Linked Racks: Exported State & Gain Level - Control by Rack State or Song state?

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Hey folks! I’ve been using Cantabile Performer for a few months now, but I’m really having trouble wrapping my head around controls in linked racks. Perhaps I could explain how I’m currently set up and what issues I’m experiencing, and someone could suggest a better setup.

I mostly use Arturia V Collection for my plugins. I’ve created a linked rack for each type of keyboard/synth: one for rhodes, one for Wurli, one for the Jupiter, etc. Each rack is essentially just MIDI In -> Plugin -> Audio out, which gets routed at the song level from the appropriate keyboard to the appropriate audio out. Each rack has a few states, each representing either a specific preset for a specific song, or a general preset that gets used across a few different songs (eg: dark rhodes, bright rhodes, etc). The rack state should be constant for a given song, regardless of song state, though I do occasionally have bindings within the rack to change a few parameters for different song states (such as bypassing a built-in effect).

The main problem I’ve been having is with wildly inconsistent gain levels. I’ve gone through with a VU/LUFS meter at each preset at the rack level AND every state at the song level and tweak the gain, but when I come back to the first song, everything is out of whack again! It really sucks to be on the gig, about to take a solo, and then realize that I’m hardly giving any signal. I’m also finding that tweaks I make during rehearsal aren’t being saved as expected. I’m pretty sure it’s because I’ve got the wrong configurations for state behaviour at the rack level, but I’ve gone over the documentation again and again, and I just can’t figure out what the correct setup would be for my situation. There are so many places where the gain level can be changed or set to stay constant (the plugin, plugin’s audio routes, the rack, the rack’s audio routes, rack state, song state) that I’m feeling totally lost. I know that there are two columns of check boxes for state behaviour within a rack, but it’s not behaving as I expected. I’ve also made a linked rack with a few compression plugins to try to tame any potentially loud patches, but it just winds up squashing everything far too much, and makes troubleshooting levels on the fly next to impossible.

I’ve also noticed that for a few songs, the correct rack state isn’t always being loaded, or gets cleared when I change song states.

Here’s an example tune:


What I want:

  • The plugin gain to be different for each rack state, independent of changes made at the song level, so that the plugin is always peaking around -18dBVU by default; this is so that if I use a generic patch (like “dark rhodes”) in a future song, I can just pull up the rack preset and know that the level should be pretty close.
  • On load, each song should be able to pull up a different, predetermined rack state that likely won’t change from one song state to the next.
  • The gain of the linked rack should be different in each song, but remain consistent across song states by default, unless otherwise specified.

If someone could clear up which boxes should be ticked/unticked in state behaviours for my situation, I’d be extraordinarily greatful!

Hi Anatol,

From your pictures I see that you have chosen to have the plugin preset manager store the plugins’ settings and then you are using rack states to call up the preset from the plugin preset manager. It also shows that you are storing the plugin preset selection to the song file as well with the second checkbox on the Selected Preset behaviors. I am assuming the plugin is set to “Entire Plugin Snapshots”, if not it would a good idea to set it it that way. You can optionally lock the preset snapshots when you are happy with them.

image

As you stated you want to have the rack preset selections to be static for settings and gain so the first step would be to uncheck the exported behaviors check box for the “Selected Program” on the plugin inside the rack.

With this configuration you can set the presets and they will be constant if you remember to change the rack state each time you make a new preset snapshot with the same pg number.

The next thing to consider is the Rack itself at the song level. For it you should set it’s State Behaviors checkboxes like below

image

These setting allow the rack state & gain to be adjusted for each song state.

These settings should stabilize the situation but if not let me know and we’ll try to get it sorted out.

Cheers,

Dave

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Hey Anatol,

these are pretty reasonable asks :wink: - and Cantabile should be able to deal with all of them nicely.

One key recommendation I have: understand what “exporting state behavior” does and when to use it and when NOT to use it.

In a nutshell: exporting parameters from a rack makes it possible to have your song control these parameters, i.e. they are saved with the song - or even with the individual song states (if you enable “exported state” rack behavior).

You want to use this mostly with racks for which you make a lot of song-specific detailed settings. I use this feature for effect racks, e.g. a delay and reverb rack. I am not using rack states for this one, instead, I export the key parameters I need to set reverb and delay, and then save the exported parameters with the song (or song state, e.g. if I want to change delay repeats between song parts).

On the other hand, you use rack states - without exported parameters - if you want to use your rack as a “preset machine”. You then define a preset sound within the rack (selecting presets on your individual plugins, adjusting gain of the plugins and routes within the rack) and save everything in a rack state. Now you can call up the exact same rack state in any song or song state as a “preset”. This also means that any change you make to such a rack states applies to every song that uses this preset, so handle with care.

I tend to make clear decisions on either using rack states or exported parameters - to use both at the same time, you need to know very well what you are doing, and it has the potential to mess up and complicate things with all kinds of side effects, so unless you absolutely can’t get things done without it: try to do without combining using rack states and exported parameters on the same rack.

With that out of the way: now to your requirements:

That’s pretty standard: set the plugin level within the rack as plugin gain, tick the state behavior box for “gain” and create (update) your rack states with the correct gain level set. Make sure that plugin gain is NOT exported.

FYI: I always lock my rack states, so I need to manually update the rack state when I make changes. This avoids accidental changes.

Now, whenever you call up a rack state, the correct plugin gain should be set with that state.

If you make sure that the “Selected Rack State” state behavior box is unchecked, the selected rack state will be saved with the song and automatically recalled when the song is loaded.

If you want to have different rack states per song segment, you’ll have to activate the check box for “Selected Rack States” - now your selected rack state will be saved with the individual song states.

If you have ticked the box for rack states to be controlled by song state, you can still make sure all song states use the same rack state by right-clicking and selecting “Update All States”:
grafik

Makes it easier if you just want one single song state to be different.

Same thing applies as with rack states: make sure the “output gain” tick box is unchecked if you want the rack gain to be the same across the song; check the box if you want different gain level by song part:

Note: setting this affects the rack gain at “song level” - marked red in the screen shot. There is also an output gain setting inside the rack that is not controlled by the song. You can use this to set the final output level for every rack state (“preset volume”).

BTW: I use this “blue” gain level to control rack levels via bindings (controllers on my keyboard) and I reset it to 0 automatically via a “on song load” binding. Now I can set the “static mix” of my song with the “song level” (red) gain and adjust while I play using the “blue” gain.

Hope this helps!

Cheers,

Torsten

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Thank you Torsten!! I’ve been struggling with some of these concepts and your explanations have been wonderful at clarifying!!
Cheers!!

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