New user mind exploding

So I’ve been working with the trial and I’m getting a bit closer to pulling the trigger on Cantabile! I’m still having some basic problems though.
Here is a list of my needs for now.

  1. Create a rack that plays back midi (tempo) and audio file that automate Helix Native via bindings or midi player. (sucsess!)

  2. Create different songs in a set list that use same plugin but different “Helix snapshots”

  3. How to save the setup that is working as a “Linked Rack” so I can switch songs with fastest re-load time.

  4. Be able to scroll/select different songs/setlist with a midi foot switch.

Leroy :alien:

Howdy Leroy,

Sounds like you’re almost there!. It us the Linked Racks that will answer #2 and #3. Bindings will solve #4. I think you have to go to Performer to get all of those features. But, I suggest watching Brad’s excellent videos.

How do I save my settings that I already created as a new linked rack? Right now it’s just a rack that I created from scratch that I finally tweaked enough to get working and I’d love to be able to use it as a link rack.

I have Helix native but not used it much as I have not done much guitar recording lately and am playing through a physical Helix, but if you want I will experiment and come up with a basic setlist with a few songs that does what you want. May take a few goes, but I will post where I get to.

Hi Derek,
That would be awesome then I can analyze what you’ve done and learn how to do it very fast! Also I’d love to know how to control scrolling through songs and sets via midi foot switch (Line6 HX Effects).

Thanks again Leroy

No worries. I have actually used the physical Helix “command centre” to select Cantabile songs when I put together a small show where I was playing guitar to backing tracks, not my usual keyboard gig, so assuming HX effects is similar that would be a good start point.

Leave it with me, and I’ll see what I can do.

Cool! The HXFX has a mode where you go into the command center and turn it into a midi controller, I’ve got that in covered. I just need to figure out how to set up Cantabile to receive Midi from the foot controller to switch the song and sets.

Hi Leroy

I use Helix Native software (and many other amp sims). I use a Line 6 FBV Express MkII Foot Controller to switch songs, switch states, control fx…and many other crazy things. I use the pedal to control keyboards too. I do not know your setup, but I will share what I do. The key for me, is to let Cantabile do all the work. The pedal is used as a midi controller. I can route it to change nearly everything. I stopped using the control features of the software (which can become complicated at times), and now let Cantabile take over. No glitches, no problems…easy to setup. Understand though, I am using Cantabile Performer to make this happen.
All my virtual instruments are controlled in this way. It has been my experience with soft sims, if you are not using a stand alone version, the vst parameters are not particularly user friendly. Once I let Cantabile take over, I can set up a song in no time without struggling with the software interface.

So, I can step on a switch to change songs, or states within a song, pull up a desired fx or turn it off, switch amps, change presets, etc…instantly. My changes are at song level, which only makes sense. No need for a global pedal board when you have a different pedal board for each song.

Again, this is my experience with my particular rig for about 4 years now, and it works perfectly.



Hi Corky,
My setup is my hardware rig HXFX>HX Stomp>powered speakers. I’ve been touring with that and it works great. Now I’m working on a special project that will have backing tracks (midi automation and audio) via PC/Cantabile and I want to automate everything guitar (Helix Native and other sims). I can use my HXFX as a midi footswitch so I want to control Cantabile with it. I’ve got Cantabile automating Helix Native but just one song for now. I’m working to get songs/set list sorted out. I’ve been doing all this for many years using DAWs and Cantabile is very different and I’m trying to wrap my head around it. I’ll get it!

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I am making progress. :slight_smile:

One thing I have found (assume Corky has as well) is that Helix Native does seem not respond to MIDI PC changes (and I have checked on the helix forums as well). So you cannot select a Native preset via program change (it seems). However, you can use Cantabile, Cantabile Rack states (and plugin snapshots) and bindings to achieve patch changes for each song (or however you wish.

Helix Native snapshots can be controlled by MIDI CC, so it is strange that you can do that but not program changes

But as Corky says, let Cantabile do the work and it all works.

More later. I’ve stripped down my guitar set (as it was quite light) and make generic, so just need to make it a bit more logical and I can post it).

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That is weird that helix native does not respond to program changes. FYI I’m only using one preset in native I just have different combinations of FX for certain songs and I can use snap shots or just midi bypass automation, using snapshots seems to be less programming in Cantabile. I look forward to see what you come up with!

OK, here we go. this is as far as I got before it is time to shut down for the night (early work start tomorrow)

first here is the zip file of my project stripped out and simplified. I kept the media players in there, so you can see how I am doing my backing tracks (MIDI master with tempo, other events - e.g. Chords for Vocal Harmoniser, and audio slaves for backing tracks) but have deleted the tracks themselves as they are big WAV files. So the media players have no content to play.

Helix (21.7 KB)

If you load the set list in the folder, it has the songs in the list and each song, as well as the media players for the song, has the following linked racks, which are in the Racks folder of the project

  • Helix Physical (my control rack which is listening to the physical Helix, you will need to adapt this for your HX Effects)
  • Helix Native (the rack with native in)

Note also as the Helix Native is in a linked rack, it is shared across all songs. You could if you wanted have a single rack for Helix Native and the same rack receiving events from the floor pedal, but it might be an idea to keep them separate if ever you changed the floor controller for different rigs. But your choice.

The first thing to look at is the Helix Physical rack bindings

Here are a number of bindings, organised in groups. the first group is for song selection. When I select a patch on my Helix Physical, I am getting the PC change coming in (what the Helix generates, so you don’t program this) and I am mapping each program change to a Cantabile song in the set list. So this is how you select specific songs with specific patches on a floor board, which is what I prefer to stepping up/down. If you want to step, have your MIDI Controller set up as you wish, create a new binding in the Helix Physical Rack (use learn and press you controller to pick up the MIDI source and message for the control you want to do the stepping, for the Target select Set List / Next Song. If you want to go backwards on another controller, then same approach but select the Set List / Previous Song target

In my setup, I have two stomp switches on the Helix for Start and Stop, and have set these to generate MIDI MMC start and stop. So on the Helix floor pedal, I select the patch, and then I can use the stomp pedals to start and stop the song

And I also have a stomp pedal that allows me to select the song state. If you look at the songs, I have two states for each song, one for live gigging and one for practice. The purpose of the practice state is so I enable a track with the vocals of my singer on, which I don’t want to hear live, but I want to hear when I am practicing on my own. So I just wanted a way of switching on her vocals as an extra backing track, but as a “fail safe” I waned to ensure her vocal track was not enabled when I selected the song (just in case I am live!). In the gig state, that backing track which her vocals on has an output routing that is not connected to anything, but in the practice state it is connected to the main outputs. I am doing some trickery via MIDI loopback and a CC filter to turn a single CC from the stomp pedal on the Helix floor pedal into two CCs so I can toggle the song state - will need to think a bit harder on how that works, as I have forgotten as it was so long ago when I sent this up!

For getting a song mapped to a Helix Native preset, I am using plugin snapshots

I have selected Plugin Snapshot 1, and then I select the required Helix Native Preset for that snapshot

Note how Plugin Snapshot 2 below has a different preset

For each song, I have put in a binding on song load that selects the required snapshot. The preset snapshot state is most likely saved in the song, but I prefer to force it, just in case I have accidentally saved a song when I have changed to another state for whatever reason.

Here is the binding for Song 2, selecting State 2 (snapshot 2) within the Helix Native Rack

So, if you do want to change patches in Helix Native, this is how you can do it.

When it comes to selecting the Helix Native Snapshots, I used Command Centre on the Helix Floor pedal to setup some spare stomp pedals

You can see my Start/Stop stomps, then I have setup one called Snapshot which sends CC 68 (come back to that in a minute) and on the button row you can see two others. One sending CC 69, VAL 0, and the other CC 69 VAL 1. So if I press the first I get Helix Native Snapshot 1, and if I press the second I get Helix Native Snapshot 2

Back to my CC 68. I have programmed a MIDI filter in the Helix Native Rack as follows


So the first thing I do is to remap it to CC 69, but you can see that I have given it a number of values to step through. So if I press this stomp pedal, it cycles through all 8 Helix native snapshots in its patch. I only set this filter up on CC 68 as I didn’t want the CC 69 messages directly being programmed on the stomp pedals from being affected, but this gives you the example of how you can program a sequence or direct values, and also do some remapping with Cantabile filters if needed.

Or you could have Cantabile Song states, where each state is the same Helix patch but a different snapshot.

The thing about the power of Cantabile is there are often different ways of achieving the same thing!

I hope that helps. I have to stop there for the night…

Hope that helps, and if you have any questions on this, I will be able to look at them over the weekend


Wow amazing work Derek!!! I’ll get on it and report back.

Thank you! :pray:

Sucess!!! well… sort of…
I’ve got everything working to my needs except the MMC start and stop. For some reason no midi info is being received in Helix Native on those funtions only. All the other midi functions are being received. These not really much to set on my HXFX midi foot controller just MMC>PLAY and MMC>STOP in the “command center” on the HXFX.

Thanks again @Derek your help with this has been stellar! :beers:


Glad it has all been of help. it took a little longer than intended last night to sort it out, but it is good to know it was worth the effort to help a new user (as I was once, and benefited from all of the help I was given here :slight_smile: )

Did you sent up stomp switches for MMC on your HX effects for start and stop?

If you have. then have you used the Cantabile MIDI monitor on the input ports to see if they are being received?

I set up two stomp switches in the “command center” one for MMC - Play and one for MMC - Stop. The green midi “Input Port” lights flash when I press ether of the switches.


OK, always worth checking the obvious! :slight_smile:

If you look at my first picture above you have two bindings under the transport control group. So I assume you have not removed those?

The other thing to check then is have you routed the MIDI coming in from your HX MIDI to this rack?

I’m off out to work now, but tonight I could get some pictures of the routing of MIDI data if you have not solved it by then.


Had a few minutes tonight to check my MIDI settings

Naturally first of all I have a virtual input port called “From Helix” which is mapped to the Line 6 Helix MIDI driver. Assume you will have something similar for you HX pedal.

Next in the Helix Physical rack, take a look in the Routing section

In the red box I have a route from From Helix to Loopback - Rack MIDI In

I suspect this might not be set-up if your port names are different.

Have a look, and if this is not the case, can you post some screenshots of your configuration

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I got it! My problem was when I checked my midi ports in the “Tools” window I had my HXFX set to midi channel 4 for some reason. I switched it to Omni and BOOM it worked!!! Ok, I think I’m good for now. @Derek I appreciate you taking the time to help me with this! I’m going to purchase Cantabile Performer NOW!!!
I hope your getting a royalty $$$ :alien::beers:


Hi. Leroy

OK, that is good. Glad you have it working.

No royalties, just some Karma, as I said, paying back the help that people gave me when I was a newbie.

Cantabile is a very flexible live platform, and it does take time to get your head into how to do things, but once you have done that there (so far) has always been a way to do what you want. :slight_smile:

I was also impressed with the flexibility that Line 6 put into the Helix family products in terms of their command centre. That is very flexible!

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