Show me your Cantabile Rig!


Great perspective @Torsten, thanks! I have the same paranoia as you, and have backups of everything, including my main controller keyboard (this might seem extreme, but at 4pm on the day before my first gig with my band, pretty big gig, 1000 seater, my PC3x failed due to a dodgy power supply. I had to quickly source another to hire (not at all easy), and reprogram in all the quite numerous changes I’d made to my setups since my last data backup. Many lessons learnt that day!

I take a backup audio computer and audio interfaces, and I’ve considered a hot standby setup, but haven’t quite got to the point of setting up the switching. I must put some time into working that out. Not really practical to run separate channels, as I’m already sending 8 to front of house!




Yes, the tablet is a Windows 10 machine which runs my own (free) little app called “LivePrompter” (specialized to display and scroll lyrics and chords in time with the song). Both the LivePrompter tablet and the Cantabile laptop are connected to a wifi network (I always have one on stage, since my mixer is remote-controlled via iPads). LivePrompter sends MIDI program changes to Cantabile via rtpMidi and controls song loading in Cantabile. Works extremely well.

If you want to learn more about this, take a look at this thread: Cantabile and LivePrompter - now better together!



Contemplating on taking the plunge

… and here’s an even more stripped-down but super-powerful Cantabile Rig:

I’ve put together a minimal setup that will work when there’s any kind of 88 key weighted MIDI keyboard in place:

  • Cantabile laptop with audio interface (MOTU UltraLite)
  • Novation LaunchControl XL for faders and knobs (some will even provide pitch bend and aftertouch via Controller Map filter)
  • two pedals (double switch + expression) plus my “red knob” switch
  • a little “MIDI Switchbox” I’ve knocked together on a Teensy microcontroller that my pedals plug into. It converts their input to MIDI controller data via USB
  • a VoiceLive Touch (backup for my VoiceLive 2) plus microphone
  • my Variax (doubles as acoustic in a pinch)

Add some cables and a microphone stand and I could run my complete live set from this equipment. And it will fit in a small suitcase plus a gig bag for the Variax. I could probably take all of it on a flight as cabin baggage …




Cool Torsten!

That Teleprompter Software rocks!
I love the “d_time” function. We’re thinking about playing to metronome/backing tracks so I can program the timing exactly to the song position.

Programming Setlists in a text file is bit freaky… with a little typo the song can’t be found.
(so I have to move to all songs before a gig to see if everything will work fine)
But I think it will work fine. Most of the time the singer of the band will make the setlist, and while the setlist in a txt format it will be 100% compatible and probably easy to work with.
I’ll see if I will be happy with the chordpro format. I used pdf files for years.
(on an old “pre-ipad” type… pen controlled windows computer) Setlists needed to be done within an excel file… double click on the column before the song… and the song will move to the right side of the excel sheet which will be the final setlist. And the Songnames are linked to pdf files on the hard disk. Oldschool. :slightly_smiling:
The advantage when using pdf files is that I can add a small text box like "play here on beat 1! buddy!) next to the lyrics… and an arrow showing where i need to be careful. :wink:

Question again:
On your picture showing your live rig (cool!) :wink: you’ve got the liveprompter software running on all 3 screens… But how do you know cantabile is running fine?
I think I need to know some important things during the gig…

  1. if cantabile generally works
  2. which preset is selected
  3. the next/previous preset)
  4. if the vst plugins are already loaded

How do you deal with that playing live? If you only have the 8" tablet on your kurzweil for the chords/lyrics you don’t know the state of cantabile!?
(or do you always have the notebook visible and the cantabile screen on the notebook standing next to your keyboard?)

How do YOU deal with selecting presets during a song?
At the moment cantabile doesn’t support automatic program changes. (which I think would be easily to implement… with a marker in the timeline - then add a program change command)




Hey @Roelli,

to be sure:if you take a closer look at my live setup, you’ll see that two of my three screens are not showing LivePrompter, but Cantabile’s show notes view - that’s the laptop (which, in the gig shown sat to the right of my keyboard, but normally is set up somewhere behind me and is often closed with the screen off, so it’s normally just two screens) and the 7’’ screen on the right (which simply mirrors the laptop screen). Only the tablet in the middle shows LivePrompter.

My Cantabile show notes show me:

  • which song is selected
  • which preset within the song is active and which is next
  • some notes on the current keyboard and controller layout

See this thread: Small themes request


I don’t select presets, but I use song states (and linked song states for duplicates) for the different parts of a song (Intro, verse, chorus 1, verse 2, chorus 2, bridge, …) and step through them via a simple binding in my background rack (CC 67 linked to “next song state (instant)”). CC67 on my master keyboard is triggered by the big red button in the middle of my keyboard. For songs where I play the guitar, I simply add a binding from my sustain pedal to “next song state (instant)”.

See here: What's your preferred method for changing states?

But there is also a (somewhat clunky) way to do automatic program (or state) changes when using a backing track: simply create a MIDI file containing program changes or control changes bound to state change and route them via loopback ports. Put the MIDI file in sync with your backing track, and everything rolls automatically. If you create your backing tracks in a sequencer, creating the MIDI file from the same sequence is a breeze.

See here: Changing State By Song Position

Last on getting the set list file right:

[quote=“Roelli, post:24, topic:633”]
Programming Setlists in a text file is bit freaky… with a little typo the song can’t be found. [/quote]

I run a little batch file within my “setlists” directory to automatically list all songs in my songs directory into a text file (even in the correct code page using a little utility called cp850win.exe).

Lookee here:

del listing.txt for %%a in (..\*.txt) do @echo %%~na>> list1.txt type list1.txt |cp850win.exe > listing.txt del list1.txt

Then I simply cut, paste, and delete lines within the created file “listing.txt” to create my set list --> no-typo-guarantee! But of course, no guarantees if you change the file name later ;-)!

Hope this helps!




Thanks so much Torsten!
I’ve learned so much from you! :relaxed:
I think Brad should make a section on his webpage like “success stories” or so… where people can show how they use cantabile. That’s much easier then trying to figure it out by reading the manual.

I think the hole vst live host stuff is pretty much in the beginning. Probably I can download a software one day which already has anything we need to play a live gig out of the box.

Things to improve: Integrate livepromter into cantabile, make it easy to add programchanges into cantabile with markers to change sounds, a better window management (to view the lyircs BIG and the states small), info if the current plugins are loaded completely or still in the load-process.

I think I can live with this screen setup…
As Iam trying to only use one monitor. And clone this monitor to a floor monitor with an LCD display in it so show lyrics/chords to the band. I already built this before and it worked fine with my iPad, but automatic scrolling wasn’t invented yet with the iPad app.


Ok. Hopefully my last questions…:

  1. When I tried to move from hardware keys to a vst host I tried to have everything exactly like I had it before. I used a Fantom X6 before, which is wonderful. I started to sample 120 sounds, original ones and sounds I had to make myselfs (for coversongs). I used ‘samplerobot’ to make it easier for me but it would be a hell lot of work to sample everything + I have to redo all efffects later because it doesn’t make sense to sample everything WITH effects. I guess it would last weeks to do it. The advantage would be… every sound just need very few sample ram… maybe 1-5 Megabyte for each sound.
    I think that this method generally is somehow the wrong way to do it. :slightly_smiling:
    I searched everywhere to find THE vst instrument that works as good as my fantom X6. I never found it. :frowning: I like to be able to find standard (bred and butter) sounds quickly without loading 1GB pianos for just ONE sound.
    Could you post a list of which plugins you use? Maybe that would help me a lot.
    Also… when making sounds which don’t exist - what do you use?

  2. All Hardware setups I found (here and on youtube) don’t look 100% good to me. Some have a notebook stand, some have 19" racks on the floor, most people have tablets on top of their keyboards… that probably lasts some time to connect everything and it’s probably not that reliable.
    Doesn’t someone built their own keyboard so far? With everything included INTO the keyboard? (PC or notebook, interface, usb hub, power connectors…)
    Something like the “open labs - NEKO” keyboard.

I was kind of impressed when I’d seen this homebrew keyboard for the first time:

Since that I think that I need something like this. :wink:
I thought about a flightcase type of keyboard (just like the doepfer LMK masterkeyboards). But a bit more depth behind the keyboard. Maybe with the possibility to open the area at the top of the keyboard to get access to the parts inside of the keyboard and… to customize the “frontpanel”.
So that there is a biig frontpanel just as big as the keyboard. But the frontpanel is splitted into small panels. So everyone can make their own setup. For example… add a cheap touchscreen monitor, or even two monitors (one for the livepromter-view and the other for cantabile).
It would be easy to put controllers on top of the keyboard (with velcro) or integrate controllers into the frontpanels so that everything looks smooth and is on the same “surface height”… just like the guys from openlabs did it (or the guy in the video)

Wouldn’t this be the “world-best-solution”? :blush:
And If I need something more… I can easily modify the keyboard by adding another controller, red button or whatever I need. By the way… I own 8 cnc machines so I could customize frontpanels easily, if someone needs anything. I also built a keytar (a clone of the zen-riffer keytar) which worked out very well that I think I could easily build my own keyboard.

3 . Torsten… where can I see you playing live? Looking at your keyboard stand from musicstore cologne… maybe you’re not far away. I think it would be fun to see everything in action. :slightly_smiling:

Thanks so much!


Hey @Roelli,

just a few comments:

  1. not sure I would want LivePrompter integrated in Cantabile - I think Cantabile is a great Live VST host and even does pretty good media playing. I don’t believe too much in programs that try to be everything to everyone, so I’m pretty happy having both programs separately and even on separate devices.

  2. Same about fully integrated keyboard / computer solutions - I prefer a more modular approach (keyboard and PC separate, even a separate solution for my lyrics-prompting). When my keyboard fails, I simply get a new one; when my PC runs out of steam and I need more processing power, I get a new one… Setting up my whole rig is a matter of less than 15 mins - and it’s far easier to transport than a big bulky integrated “mothership”. So I’m pretty happy with my setup. And it looks pretty nice and lean, too…

  3. Yep, we’re not so far away - usually, you can see us live somewhere in the Düsseldorf / Mettmann area. Currently, no gig dates set, but next gigs will be up on our website as soon as we fix them.



BTW: what did you do to LivePrompter to have all text and chords show up in red? With the chords not lining up with the lyrics, I suspect that you simply loaded a text file - but why is everything showing up as chords?


Korg Pa3x
RME Babyface
DiBiox Radial Duplex
TP-Link Nano Router
MSI nootebook or Samsung S6 (view thru remote desktop using router)


My setup is pretty basic.

  • Novation Impulse 61 (top board)
  • Casio Px5 (bottom board)
  • Toshiba Satellite Pro laptop with Cantabile 3- I use the onboard sound card
  • iPad with Set List Maker (SLM)
  • iConnect Midi2+ to allow Midi connection between iPad and laptop
  • Behringer XENYX502 mini mixer which serves as preamp to boost signal coming out of laptop
  • K&M Spider Pro keyboard stand- pedals on floor have velcro (hooked) on bottom and adhere well to a simple doormat I purchased at Target
  • Quik Lok LPH-003 Laptop Stand (not visible, behined keyboard)

I have been giving some thought to retiring the Px5 to my living room and purchasing a second Novation Impulse as the bottom board- doesn’t have weighted action, but not a deal breaker for live gigging.


@Neil_Durant sorry I didn’t get back sooner (with my brother in his last days). The cooling pad is a Targus Notebook Chillhub. I remember buying it at Walmart some years ago, and was worth the extra money for the USB hub included.


Thanks for the info @Corky! It looks good - I may get one (or similar) and install it in my rack under my Cantabile box. I don’t think I’d dare use the USB hub though - I’m not sure connecting audio computer equipment to something with electric motors/fans is that great an idea. The USB ground pin is noisy enough as it is!




Hi folks!
My setup, simplest ever! :smiley:

Asus U24E with SSD hdd;
Novation 61 SL Mk II


Great to see your stuff folks !
Very educational also.

Here’s mine, with Reaper, but now on Cantabile :wink:

Nord Stage 2, Samson Graphite 49 controller
Alienware 14, Motu mk3 ultralite and even a Vortex keytar :wink:
My Pc runs backing track, synths, video, dmx for lights and smoke and mic fx :slight_smile:
All in Reaper.
I’m using cantabile now for an other band where I need to switch songs quickly, seems the best option so far!


Great pictures. Thanks for sharing. It’s nice to see someone else with a Graphite 49.


I even have 2 of them, love it, there is no better, not even in higher class


So here is my practice rig and my first outing using Cantabile. I had it running with the SL880, NanoKontrol2, FCB1010 and US200 without a glitch. Media player worked a treat and loaded all my Rack states in double quick time. I normally use a K2600x and the Triton that you can see in the pic. But some of the Fests we do only give you 15 mins setup time and its pushing it with the Kurzweil, plus its twice as heavy as the SL880. So I’ve been looking for a quick setup solution and this seems to be the way forward. On our bigger gigs I will take the full setup along with Cantabile as it opens up a new world of sound with the VST`s I’m using. :slight_smile:


Hey Chris that’s awesome - glad Cantabile is working well for you and thanks for sharing!


Definitely nice looking setup!

I like the look of that kind of stand. I’ve been tempted to get one, but was afraid of also using it in the house worried that my cats might “walk the plank” to the extreme ends and tip the entire assembly over! I rely on Z-stands and one table-style stand currently. (Hate those X-stands.)

Really like how inviting your setup appears - it draws you in to want to play it, eh? :slight_smile:



I hate it when they do that, but it’s understandable.


Still got a lot to learn Brad. Now ive got loaded what I need, I’m looking at stripping out the unwanted VST`s and samples etc :slight_smile:, then onto more Binding and setting it up with the K2600x and controllers.