Help understanding preset management

Hello everyone,

I have been using Cantabile for a couple of weeks now and while I’ve found it generally quite intuitive, I am still having difficulty with preset management.

I have a number of VSTs (Diva, Spire, Serum, etc) for which the first preset model is unavailable. This leaves me with the choice of Entire Plugin Snapshot or Parameter Sets.

Parameter Sets seems to make the most sense as it’s lighter and would work well with soft synths where all the controls are generally accesible.

However I cannot get my head round how to actually get the presets in my vst recognised as Rack presets. The way I’ve approached it so far is as follows:
1 - In the plugin editor, click on Parameter Set 1
2 - Use the plugin’s GUI to navigate to the desired plugin preset
3 - Rename the Parameter Set, to match the name of the plugin’s preset
4 - Save, go the next Parameter Set and repeat.

It’s a bit of an arduous task and I feel like I’m missing a better way of doing this. There is a paragraph in the User Guide (Preset Models > Changing the Base Program), which describes using a little P button to copy the parameters and name of presets in the plugin to the Cantabile rack. This would be a lifesaver. Unfortunately, this button does not appear on any of the VSTs I am using.

Anyone who can help me out ?


Hi Charlie,

Welcome to the forum. Firstly, we need to know what Cantabile version you are using. Let us know and we can begin there. Different versions have different capabilities.



As Corky said, but if using the Parameter or Snapshot methods, pretty much the way you are adding to your list is the way it is done.

I have streamlined the operation by using keyboard shortcuts.

Once in the generic name with the desired Synth preset chosen, click the “hamburger menu”, hit “R”, type in the name, Enter Key, Alt-Right-Arrow to move to next generically named preset, repeat. It moves pretty fast that way, and you get into a rhythm doing it that makes it kinda fun!

If you have Solo, that is where you stop, though you could copy the finished instrument and paste it into an embedded rack that you can save a copy of to have it handy to use as-is as a rack or to copy and paste out of the rack to have the drop-down list readily available.

If you have Performer, you can use the rack version and States to switch between different presets in the drop-down list at-will during the song by connecting it to states (via the states-manager at the bottom left of the GUI).


Which is exactly how I use it. :wink:

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Thanks for your tips gents @terrybritton @ Corky.
I am using performer. A little bit more about my setup.

I have a keyboard which sends out midi on different channels. Each channel in cantabile (well just channels 1-4 actually) is routed to four identical racks I’ll call “instrument modules”. Each of these modules has a bunch of vst synths (kontakt, diva, etc) in parallel, each selected one at a time via the state. The idea is I can select channel 1 on my keyboard, then use cc32 to select the vst assigned to that channel, and finally use program change to select a preset. Then sequence some notes onto my external sequencer, and repeat the same thing with channel 2 as I layer a song up to four tracks.

I hadn’t thought about using states for the presets as I’m already using states to select between the vsts, however I could try adding a second layer of states to the vsts (inserting each vst into an embedded rack if need be). Could get start to get a bit inception-ey though.

Failing that, those keyboard shortcuts look very helpful and I don’t really mind spending time doing repetitive things… speaking of which I have a day job to do, so I’ll have to try these suggestions out later this evening :slight_smile:


Looks like you are well on your way! Feel free to ask at anytime. We are a friendly bunch and not afraid to help, if needed.

Cantabile is pretty deep. There are multiple ways to do things. That is a good thing. Do what works for you (kinda Jeet Kune Do).

But, using Racks is important because it reduces load times and memory. Racks are the key to speed and agility. Then, when you create a Set List and check “Preload Set List” the Racks and Set List help Cantabile load and re-use instances of VSTs and their samples in memory. This means Cantabile doesn’t have to read/re-read the disk (even SSDs are much slower than memory access) and reload VSTs every time you change a Song.



As I am a big fan of layering synths, you have inspired me to devote one of the upcoming webinars to the many various approaches we can take to accomplish this sort of thing flexibly.

With states able to switch input routing on and off, as can bindings also, you might not need dedicate them to selecting the VST’s, but rather selectively enable their input routes. This is instantaneous with the plugins already loaded in.

You can also selectively enable or suspend a synth via states or bindings. Suspending takes it out of the CPU load, but keeps it in memory. Not as fast as switching inputs on and off, but pretty fast - and much faster than loading from scratch. Using Suspend this way permits your preloaded set lists to not overwhelm your CPU, as some take up CPU a bit even if not being used as long as they are enabled. (Preload is fantastic for making sure all the samples are loaded in and ready to go!)

States also can determine MIDI channel routing, transpose amounts, and other items found in the Routes dialog. You can have several inputs that are repeats of each other except for the filters being different also, and states can switch among those for you, too.

Lots of options!