Setup question for Guitar Player

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Hi. I’m thinking of buying Cantabile but first I need to know if this is possible.
I’m a guitar player. 90% of the time I’ll be using just one plugin (Guitar Rig, Amplitube…)

I could set up Cantabile to have 1 instance of Guitar Rig PER song, and then save different Song States to represent all Song Sections (intro, verse, chorus,…) with different presets in Guitar Rig.

The problem is that if I have a gig (SetList) of 30 songs and want to use Pre-loaded Set Lists to have FAST SONG SWITCHING, then I’d be loading 20 instances of Guitar Rig!!! Does not seem reasonable…

Also, I know that I can have one Linked Rack with Guitar Rig loaded and call that rack from every song in the Set List, thus having only just 1 Guitar Rig instance.

But, how do I select different Guitar Rig patches in different Song States when the plugin is inside the Linked Rack?

I saw this video

In min 20 it shows that you can save STATES of the linked rack and every song that uses the linked rack can use a different state. the problem is that in that case, I’d need to go to the linked rack and save ONE STATE per Song State.

So in 30 songs with 4 States (intro, chorus…), I need to save 120 Linked Rack States, which seems overkilling.

Is there any other way to accomplish what I need, which is to have just 1 instance of guitar rig that can be shared between all songs and song states but with a different preset?

Thank you very much.

Danny Bullo

First, welcome to the forum!

More than one way to do what you describe, and that said here is what comes to mind for me.

Define all of the amp tones in GR, meaning even if the only change is a knob tweak, do it there and save it as a preset in GR. This allows to reuse it as many times as you wish in as many different songs as you wish.

Then create the songs in Cantabile as desired using the racked GR.

Then do Cantabile bindings in each song to access the desired GR preset needed for chorus, verse, etc. (be sure for Cantabile’s preset model to choose "use plugin’s presets) The nice thing is if you have a foot controller, button 1 can always be for verse no matter the song, for example, since the bindings are song/part specific.

Unless I’m missing something this approach seems to fulfill your need for single GR instance, reuse the defined amp tones as needed, and reasonably easy setup.

LOL, others will probably chime in with something easier, but this should at least get you going.

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Sekim,
Thanks a LOT for thr quick response.
Yes, in Guitar rig, I have a preset per song section even if a knob changes.
What you say is interesting. However, instead of having MIDI button 1 for verse, button 2 for chorus…etc., I like more the approach of using Song States. Why? Because that way you can program your midi controller with JUST 4 buttons
-previous song
-next song
-previous song part (state)
-next song part (state).

I’m trying to make it as efficient as possible.
Sure, I may have a few songs that use additional plugins or synths. But the idea is to reuse plugin instances as much as possible to have the best possible performance.

Regards,
Danny Bullo

Hi Danny, and welcome.

This is my approach:
I set up a Rack, containing certain states for different presets. So, a rack contains many presets I devised. Let’s say, I have a Marshall preset in the 1st state of the rack. 2nd State has a Fender preset, and so on.
I can change to any of the custom settings with a switch by saving that particular preset. So, in the intro state of the song I have a Vox, and when I change to verse 1, I have a Fender. The chorus, I have, a Marshall with a tremolo fx. All this is done by one footswitch. You are using states within the rack, to change to anything you’ve setup within the song.
The RACK contains as many presets you want. You direct those presets to the Song states within the song. Once you grasp how this works, you will never go back. Everything I have is setup this way. The beauty of it all, is if you pre-load the rack, all the presets within the rack are immediately available. I know this sounds a little much, but it isn’t, once you get the hang of it. You can put all your presets in one rack, or make separate racks for Marshall, Fender, and so on. I occasionally have a Fender rack only, and a Vox rack only, and can drop all those racks into every song. If you preload your sets, everything will immediately be available. There are many ways to do this, but this just an example of how I look at it.

Regards…hope this helps.

Corky

3 Likes

Hi Danny & Welcome,

I’ll throw another method up. It assumes that you have NI & Amplitude presets that are starters but that get modified during the course of changing Song States. If you had to save every small knob move as a new Cantabile Pseudo Preset or Rack State your Guitar Rack would get full of unnecessary presets or States. Your rack file size also swells and all your eggs are in the same basket (so to speak) if the rack file gets corrupted. Instead what I do is to use the “Entire Bank” State Behaviors switch on the plugin inside the linked rack and then use the “Exported State” State behaviors switch at Song level for the linked rack.

So here is the linked E Guitar rack shown at the Song level & it’s State behaviors settings.

Inside the opened rack you see the plugin and it’s State behaviors settings.

So when programming the Song States you open the plugin GUI and set the settings for each Song State and the States remember the knob settings. e.g.


Anyway, this method cut way back on making presets and rack states and instead transfers the parameter changes to the Song file in the Song States. You can still make Pseudo presets or rack states or NI or IK presets at any time you are on a given Song State you prepared this way.

Like Sekim and Corky said, lot’s of ways to go with it. You’ll have it going in no time I hope.

Regards,

Dave

3 Likes

Corky, Thanks for your response!

Yes, ideally that is what I want: To have one rack per song and save different states for different sections (intro, verse, etc) and have each state with a different preset in Guitar Rig.

The problem with that is this: Let’s assume I’m going to use ONLY GUITAR RIG. If I have 30 songs, that is 30 racks (one per song). Each rack contains one instance of Guitar Rig. That way I’d be loading 30 instances of the plugin instead of one!

That is why I’m trying to re-use the instance to have better performance and make the system to scale.
If I understood correctly, you propose exactly that but to use one BIG Linked Rack with EVERY Preset that I need in All songs saved as Linked Rack State, correct?

Regard,
Danny Bullo

Essentially, you don’t want one rack per song - you want one Guitar Rig Rack. Build a rack with guitar rig in it and create rack states for every “preset” you build in guitar rig. Then, in any given song, you simply load the Guitar Rig rack and select the correct preset for the song.

If you want multiple presets (clean for verse, crunch for chorus), simply set “state behavior” for “Selected Rack State” to “on” - now Cantabile will remember thich rack “preset” was selected with every song state (read all about song states and rack states if you haven’t yet!). Now you can simply step through your song states, and Cantabile will automatically switch Guitar Rig to the correct patch.

In order to make Guitar Rig patches available as rack states, you’ll have to define a rack state for every preset you want to expose, then use the “Entire Bank” state behavior for Guitar Rig, so that Cantabile will save the entire configuration of Guitar Rig in your rack for every rack state. This way, you can completely re-configure Guitar Rig by changing the rack state.

It’s all a bit complex in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes really easy!

Cheers,

Torsten

1 Like

Thanks a lot Torsten! If I understood correctly, the idea is to have just one rack with Guitar rig and NOT one rack per song. That is a linked rack, right? then inside that linked rack, I create one Linked Rack State of each Guitar Rig Preset that I want to expose to the actual Song Parts.
Then Inside each song, I import the Linked Rack. Inside each Song Part I select the preset that I want from the EXPOSED presets in the linked rack.

As said in the original post, yes that works…but a bit cumbersome as I need to:

  1. Create a Guitar Rig Patch per song section (ok, I’d do it anyway to SAVE my patches)
  2. Go to the linked rank and create a STATE for EACH Guitar Rig Preset created in 1)
  3. Go to each song, select the Song Part and then select the Linked Rack Preset from the drop down menu.

Thanks!!!

Thanks Corky! Yes, as discussed, this seems to be the solution to re-use the plugin instances.
Just to confirm, you would use a linked rack, right? Becuase the SAME behavior (having one Rack State per Guitar Rig preset) can be done at an embedded rack level, but does not make too much sense…because when you switch songs, even if all use the SAME embedded rack, the rack would be reloaded…correct me if im wrong, but that is the reason that linked racks were created…

Regards,
Danny Bullo

Thanks Dave!!! That is EXACTLY what I was looking for!!! Why that is so good?

  1. I create the presets in Guitar Rig for different songs and song parts, and SAVED them in the plugin (As mentioned, I’d save those presets anyway to keep backups of my songs!)
  2. create a linked rack with the settings you describe
  3. in Cantabile, I create 20 songs. In each one, I import the Linked Rack. for each Song Part, ALL I HAVE TO DO IT OPEN THE PLUGIN AND SELECT THE PRESET I WANT/ TWEAK KNOBS, and the setting will be saved in each song state.

This saves the hassle to create the Linked Rack States to represent all Guitar Rig presets.

That is AWESOME, thank you and all!!!

Danny Bullo

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Glad it worked out Danny!! Between us all here at the forum there are a lot of ideas and ways to do things.

Dave

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Glad you got it going Danny!

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I’d say it makes sense to get used to this workflow - it becomes very intuitive after some time. It’s essentially a “hardware-preset-like” approach: on a hardware device, you build presets; then during a song, you select and load these presets and don’t fiddle with the details of the hardware. The rack becomes the “preset black box” and the rack states abstract from the details.

And once you have a couple of “standard” rack states for your guitar rack (e.g. clean, chorus, dirty, crunch, high-gain, lead), there’s no need to create new rack states - you just use the presets you have already created. Only if a song requires a specific adaptation or tweak, you create a new rack state. Pretty much like using a Kemper or Quad Cortex: you get through most songs on a small number of presets / performances, and you build specific ones if there’s a special signature sound for a song…

Once you have a number of racks in your setup (I have dozens of them in my live setup), you just don’t want to dig into the different plugin settings to set up your sounds - usually, when building a new song, I get by with all the presets (rack states) I’ve built over the years. Then, the approach of using rack states actually becomes more efficient: no need to open the individual plugins, just pick a preset from the rack states list. Only now and then do I really need to get into building a new patch on one of the dozens of racks involved…

But there’s nothing wrong with @dave_dore’s approach of exporting the GuitarRig settings to the song and saving them there - there’s always multiple ways to get things done in Cantabile.

For example, when using TH-U as my guitar plugin, I tend to use just one preset per song and then make use of the “Scenes” feature of TH-U to switch between different configurations of that preset via a MIDI command (that I send to my TH-U rack from a second rack “TH-U scene”). So the TH-U rack stays the same, just the setting of the TH-U Scene rack changes. That way, I don’t need to load a full new preset between states - no sound dropouts or other acoustic nastiness. But that just works with TH-U - none of my other guitar plugins work that way. I don’t know if Guitar Rig has a similar “scenes” feature - would be worth exploring.

One final recommendation especially for guitar setups: it’s very much worth it to have your reverbs and delays OUTSIDE your guitar rack and in separate racks. Two reasons for this:

  1. when you change your GuitarRig setup with “Entire Bank” between song states, all reverb and delay tails are brutally cut off. Keeping delay and reverb in separate racks avoids that. And you can have multiple reverb and delay racks in your song (different setups for verse and chorus, and especially solo :wink: ) - simply switch the routing from the Guitar Rig rack to the different reverb / delay racks depending on song state. That way, all reverb and delay tails get to ring out nicely.

  2. Reverb and delay are the effects I tend to customize most to the specific song. I can get by with a handful of standard patches on the amp side of things (if I must :wink: ) and then just customize reverb and delay time and amount. So this helps reduce the number of presets you need in your guitar amp rack. And my delay / reverb racks (I usually have both in sequence in one rack) use the “exported state” method @dave_dore suggested - for these, I really have mostly song-specific settings, so it makes sense to store that at song level…

Cheers,

Torsten

4 Likes

Thanks Torsten! I believe that both approaches work. Guitar Rig does not have snapshots. Line6 Helix does though…
Personally, I like to tweak patches per song per section, even if the base sound is standard.
Even if you play in a “simple” band, such as AC/DC…sure, there are not many sounds…Maybe Clean, clean+chorus, crunch, distortion, and lead…But it is good to tweak them per song to adjust the perfect level, reverb/delay to match what you need. Either case, the bottom line is to have a set-list and on stage you ONLY press a few footswitches : Next song, Next Section, expression pedal if the sound needs it (Wha, filters, etc), and maybe another button for tuner.
I will keep experimenting.

Thank you all, have a nice weekend!
Danny Bullo

Hi All. A few updates:

The suggested solution works but has a serious problem.

  1. Either in linked rack state or song state it seems that is IMPOSSIBLE to select a plugin preset whose number is OVER 128. Can I send program change manually and specify over 128?

  2. Using the ENTIRE BANK option or ENTIRE PLUGIN SNAPSHOT preset model seems to fix the issue. However, it is VERY slow as it seems to be reloading the plugin so cannot be used as a SONG PART.

  3. Guitar rig has TAGS that seem to be working as Banks. However, I don’t know how to send BANK CHANGE message plugin. Is it possible?

I wonder if I’m overthinking this and I should have as many instances of GUITAR RIG plugin as song parts. For example:

Song 1
Intro: Guitar rig instance 1 with preset W
Verse: Guitar rig instance 2 with preset X

Song 2
Intro: Guitar rig instance 3 with preset Y
Verse: Guitar rig instance 4 with preset Z

Also I’ll have other Amp Sim plugins and the behavior may be different. So…what is the BEST PRACTICE for this? I just want to be free and flexible to have each song section with a custom-made preset. I don’t want generics (marshall, fender, etc).

Thanks!
Danny Bullo

Not sure if what I’m doing is “best practice”, but at least it’s “working-well-practice” for a couple of years now…

As described above, I mostly use TH-U with its scenes feature, combined with keeping reverb and delay outside the actual guitar rack. So I don’t have multiple guitar racks, but sometimes multiple del/rev racks. This gives me pretty much instant changes between song parts, with no reverb or delay tails being cut off. I use “entire bank” rack state behavior with TH-U; using scenes, loading times for rack states are less relevant, since I stay in the same TH-U preset for the entire song. But even when changing rack states within a song, re-loading a complete “full bank” TH-U setup is not really slow on my system - we’re talking less than half a second, so def something I can deal with during most songs.

When I don’t use TH-U, it’s mostly S-Gear, Mercuriall AmpBox, or one of the Nembrini amps. With these, I get pretty decent change times between “entire bank” presets, especially since I have continuing delay/reverb tails covering the gaps nicely.

If you want to go really fine-grained, you can also use SongState->OnLoad bindings at song level to send MIDI commands to your guitar rack to activate/ deactivate stomp boxes or even modify effect parameters, but that’s pretty fiddly, so I’m generally not doing that.

Of course it isn’t wrong to have two instances of Guitar Rig in a song to really switch seamlessly - I just wouldn’t put the plugin directly into the song (too much pre-loading), but have two GuitarRig racks with the right rack states split up between them. So you have
Song 1
Intro: Guitar rack 1 with preset W
Verse: Guitar rack 2 with preset X

Song 2
Intro: Guitar rack 1 with preset Y
Verse: Guitar rack 2 with preset Z

You could even use state changes to change presets on the one rack you aren’t using at the moment so it’s ready with a different sound when you need it again.

TBH: don’t overthink things right now - since you’re just starting out with Cantabile, start getting your feet wet with a couple of songs, find an approach works for you and what doesn’t and grow your knowledge of Cantabile step by step. It may mean that you’ll re-organize your approach a few weeks down the road (and have to re-design some existing song files), but that’s life and learning…

Cheers,

Torsten

1 Like

Amazing response, Torsten! Your Solution is good even for “slow” plugins when in “entire bank”. I can have a few guitar rig racks with entre bank behavior. Yes, it’s slow as “changing sounds” method but here is does not matter: When song loads, both rack 1 a 2 are loaded with presets X and Y accordingly. Then when I switch to different sounds in each song part, I activate one rack and deactivate the other. Same for other songs. So, instant sound switching and still can reuse racks between songs, as opposed to have all different instances in each song. No need to mess with direct program/bank change. Will try it. Thanks again!!!