Newbie requires Assistance


I’m looking into a set-up for a singer to use for live performances to add Piano/E Piano/Organ. His keyboard ability is 2 years piano. I’m looking at a Novation Impulse 25 as the Midi Controller. This will then input into a dedicated windows 10 laptop loaded with Cantabile hosting Native Instruments.
This will then be input into an Allen & Heath ZED 10FX (or QU16) for FOH & AUX.

  1. Have I omitted any software/hardware in this chain?
  2. Would the use of a Focusrite 6i6 be of use/no use in the chain?
  3. I have music studio on an Ipad and can get this into the mix … is Native Instruments ‘A lot’ better - Piano/e piano?
  4. Is a 25 key midi useless live and should I go for 49?
  5. What problems have Forum members had and how can I avoid them?
  6. Reason we don’t want a dedicated Piano/organ is size and the only occasional use in our set list.


No, you have everything needed in your chain.

It depends on whether the windows Audio driver (WASAPI) and audio output (depends on the manufacturer) are good eneough for what you are doing. If not the Focusrite might provide better Audio fidelity and drivers for live use. It depends on the system and your sound quality needs.

There are many pianos for Kontakt. So it depends on if you have the Kontakt with Factory Library or one the Komplete series that have higher quality sample sets. These sets are probably better than the sets you have on the iPad.

For piano parts it’s far too small. At least 49 but 61 is better for a small portable.

The problems depend on the user so it’s a broad question to answer here but you can do a search of the community forum by clicking on the magnifier glass on the main toolbar for the site and you will see a variety of troubles and problems along with fixes and strategies as well. When first using Cantabile you can avoid trouble by viewing the Cantabile ‘Getting Started’ videos here :



Many thanks for the response. It was very instructive.
I was planning on buying a used ‘cheap’ laptop with windows 10 and with at least Cantabile minimum specs. But you have raised a rather important point being the audio drivers in the Lap top, which on a refurbished unit are unlikely to be that good.
So I’ve amended my Chain as follows.
Novation impulse 49 to Laptop loaded with Cantabile hosting Native Instruments Kontakt 11 with upgraded audio to Focus 6i6 to Allen & Heath mixer and then out to FOH (Yamaha DXR 12) and Aux (EL zlx12).

I’ve had the special cables made by Event Horizon so I know where it all fits. It would seem that Cantabile is the Host best recommended for my live needs. Before I start cutting checks — any suggestions to improve the set up?
And as I already mentioned thanks for the reply.


As far as I know the audio drivers on windows 10 are constantly being improved so they would be up to date even on a refurbished machine. The hardware (e.g. Realtek or other manufacturer), audio codec A/D conversion and D/A conversion quality will be only as good as it was when the machine was made originally. That’s where the Focusrite probably has the advantage, on the hardware converters.

Yes, If you buy a ‘cheap’ Laptop you will need to consider an SSD drive for your laptop. Komplete 11 uses some large sample libraries and they need to be able to load quickly while being used so a fast storage drive is essential and it needs to be big enough to hold the sample libraries from NI but also the Windows OS and any other programs you use. (this is assuming a single drive laptop setup). And make sure you have at least 8 gig of ram for using Komplete 11. Other than that I think your ready! :slight_smile:



I really appreciate the help and suggestions. I’ll take your advice in everything.


TBH, even 49 is a bit constrained when it’s your only board - I’d go for at least 61 if your main focus is piano / e-piano.

Beyond this: start your setup simple with just a few instruments / plugins and learn your way around Cantabile’s primary features (focus on routes and states first, then learn about linked racks). Working with Kontakt can be a bit tricky sometimes - maybe an alternative could be a combination of XLN Audio Addictive Keys for piano, AAS LoungeLizard for Epiano and VB-3 or Blue3 for Hammond organ would be easier to work with - they all play nice with Cantabile’s preset system, whereas Kontakt can be pretty quirky.




Thanks Torsten,
I’ll look into these VI suggestions. I was rather surprised at the cost of some of these packages. More than Les Paul. :slight_smile:


I agree with Torsten on going with at least a 61 key controller. I have a Novation Impulse 61 which I use in worship with my church’s praise team. That’s enough keys, once you get the hang of setting up keyboard splits and, especially, states (song parts) where different instrument plug-ins are needed at different points in a song. Plus the keyboard only weighs about 15 lbs so it’s very portable. I also second the suggestions for plugins- Addictive keys and Blue 3 in particular.


Thanks LeesKeys,
This is all great info. I appreciate every bit of advice. I’ve put Addictive Keys on the list & I’ll check out Blue 3.