How to route to an EFX rack?


Sorry if this is a dumb question but I’ve tried everything. Long time C2 Solo user, trying to get C3 Performer going today. I have a Kontakt instrument (Sax Brothers) in a linked rack called “SAX”. From what I’ve gathered, it’s best to just have the one plugin by itself in a linked rack since I’ll use it across many songs. (Some songs won’t have any sax but that’s easy to delete the rack). However, I’ll have different effects for different songs. So I created an embedded rack in a song just for SAX EFX, and loaded delay and reverb. So now there’s both racks in the song.

The only way I can get the signal to my main outs using the EFX rack is by routing Kontakt itself in the first SAX rack directly to the first plug in the 2nd rack SAX EFX. Any other configuration gets no sound. In C2 I jsut routed the 1st Rack output to the 2nd rack and it always worked fine. But in C3 it seems the rack outputs themselves have no function in this scenario? What am I missing? Also, am I right about using racks in this way… or should my EFX rack be linked also and then I just use States to enable/disable or adjust the effect plugs? Many thanks!


Racks have 2 kinds of in/out, MIDI and Audio.

Inside Sax bros Rack: VST’s audio to Rack Audio out. Rack MIDI in to sax bros vst.

Inside efx rack: Rack Audio in to Efx1. Efx1 Audio out to Rack audio out. Rack Audio in to Efx2 Audio out to Rack Audio out*.

Song: Main Keyboard to Sax bros Rack MIDI in. Audio out of sax brosrack to audio in of efx Rack.Audio out of efx Rack to Main Speakers.

*This setup puts the 2 efx in parallel. You can also try running the audio output of one efx into the other for serial, depending on what you want to accomplish.

Pro tip: I’d put it all in one rack and use Rack States for different patches/sounds/efx settings.


Thanks! Yeah I get all that and never had an issue with C2. Problem is there is no option for plug out to Rack out…only Rack Stereo in. So even when not using a separate efx rack, and jsut with a single vst in a rack, i can only get audio out by routing the vst direct to the main out. Seems i can’t go thru the rack. i’m using S Gear now, no efx rack… and you can see the plug has levels but not the rack.

I even tried creating a port and route for the rack but it wouldn’t let me assign output channels. Read all the guides etc. I’m stumped… there’s something missing here.


OK I just got it. I was adding a new object under the rack, like in C2. Instead I just double clicked the rack name and it opened up the rack itself… works now. Thanks! Cant’ seem to find a way to see at a glance what’s inside the rack without double clicking? That’s very different from C2… I could see all plugs inside a rack at all times. Not a big deal though.

So in terms of cpu load, you recommend it’s better to jsut put all efx in the vst’s rack? Several folks have said it’s better to have a separate EFX rack, lower on cpu. Although I agree with you on all in one rack… it’s a little easier and clearer, and i can’t see how it would make much difference on cpu load.
Thanks again!


Hey twaw,

I’d use linked racks for your EFX. So an example at song level using a VB3 II rack and a Reverb rack it would look like this. The Main Keyboard MIDI input route goes to the MIDI In of the VSTi organ rack and it’s stereo rack output is routed to the stereo input of the reverb rack and it’s stereo output is sent to the Main Speakers out.

Inside of the VB3 II Vsti rack routing

and inside the reverb rack

this is how I would route. Also if you haven’t already done so you can switch the environment ports on in the racks so you can route direct to the Main Speakers from inside the racks if you prefer that way

If you still need help sorting this show us some screen shots that help show your routings …




I don’t know that it makes any difference as far as processing. Mainly, Racks are part of the mechanism that ensures that preloaded objects get loaded only once and then reused. I think whether you have the effects in the rack or in a separate rack is just a matter of personal choice.


That’s really helpful Dave, thanks! Have to run now but I’ll try it later. Yeah, I decided a few minutes ago to use a separate efx rack for my guitar/S-Gear, but for Sax/Kontakt I rarely use a lot of efx, just an occasional delay, so I’ll just use one main rack for jsut Sax, and when I need delay I’ll just create another rack, embedded, for that song. Once I realized I can’t use “Add object” under a rack (like on C2) and need to double click the rack title, it all started working fine. I think I’m finally grasping this, albeit slowly!

On bindings, I was able to get my FCB 1010 pedalboard to work by routing it at the song level. I really just want to send all those commands, which are separated by channel, just as they are, to my S Gear or Kontakt, and that works fine. I played with background rack but couldn’t get it to work. But from the guides I see that Songs take precedence anyway… so I think I’ll just create a couple of song templates with the routing all set, and build each new song from that. Is that a good approach, rather than Background Rack Bindings? I also want to control States and other Cantabile functions from the FCB (using a 3rd channel)… not sure if I can also do that in Song level or need to do background… but I see on Background Rack view that States are a target option, so I think that will work. I’ll work on that next. Again, many thanks!


Yeah, I’m starting to see that too. Thanks!


If I were you, I would make a Rack that encapsulates everything you want to do with the FCB1010 rather that replicating it at the song level.

Pro tip: Use a rack to encapsulate each hardware item or class of hardware item. For example, I have a Keyboard Rack where I can use Rack States to set one, two, or split keyboard. I have a Mixer rack where all of my volume controls come together using Rack States to abstract out Novation, Behringer, or BlueCat. Lastly, I have a Master Output where everything gets routed to either Babyface, PreSonus, or Behringer. You’ll find most people have some sort of abstraction of their hardware so when you change hardware, yu don’t have to change every song.



Excellent idea, thanks Richard! But I’m having trouble with routing that. Before i had my EWI (electronic wind instrument) in the input ports go directly to the Sax Main Rack and it worked. The EWI input port is set to ch 1, and the EWI is midi merged in the FCB, so it plugs into FCB. So I tried disabling the EWI input since it’s coming thru the FCB (omni) anyway, but no sound. Then I tried routing the EWI port to the FCB Rack in port, still no sound. Same thing happens with FCB commands to S gear, I get midi input at the FCB rack but no midi output. This shows all that routing, and the FCB sending to FCB Main Rack, but the problem is there’s no output at that FCB main rack. It’s as if there’s a Midi Thru command that’s not enabled, or something like that.

Also, what about the actual input ports up top, which I believe are saved at the song level? How do I save those so that they’re not saved at the song level, but as a linked rack across all songs?
Sorry for all the questions, just trying to get gig-ready on C3 as soon as possible. Thanks!


Another thought on the whole discussion is the use of an parallel FX Bus instead of serial FX hook up. This allows you to blend dry and FX (that is usually set to 100% wet) right from the output route gain sliders of the VST instrument racks.

Here is the In line way I already showed but with both the table and the cool visual routing pics …

Here is the parallel buss routing for the same effect but with 2 VST instruments sharing it as if on a console

might give you a few more ideas on what to do …



Thanks Dave! Yeah, I did that for a while on C2 but I was comfortable adjusting that in the plug or in the Wet/dry of the rack. However seeing as C3 doesn’t have wet dry in the rack I can see the benefit of that. Also the lack of rack sends in C3 is throwing me off… still wrapping my head around the routing… I’ve been doing production professionally for years but what makes sense to me doesn’t seem to work. So thanks!

Right now I’m still trying to get midi routing through the FCB Rack, as Richard suggested, to work… I jsut replied above a little while ago. I guess the main issue is, how do I create a “template” of inputs that are saved independently of songs, so as I change hardware later I jsut change it once in the template? And how do I get Midi out from a rack… it seems to stop at the rack, as shown in my reply above… even though I’ve routed it in the rack to output to the appropriate next rack? Also, Brad’s Guide says there should be a small note indicator on the left of the rack indicating a midi route (pg 18) but i don’t see that anywhere. And there’s no reference in the guide to midi loopback either. How the heck to get Midi to pass thru a rack to my next destination? Many thanks!


OK I feel dumb. I forgot to open the FCB rack and route it inside the rack. Duh. But Id’ still like to know if there’s a way to save my inputs as a linked rack/whatever, so for later hardware changes i can modify it globally. Or maybe that’s automatic when changing the input ports in Options? I seem to remember seeing something about aliases helping in that regard? Thanks!


This is done here in the Tools>Options>MIDI Ports

Each entry in the MIDI Ports list has a checkbox list when you open it that does the hardware to virtual port assignments so you can have the virtual Port (e.g. Main Keyboard) be any hardware device you have checked in that list either separate or more than one at the same time.


Ahhhh. OK that’s good. Thanks! And Im guessing you created a loopMidi port manually? (unlike C2 where they were embedded in the software?) Last question (for the moment!)… what is the purpose of the “main” routing shown in the rack when it’s not opened (the 2 midi outs up top), vs. the actual routing that you add when the rack is open (down below where I have FCB to rack midi out)? That’s what was throwing me before… i routed the “main” FCB Main Rack properly up top but it did nothing. When I opened the rack and added routing inside the rack, it worked, so that seems to be the active routing. So it seems the routing in the rack before it’s opened does nothing? Maybe it’s jsut to quickly disable certain routes?

OK, I think i’m starting to see it…it seems that those upper “main” routes are sort of like the “Mains” out for the rack itself, audio and midi. The ones inside are for each plug, like a submix/aux buss. You need both routed properly. It was more intuitive, at least for me, in C2 cuz I could see everything. I wish there was a way to have several racks open and viewable like C2… so I can see at a glance what plugs are in there…? Or a quick way to view a rack’s plugins rather than opening the rack and scrolling down? Maybe that’s Live mode, haven’t gotten to that yet. Many thanks Dave, you have no idea how helpful you’ve been!


Yes, I use loopMIDI for experimentation but you have built in Loopback ports for each output port routes available in C3. They are labeled Loopback - ‘portname’. They can turned on and off in the options area

My use of it is so if I have multiple output routes from the rack they can be adjusted as a group. There are state switching reasons as well but it is a longer discussion.



Got it, makes sense. Thanks!