Sharing my learning curve

I’m starting with two acoustic electric guitars and my vocal. The guitars are a Breedlove SC25/MY 6 string and a Taylor 655CE 12 string.

I’ll need at least two song templates, perhaps four. 1 Vocal/6 String mix, 2 Vocal/12 String mix and perhaps a hard and soft version of each mix.

Each template will have a vocal and guitar rack.

I have one send for now, to a Nembrini Audio - Shimmer delay. Each rack will send to it.

I have one master, Waves L3-LL Multi-Maximizer, which feeds the stereo audio output for my template.

The master receives three inputs, one from each rack and one from the send.

I’ve created a ‘test song’ from which I can create templates after it’s tested. Hence the song title.

Now, on to rack and preset-ology, to learn how presets, racks and parameters are saved and interact.

I’m sharing this in case it helps others.

Are you going to record one of the two guitar parts and add it as an audio track so you can play live through Cantabile with the above setup?

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No. I’m delegating specific songs to specific guitars and specific EQ/Compression/Expansion and filtering settings to ballad type songs (quiet songs) and ‘heavy wooden’ songs (rockout songs).

I don’t know how it will work, because I’ll try my ‘test song’ setup plugged in for the first time tonight.

It took me half a day to find the ‘stereo out’ of the first rack, because I must gather firewood, plow and shovel snow, and work on other projects, so I didn’t drag the rack window up and scroll down at first instance.

I will eventually create MIDI tracks in Ableton as I learn to use my Arturia KeyStep37 and those will support song timingbin Cantabile.

And, I’ll be adding two additional audio inputs to accommodate my TC-Helicon Live-Acoustic track 3 harmony and track 4 parallel guitar stomp box.

But tonight, I’m just trying to make Cantabile make noise in my headphones.

Baby steps.

Somebody should write a VST for that …



Audio inputs connected (2), Shimmer delay (sends) dialed in, BBE plugins dialed in, guitar rack renamed-deleted-reinstalled-relinked, phantom audio inputs deleted, all plugins renamed for new title plan, saved all and all sounded great! Happy.

Next step: Find the best way to dulicate linked racks under new names, so I can modify them for soft play, 12 string and capo applications, using dedicated racks tuned for each application. Then templates after that.

Don’t know if this will work for you or not, but I have several guitars that I run through cantabile, due to the different tonal characteristics of each, I created a rack with an EQ that I put in front of everything else, in my case that would be amp Sims. The rack has a state for each guitar. That way if I have tones or effects chains I don’t need to create a different song for different guitars. Plus, over the years your gear will change and this makes it so you don’t have to reconfigure at all, just create a new EQ state.

Thanks for any and all hints and helps.

That would actually work, as each instance has unique parameters for essentially the same chain. The question comes down to the states.

My racks (vocal & guitar) are linked racks and they have unique preset parameters.

I haven’t identified whether those parameters stay with each song, or if changing them in one song modifies the rack for other songs using that rack.

I ran into that with Waves plugins early on and created separate setups, so I didn’t have to verify each plugin’s parameters.

When I first used the Waves Studio Rack, the A/B switching (6/12 string) didn’t follow the A/B instance of the studio rack, so separate Ableton setups solved the issue.

I’m using the Waves Studio Rack in each of my Cantabile linked racks. I found that splitting the 4k+ band left and right decreased string noise sibilance effectively.

I don’t use a pick and the LR Baggs Anthem StagePro microphones clearly hear my fingers touch the strings, even when attenuated as far as I want to go. The 4-11k band drop/split makes that go away.

I’m using the Waves C6-sidechain in each rack to duck bass vocal for guitar and mid-high guitar for vocal. EQ levels and ducking change with the application, because of the guitar characteristics.

I’m learning about ‘states’, but haven’t used them yet.

You’re saying I should create multiple ‘snapshots’ and assign them to states? Or do linked rack parameter settings follow the song? Or do states follow the song?

I need to learn about states, snapshots and parameter saves.

My setups are simple at this point, so I can sort out all these answers, before adding the harmony and pedal FX guitar audio inputs.

My guitars won’t change, unless stolen or destroyed. I sold the other two, to focus on these.

I’m also isolating Cantabile user plugin presets from Ableton user plugin presets, for no platform change surprises.

My Cantabile linked rack chains are as follows…

Vocal/Guitar: Waves Studio Rack [bands and parallel Left/Mid/Right or L/R splits]; Waves C6-sidechain; CLA-Vocals or CLA-Guitars respectively, then BBE-Mach3 Bass (for guitar), then BBE-Harmonic Maximizer, BBE-Sonic Maximizer, BBE-Loudness Maximizer (vocal and guitar racks), out to the rack stereo out.

The future pedal MIDI plan is to expression or state modify the CLA-Vocals/CLA-Guitar reverb anount, along with mixing parameters inside the Nembrini Audio Shimmer delay (non-racked send plugin).

But that comes later.

I’ve found no guides or videos that review creating templates, how they work, restrictions and/or hints to how linked racks are handled.

Save-as sort of works as a template, but I saw one (template menu listing) on the menu.

So, I’ll explore these questions as I move forward and try to provide those answers. Such missions are in my wheelhouse, but in HVAC automation, not music software.

If there’s an article, guide, manual, video I’ve missed, feel free to let me know.

Short but good night tonight. Saved/saved-as/saved as template ‘Test song’ and saved both racks. Also saw that I can save-as and save template, my racks.

Next, I will creat a couple duplicate songs, change rack and plugin parameters in one and see if the changes appear in the other. If they do, then parameters follow the racks/plugins. If they don’t, then parameters follow the song. Great stuff to know either way

The truth is, I can fidget endlessly with parameters and wonder if I could gain this or that, but end of day I want dedicated rack sets with dedicated plugins for dedicated applications, dedicated to the songs that use them.

Each guitar application mixes with my vocal differently, due to its dominant frequencies, so each mix must respect both guitar and vocal.

Hard and soft play require individual treatment as well. Even then picking vs strumming can surprise.

I can dedicate racks and plugins to each.

Parameter arrays might work as well, perhaps more efficiently, but I don’t want to think about parameter arrays.

So I’m going with dedicated racks and substantial justification to meddle with them… so I can concentrate on playing.

Actually, you have a say in that - you can tell a rack to save internal parameters with a song. That way, you can re-use a rack, but have song-specific settings. Take a look at “Exported Settings”.

If you put plugins directly into a song (not using a rack), their settings will definitely be saved with the song (unless you fiddle with their internally saved presets, but that’s a different can of worms). Cantabile will generally save the setup of a plugin with its songs (like a DAW does). And, if you use song states, you can have different settings of your plugins within a song (e.g. verse, chorus) - see here.

Regarding hard/soft playing and picking: why not have one standard processing rack for your main guitar tone and have different rack states (meaning different settings of the plugins inside the rack) for your playing style. I assume that the general processing chain is the same for your different playing styles, just the settings are different - an ideal case for one shared guitar processing rack with different settings per style.



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Also excellent advice and appreciated.

My racks are in fact identically configured. The difference lies within the presets of the plugins within the racks, ie I may increase guitar ducking because the 12 string has a much stronger mid/high response.

If internal preset choice (within a rack) can be exported to the parent song, then that’s the best way to use the same rack/s with song specific presets.

I will try this, as I’m learning how to setup the racks and export them to the parent song for saving with the song.

I’ll need to read the section you sent a few times.

If I understand correctly, the preset parameters of the plugin are the domain of the plugin, while the chosen plugin preset is the domain of the rack (and selectable by the state of the rack).

Since my two racks are linked racks, I need the domain control of the rack to be saved and controlled by which song it’s in.

Then it’s just a matter of creating plugin presets for each style and keeping two sets… one for Cantabile and one for Ableton, so that session adjustments don’t cross platforms.

Your input has helped my growth.

Thank you Torsten.

OK so I worked with state behaviors for songs and racks, per the Exported settings section of the Song and Rack states guide under ‘Performance Management’ and created templates using parent, using both, using neither and my initial vocal and guitar racks followed my switch, regardless of which song I loaded.

When I get a MIDI foot switch, I’ll deal with rack states.

For now, I’m most comfortable creating discrete racks to go with discrete templates. They don’t mess up, they’re solidly consistent and I don’t have to check to see if they worked.

Now I can concentrate on tuning my templates and getting my songs ready.

Thanks for all the input and Merry Christmas.