Playing backing tracks in sync with my external sequencer

Hi ! I am currently trying Cantabile Performer to see if it can help improve my live setup. First of all I must congrat Brad, this software is impressive !

I do the sequencer/keyboards parts of an electro-punk band, using 3 audio sources:

  • an Elektron Model Cycles sequencer playing pre-recorded patterns that I can tweak live
  • a midi keyboard as in input to Analog Lab VSTI
  • some backing tracks

Currently, I have a unique Reaper project containing:

  • tracks for the backings (percs, voices, fx…)
  • midi track sending Program Changes to the Model Cycles at the right times
  • a track with Analog Lab VSTI

However, there are some limitations with this reaper setup:

  • The song structures are rigid and I would like to improvise sometimes (extending the duration of a chorus or a solo for instance).
  • Adding additional vst on my keaboard would require some automation to enable/disable those effects depending on which song is playing.
  • Keeping everything coherent in a single reaper project is a piece of work (volumes, automations, synchronization of the midi and audio tracks…).

My target would be to use the Model Cycles as the master of my live setup, with a pedal to switch between patterns, and a software playing the right backing track and setting the right vst chain accordingly to the current song part.

I am experimenting with Cantabile MediaPlayers to play my backing tracks, and bindings to switch between song states (intro/verse/chorus…) when Cantabile receives Program Change messages from my Model Cycles.

The switching between song states is really fast, this is perfect for my vst chain, however I can see this is not adapted to switch instantly backing tracks (even when states are in locked mode). There is a little delay before the backing tracks start, and it plays out of sync with my Model Cycles.

I am wondering if there could be an other way to achieve a perfect backing track synchronization. I was thinking about using a dedicated sampler vsti, but I’m afraid it would need a lot of bindings configuration.
Maybe the best solution is not software, but using a dedicated sample box. I still don’t know :slight_smile:

I have been looking for weeks over the internet to figure out what would be the right approach. I hope this topic could be interesting to other musicians looking to a way to synchronize external hardware and backing tracks, with the flexibility to improvise on the song structure.

Best regards,