New User here--I can't get any sound to come out at all! Help me!


I’m formerly a Mainstage user. Yesterday, my MacBook died, so I decided it was time to go to PC. After some research, I came across Cantabile and it seems like the closest thing to MainStage.

I started by downloading the Piano One VST. I honestly don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but I can’t get a sound to come out of it. I see the green midi indicators lighting up, but no sound. I tried another Upright Piano VST and get the same results.

So, I’m not sure if I’m doing something wrong, or if I just downloaded VSTs that don’t work.

There is something missing from the guides…too much knowledge is assumed.

Thanks for your help!

Underneath the Piano One VST plugin, there is an item called “Add Route” where you direct the audio out to your output device. Select “Stereo Out” and then your output device (which I assume has been added to your Audio Ports in Tools/Options/Audio Ports).


Cantabile Output Ports

Thanks for your reply, Terry. Here is a screen shot of what I have going on. Since I’m a new user, I can only post one picture. I believe I have it set to what you recommend.

Sorry to be a pain with this…not sure if I’m being a bozo or if there’s something I’m not getting.

Here’s my second screen shot.

Do you get output meters showing on the plugin when you play a note?
If not, check that the VST is set to receive on that MIDI channel.


Everything in your screenshots look correct, btw, so I have to suspect the plugin’s settings as a possibility.

There is a MIDI Monitor in the View menu - select an item and then pull it up. You can monitor several items, but each in its own window.


I should have asked - are you set to the right audio engine in Tools/Options?


Terry–good idea. I checked the plugin and I needed to select the actual piano instrument. I finally have sound from Piano One.

Of all the VSTs I downloaded, Piano One is the only one that came with a “.ins” file. Are .ins files always required for VSTs to work?

If you can recommend any other educational resources, I’m all ears. Thank you.

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Did you happen to catch Brad’s videos? They were very helpful to me. (And so is everyone at this forum - a fantastic bunch, you will find!)

More videos are in the works, but these should keep you busy for a while! :slight_smile:


VSTs with ins files are nothing I’ve ever encountered before. I suppose this is like a sampling host for a series of instruments? (Similar to Kontakt or Independence?)

I have a feeling after a quick web-check that this is something unique to Piano One.


Thanks, Terry. I did give the “Getting Started” video a try, but it seemed to gloss over things, although its starting to seem like my issue was unique to that instrument.

I downloaded another free VST called City Piano that is Baldwin samples. I still get the same issue of “no instruments.”

I right click the instrument and click “Plugin editor…” and this is what comes up always (except for Piano One since I had the .ins file).

Really appreciate all of this help!!!

Most likely there was another folder that accompanied the VST that needs to be in a certain location for the plugin to find it. Of course, this has nothing to do with Cantabile or its guides or videos - both of these problems are unique to those plugins, just as needing to scan for your instruments in standalone mode in NI’s Kontakt or Komplete Kontrol is a best practice before ever loading those as a VST.

You’ll have to go to that site hosting this plugin to find out what’s up with that one. Likely just a folder that needs to be in the same VSTPlugins folder location or something like I say.


(These piano plugins appear to be sample players, so they are looking for the location where their samples are kept. In Piano One, that file containing the samples was the .ins file, according to what I’d found on the web.)

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I don’t know if this helps but I had the same problem at first with an Ivory Piano VST. The solution for me was to run Cantabile as administrator. Solved my problem. Hope it works for you.

Steve D

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Sorry, forgot to mention what the problem was. I was getting all of the appropriate monitor lights but Cantabile had no access to the presets.

Steve D

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Virgil…as a fairly new user myself, the best advice I can give is to hang in there and keep at it. Coming from Mainstage, the overall general concepts will be somewhat familiar, but with Cantabile, you have a great deal of capability to do so many things. There are some great folks here on the forum that are always happy to help. I would agree with Terry, to watch Brads videos. At first they seem to cover things in a general sense, however as you become more familiar with Cantabile, they take on new meaning. Brad emailed me this way back when I was starting out. It was very helpful and helped get things organized. Hope it helps

Ports and Routes

I think the most important thing for you to wrap your head around with Cantabile is the concepts of ports and routes - which this video covers

In short Cantabile’s audio and MIDI routing work like this:

  1. Environments ports - Cantabile specific names for your external hardware. eg: Main Keyboard might be mapped to your weighted keyboard, and you might create a second one called say “Synth Keyboard” and map to your other keyboard. The idea here is to insulate your physical hardware from your Cantabile songs so that you can replace the hardware, remap the port and your songs will continue to work. There are environments ports for audio and MIDI inputs and outpus.

  2. Plugin ports - basically the same as environment ports but these are ports on a plugin.

  3. Routes - the wires that connect ports together. There are audio and midi routes, with MIDI Routes having flexibility to manipulate MIDI as it passes through. Audio routes can adjust the gain level.

That’s the basics of audio and MIDI routing.


The next thing to understand will be racks. See this video

Racks are self contained modules that you can create in Cantabile the encapsulate one or more plugins. By putting your plugins in racks and using the same rack in multiple songs you can improve your switch times since the racks continue to run in the background even and don’t need to be reloaded across songs.


States are like plugin presets except for a Cantabile Song or Rack. The idea here is setup a song/rack as you want, take a snap shot of it in that state, make some changes, take another snapshot etc… Here’s the walkthrough video

The typical way these are used is to configure racks. eg: you might have a rack “Piano” with states like Grand, Studio, Mellow etc… Those states might just tweak some settings on one piano plugin, or each state might route to a different piano plugin - perhaps even and external synth module - it’s up to you. You’d then load that rack into any songs that need it and for each song choose the state you want for that song.


Finally Bindings - bindings let you create association between your hardware controllers and Cantabile (and vice versa). The main ways these are used are as follows:

  1. To load control things from a control surface. eg: press a button to load the next song or state
  2. To control plugin and gain settings from an external knob/slider
  3. To send program change and other MIDI configuration data when a song loads. eg: send program change to an external synth when a song loads.
  4. Many other things. Just about everything in Cantabile is bindable in some way.

Set List

The set list is just a list of song files. And or course it can be controlled by bindings.

Putting it Together

So, putting all that together here’s how you should typically work.

  1. Put your instruments into racks and setup rack states for each sound from those plugins you need.
  2. Create a new song file for each of your songs and load any racks that song needs into the song. Also any media files (wave/audio files etc…)
  3. Put your songs into a set list
  4. Create bindings for anything you need to control. You can create global bindings that work in all songs by putting them in the background rack (View menu -> Background rack).

And finally, you can turn on set list pre-loading (Tools menu -> Pre-load Set List). When this is turned on Cantabile will load all songs, all referenced racks, all referenced plugins into memory to make song switching really fast.



just downloaded Piano 1 (x64 version) and could reproduce this case of no sound. Invesigating this I found that obviously the sample file (.ins) was not mapped to the plugin. So I opened the corresponding dialog (piano -> piano file which was empty btw.) and pointed this to the location the .ins file was stored. After this sound was available.

Saying this I now remember the pdf saying to run the installer that automatically should install everything but could only find a MacOS installer in the downloaded and unzipped file. Maybe this is the reason for troubles.

Hope this helps, regards, humphrey


You are the best. Thank you so much for writing this all out. It will be extremely helpful and I will be referencing this often while I get acclimated to this new software.

One more question for now…any recommendations on some decent free plugins?

What kind are you looking for? Are you running Kontakt?

Here some starters - this is what I have in my “Free for live” folder (pasting all the links is a bit tedious, but Google is your friend):

  • Allround sets: BlueCat freeware pack, GVST suite, Melda Audio free plugins, ReaPlugs (Reaper plugins as standalone), some of the Airwindows plugs are pretty neat, too
  • Amp Plugins: Poulin amp simulators, Mercuriall Cab, Voxengo Boogex
  • Arpeggiators: Arto Vaarala Kirnu, RandARP
  • Compression: Klanghelm DC1A2, TDR Kotelnikov
  • Delay: DD-Delay, TAL-Dub 2, Valhalla FreqEcho, Voxengo TempoDelay
  • Equalizer: TDR VOS SlickEQ, TDR Nova, Mellowmuse EQ1A
  • Guitar Stompboxes: all Distorque (FaceBender, PlusDistortion, Rangebastard, Vitamin C), Mercuriall GreedSmasher, TSE R47 and 808
  • Modulation: TAL Chorus LX, Distorque Azurite Chorus, Pecheneg Tremolo, Adam Szabo Phazor, Acon Multiply
  • Reverb: Sanford Reverb - but really DO get Valhalla VintageVerb; not free but cheap and GREAT
  • Sampler: TX16Wx and Grace (by One Small Clue)
  • Synths: Tyrell N6, PG-8x, Monofury are my favorites, but also worth mentioning are Charlatan 2.0, Deputy Mark II, TAL NoiseMaker, Nabla and Ragnarok

Another cool free plugin if you’re into looping (or want to try your hand): Mobius by Circular Labs

Hope this gives you something useful to play with!




Wow Torsten - nice list. I think I’ll check out some of these myself.

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