Ideas for a built-in tuner

Continuing the discussion from Primary View Rack:

I’ve been thinking about a built in tuner since the discussion happened on Trello and I’ve also looked into what’s involved in implementing one. While the concepts of implementing one are not too complicated, in practice providing good feedback and stable tuning indicators I don’t think is trivial.

In other words, I think a dedicated tuner plugin will do a better job at what I might code myself. I think too there are probably personal preferences on tuners.

So what I’ve been thinking is just providing some special hosting for tuner plugins. It’d go something like this:

  1. You choose which plugin you want to use for tuning (probably in Options)
  2. In the View menu, you’d choose “Tuner”
  3. Cantabile would soft mute all existing audio input routes and re-route all input audio to the tuner, and then show the plugin in a dedicated popup window.
  4. When you close the tuner window, audio routing returns to normal.
  5. The state of the tuner plugin would be saved off in options somewhere so each time you use it any settings you change would stick.
  6. Provide MIDI assignments to enter/leave tuning mode.


Question: which tuner plugins do you use and recommend?

Great idea!
As I said earlier I like the built in tuner in S-gear. As far as standalones I use the MTuner from Melda and another one I’ve been using is Gtune from GVST. I also might ask if the auto soft mute could be turned on or off on the output side of the vst? (like an audio passthrough)

Hi Dave,

The problem with pass-through from for the tuner plugin is: where does it pass it to? This would be running separately from any songs/racks and if you have multiple inputs being mixed together before the tuner plugin the pass-through of the plugin probably isn’t very useful.

It could optionally suppress the audio to any running songs/racks. Not a passthrough but similar result.

Also wondering, does it make sense to mix all audio inputs and feed them to the tuner, or would it be better to allow selection of which which inputs you want to tune?

I’d find it useful to allow selection of inputs. Only one of my four stereo input pairs ever needs tuning. Also I can imagine situations where it would be good to be able to tune (or check tuning at least) mid-song while using other input channels. One of my plans is to route audio from electronic drums from our drummer into Cantabile, and it would be great not to interrupt that input when tuning. My preference would be to have a bunch of check boxes and for the checked channels are merged into the tuner.

Actually,I don’t see the need for special tuner mode - easy enough to build a “Tuner” song with any specialized tuner plugin or the tuner mode of the various amp plugins. The advantage of this is that all the input routing, decisions on if or not to mute the output can be easily implemented within the normal song/rack scenario without the need for any new implementation.

The only thing we DO need for this is a way to automatically display a plugin’s GUI (even if the plugin is located within a rack or embedded rack!) on entering the “tuner” song (or state within a song) and to close it again after leaving the song/state (see related post “Primary View Rack”). Then everything could be simple without the need for a specific “tuner” mode.

Just my 0.02 EUR…



Quick addendum re @brad’s question:

I mainly use S-Gear’s built-in tuner - one of the best software tuners, very smooth and precise.

Beyond that, I’ve experimented with various VST plugins - a pretty good one is TC Electronics’ Polytune plugin, which you get for free when buying the Polytune clip-on tuner. Only nuisance: it allows only one concurrent instance, so a bit finicky with pre-loading (can’t insert it in multiple racks).



I think Torsten has a good point - although an integrated tuner mode for Tuner plugins could be useful, most functionality is already there by using a tuner song. Sometimes I’d find it useful to do a quick tune-up mid song (we play long songs…), but I’m sure I’m the exception in that case. Furthermore, the feature of opening/closing plugin GUIs would be useful for other things too, so doing that would make a lot of sense.

Regarding tuner plugins, I use GTune with my live Cantabile 2 setup, which provides a nice little GUI I can have in the corner of my display, and it seems quite smooth, stable and precise.

I run it as a standalone plugin, using Savihost, so I can run it externally to Cantabile and do tuning whenever I like (regardless of song/routing). I wrote a little AutoHotkey script to bring it to the foreground (or launch it if it’s not already running). I can then trigger this script either from a special tuner sub-session, or from any song using a MIDI controller. It works, but it’s quite a lot clunky steps to get it to work.

I agree that session state or assignment control of plugin GUI visibility is more useful and will cover most use cases and I’ll almost certainly implement that first.

I still think some dedicated support for tuner plugins would be a handy feature though.

I agree. I can understand that there are already some methods that have been employed and just ask 4 questions:

  • Does the introduction of the tuner “rack” accomplish the same ability as other described current setups without messing up these setups or bloating or introducing potential problems to overall scheme?

  • If I understand the description, the tuner could be called by any song (rack ?) (automatic) or at any time (manual from dedicated switch) and have auto load and shutdown for tuner window. Is this correct?

  • would new or future users benefit from it that don’t already have a strategy for this?

  • Is this tuner rack(slot?) kinda like the global rack?

I think that properly implemented this feature could be very handy, I have been using the tuning song idea for a while but always wished that instead of calling that song to tune I could just bring up the tuner while still pointed at the current / next song. Very handy…as it is described, yes, I think so.

PS … I would prefer to be able to choose the input for the tuner.

It wouldn’t affect anything in existing songs or racks. It wouldn’t even be a “rack”, just a special window to show the tuner (and probably a selector for which inputs to send to it)

Not sure what you mean by “called by any song”. There would certainly be a MIDI assignment for it so you could have a button on your control surface to show it. Is there a use case for always showing/hiding it with a song?

I think so. They could just hit View->Tuner, choose there tuner plugin, select their inputs and away they go. It’s basically setup ready for use anytime.

Not really - a bit more specialized than that.

For me, I could do fine with just a manual button on my controller and I like the ease of setup but I thought that this feature would allow Torsten to use it too to automatically open and close the same tuner window on song state changes.

I agree with the posters who have suggested a ‘tuner song’.
This concept worked just fine for me in C2 and continues to be effective in C3. C3’s window handling is more practical than was available in C2.

I replied to this thread a year or so ago describing how I use a tuner with Cantabile, to tune my Moog Voyager, so I thought I’d post again to describe how I do it now, completely differently.

Before, I had a “tuner song”, and when I switched to it, a tuner plugin would pop up, and the tuner song would ensure that the Moog wasn’t routed to any of my audio outputs, allowing me to tune in silence. Now I have a better way, that allows me to tune in silence at any time, including in the middle of other songs. The way I do it is to have my tuner plugin in the background rack, with bindings to show/hide the tuner’s GUI, driven from MIDI controller buttons. In my songs I always use a Moog rack, which receives the audio output from my Moog, and allows me to pass it through any audio effects if necessary, control its levels via song states etc, and then finally route it to the audio output. So my tuner bindings also mute the Moog rack in the current song when showing the GUI, then unmute it when the GUI is hidden.

This means between songs I can select the next song to get ready, and then with a single button press I can tune my Moog in silence. There are also times in some songs, leading up to a Moog solo, where I have a spare hand and sometimes check the tuning, and it works great! None of this would be possible without Cantabile’s racks and cool bindings system.



I’m using GTune, and I’ve bound one footswitch on my pedalboard to mute everything and toggle display of the tuner’s interface, works great :slight_smile:

Just pitching in to keep the thread alive :wink:

My use case is simple: I have a specific “Tuner” song that simply displays S-Gear in tuning mode, mutes output and displays the plugin GUI. I insert this song in my set list ahead of my guitar-playing tunes, where it serves two purposes: (1) it mutes guitar output, so I can plug in my guitar without any noises, and (2) it allows me to quickly check tuning. Then I simply step forward to my next song. Simple, no fuss, no muss, no need to press a specific “tuner” button, just my universal “advance to next song”-pedal.

I’m not as sophisticated as @Neil_Durant, tuning in mid-song - I’m also mostly too busy playing and singing to be able to tune during songs (plus, our songs aren’t 20-minute anthems…). Neil, you never cease to amaze me - sounds like a fascinating hybrid setup you have there!

Cantabile’s current feature set allows me to do exactly what I need to do - with the programmable GUI visibility, I’m a happy camper. But if Cantabile should ever have a built-in tuner, I’d want its visibility controllable by song states!




The best thing I ever saw was a hotkey in Reason which would popup a tuner for your current input. I really do think an omnipresent tuner is a valuable feature.

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