I'm excited to have found Cantabile

Hi, I’m Alex.

I play 60 or 70 gigs a year - ska & reggae most weekends, functions most months but I’m now picking up a few deps for my mate’s 80s band - the need for gorgeous synths has finally persuaded me to join the new millennium and play VSTs live.

I use a Nord Stage 2 alone for the ska, stick an old Korg X5D on top (MIDI’d into the NS2,) for the reggae and the functions, and replace the Nord with a Fantom G6 for the synthtastic 80s.

But I was getting fed up with the “meh” pianos on the Nord, and the synths on the Fantom G aren’t that great. I hate editing through a letterbox, so the truth is I hardly ever bother.

I very nearly went out and just bought a Kronos, but I resent spending all that cash, so instead yesterday I found one of these babies refurbed:

A decent quad i7, maxed out with 32Gb of DDR4 for just over UK£800 all in, with the footprint of a paperback book.

Along with one of those 10" Lilliput USB touchscreens, Komplete 11 and a copy of Cantabile the whole rig will cost me roughly half of what I would have dropped on a Kronos.

I’ll use the NS2 to run it, and keep it patched in for emergency backup sounds.

I’m particularly excited cos I’m not a studio guy - I only play live, so I’ve never really used VSTs before, but I think taking this route gets me a range and quality of sounds that I’d never get anywhere near on any hardware synth.

Looking forward to putting the time in to learning all the software. Not sure my girlfriend feels the same way…

I’ll show you some progress when I have some.

Have I missed anything please? I’d really value input & ideas from anyone who’s been doing this longer than me (which is everyone likely to read this!)



PS What is it with keyboard players being coders? Half the regulars here seem to be. I’m a dev manager at a dot.com lol


You’re gonna love it.
So will your back. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Hi Alex,

Welcome aboard! That machine looks very cool.

If you’ve got any questions while getting setup this forum really is the best place for them - lots of super friendly and super helpful people here. But of course you can email me directly too if you like.


1 Like

Hi folks

First Cantabile gig tonight. Just the free one with a copy of Alicia’s Keys and VB3. Baby steps :slight_smile:

If I panic I’ll just turn the interface down and the Stage 2 up

That VB3 is so much more gorgeous than the Nord Hammond though, God!



I’ve been using the VB3 for a few years now and considered it my secret weapon- no one I talked to seemed to know about it! But I’ve seen a lot of references to it here in the Cantabile forums, which just must prove that Cantabile users are smarter than the average bear, and I’m in the right place :smiley:

How did the gig go?


First gig was great!

Few quick patch changes but I’d scrolled the right things into view in advance so it was mute/unmute-done. When I get into the more patch-heavy sets I’ll upgrade :slight_smile:

Big compliments from the sound guy & drummer (both v uncharacteristic!) about the prescence and “sonic fit” of the VB3 over the usual Nord Stage 2 Hammond. Ska band: Specials, Bad Manners covers: v percussive feel.

The second gig, must’ve been early December, was hilarious… Soundcheck cool, still loving the new sounds. Hour or two’s lull before the gig, with the stage untouched. 9pm sharp; Literally 1 second before I played the first note it was “restarting…”

No worries, Nord master up, Alesis IO down. Not a note missed. Very grateful my rule was “set the old rig up first, then bolt the PC setup on top”

Turned out to be a W10 mega update (how? It hadn’t been online for weeks!..) and it bricked the USB monitor by forcibly removing the drivers. Seriously: “Windows has removed…”

Of course I didn’t know this til I got home. I just looked hopefully at a dead screen for the first set, poked the power button occasionally, packed the PC rig up into its cute little aluminium briefcase in the break, put it back in the car and finished the gig with the NS2.

You couldn’t make that up

I’ve been lazy for a few gigs since but I’ll roll it out again next week with refined config (I’ve disabled a pile of services basically)

Nothing to piddle on your campfire like a forced Windows update…

One of my regular bands is talking about “less organ and piano, more synth sounds,” so I really need to do this with just the most basic hardware fallback soon, gulp

Happy 2017! Things are looking up :smiley:

Oh carp! My laptop did that last week- at home luckily. Apparently on Win10 Home you can’t turn that mess off. But I think you can set the scheduler to do it at a time when you DON"T have a gig lol I’m wondering if an upgrade to Win10 Pro would be worth it if it can turn off updates. Of course, now that I have a full license for C3 I don’t have to turn my wifi on to enable it, which helps.

I’d love to play in a ska type band! The VB3 would be cool for that because you can do pretty sweet Vox/Farfisa sounds as well…

Ouch. I should include something about this for the next revision of Glitch Free.


you can’t officially turn it off in W10 Pro either. You can disable the service though

Amusingly, the lull before a gig is the perfect time for Windows to go “oh look, the machine’s not being used, I’ll restart now”:confused:


D’you know what, I don’t touch the Vox & Farf sounds any more (NS2 has them too)

Years ago I tried to sound authentic on the Madness & Specials stuff, now I just play Hammond (occasionally piano,) cos that’s what I enjoy most and it sounds great live. Toasters use a Hammond to great effect, and Bad Manners used to have a real one on stage too.

Hi @alexp - thanks for that link, very useful.

1 Like

Well for me, it was because I was into electronics as a teenager, and one day, instead of the usual “Everyday Electronics” my father purchased “Electronics and Music Maker”, which featured the Maplin 5600 synth and a host of electronic music bands. That hooked me on synths. From hardware I got into software…


A bit late to the discussion, but you can turn windows updates and defender off. Use uwt4.


A little late, yeah lol It’s a moot point now but I may still install that just in case.

1 Like

Yes I use it even on all my computers :wink:

1 Like