Ideas and minor issues (Automap and linked Racks)

Hey Guys,
I’m a proud owner of Cantabile Performer and after working through the Program i can say it surely ist he best vst live host app out there (and i have used all possible Progs avaible the last 13 years)!
I use cantabile swiching through different songs in live situations but also as a plugin host for jam-sessions without any prefabricated songlists.
Althoug a lot of features i couldn’t have thought of before using cantabile every now and then i run in minor limitations/curiositys.
Here is a list of aspects and – when possible – ideas:

  • Basically i only use embedded Racks in cantabily. I do have enough RAM to load all necessary plugins right from the start and don’t want to wait for loading plugins. When using ebedded Racks i think of the following (minor) limitations:
  1. When suspending the entire rack, i can’t flush the contained plugins. -> to flush the plugin (no hang notes) i have to access the the rack, select and suspend the plugin individually. Is it possible to add an Option to flush all plugins embedded in a Rack.
  2. Access oft the embedded Racks is (a little) cumbersome especially when using touch on a surface pro without a keyboard/mouse. Most oft he time my embedded Racks contain only one plugin anyway -> maybe a option for „Embedded Rack (single plugin)“ could be an idea with direct access oft he plugin but in an embedded Rack manner ;-).

I use Novation Automap (61 Sl Mk II) to control a lot of variables in Cantabile. Also Cantabile is fully „rewired“ to the controller (Volume/Rack-states/Plugin-suspend/Show Gui). So far so good, but some oddities occur:

  • Using automap to show the plugin GUI lets cantabile open the GUI every time, when reenabling the Plugin.
    Open plugin gui (by mouse), closing Gui (by mouse) -> GUI state saved correctly and the next time i open the
    plugin it remembers the last state.
    Open plugin gui (by automap cc toggle), closing Gui (by automap cc toggle) -> Guy opens up no matter what,
    when i reenable the plugin next time.
  • Suspending the Plugins is working fine, but right at the start of cantabile i have to manually go throug all buttons
    and send cc parameters to suspend/activate plugins. Only after that cantabile and Automap is synced fine. In
    fact, the first midi send by automap is not received by Cantabile at all… (no green lights on midi monitor). This
    setup hast worked for me on Brainspawn Forte just fine and also on other DAWs without issues. It reoccurs after
    going in and out „options menu“ and Midi is reset.
  • Would it be possible for cantabile to send a cc message back to Midi-out ich the GUI of a plugin is closed?

Every now and then cantabile crashes when using arturia plugins. It not crashes completely, but the GUI (of Arturia Plugins and Cantabile) freezes. Soundengine is still running, but no more cc commands or GUI response. This also happens in other DAWs, so seems tob e Arturia related.

Well, so far, it’s quite an effort to write down these specific issues, so maybe i’m gonne make a video of my while using my setup.

All the best from Berlin,


Just out of interest, you seem to be suspending racks/plugins a lot in your workflow. What are you doing that for?

Well my setup contains more than 11 running plugins (e.g. Kontakt for piano/Strings/clavinet;, Neo Soul Keys Studio;VB3, u-he Diva [beloved but heavy], Arturia stuff, NI Maschine, ez drummer…). Running these plugins all together (without suspending) uses quite a bit cpu processing power, even if they are just idling in background. I’m running a core 7y30 (2,4Ghz- 2,6Ghz) tablet which has enough performance juice for running the active plugins, buti don’t want to waste any power on inactive plugins (every active plugin seems to add at least 2-3% cpu consumtion).

Opening up a little more the scope of my answer, i want cantabile to have all the plugins ready to use/activate without loading a specific song. This is more important to me in Jam/rehersal Situations, when i want to have instant access to different plugins und rack-states. Using my tablet as a ready to go keyboard rig with “studiolike” sounds has always been a promising approach to me. And compared to keyboard workstations the aspect of easy accesability is still a shortcoming of Computerbased Vst hosts…

Just a suggestion: if you want instant loading of songs, you shouldn’t go for embedded racks but for linked racks and pre-loaded setlists. If you use embedded racks in your songs, then for any setlist Cantabile will load all plugins found (also in embedded racks) in parallel - depending on the size of your setlist, this will potentially be too much for your RAM.

If you use linked racks, however, Cantabile will only load ONE instance of this rack and keep it in memory throughout your setlist. The only thing you need to do is create appropriate rack states for your songs and select them within the songs so that every song has the appropriate configuration loaded at the beginning.

The only exception to this rule are sample-based instruments - and only if every song has a different sample set loaded. Then - provided you have enough RAM - it could be useful to keep these instruments in the song files, so that pre-loading the set list loads all of them into RAM. But there is also an alternative: create a linked rack with sufficient instances of your favorite sampler, with each of the instances loading a different sample set. Rack states now only change the routing so that state “piano” routes notes to sampler 1, state “sax” routes to sampler 2, etc.

Not sure why you use embedded racks with only one plugin - can’t see the benefit of that. Essentially, embedded racks are mainly used to encapsulate some complexity within a rack to simplify a song. Plus, some wizards like @Neil_Durant use some sophisticated state wizardry in embedded racks for some clever routing magic on state changes. But putting just one plugin into an embedded rack doesn’t really seem to add any benefit.

Instead of putting all your plugins into one song file, I’d suggest encapsulating meaningful combinations (e.g. Instrument plus effects to process it) into linked racks and then combine only the ones you need into your song files. Preloading a setlist with these songs will automatically load all linked racks into memory, but on changing songs automatically disable the ones you are not using. Makes your songs a lot more manageable.

Believe me: before there were linked racks, I started out with “monster songs” containing all my instruments, with tons of states that deactivated the ones I wasn’t using in a specific song. A nightmare to debug! Nowadays, my songs usually contain 3-7 racks (including my master FX and master output rack), and switching songs is still practically instant.

Hope this helps!




The Wizard of State, formally known as Neil Durant, lol,


Thanks Torsten for your Ideas and suggestions. I have to correct myself: I am using linked and not embedded Racks. Sorry for that, the cantabile vocabulary is obviously still new tome ;-). Using embedded Racks with just one Plugin loaded surely doesn’t make sense.

I do have a lot of Rack states prepared and switching between states is working fine. I haven’t checked the pre-load option, but will definitely try this concept an reduce my setup to get rid of my plugin overload ;-). I think 8Gb of RAM are sufficient for my neads, since i don’t use too many/heavy instances of samplebased plugins.

Anyways, i think the access to the plugins of linked Racks could be little bit easier. Again, most of the time i only use one instance of a plugin. To open the GUI i have to access the Rack first. Also, i can only flush tail sounds when i manually suspend the Plugin inside the Rack…

Maybe the main routing of cantabile could show the first plugin of a Rack with direct access… i have plenty of space left in my main window… Again this more important for me in a rehearsal situation, when i am not sure what sound is useful and i want my sounds accessible as quickly as possible