New user, quite happy, just some issues

Hi to everyone.
New enthusiast user here, quite satisfied after two weeks of programming and two live gigs.
I am not a professional, I just play for fun.
But I like to do it at my best, of course.
Based in Turin, Italy.

My history started when I was 3 years old, with typical Christmas gift of those years: a toy organ from Bontempi.
Every adult understood that music was my thing, nothing changed since then.
I got soon some two manuals organs (home Farfisa models, cheap but not bad)
Then when I was 14, the first synthesizer; a glorious Korg MS20, still on my desk today after 42 years!

I played in some high school bands, one of them was a real wonder.
Two of us turned to pro, and after many years of hard work they are currently in best italian rock band.
I decided to study engineering and stopped rehearsing with them when I was 18.(how fool!)
I was sure to be not talented enough, still think that way

After many years of fun with amateur bands I recently got some gigs with a benefit setup where some pro musicians play regularly; it is for me a huge honor and a wonderful way to spend free time.

I am today 55 yo, fan of classic rock, owning some axes like Korg M1, Korg Kronos, Yamaha Montage.
But working in day time as sales manager for a big chemical company.
My degree in electronic engineering is more used on stage that in office.

I fell in love with VSTs many years ago: this way I had chances to use cheap software instead of hugely expensive instruments.
B4 from NativeInstruments and MiniV from Arturia gave me chances to get Floyd and Genesis sounds that I loved, quite difficult to copy with polyphonic synths of that age like M1

Recently I had been working with Reaper as host and some MIDI controllers like Arturia Keylab.
I was looking for flexibility and speed for live use: hard job.

Only Cantabile Performer solved everything immediately (thanks Brad!).
One gig last week: everything perfect.
But another gig next Friday with another band, and different hardware setup
In one case I was using Keylab, a Native Komplete Audio6 as audio board for my laptop.
In the other setup I was using Montage and its internal audio board.

Simple shows: classic rock from 70s, not a complex task for Cantabile.
One setlist of 25 songs, some states, some racks (Kontakt, Hammond B3X, Arturia Mini)

Main issue: when I switched from band one to band two, Cantabile did not find Komplete Audio 6 anymore…
On that event, audio engine did not work (understandable, board was not connected…)
As soon as I chose the right new engine, MOntage ASIO board, I found my setlist “corrupted”.
Songs were there, but Kontakt rack was lost.
I had no time to check fully, because it was only a rehearsal, show will be next Friday.
While playing I reloaded manually a new Kontakt rack and closed rehearsal with 90% of the tricks.

I will work one night of this week to check fully the old rack, to see why it was completely blank, while some days before it had 5 instruments loaded.

Anyone well experienced who could suggest some explanation?

Thanks again!!!

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Hey Furio,

welcome to the community!

Can you explain in a bit more detail what “switching from band one to band two” means? I assume from your description that you are using a different audio interface - correct?

In this case, Cantabile is right to throw an error message: after all, the audio interface it last used is no longer there. You can fix that by using two different configurations if you want to avoid the error message.

The "corrupted setlist issue sounds strange - audio interface change shouldn’t affect the loading of a setlist: Did you check your original Kontakt rack after the rehearsal - is it permanently corrupted or was that a temporary fluke? Kontakt is a bit of a finicky beast in live usage - you need to be sure to save it the right way; also using presets with it is a bit fiddly. Best to load it with the sounds you need during a performance and never change them; simply use different MIDI channels to play the different loaded patches.

Maybe you can share your Kontakt rack; I (or one of the Kontakt gurus on this forum) can have a look at it.



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many many many thanks for your hints. They helped me to focus on the right matters.

First Matter.
Rack using Kontakt is delicate. Yes, I put some instruments in different MIDI channels and switch in setlist changing MIDI input, this is fast and reliable.
The art of Program Change with Kontakt seems black magic, I will study later on.
Main issue here is to remember to use Cantabile command “Save rack”.
When I wrote my first message, I probably didn’t save the rack, so it was empty when I recalled it…
I used a lot “Save all” while preparing my setup but this seems not to include rack saving.
Now I save my racks when I build a multi instrument configuration with Kontakt and it works well.

Second Matter.
Switching to differents audio engine to play with different instruments in different projects.
This is even more delicate, and it is only Cantabile related.
When opening a new Setlist, Cantabile remembers the last audio engine used, not the one you used with that particular Setlist.
This drove to many mistakes I made before I wrote my first message here.
The main issue is Backgroud Rack, this is linked to Audio engine, so when I switched my Setlists, I found the wrong CC codes to move Songs and Parts (bindings to drive setlist and parts from buttons on my keyboards).

Anyway, I managed three gigs in one week for two different bands and two hardware configurations.
With few days (better, nights…) of programming I got 100% of what I had in mind; considering my requirements, I am really satisfied.

I had no time to test the “configurations” way, there is a good solution for my need.
But is it a foolish requirement to ask a command to save really all your setup?
And I mean: racks, background rack, audio engine.
This would give me immediate flexibility in my configurations.

Many thanks again!!!

Hi Furio,

Let me start with issue #2. I’m going to assume you are fluent with Windows 10 (Win10). Cantabile supports multiple configurations settings. Among the settings can be I/O configuration, ASIO drivers, file locations (including Rack locations and different Background Rack location), audio engine, etc. The settings are stored in directories Cantabile creates in \Usrs-Your name-\AppData\Local\Topten Software\Cantabile 3.0 (x64) (-config name-). You create and select the configs by passing command line options to Cantabile. With Win10, command line options are passed using aliases. A full and complete explanation is found in the (wonderful and very useful) Guides section of the Cantabile website under the Support menu:

I have configurations set up for my band, Yabanada, Church, and Experimental. I switch between RME Babyface Pro, Behringer UMC404HD, Komplete 6, Presonus AudioBox 1818VSL, and Sapphire 40. I use naming conventions to keep I/O manageable, but these all have different drivers with different numbers of Ins and Outs.

Now, the downside of this is you can have one rack named “Piano” in as many different configuration directories as you like. If you change one “Piano” rack the others (in different directories) don’t change. This is also an upside! you just have to manage it. Some of us use syncing software or something like Dropbox to help.

Another idea that @Neil_Durant recently discussed in the “Show Me Your Cantabile Rig!” thread is having generic racks and song-based racks. Color (colour) coding and naming conventions would keep them separate. Generic racks have generic sounds, like “Flute”. Song racks have specific sounds (likely modifications of generic sounds) for specific songs, e.g. “Flute-Stairway to Heaven”. That way if you change a sound for a particular song, it doesn’t change for all the other “generic” places you use the sound.

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Continuing with Furio’s questions, using Kontakt.

For me, although I’ve mostly moved away from using Kontakt live, I find there are 3 ways to use Kontakt in a live with Cantabile setup. I make these assumptions (YMMV) 1) Racks are very low overhead for memory or processing, 2) Kontakt instances also are not resource intensive. 3) Samples are memory intensive.

Given these assumptions, you can set up Kontakt these 3 ways (there may be more, but this is what I use):

  1. Dedicated rack with a single Kontakt instance with a particular sound. For example, Session Brass in my setup lives in a rack by itself. There is no changing of patches. There is only the one Session Brass instance. There are certain sounds I need this for. Generic horns I do with M1 or XPand!2. There could be 4 or 5 similar Session Horn racks if slightly different sounds were required. You may not get the BEST reuse of SetList Pre-loading, but I find it adequate with 16GB or RAM.

  2. Various instruments loaded into a single Kontakt instance on different channels. Use a Route and select the Target of the Route with Rack States. Be sure State Behaviors lets you change the Route Target. As near as I can tell, I’m getting pretty good SetList Pre-loading with this option.

  3. Use a Kontakt multi. Use a Program Change Binding to select the location in the multi. I think this is the best use case for Pre-loading.

You could also combine 2 and 3. Again, YMMV.

Now, a RANT!
Take a look at the aforementioned “Show Me Your Cantabile Rig!” thread. Try to follow similar use cases to what other have already done. Avoid so-called “Edge cases” or “Corner cases” where you are doing something so unique that you need some special feature or way of doing things NOBODY else is doing. In my IT experience, I see clients who insist that their way is so unique and different that they spend literally millions developing specific code or systems when a simpler solution, that may require some workflow change, would have served just as well. Sometimes a workflow “adaptation” may be painful or expensive in the short run, but the maintenance in the long run is much cheaper. I have literally seen (and I really do mean “literally”) household name large corporations spend millions only to scrap the project and prefer some kludgy workaround rather than take a logical approach to an application. Yes, in this day and age there are major corporations who employ people to print out screens from one system and key the data into other systems because they couldn’t make system integration work.
RANT OVER, no intention on hijacking Furio’s thread.

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Hey, RB…

I TOTALLY agree with you.
I graduated as electronic engineer (long time ago).
I started working as a real time C programmer (using VxWorks operating system) so I know very well how millions of bucks are spent trying to follow idiot requirements. I learnt on my skin.
Luckily I immediately changed my job, not my cup of tea.
I started only one month ago using C3, using only work nights, weekend is for my old dad and my couple life.
My one and only source of know-how were the Brad’s videos.
Again: I am fully satisfied, now 100% of my gigs and rehearsal are C3 driven.

But you are right: using multi-config I would have solved 99% of my issues as a beginner.
I just didn’t remember there were any mentioning about that in the videos for dummies series.
Tonight or tomorrow I will build the two configs I need, not so complex.
Config 1: MIDI input from Arturia KeyLabII, audio output on KompleteAudio6.
Config 2: MIDI input from Montage7 (MIDI local OFF), audio output on same Montage7.
A collection of Native, Arturia and IK things to be managed as VSTs.
Yes: I can take some dust off my brain and use Win10 with command line options: it looks plain.
If I will have a huge theater thing (not probable) I will build an everything included config.

You are right on Kontakt use too.
Until now with not more than 5 instruments loaded in one Kontakt instance I did not see any memory issue.
I work with an ASUS i7, 16 GB RAM, 1TB SSD (NVMe), so a wild beast.
If you remember to “Save rack” everything is already working well…
Never used a Kontakt multi, will take a look.

C3 is very nice, people here even more.
I got wonderful hints in few hours.
I had bad experiences from forums when I asked to Arturia to check behaviour together with Reaper (DAW mode of MIDI controller is not usable on stage…)

So I learnt: try to avoid to presume intelligence in your MIDI controller or in your synth.
There can be some, but it is difficult to be managed.
There are huge resources in your notebook, if you use the right software and the right programming.


Excellent Furio! Quite a few coders, IT people, etc. here. Sound like you are on the right path. Here is the inside of one of my Kontakt racks with 3 multis. I “pruned” a lot of programs out I thought I might use and never did. Thus, you’ll see a lot of empty slots. I use 3 Multis because sometimes I want, for example, Mellotron Flutes + Choir + Clarinet… So with 3 Multis, I can have 3 timbers at once.

You can use Bindings to change the slots in each Multi. Use Source of Rack State Load and Target of Kontakt, appropriate channel, Program Change, and Program Value. When you set up the Binding, you only need one for each channel if you set the State Behavior so that the “Target” box is checked.That way the Target parameter is controlled by the Rack State.




Sometimes a good pic is better than thousand words.
Yes, now I get it fully.
You have three multis driven by three different MIDI channels.
This way with one key pressed on your MIDI controller you can have an audio stack of three “samples”.
Internal in every multi you can drive the working “sample” with a single Program Change.
The rest, outside Kontakt and inside C3, depends from Rack, State and Binding, of course.

Quite clear, I never did this way.
I usually play single “samples”, but a setup like this one is perfect to explain multi and MIDI management; it gives a lot of flexibility for every possible sound requirement.

Thanks again, pal!!!

Hi Furio,

first: 100% +1 to all of @RackedBrain’s comments - really good advice.

I especially like the one about “edge cases” vs. mainstream. Try to understand Cantabile’s logic, not work against or around it. There is usually a good way to make things work within Cantabile’s paradigm.

On your question re background rack: the background rack is - strictly speaking - not linked to the audio engine: it doesn’t change when you change the audio engine. BUT: it is bound to the current configuration, just like the last-used audio engine is.

So, if you want Cantabile configured differently for different bands (or hardware configurations or whatever), the “multiple configurations” route is the one to take. It just makes life easier.

And to be honest: this isn’t a beginner’s topic, but for pretty advanced usage of Cantabile, so I understand that @brad didn’t put it into his intro videos. You seem to have progressed from basics to pretty complex in a very short time - engineers tend to do that :wink:

Something to consider for the multi-config approach: do you want to use the same racks for multiple projects or do you want individual rack directories and manage the racks separately?

I tend to have a common rack directory, because I use most of my basic sounds for multiple projects. When I create specific sounds (presets) for a song, I usually name them accordingly. If I had the same song in two bands, with slightly different versions of a sound, I’d use appropriate naming (Band1-Song1-Strings).

This way, I can do the creation and editing of my common bread-and-butter sounds in one place. But it could be totally legitimate to cleanly separate your racks between projects if there is little sharing of patches between them.



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I am thinking to have different racks for my different projects.
Easy reason: the Montage configuration does not need a sampled piano from Kontakt, simply because I prefer Montage native piano sounds.
The KompleteAudio6 configuration needs a piano, so I put a Kontakt coda thing that I like.
Considering memory use and complexity I think I will use different racks for different configurations if using Kontakt.

With other VSTs not piano-like (like Hammond organs or Moog synths), then your hint to consider directory AND names is intriguing, I will keep that in mind.

I was forced to explore immediately multi-config side: when rehearsing with the second band I found most of my Cantabile work useless!
I was sure there must be a way to do it better…

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