I'm beginning to experiment (from my heavy VIP background)

I hope I’m doing it right here. I first wanted to continue my initial thread: So I have reached a tipping point with my Advance/VIP/laptop setup"… but then I realized that my first impressions with the Performer trial version would be quite long… so please bear with me here.

0.very first, probably biased and definitely incomplete, initial impressions to begin with:

  • Object design and concepts are super clear - I love the vocabulary - Abstractions make sense to me and I definitely feel that a lot of things just “click together”
  • Onscreen keyboard is best in class
  • Graphical routing is good, but I quickly switched to plain old tabular version
  • MediaPlayers… how could I live without this? I asked for a very basic version of this in VIP since day 1. I have to resort to create a patch in Omnisphere with a custom wave file and assign a routing to a pad on my keyboard for each sample I need to trigger. I don’t know how it could be more cumbersome.
  • Touch mode and big enough buttons… not impressed at first, but of course, need to experiment a lot more, especially with the live mode.
  • Community is awesome: thank you all for your insight
  • I love the transparency on the product (trello!!) and you seem to even permit voting on features
  • Licensing seems really sensible
  • Initial impression on the Control Bar is somewhat disappointing - but again I need to explore more and formalize what I mean.

1. VST Scan

Initial VST scan did not complete (I stopped it after one 1 hour). It turned out to be stuck while scanning… VIP!
VIP was running in the background (in non exclusive windows audio mode), as I was reviewing set lists. So probably not an issue with Cantabile here if the two were not playing nicely. While stopping the scan, this completely stopped Cantabile which continue scanning VSTs upon restart, skipping VIP. Fair enough.

I was planning to rescan later and was eager to make a test Song with a simple Blue3 insert.
After toying a little bit with Blue3, I decided to rescan (quick) the VSTs and Cantabile crashed, reporting an issue with Blue3.

After restarting again, and shuting down VIP in background, I did scan again the VSTs from the “Insert Plugin” window this time (was glad to find it here too). This time the VST scan completed but cpu was heavily hammered compared to the first time. And Cantabile was constantly taking focus from other Windows (flickering on the lower right scanning icon).

And then VIP was available in the plugins! And it seems to work as expected from here (not had a long time to experiment with it)

All of this is not crucial as I don’t plan to initial setup/scan very often. Just wanted to share my initial feedback. And above all, this is the first impression you get from the product.

2. Splits

I heavily rely on splits, sometimes with 6 or 7 splits on my keyboard. This is probably a behavior coming from mixed reasons: an historical behavior from previous hardware synth, the need to be very agile setup wise, the need to be very visbile with only one stage keyboard (yes, some keyboardists are showmen!), my minimalist vision… and maybe, just maybe, this was a way to be very fast in VIP… no need to wait for song switching when you all keep it into one song.

By the way, I can foresee I will use states a lot, which are not available in VIP (but I had a very quick, already wired for me, way to overcome this: one button press and the pads are giant mutes buttons for the different layers).

Anyway, back to splits: I see how to manage them in Cantabile at first glance, which is nice, but I believe they can be improved a lot:

  • While rehearsing/programming, I need to be VERY fast when creating/updating splits. For example assigning range should be as easy as holding a big “lower key” button on the GUI while pressing the corresponding key on the main or onscreen keyboard. Even better, a no brainer shortcut like holding F1 for lower key (F2 for higher key) while pressing a key on the synth keyboard (like C4) should assign this parameter without any fuss (maybe just a quick toast notification would be nice)

  • What I need ultimately, and so far, only Omnisphere has it, is a a way to control velocity ranges of the splits. They have screenshots here: https://support.spectrasonics.net/manual/Omnisphere/stack_mode/index.html
    VIP does not offer this neither. This would save me for some bloops in gigs. This would, above all, allow me to be quicker and more creative: for the moment, I can only do this in Omnisphere, but this means creating multis inside multi (so strange) and I would like to do it cross plugins of course.
    I’m probably a lone boy on this one, but that would be a killer feature for me.

3. Things I need to explore:

3.1. I would like to be able to press a dedicated button on my controller and enter “Mixing mode”. In this mode, main potentiometers (1-8) would control volumes and main pads would control mute on/off for plugins 1-8. And then pressing another dedicated button on my controller would go to the “Back to usual” mode, where all other buttons go to whatever is assigned
If I’m correct, I need to try programming this on the “Background rack” to have this as a global behavior. I have no clue for the moment if this is doable and would love some insight on this.

3.2. Tap tempo. I need to try tap tempo on my controller and do a midi clock synchronization. I have good hopes on this but lacked time to test.
A drummer I play with also has a connected metronome watch on a master midi clock, if I recall correctly. I would definitely have a new best friend if we could synchronize click together this way.

3.3. VIP does not have the “Note” feature. I resort to… brace yourself… use Powerpoint here. Powerpoint is super fast, super stable, low footprint (you read that right) and of course super customizable. So alt tab and powerpoint in full screen is the only thing I have to do (remember that in VIP with the Advance, I don’t need to ever look at VIP itself while playing as I have all the information I need on the Advance’s screen itself). I was even ready to quickly hack a trigger a powerpoint in
=> So… here is probably the stupidiest request for @brad ever: do you believe I could embed powerpoint slides in the Note section? like old fashion OLE binding? please feel free to freak out.

3.4. I really need to explore states. It seems to be what I really missed.

4. Conclusion (for now)

Well done @brad and community, I’m hooked. I still need to prove some key points in my setup and play style. The same way I did with VIP a few years back. Without going too much deeper into details, you can imagine I resorted to a lot of customization in my current worfklow (did I mention I use Midi-OX for my routing to bypass VIP’s limitations?)

I definitely need more than a month to port my workflow and I will have to keep an open mind and do things differently sometimes. Biggest challenge is I have to convince myself about the hard work to come and find the time for that.

For the fast browsing/layering of plugins with simple drag and drops, well, that will probably not happen in Cantabile anytime soon but I cannot go back from that. The feel of a “few” thousands sounds at my fingertip is incomparable. Let’s still have it by embedding VIP for now.

I hope, in the future, I can make suggestions to have “quick wins” on this aspect… like a faster GUI for cataloguing and inserting Plugins/Favorite presets (yes, I see where Cantabile is at the moment with the Insert Object > Insert Plugin > Presets user flow, but I strongly believe it can offer a lot more in terms of UX here)… I still keep the dream that if Cantabile offers a preset browser one day, I will be able to write a setting migration program between both worlds.

Again thanks to all @here!
Seing people reading and reacting to my elucubrations… well, this is a feeling I did not have since a long time.

You could use the “velocity gate” filter on a route to create velocity ranges - you need to use the “suppress out of range notes” option, then it will only let the selected velocity range pass.


The only funkiness is that it will block the note-on events outside the range, but let the note-off events pass - @brad, is there something to avoid this? This behavior might mess up things somewhat - when you have events from two layers overlapping, you could have cut-off notes. Would be great if this filter could track the suppressed note-on-events and also suppress the corresponding note-offs…



Hi @Torsten

I’m not sure I understand your suggestion here - but your certainly just showed me something new!

Maybe I should explain what I have in mind with an example: imagine a split with a piano from C1 to C5 and an organ from C4 to C7. Both are overlapping from C4 to C5.
I would like to “cross fade” the overlapping… piano’s velocity fading out from C4 to C5 and organ’s velocity fading in from C4 to C5.

In your screenshot, I don’t see the key range associated to the velocity “curve”… but maybe it’s because it’s somewhere else.


OK, I thought you wanted to create a velocity layer (e.g. piano for all notes up to velocity 100, and brass for all notes above 100).

For a velocity fade, there is the “pitched velocity ramp” filter:

This should do what you want.

Cantabile’s filters are super-powerful; there’s a ton of funky stuff you can do with them - definitely worth learning all about.




Not as easy and discoverable as graphically creating a curve but this should make it!
You made my day @Torsten :slight_smile:

Happy to help!

Just one caveat (sure you’re aware, but just wanted to make sure): a velocity crossfade will not work so well between e.g. a piano and an organ, since the organ (normally) doesn’t recognize velocity. Other instruments also react to velocity in ways beyond volume (e.g. brilliance / overtones), which will not provide a true crossfade.

The best way to create smooth crossfades is still within an instrument, since it has full control of the sound generation and can create such a crossfade without any artefacts or other nastiness. If these crossfades are very important to you and you want to get them absolutely right, it may make sense to create them inside the instruments (if they have that capability like Omnisphere).

Velocity crossfade from “outside” works nicely for some instruments, but will fail for others (like organs not reacting to velocity).



I’m not @brad, but I would never open the OLE can of worms in a live-oriented piece of software…

How about exporting your Powerpoint slides to individual JPEGs and then embedding them in the notes as pictures? Would achieve mostly the same result, with far less fuss and fumbling…



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I know it sounds crazy to use Powerpoint. I could not even believe myself to bring this on stage, a few years back. Using pictures is the the sensible answer, of course…
But yet… the problem with pictures is that they are, well… static. I constantly tweak things and make tons of annotations on the slides. And having to take as snapshot with the snipping tool, saving a file, importing a file, tweaking the size again, etc. It is painful.

I’ve just toyed a little with “Notes” in Cantabile and maybe I could suggest a few improvements here. The ultimate feature would be to have a WYSIWYG editor… but then again, embedding an external viewer would be probably quicker than reinventing the wheel. Maybe a simple web view with markdown and the ability to paste pictures from the clipboard?

I really like that notes are linked to States… some issues about this however:

  • Imagine you have two steps (step1 and step2) and have created note1 in step1 and note2 in step2. If you go back to step1 and create a new note3, it will be indeed linked to step1 but will appear after note2, which is confusing. Right-clicking and moving up solves the issue so no big deal, but I was expecting to insert it after note1 in this scenario.

  • There is a “Show hidden notes” which is the default mode for editing. It is great as it allows us to anticipate what happens in the next step (subtly greyed out, which is nice). In Live mode, by default, “Show hidden Note” is disabled and when I switch step, it refreshes the display to show only the notes for this step. Great again… but I cannot see what happens next anymore. So I activated “Show hidden notes” in live mode and now… when I switch steps, the corresponding notes are highlighted but the display does not scroll to the active notes! So it’s gone a little bit useless.

  • Cantabile perfectly fit notes horizontally, which is important when importing pictures. But I would love an option to fit all notes vertically for the current step as well. Otherwise, I have even more work to resize pictures, save them again, reimport them… only to redo all of this if I add a line of text below during a quick annotation.

Oh yes, my example using piano and organ for cross fade was downright stupid, regarding velocity :man_facepalming:

Ah OLE! Let me just grab this book off my bookshelf…

In a former life, I knew this stuff inside out, gave in-house training courses on COM and OLE and have even developed OLE Control containers and form designers.

However… (rant incoming)


Sorry, was I yelling? Not sure where that came from. Wait, yes I do… OLE is an obsolete tech nightmare from the 90s that I’ve fairly successfully erased from my memory. I refuse to go back. Please don’t re-open those wounds, the scars have nearly healed.

(end rant)

That said… I’m keen to implement WYSIWIG editor and it’s near the top of the priority list. Other comments noted. :slight_smile:



Oh my, I did not want to say OLE per se but I was pretty sure you would get what I mean…
Was not disappointed by your reaction :laughing:
I’m sorry for reviving those painful memories but I must admit I laughed out loud on this one.

In all seriousness, thank you for reading all of this and noting my comments!

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3.1 above:
I achieve this by routing my keyboard controller into a background rack specifically to control midi routing and function to Keyboard racks in songs. You can set up bindings in this rack to load rack states (of your own design and for example called “Mixing Mode” and “Standard Mode” ) Within each rack state you can control midi routing and behaviour. Just about anything you can do with a midi route (enabling/disabling midi filtering etc) can be controlled by rack state.

You will have to set up a midi route from the background rack to your keyboard racks in Songs. You can doi this in Tools->Options-> Midi Ports. Add a midi input and output port with the same name (for example “Keyboard Midi” but do not assign anything midi device to it. You will then be able to route midi output from your background control rack using this new port and route from this same port into any vst in a song rack.
Happy New Year all



Takes me back as well. :slight_smile:

Thank you so much @AlanMHughes!
Rack states FTW!