Steinberg's VST Live

Hello dear community,

Steinberg has released VST Live. What is your opinion about advantages / disadvantages versus Cantabile? I think an open discussion about competitors is always useful.

Well in my expert unbiased opinion it must be absolute rubbish :robot:

EDIT - well it is German so it can’t be complete rubbish - I’ve heard of the company :grinning:

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I remember V-Stack, which I liked. It disappeared from the VST landscape,which is just as well, as I only really used it to test and try out VSTs without going through a whole DAW process.

This looks really interesting and powerful. I would have to upgrade my live Win7 stable laptop to Win 10 or 11 and that scares me when my rig works so well with Cantabile.

Gig Performer was also interesting but Cantabile has always been my daily driver. I just do keyboards and no vocals and sometimes backing tracks with Transcribe so I don’t need all that other stuff. But I can see the usefulness for a band and the price is certainly right. Wonder what the bundled sounds are like.

Also, I never get good support from Steinberg.

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And there within is the answer. :thinking:


I don’t really have the temporal or mental bandwidth to experiment with another Cantabile alternative. And Steinberg don’t even provide a trial version (at least I didn’t find one), so I’m out…

From what I’ve seen on the website, it looks like the sweet-spot of VST Live is bands playing to backing tracks or a click track, with everything else (live sounds, mixing, chords, lyrics) running in sync to the backing. But difficult to form a judgement without having a trial version to play with…


I had a quick look at the manual out of curiosity and could see none of the features I rely on like bindings, which are extremely powerful.

That is as far as I am going, given I have Cantabile and it does everything I want.

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It seems pretty basic. There’s no way Live could run the show I have set up in Cantabile. It has neither the features, nor the flexibility.

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The built in DMX support intigues me but not sure which hardware it supports.

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TBH, I’m not really impressed - just plain DMX parameter faders with the ability to automate along a backing track. Not really state-of-the-practice to fiddle with faders to set a light scene…

I prefer having a separate DMX software (DMX control in my case), controlled by Cantabile via MIDI - best-of-breed combined :wink:

After scanning the manual, I’d have to say: probably a good option for people for whom Cantabile is too technical or “nerdy” - it will probably be easier to put together a show quickly with VST Live without the steep learning curve involved in mastering Cantabile - but if you’re willing to invest the time and intellect, Cantabile is able to address far more sophisticated use cases and complex setups.


Good points. I use DMXIS at the moment but it’s become abandonware so not sure how long it will continue to function.

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Please don’t misunderstand: I’m an absolute Cantabile fan, but you always have to see what others do differently and maybe better. I agree with you that Steinberg’s program is more for quick cooking and is not mature at all - on the other hand, it is definitely a baby and therefore has a lot of possible potential (Video, Light, Lyrics, …). Perhaps Cantabile should offer something for the ‘Non-Nerd’ in the user interface and/or instructions as well, to make the learning curve a little more friendly. Racks and bindings, for example, should in my opinion only be tried once you have really mastered the rest. Another point would be the clarity of the GUI and the speed of “drag and drop”. Here, in my opinion, Presonus Studio One is the measure of all things and with Studio One’s ‘ShowPage’ also on the way to plowing the same field as Cantabile … I’m still very curious about your opinions on this

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I don’t know if any of you watched this YouTube review but within 5 minutes the app crashes:


That’s always the trade off - power for simplicity except when a wizard manages to combine them. With MIDI , digital audio and virtual instruments it’s not easy but Brad has more than delivered. Then uber users like Torsten Ecke and Dave Dore figure out how to do things no one imagined. Terry Britton has hosted (and recorded) Zoom meetings to walk through more advanced features. I believe that users have to put in good effort just to understand the components Cantabile controls much less the software itself. I agree if anyone has ideas for simplifying Cantabile that it’s worth considering.


Whilst I agree that Cantabile is definitely more “techy” than other pieces of software, let’s also acknowledge that companies like Presonus or Yamaha/Steinberg have far more resources they can throw at building a piece of software, so they can have a whole team only building the UX/GUI layer, with others specializing on the audio engine, a third team focusing on writing manuals and producing videos etc.

@brad is essentially a one-man-show, dealing with everything from the audio core through the user interface to the manual and videos and user support. So I find it amazing what a sophisticated and complex product and still relatively user-friendly experience he has built with Cantabile.

Maybe it’s good that Steinberg has brought a more entry-friendly product to the market to get more users excited about working “in the box” who can then later graduate to Cantabile when their needs become more complex and sophisticated - somewhat like Excel vs. SPSS :wink: . And maybe it may be useful to point some of the beginners who don’t have the time or energy to really understand the complexity of Cantabile and get frustrated towards a more simple and intuitive solution.

Horses for courses, really - personally, I like Cantabile’s focus on functionality; the GUI is definitely good enough for my taste, so I wouldn’t really need Brad spending too much time on re-working the GUI after all the time he’s already spend on the new GUIkit. But hey, that’s just me…




I too use DMXIS, and so long as VST2 remains supported, no reason why it should not carry on working

However, ENTTEC have just brought out EMU which might be worth taking a look at


Hi Torsten, you are absolutely right! What Brad is doing is incredible and I have the utmost respect. I just wanted to hear your opinion on a - let’s be clear - a new competitor that is about to evolve in a short period of time precisely because of the more distinct capabilities of a large company. Cantabile has the advantage of a ‘sworn community’! I think this includes a lively exchange about things that would be desirable. Cantabile is also “number one” for me - by far.
BTW: is there an up-to-date step-by-step guide for beginners or a ‘Most Helpful Tutorials’ section? I haven’t looked in a while.
Best regards

Hello to everyone here! I also share the opinion from Torsten about the really great work of Brad. Cantabile is the product, with which you can setup all your planned environment.

Sure, sometimes it is really tricky to find a mostly simple way and I was more than one time confused by the complexity. Caused by this I´ve tested GP4 - but only 14 days, no lower version for free and in the end not with the impression, it could be the right tool for me.

As a long time Steinberg user (since 1989) I ´ve tested immediatly the little Version of VST Live. My experience with this is: It´s not really comparable with Cantabile. It is not made for the live Keyboarder, its focus is the live act with a fix program set including lyrics, chords and light.

For the moment it is also horrorable unstable.

So: Brad is working on cantabile and every new version has some new and useful features that make it better to use. Addionally he does a great support and listen to his customers.

All that gives me the best product, in my mind, there´s no better solution.

It is only my opinion, but maybe it is useful for someone!

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Cool - looks like a more modern successor to DMXIS - approach is similar. I like the direct linkage to MIDI and the VST plugin! But I feel the overall approach is still very old-school: programming your fixtures directly via individual parameter faders (with a bit of X/Y support for moving heads) and some oscillators for moving effect. I’m missing all the hardware abstraction features of modern DMX packages - in DMX Control, I simply select a group of fixtures on my stage view, set their color to a certain tint (or a preset that I have defined) and don’t have to bother with dragging RGBxx faders. Also, automation, fanning, cue lists, priorities, etc are sadly missing in EMU.

For example, I have defined two groups of fixtures (front and back), created specific cues (static or dynamic) that set a mood for these groups (e.g. Front red static, Back purple pulsing), then I have priority overrides to set some of the front fixtures to warm white (to highlight a singer or a soloist). So for a specific song or song section, I pick a pre-defined cue for the Front lights, the Back lights, and pick a “highlight” override for singers or soloists - done! I do this via a “lights” rack that has these three sub-racks with rack states for the three groups, exported to the song) . Then I have full overrides on button bindings (e.g. for a subdued light scene for breaks) - when I turn them off, they go back to the currently selected “normal” scene. All this is super-helpful for putting together lighting scenes quickly, without having to fiddle with DMX faders and individual fixture parameters.

There are other similar options for the lower range of the budget (e.g. Daslight), and of course the professional end of the spectrum works this way (grandMA et al). DMX control is free and super-powerful, but a bit “nerdy” - but that’s nothing that should deter a Cantabile aficionado :wink:

But maybe that’s something for a separate DMX and lighting thread…


I guess I might be stuck in a workflow that works for me re DMXIS using the current DMXIS VST2 plugin driven by MIDI tracks but it has worked well for me since 2009, but a Pink Floyd tribute act has quite a fixed set, so less need to be flexible.

And TBH right now I have no need to change as getting going again post COVID is proving really hard (it has really killed the gig scene around here unless you are a 12 bar blues/pub rock act or can take an acoustic guitar to open mic night), so not even sure I will ever gig again, but that again is possibly the subject of another thread. :slight_smile:


I feel your pain there brother.