e non parlano italiano devono fare così - non proprio gentile se stai chiedendo aiuto…

Sulla tua richiesta: Ti consiglierei di guardare gli ottimi video introduttivi di @brad e di leggere la sezione delle guide - con particolare attenzione agli argomenti “bindings” e “states”. Una volta che hai capito questo, molte cose saranno più chiare e ti farai strada. Cantabile ha bisogno di un po’ di lavoro per imparare le basi.

Una volta che hai trovato la tua strada su queste basi e hai tentato la fortuna, torna assolutamente con domande specifiche.



Tradotto con (versione gratuita)

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I am a new user of Cantabile 3, I use a Vortex 2 controller
due to my lack of experience on the subject, I kindly ask you to provide me with some useful information on how to change the instrument and adjust the volume from the controller.

I did give you some - hopefully useful - information; have you watched @brad’s videos on bindings and states? It doesn’t really make sense if I give you screen shots of the right bindings to control instrument states and plugin gain if you don’t understand what this is about, so please do yourself a favor and learn the basics first.

Plus: How do you want to “change instruments” - do you use one VST instrument for all sounds and you want to change presets on this instrument? Or do you want to load multiple VST instruments (e.g. one piano, one organ, one synth) and use your controller buttons to select one of them to play? In that case, you’ll also have to learn about song states and routes (you’ll need to create routes from your keyboard to multiple instruments and selectively activate them based on song states.

Cantabile is a complicated beast that will require some learning - do yourself a favor and start small, create your first songs using one or two instruments, learn from @brad’s videos and the Guides section and work your way forward towards presets, song and rack states, bindings, state behavior and the other things you’ll need to know to put your songs together.

Once you have a basic understanding of the workings of Cantabile, you can ask more specific questions - easier for us to help you then…



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I have recently purchased Catabile Solo license and I have just found out I cannot use such a basic feature as song states.
Is there any other way to switch instruments during performance?

Sure, just call each state a song, i.e. “Sledgehammer pt1”, “Sledgehammer pt2” etc…

Takes a bit more work to keep it organized, but it works just fine.

So you don’t mind the audio engine being halted for a few seconds in the middle of a song each time you want to change an instrument? that’s interesting

Hi barrabasito,

In Cantabile Solo to change instruments in the same song you would need buttons or pedals on your controller to send the CC message to Cantabile bindings to perform the PG change. If you are using backing tracks you can use automated transport position bindings as described below to make your instrument patch changes.

Anyway, more information about your total setup would help as far as giving more assistance.


Hi @barrabasito,

you can control route states (active/inactive) using bindings. Just make sure to give the route a name:

Is it also possible (though a bit cumbersome) to setup a “sequence” of program changes and trigger the next program change using a MIDI CC. The program change can then be bound to activate/deactivate routes or it can be used to change presets. You can find some info here under " Pad Notes (Ch 10) Latch To Program Changes"


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It shouldn’t take several seconds. It should just be a matter of changing routes around, which is practically instantaneous.

Once I setup my racks for a set they don’t change, so song changes are FAST.

I already checked is not that fast. Loading songs takes time no matter the differences between a song and the following.

I guess that works for program changes of a determinated virtual synth. I often need to switch instruments which correspond to different synths/plugins. I already tried toggling bypass with bindings, but that is not a suitable way, since sounds stop abruptely.

Nice. That’s a smart solution, thank you

TBH: if you are frequently in need of this kind of more real-time switching (different plugins for different states of a song), then do yourself a favor - bite the bullet, upgrade to the Performer version, and live happily ever after :wink: - it’s not really worth the time and energy “hacking” around the Solo restrictions.

This is pretty much what the Performer version was built to support - more complex live setups with multiple plugins and configurations. The Solo version is more oriented towards home/studio use (where you have the time to switch things manually) and simple live usage (a single configuration per song with a bit of adjusting). @brad describes it nicely: “Cantabile Solo is intended for lightweight live performance and/or home studio use”

Yes, you can “hack” your way around some of the restrictions, but what you really want if you are serious about using Cantabile in a live setup is Performer. Definitely worth the upgrade - trust me!




I understand, I just thought Solo version should include song states.
If i was a pro musician i would not care about investing more money, but i am just an amateur.

barrarabisto…the difference in price is minimal, but the features you get in Performer will be well worth your money. You say you are an amateur, but I think every amateur, all of us included, were all amateurs at one time. If it’s just you and a guitar or keyboard, a mic and an audience, I would say Solo will fit the bill, but if you ever want to move beyond amateur status, you will be very glad you decided to go with Performer. I’m sure reading the forum, you have seen and read the things it can do. @Brad is one of the most dedicated developers you will find, as I’m sure you have seen. And as new developments roll out, you will be able to benefit from all that @Brad has in store. Sacrifice the money you will pay for one plug (short of crazy sales and such) and it will pay for Performer.