Fast Song Switching - A Video Walkthrough


This video is well overdue, but better late than never :slight_smile:

This time a detailed look at how to setup Cantabile for super fast song switching using a combination of features in Cantabile and features of the plugins you’re using.

Shows how states, linked racks and pre-loaded setlists all work together to get really fast switch times.


Great, brad! This should cover a lot of things which are interesting especially for beginners! Thanks for that!


Thanks brad! This Video covers a lot of thinks for me.As i am in the beginning to Setup now with Cantabile 3 Performer.


Love it this video !!! <3 Thx Brad
That’s what I mean by best practises tuts on a previous post.
Makes me think to start my setup new and reprogram every song to use racks.
I was already using racks for staked synths (synths+effect),
But maybe I should use it even for simple synths such as Synth1, so that my initial startup preload, which is only 10 seconds or so, can be limited.
Only thing that I will miss is that every song cannot save the current altered synth settings, so I will need to save them as presets in the rack…
Thinking about it…

One other question dough:
What would be fastst?

  • create 1 linked rack with different synths and select them and their presets by states
  • create different racks for each synth

An other idea I had, would it be interesting to start a wiki manual?
I think the manual from Brad is wonderful, I think the man hardly sleeps :slight_smile:
This way more experienced C3 users can update the wiki manual?
F.e. add this wonderfull video to the bindings page from the manual?


Check out what the left-hand column in the state behaviour panel does (see here in the guides). Exported settings allow you to store the state of stuff inside a rack in the song or song states, instead rack or rack states. This might make it easier for you to do your reworking, as you might not need to bother with rack states.

I’m not sure which is fastest, but different racks, one for each synth, is likely to give you a lot more flexibility, not to mention faster load time (if your setlist doesn’t use some of those synths). I would say the main reason for having multiple synths in a single rack is if you often use them together, for example to have piano rack with the built-in option to layer strings underneath, or perhaps a rack for church organs and bass pedals. Otherwise, I’d recommend using different racks.



Exported states, ok thx, I learned something new today !
Thx Neil !


Exported settings allow each song to adjust the setting and reduces the need to create multiple states in the rack. Exported settings can often eliminate the need for rack states entirely.

So basically I just need to check exported settings and I can use the plugin adjustments in any song? That way I don’t need to save a preset(/state) in the rack and the bakground rack won’t be altered for the other songs that use this rack?


Yes, check the exported settings box for anything in a rack you want the song to control, and then that setting will be stored in the song file.

Furthermore, if you set “Exported state” in the state behaviour for the rack itself at the song level, not only will the setting be stored by the song, but can also be different for each song state. So you can automate settings inside a rack for each song state, without using rack states.

For other songs that use this rack, they will store their own copies of the values of those parameters, independently from the first song. So you’re basically saying, “Let the song drive this”.

Where rack states/presets become valuable is where you want a rack configuration that you want to re-use in multiple songs, out of the box, such as your favourite piano sound with a particularly nice reverb, or whatever. But if you have no desire to store/reuse these, you can just have them as exported settings and let the songs drive them.

There’s also nothing stopping you using a mixture - for example using rack states to choose instrument settings, but then have the reverb mix driven by the song.



Me too! Never used Exported States before! Super!



I used to have some bigger racks that included multiple synths for a certain purpose (e.g. epiano rack, solo synth rack, pads rack) and switched them on and off per state. So I could have one epiano rack state that played LoungeLizard, another one that used Pianoteq. Made it really easy to set up a song from very few racks and select ready-made sound - but the editing became more and more complex and unwieldy; lots of song-specific presets necessary for each of these multi-racks, so over time it began to defeat the purpose.

These days, I’m in the process of cleaning out my racks, reducing them to one or two (max) Instruments each (with some specific effects plugin if they are specific to the respective instrument, e.g. a guitar amp with some stomp boxes before it). Also, all my racks have a volume control (FreeG) inside them bound to CC7; most also have an EQ before the volume.

At the same time, I’m re-working all my songs to use “keyboard abstraction” racks that encapsulate my MIDI keyboards and provide separate outputs for notes, pitch bend, modulation, aftertouch, so connecting keyboards to instruments gets easier to manage.

Yes, my songs now have a couple more racks in them, but as @Neil_Durant wrote, this approach is far more flexible and resource-efficient.

Once I’ve reworked my setlist to the new approach, I’ll create a couple of video walk-throughs of my setup and some songs to illustrate how some of Cantabile’s features can be used in “real-life” setups. Stay tuned :wink:




Another approach for this filtering is to do it inside each instrument rack, potentially in routes within a utility rack file added as an embedded rack, and then set that rack’s filter configuration as exported state for the song to manage.

That way, you avoid adding the clutter of extra racks at the song level, and each sound source can have its own MIDI filtering built in cleanly. So you use a single MIDI route from your keyboard to a lead synth rack that has pitch/mod/aftertouch enabled, and another to an organ rack that has those all disabled, without having to have multiple abstraction racks/states and groups of MIDI routes at the song level.



Interesting as well - but for me, the approach of explicitly having separate output ports from my keyboards makes creating complex songs so much easier and transparent at song level:

  • KB 1 notes go to epiano and strings
  • KB 1 aftertouch goes to strings only
  • KB 1 modulation is routed to strings, remapped to CC 7 (control string layer volume via modwheel)
  • KB 1 pitch bend controls bend for a synth sound played on KB 2
  • KB 2 modulation goes to solo reverb, remapped to CC 7 - controls solo reverb level

All this visible and editable just by un-folding the keyboard racks routes!

I’ve considered something similar to your “exported state”, but I prefer a very explicit approach that happens fully at song level and doesn’t hide within the racks :wink: - lots easier to edit and de-bug…

Stay tuned for the video - it will all become clear :wink:




What I love about Cantabile is how there are so many ways to do things, that can be tailored to everyone’s different setup, as well as mindset.

I think your approach would get confusing for me because a typical song state for me has routes for anything up to 3-4+ different zones on my main keyboard, plus a route for my secondary keyboard (Moog Voyager). And all my zones change target and range with each song state. If I was having to deal with multiple routes at the song level for different controller information, for every single zone, I’d have a routing list the height of my screen, and lots of scope for setup mistakes! With my approach I always typically have one route per zone. And actually, much of the filtering (enabling/disabling aftertouch etc.) is driven by rack states a lot of the time for me anyway - typically for a given patch I either want it or not, regardless of song.

I also don’t do as much bespoke fiddling as you, by the look of it - I would never map KB1 pitch bend to control the sound played on KB2 for example (although I can guess why you might need to). Actually the only real modulation I do live is with an expression pedal and a foot switch, for which I use a utility rack for each, that are configured differently for each song state as necessary. With those I can control volumes, effects, Leslie, filters etc. I even use expression pedal for pitch bend in a couple of tracks, due to not having enough spare hands. So I usually have a single simple route from their utility rack to the required destination rack.

Like I say - I love the way Cantabile gives us so many ways :slight_smile:




You guys are stretching my limit on bookmarks :blush:


Wow guys, lively discussion here - love it.

I had a feeling this video was well overdue and glad to see that it’s clarifying how everything is supposed to fit together.


Thx guys, same here, rethinking my c3 setup. That’s why i asked the best practises in a former topic.
The best practise to be most flexible afterwards.


wow - that would be too much for me to manage in this little brain of mine :wink:

I’ve reduced the songs where I have more than one zone to very very few - with my double duty as lead / background singer, those multi-zone setups became too distracting (where was I supposed to play the synth brass riff again???).

In my “single keyboard” phase, I resorted to layered sounds mostly, with some of the layers activated by modwheel, or expression or soft pedal, which was a completely new and far more intuitive experience for me. I could simply keep my hands around the comfortable middle C and keep on playing there. Worth a try!

But I totally get that with your progrock repertoire there are never enough keyboards, zones or whatever - good thing you don’t have to do parallel lead vox duty :wink: . Sometimes I wish for one song in our repertoire where I could “simply” be a keyboarder…




I completely get what you mean by the singing aspect. If you’re dividing your brain between two or more instruments like that, there’s not much left for handling anything complex configuration wise, whilst also trying to deliver a good musical performance!

With my band, I’m almost always playing different sounds on each hand, so two zones is absolutely normal, except for solo piano bits, which happen occasionally. At other times I may have an extra zone or two for a few special patches, to add as occasional ornamentation. It is problematic remembering which zone is which, but it comes with practice…although I do sometimes go for the wrong octave!



Hi @Brad, thank you very much for the really good video!

I saw there new things for me very useful in working with Kontakt.
But I also saw, how easy bindings could be. I created in some
cases so far too much single bindings instead of changing values on
already existing bindings :slight_smile:

The thing with the different playing zones on my two 88 key hardware synthesizers
is the next thing I have to work on :slight_smile:
Here I studied already the manual. But, this is also a thing to learn until to
be in routine :slight_smile:


Yes, I can live with two zones - left-/right split is pretty normal for any pianist/keyboarder… What I love about having individual Cantabile files per song is that I can have my split points customized to the ranges I need for the specific song - I mostly play without thinking about split points!

For those “ornamentation” patches, you might actually experiment with my layering technique (and maybe one of @dave_dore 's utility racks) - sometimes it is easier to simply use a momentary footswitch to turn your “ornamentation sound” on and your normal right-hand zone off and leave your playing hand where it is.

Reduces the amount of wild leaps across the keybed - always the potential for something to go horribly wrong…

Give it a try when you feel adventurous :wink: