Rack States as presets behavior

Hello all, very new to the program but have been able to set up my songs so far, but I am having one major issue. First I must mention that I am running C3 version 32xx because my computer is XP. I watched a tutorial on states and some of the options mentioned there are not available on my version. However, I have to believe there is some way to accomplish what I need. My problem is that I have set most songs up using linkable racks. Within the racks I use rack states as my presets. Basically a rack will contain an instrument or two and the rack states are used like presets for the instrument(s) (as suggested by Cantabile). This leaves me with one fairly major problem. Since the states are self updating any changes made while playing the song are automatically saved (at least until C3 is restarted without saving). So I play a song that starts with a mellow Rhodes and builds to distorted and delayed with wah wah by turning these effects on during the song. Then I switch to another song. Next time I switch to a song using the Rhodes rack again, it starts out distorted, delayed , and wah wahed. Like the exact opposite of a preset. In my version of C3, I have the option to “lock” these states. I don’t know what this does but it does not accomplish my goal. I also have the option of clicking on a state and choosing “edit”, in this pop up I can tick the box that says something like “reset on load” (sounded promising) but I can not see what this function accomplishes either. All I want to do is know that my “presets” (rack states) function like presets. I spent hours tweaking the sound just how I want it to be when I first select it (and re-select it) and after playing one song with the preset all that work is all but erased/rewritten. It’s great that states are self-saving while you tweak them but I can’t imagine there is no way to lock them down once you got it where you want it, even in older Cantabile versions. Presets that are “pre-set” seems like the foremost basic building block in a program designed for recalling presets in a live performance. Am I missing a setting or am I simply going about setting up my setlist in a completely wrong way? Thanks in advance, hoping to use C3 for the first time at my show this Friday but it depends on my ability to resolve this issue. To be certain, I will have Forte ready to go with the same set list since that is what I have used for many years, but really want to give C3 a go!

Hi Cory and Welcome,

It sounds like you need to do some study and then setting of the “State Behaviors” for the

a) plugins inside your linked racks

b) the racks themselves and how they work within the song

To see the state behaviors list for a certain object you select that slot (either plugin or rack) and make sure the pane is open View>Side Panel>State Behaviors and check the proper boxes for your needs. The online manual has an explanation. After you get familiar with this stuff we can help with specific setup questions. :grinning:


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Hey cory,

the problem is that Cantabile keeps your linked racks in RAM - and as long as your rack doesn’t change presets, all changes to your current preset that you made will remain active. It’s like using a physical synth in your setup: you select a preset and then turn a couple knobs and push sliders - all these changes will remain active even in the next song or the one after - unless you change presets in between.

The most important thing that you need to ensure: lock your states inside your rack so they don’t get overwritten with the changes you make interactively. Also: make sure you set the rack saving options so your rack doesn’t get saved with your manual changes:
(You get to this dialog via File->Rack Options… when you’re in rack editing mode)

Now if you routinely make manual changes to your racks, there are a couple of ways to make sure a rack always gets properly initialized, even if the preset stays the same:

  • inside a rack, you can use “Song->OnLoad” bindings to set certain parameters to a default value (I use this with all my racks to set the output volume to 0dB and the expression pedal to 127 for all plugins that use this). This is my favorite option for my typical performance parameters like volume, modulation or expression - set them to a defined state at the beginning of a song, even if the preset doesn’t change
  • you can also use the reset mechanism of Cantabile to capture some parameter values for “reset state” and then use a state-specific reset (in the rack states dropdown) in the song to reset the rack. This will then reset the rack when loading a song state. I prefer using the Song->OnLoad method, because that allows me to re-use the first state without resetting again.
  • if the changes you make are more drastic and require a full re-loading of a preset/state, you can use Song->OnLoad bindings with a delay parameter to change to a different state in the rack, wait some milliseconds, then change back to the one you want. This will make sure the complete state is re-loaded.




dave-dore, What I want is pretty simple. Having watched the “states” video walk thru, what I want to accomplish is quite simple in version 35xx, but I run 32xx. In the states video, at 4:40 it is is mentioned that once you get the states where you want them and you don’t want them self updating anymore. You simply go to the edit menu, and uncheck “automatically update states”. This option is not available on my version. Correct me if I am wrong, but the “state behaviors” only effect what is remembered/controlled when you switch between rack states. If it is unchecked, it is not part of what is changed by switching states (no good for me as these are exactly the things I want to be changing from state to state). If it is checked then it is remembered as part of the state change, which is good for me, but completely unrelated to the state then going on to self update every time I move a slider or footswitch (via bindings). Again, I could easily be wrong, but I don’t think state behaviors is going to give me the results I am looking for (EDIT: I was wrong). Many of our songs build from mellow to full throttle. We also go off an tangents and improvisations. No telling where my sound will be by the end of the song, the only thing that is certain is that it will not be the sound that I meticulously set up for the next song that uses the same rack. Cantabile specifically refers to the rack states as presets. As they function now, they are the exact opposites of presets. Short of restarting the whole program (and remembering not to save on closing), clicking on a new song, instead of bringing up the sounds that I pre-set, will in fact bring up whatever random in-song changes I last made and even any accidentally moved controllers. Again, the exact opposite of a preset.

Hi cory,

The instructional videos are dated in some cases so I understand the confusion. @Torsten gave a good explanation above that would be more accurate to the versions you are running now. Check it out and see if it helps.


This is how I would expect it to act, I would not want it reverting back randomly while I am still using it. The problem is that this is not how it is acting. Here is an exact example:

  1. I have programmed NI B4II to sound how I want it for the beginning of the song(s) I will be using it on, I title it “Mellow Organ”.
  2. I click on that song (which is tied to a specific state within my linkable rack). The organ is mellow, no distortion, only a few drawbars are fully open.
  3. The song intensifies, so I dial up my drive gain to dirty it up. My solo comes, more drive and a few more drawbars. Solo builds to its peak, drive is at full, all drawbars are fully engaged. This solo is also the outro, drive and drawbars are left at full on but I use volume pedal to fade out sound.
  4. Next song calls for Piano so I click on a whole new song that opens a whole new rack with different plugins.
  5. next song calls for vocoder, again I completely switch songs and racks.
  6. 10 songs later its time for that sweet soft organ I set up and titled “Mellow Organ”.
  7. I click on the new song (not yet played but utilizing the linked rack used about 12 song earlier titled “Mellow Organ”)
  8. The fiddle plays its haunting mellow intro and its time for me to come in.
  9. I of course turn the volume pedal down so I can fade it in
  10. It fades in alright but the tone is ripping the fiddle a new arsehole with its full bars and 100% distortion drive!

That’s the gist of it. I’m stoked that C3 is so flexible it can cover everyone’s needs. I can’t wait to see how this influences my setup and performance. However, my needs right now are as basic as they come. I have songs, each song is played with a set of sounds (I don’t do song parts, everything I need for the whole song is set up from the get go). I use maybe 5 instruments (Piano, Organ, Rhodes, Vocoder, and Moog) Many songs reuse the same instrument but with differently tweaked settings (so I make linkable racks with states).

I simply want to click on a song and know that the settings I set up for that song will load when I click on that song and not whatever I happened to do with that sound one hour and 20 songs earlier. I can’t imagine a more basic requirement for a “preset”. As it is now, I could go on set brake, some drunk could move every slider and knob on my keyboard while I’m away. Meanwhile, I come back click on the next song and start second set. 5 songs later I click on a song that uses the same rack I ended set one on and the sound is not even recognizable. I have to be missing something. This has to be a basic function.

I have locked the states, this does not prevent states auto updating as I play a song.

My parameter changes throughout a song are drastic but here is the problem and probably the source of confusion. Changing states does not revert or reload the original state, at all. This is exactly the issue I am trying to resolve. Having the bindings change state and change back will not reload the state in its original form!

I am pretty sure my program version is more outdated than the videos. I had to download the 32xx version instead of 35xx because I run Windows XP. I see lots of additional options in the videos that I don’t actually have.

When you say preset, do you only mean presets in the plugin itself?
I am referring to the various states as my presets. For example, my NI B4 has many presets. But often I use just one of the presets and then tweak things from there. So song 1 may use B4’s first preset “Before Blues”, song 2 goes to piano, song 3 goes back to B4’s first preset “Before Blues” but this time I have pulled a couple extra drawbars out, I have slowed down the speed of the treble rotor, I have dialed up the drive, and turned key click way up. Same preset in B4, totally different sound. I save these tweaks as a rack state and that is the settings I want to recall when I click on song three. In Forte you tweak every little parameter, whether a Forte parameter or the plugins parameter, and when you like it you save it as a preset. This preset is available to assign to any song or song part you wish. If you want to tweak it a bit more for another song, you do so and save a new preset from it. I have been treating C3’s “rack states” like these presets in Forte. Except they wont stay put. Of course I will tweak them on the fly while I am playing, and of course I don’t want them snapping right back to where I originally set them just as soon as I change them. But when I come back to this preset (aka rack state) several songs later, I do want them reverted back to where I originally set them. This is not happening at all. It is because the rack states are self saving. If I change a rack state it stays that way until I close the whole program. No matter how many different songs/states/racks I switch between, the rack state remains as I last played it. In my opinion, when I tweak a parameter while playing live it should stay that way till I change the parameter again OR until I reload the sound at another time. The purpose of a linkable rack is to be used in many different songs. Why does it then automatically assume you want the sound for a new song to sound just like the ending from 5 songs earlier instead of the way I meticulously pre-set to sound. Does it think that I am so amazing that in the heat of a song’s peak I’m actually multitasking and thinking “yeah, this is how I want it to sound five songs from now, in a completely different song, not the way I spent hours setting it up to be last night”? It’s so backwards to me that I feel something is majorly wrong with my settings or the program is not functioning as it should. This is somewhat confirmed by Torsten saying that a binding that tells it to switch states and back should reset the state when it does not. Now if the state it switched to utilized a new preset within the plugin itself then yes, it would revert. But like I said, I often stick with the same plugin preset and just tweak parameters for new sounds for new songs.
Perhaps I should forgo racks and states altogether and just have every song have its own settings. I can imagine that being a messy nightmare by the time I get to a couple hundred songs.
I really do appreciate the help, sorry if I sound disgruntled, I am a little bit. At this point I have to put Cantabile away and set up Forte for this weekends gig. I will pull it out again next week and figure out if a refund will be in order.

Hmmm. you’re right - changed VST parameters will automatically be kept in memory with the plugin. That’s definitely one of the weaknesses of Cantabile.

What can help here: activate “state behavior” for the parameters you want to protect. I do this for my organ plugins: I set “state behavior” to active for all drawbar settings, so I can be sure that they will definitely be set to the stored values on state change. And I have an automatic binding in my organ rack that will set the rack to a “dummy” state (that I will never use in a song) on Song->Unload so that I am sure that the organ will be set to a new state on any new song that uses it.

This should help!



I think I am starting understand your work around. However, I need to know if the edit menu in current versions do include the “Automatically Update States” option that I can uncheck. If you watch this video from Cantabile, starting at 4:35, they explain exactly how to turn off automatic update state. Is this no longer an option I can look forward to once I upgrade my computer (followed by an upgrade to the current Cantabile3)?
This is really all I am trying to do. I would have the automatic update on as I tweak the settings at home and then I would turn this option off for practice and performances.

No, this option has been superseded by the locking and unlocking of states: "Auto Update States" vs "Locked States"

There is now a menu entry to lock or unlock all states, which is somewhat similar to the “automatically update states” behavior. I personally hardly ever unlock states - I prefer to manually save edits I make via “update state”. This is easy to do via hotkey (Ctrl-U).

There is one thing to be aware of; this function will save the state you are currently editing: when you are editing the song, it will save song states, when editing the rack, it will save rack states. All very logical, but when working in split view, you’ll sometimes accidentally save the song state instead of the rack state. Also, the hotkey doesn’t work when a plugin editor window has the focus.



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Hi Cory,

I"m curious (not critical) why you’re on XP. I loved using it back in the day but today’s conservative updater is usually on Windows 7 which is a great, stable, efficient OS. I can steer you to a Dell refurbished website that would sell you an 8GB RAM business class laptop running Windows 7 x64 for $230.


Basically its because its what I have and it has ran Forte extremely stable for the past 8 years, during which time I was a full time musician play 2 to 6 gigs a week. It was a $1600 laptop when I bought it and I cannot dump that kind of money into another one. Music is now a hobby. Still paying gigs but more like once or twice a month. I would be interested in an affordable modern laptop known to run live audio well. However, I will still be left with the issue of also having to buy another sound card device (unless card buss is still a thing). Maybe I should look into upgrading my OS. When bought, Vista was the newest thing but it shipped with both Vista and XP install disks. Obviously I chose XP and have no regrets. However, the computer is capable of 64 bit and can hold 8 gigs of RAM. I only have 3 gigs of RAM cuz XP can’t, make use of any more (is my understanding anyway).
My computing needs are pretty low, I don’t get too crazy with effects, in fact I use no effects other than the ones built in to the VST instrument. I rarely use more than two plugins per song and even rarer that they are being played simultaneously. I don’t run any audio through (other than to modulate the vocoder), I don’t run backing tracks.
All this aside, if I can’t get Cantabile to reload my songs the way I program them and it is instead going to load them the way it remembers it from a completely different song way earlier in the set, then there is nothing I need to do but continue to use my old version of Forte on my outdated computer. Honestly, the only reason I was looking for a change is because I could not get a single vocoder VST to even be recognized by Forte. I went to update Forte and found they were no longer in business. Other than rejecting numerous VSTs, Forte does everything I need, beautifully, easily, and intuitively. It seems Cantabile may be more powerful, I assume, I have not yet come across a function that I could not pull off in Forte. Actually I take that back, I cannot get Forte to assume that while playing a song live I am simultaneously editing the preset for future songs in the set list. Getting the simplest function and most basic requirement to work has about got me tearing my hair out.

That explanation makes sense to me. You could upgrade the laptop, one of my Cantabile machines came with Vista (2008 Dell Vostro 1525). It runs Windows 7 and Cantabile like a champ with 4GB. The problem with upgrading is the cost of Windows 7 which would be around $100 or more. For future Cantabile explorations you’re better off buying a refurb machine with Windows 7 already installed. Also that leaves your working Forte setup intact.

By the time Windows 7 was introduced Vista was fixed and manufacturers had mostly caught up driver-wise. In some ways Windows 7 was Vista with a more rational UI (they dropped all the tablet stuff). My point is your PC is designed for Vista meaning its designed for Windows 7. Under the hood they are fairly similar so your laptop would run Windows 7 well.

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I do like backups and redundancy. Laptop is the one of the few areas where I do not already have this. Thanks for the advice. I would take a look at the refurbs you mentioned.

Would still love to know how to get my pre set settings to load when I click on a song and not what ever state the were left in several songs earlier.

I get emails from Dell Financial for 40-50% off their off-lease laptops. I’ve bought hundreds of them for work and not had any problems. We spend anywhere from $130 to 300 depending on processor, ram etc. I’ll post you the next time I get an email.


I have used this lock for the states to no effect. Parameters are still left willy nilly, however I last used it regardless of how many songs/states a flip through. I too would strongly prefer to manually updates states. However, first I don’t see an “update states” option anywhere in my version of C3, and second there seems to be no way of keeping them from remaining in what ever state they were last left in. Parameters I am referring to are the parameters of the VST plugin itself, these are what I am manipulating during live performance (via control bindings). It is obvious that rack states can remember the parameters of the VST, I have several states where the only difference are a few plugin parameters. What I want them to do is forget them once I have moved on to a new song (and remember the parameters I purposely programmed the night/week/month/year before).

This is why I did away with split view. I re-positioned the rack panel to completely cover the original panel (song panel?). I may switch it back once I get use to the program but for now it helps keeps me organized.

EDIT: I did find the update state option. I was thrown off because it refers to the state’s title as opposed to just “update state”. Being in the “State” menu should have been the dead give away, I think I have short circuited my brain .

To kinda wrap this thread up, and for anyone reading this to answer their own questions, my problem was solved by Dave Dore on a different thread linked below. Apparently this is one of several ways to accomplish this but it worked for me. He demonstrates several settings to check, the one that did it for me was choosing “Entire Bank” in the plugins state behavior (see the linked post for screen shots and better detail). This, combined with the appropriate state lock settings seems to have done the trick.

Yes, Cantabile is a bit convoluted in this. There is a difference in how Cantabile manages information on states:

  • Plugin settings: these are stored as kind of a binary “blob” that Cantabile doesn’t look inside of. So Cantabile isn’t really aware of anything happening inside the plugin; therefore it doesn’t really know how to reset individual settings, unless you explicitly tell it how to do that. The only way to fix that is to actually use the state behavior “entire bank” - this stores the whole binary blob with the state; essentially, this takes a snapshot of the whole plugin in memory (except sample content). If you don’t activate “entire bank”, Cantabile will simply save the binary memory content with the rack, whenever you save it.

  • VST presets and pseudo-presets: if plugins expose VST presets to their host, Cantabile will use their preset system - which can sometimes lead to interesting effects, since not all preset systems play nice with Cantabile. E.g. Korg M1 will only expose the presets of the currently selected bank - so if you jump between banks between states, you’ll end up with a mess, since Cantabile only saves the preset index. It is also up to the plugin how it reacts to changes to these presets: most VST plugins simply update the presets in memory (default VST behavior), so every modification is quasi-permanent (and can only be undone by re-loading the rack). Other plugins have an explicit preset saving system, so manual changes will be discarded when changing presets. This is different from plugin to plugin, so you’ll have to check how your plugins work here.

  • If plugins don’t expose their presets, Cantabile uses a “pseudo” preset system, which is essentially a set of 128 “entire bank” memory snapshots. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to protect these snapshots from overwriting - they get updated (in memory) immediately (no second “stored” copy). So if you change these pseudo presets by pulling on your drawbars, that’s the way they’ll remain while loaded. @brad: maybe there is a way to write-protect pseudo-presets - i.e. to have a “working copy” in memory that needs to be explicitly written into the pseudo-preset? This will then need a command to explicitly save the preset. This would be a godsend for having clearly defined states of instruments! → feature request!

  • Cantabile parameters: these are parameters “around” the plugin managed by Cantabile: gain, pan, selected preset, etc. These Cantabile can explicitly know and manage individually. So, by setting state behavior, the values for these parameters are individually stored with the state and then recalled on state change.

  • Automation parameters: most plugins expose some of their inner parameters to their host via VST automation (some even all parameters). This allows to set state behavior for some or all internal parameters of a plugin, which again means that these parameters will be explicitly saved with a state on “Update state” and recalled on state change. This way, I activate state behavior for my organ drawbars, so that they are explicitly saved and recalled with any state, independent of how I mutilate the internal plugin data.

Hope this clears up some of the complexity - some of it is just based on the VST architecture and the way Cantabile can see or not see the plugin parameters. But thinking about it, an explicit mechanism to save or discard changes to pseudo presets would actually be really helpful → @brad?