So I have reached a tipping point with my Advance/VIP/laptop setup

Hi there

Sorry, this may be a bit long and confused, well, that’s probably because I’m quite confused here.

I’ve been using an Advance/VIP/Windows laptop setup on stage for a few years. We can say I know VIP quite well and it’s mostly a great solution for me. I have very few live issues and I’m very fast at exploring my VST presets thanks to the browser.

I love the integration it provides, especially with the Advance keyboard. I’m not taking a single look at my laptop during a whole live set. I have a lot of “multi” (sorry I don’t know the Cantabile vocabulary for that… songs maybe ?) that are meticulously crafted, programmed various set lists for different bands. On the other hand, it is “discoverable” enough for me to confidently join a gig or even an impromptu studio session and provide a lot of sounds/creative ideas in a very compact package.

But then, VIP is dead. I have provided a ton of feedback, did quality bug reports, contextualized suggestions… and got, well, almost nothing in return. No information just kills my long term confidence.
And of course I can see the product is not updated anymore.

So it’s sad, I can say I was 90% there - but maybe I’m lacking things I don’t even know exist - and it’s time for me to consider the jump.

Anybody can relate to my experience? I’m all hear for any kind of feedback, migration stories, tips on features you know are not available on VIP…

More specific questions if I’m not too much of a burden:

  • Can I dream about Cantabile piloting the Advance screen like VIP? (for example showing the current song’s name)?
  • Are there some midi mapping starting points for the Advance keyboard?
  • Is it possible to sync Cantabile with external clocks (both ways)?
  • How is Cantabile regarding browsing my VST’s patches? Could I import my user maps from VIP?
  • Could I import my multis ? (set of up to 8 patches with range, velocity, attached effects)
  • Could I import my set lists?

I’m more than willing to try/write programs to parse VIP setting files/SQLite and translate them to other formats if it proves to be less time consuming than doing everything again manually.

Thank you for reading up to this point!

Hi Toto and Welcome!

I am relatively sure that @brad, the developer does not have Advance/VIP migration utilities so your discussions regarding that will likely best be had with him. I left a call out to him in this post and he will get to you when he gets a moment. Regarding the questions I can answer now

Cantabile has the capabiliy of transmitting ASCII over MIDI Exclusive message for names, notes etc…

No express maps, MIDI mapping is generic

Definitely Yes

I defer to Brad on this one but I don’t think that is available either. The users make there own maps for their mixed collections of controllers so it’s open ended that way. We do share some unit specific patches but they are Cantabile Presets (the VST parameters are copied to the Cantabile song file either as entire bank or selectively by checkbox). It’s a preset system that takes a bit to get learned but is extremely flexible. If your VSTi’s have their own patch save function with it’s own separate folder that can be imported over and turned into Cantabile presets. Cantabile presets just underwent some improvements so maybe that would help, not sure …

no not as of now

also not supported

I hope this helped some and wish you well what ever you choose to do. You can get a video look of the capabilities and configuring at the website if you haven’t already been there.


Hi Dave
Thank you for your insight, which is very much appreciated!

I’m not expecting a migration tool from VIP to Cantabile but I would like to explore how I could adapt my workflow here. I’m getting familiar with the various features thanks to this website and the videos you are linking.

It seems the Controller Bar could eventually make up for part of the Advance hardware integration.
States are definitely a plus, something I was emulating in various ways in VIP. This could offload a lot of my splits and give me more flexibility.
Media Player seems nice. I had to revert to a plugin I wrote for this in VIP.
I now see midi clock synchronization which I absolutely need. Triggers seem great as I had to resort to something external in VIP for this.
I don’t see cross velocity on splits - not crucial but Omnisphere is doing it very well and VIP is not.

I get it the very fast browsing/exploration won’t be replicable, but why not keep VIP for this and finalize my sets on Cantabile.

I guess the next step will be to try Cantabile Performer which seems to have the features I really need. I should also try to load up VIP as a plugin in Cantabile and see how it works - this could help me transition between the two.

Thanks again for the insight!

Glad to help Toto and happy you are giving Cantabile a look. IMO it’s very capable and can fit a lot of situations, hopefully yours. It’s very likely to be able to create your own rack in Cantabile with the bindings to interface nicely with VIP. Also I think you can set up cross faded velocity zones with the provided MIDI filters, it’s probably a few more steps to do but do-able once explained. There are a lot of smart folks here that have experience with Cantabile so let us know if we can assist and we’ll try to help!


I took a look on VIP while considering to buy an Akai controller some months ago.
It is a VST host. I helped a friend to work with it. It didn’t convince me probably because all VSTs as gifts from Akai with VIP were using iLok, and everything was very complex.
Anyway, I would use Cantabile with VSTs directly and not with VIP.

The thing that really impressed me about VIP was that, like Komplete Kontrol, they have placed all these hundreds and hundreds of presets from different manufacturers into categories that are actually useful. I hoped for its continual improvement, as it appeared they have/had support from the synth manufacturing community.

I have it, even though I use it with Akai MPK series keyboards (owning one of those qualified me to download VIP for free), but did not look at it deeply to figure out how I might use it in conjunction with Cantabile. The states and songs capabilities of Cantabile fulfilled my needs once I’ve established what sounds I wanted to use.


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I bought an Akai Advance61 a few years ago and VIP came with it. The Advance keyboard in the meantime has a faulty key in the critical middle part so I cannot use it anymore; I use a Nektar LX88+ instead with many buttons and sliders triggering things with Cantabile. VIP has been useful to me as a search-engine for some 40000+ presets (yes I am a VST junkie…). Inside Cantabile I use it for that. I do prefer using the individual VST’s when I need them.

VIP inside Cantabile works fine. VIP might work standalone for live setups, but for sure you run into memory, CPU and loading issues as soon as you prepare a multiple setlist. Cantabile is wonderfully optimised for that, using the linked racks etc.

So I use VIP only as a search-engine, and for the rest I am preparing everything in Cantabile. I would really go that route as well if I were you.


Thank you so much @adderoo: your feedback is invaluable to me.

Same situation, at my humble level of c.a. 20 000 presets.
Do I use them all at once? Of course not - my setlists revolve around 200 multis / between 1 and 8 layers and 1 and 6 effects). But exploration is so interesting and fun with this tool.

So I have relatively heavily invested my time in VIP and it works quite well - it has some capabilities of keeping some VST in RAM and I definitey experience some caching - probably not as good as Cantabile but I still manage. I’m not using Kontakt a lot so I’m still nimble enough.

The Advance keyboard did not fail me on stage, but I expect this sooner or later, as for every hardware I"m heavily hammering on… I definitely keep a spare unit. I see people mentioning Nektar keyboards here and they look great - with lots of controls. Well, I guess in your experience it is also sturdier :slight_smile:

Thank you again for your feedback on dissociating exploration with VIP and stage programing on Cantabile. Definitely the route I need to explore now.


The issue is that the moment you want to put a setlist together with several songs and avoid loading times on stage, Cantabile shows its biggest strength. I tried this before with Reaper, but with 4-5 songs you reach your memory ceiling in your laptop. With the efficient linked racks and pre-load function in Cantabile you can easily have 30 or so songs preloaded without reaching the same ceiling; same laptop, same VST’s… No going back for me, I am perfectly happy. Did my first bigger gig with Cantabile last week without an issue.
Have fun trying, and if you have any questions, this forum is very willing to help out, as I have experienced myself as well.

Some history on this, as I have VIP from the start: To be fair for VIP and Akai/InMusic, they were first with this idea, before Komplete. This even blocked Arturia - having a collaboration with Native Instruments - to provide the specs of the V-Collection to VIP, so most Arturia plugins would not be recognized for a while by VIP. I tried to push VIP for 1-2 years or so to have Arturia presets in, but they could not get the specs. Then Komplete came around, looking remarkably the same as VIP… I have no connection to these 3 companies, but the honors go to VIP on this one…


Akai is disappointing regarding different points. Still it has the best keyboards. But also here, lack of updates and improvement. Not even showing the transpose status on the screen. Can you imagine. Lots of users complain. Nothing happens. Same with the wheel problems.