Time Signatures & Virtual MIDI Input for Media Playback

Hi folks… I’m just about to start trialling Cantabile. I am currently a Forte user but due to a number of reasons I’m looking for a new solution. I will probably be posting a few Use Cases with how I use Forte currently but for now I have a question about a couple of “Features” of forte that I can keen to discuss with you.

A short summary of how I use Forte;

  • Running Backing Tracks and click tracks (multiple stems with changing time signatures for some pieces - pesky musicians)
  • One MIDI controller (MPK261) triggering one shot samples, multiple layered synths and live VST mixing (level, fx, aux send/returns, eq)
  • Sending FX patch program changes to Guitar pedals, Vocal FX units
  • MIDI Triggered drum samples from an Alesis drum pad.

Now the Backing, Click and Program changes are actually all driven from energyXT (a VSTi DAW/sequencer) and the click track is driven energyXT to a small VST sampler so different drummers can have different sounds that they like to drum to.

So my first question is, how do users manage changing time signatures in the Media player? I’m keen to drop energyXT as a) it needs to be jBridged to x64 and doesn’t seem to be supported any longer and b) seems to cause a few crashes (possibly due to a))
And then my second, is there a feature similar to Virtual MIDI Interface (VMI) whereby any VST/Instrument can effectively trigger another VST? Again, this is related to the previous question as I use energy XT to sequence the click so I can cater for changing time signatures and again want to remove energyXT.
And possibly a third which is sustaining instruments while changing “racks”(? I’m still trying to get used to the new terminology); so one “song” in a set can blend into another including changing BPM etc seemlessly

I read through the post here by @tomboughner which was hugely informative and probably made up my mind to at least try out Cantabile.

I know this is probably a bit of a mish-mash of questions and quite happy to split them out to separate threads if this is preferred but desperate to get cracking.

Thanks in advance and I apologise for my future pestering :wink:

Like many others, I converted from Forte. Read everything you can find from @torsten for a start. There are many helpful others, too.

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Excellent - thank you. I’ll get rummaging :slight_smile:

Hi there - welcome!
A midi file hosted in Cantabile will determine the time signature and tempo if set to ‘master’.

  1. how did you create a MIDI track with only tempo signature information inside it?
  2. is it possible to do this (i.e. to push PLAY and to let the MIDI track decide the tempo) AND at the same time playing an audio track synced? I have a sequence which I have to play upon; but in this audio file, the time signature changes: it’s 4/4, but there are a 2/4 and a 3/4 in the middle.

so should I make the MIDI track (with 82 BPM and all the time changes) as MASTER and the audio as slave? how can I play Metronome, MIDI and AUDIO at the same time with a single button/binding? thanks.

  1. In my case, I used Nuendo (Cubase) and created a short midi part. I did this because just creating a tempo map did not allow for export of a midi file.
    Once the empty midi part was created, I wrote my signature changes (didn’t do tempo, but could have done) and then exported a midi file.
    The midi file does not need any additional midi data to exist apart from tempo and/or time sig.

  2. It’s easy to sync audio to midi. Simply record audio to the tempo/sig track and export the audio files from bar 1.
    Place the audio track(s) into a media player and slave mode. Here are the manual definitions for the two slave modes:

The difference between realtime and musical is the playback speed/tempo of the synced media file.
> Realtime - the synced media file plays at it’s native speed and depends on the slave and master both having
> the same tempo in order to stay in sync. eg: A metronome set to a particular tempo and an audio file
> recorded at the same tempo.
Musical - here the target MIDI player ignores the tempo information in the MIDI file and instead tracks the
master transport. eg: when a midi file is synced to the metronome, changing the tempo of the metronome will
cause the midi file to play faster/slower.

I’ve bolded the setting I think would be appropriate for your requirements - that is, to have audio parts stay in sync with the tempo/sig midi track.

Whichever binding you use to start the ‘Master’ media player will kick off all the slaved media files, and start Cantabile’s own transport. You can generate a click from Cantabile’s built in metronome (you can customize the sound and output) or use a midi file; maybe the tempo track could issue the click too, if you wish to work it that way.


Perfect! Of course… Thank you! I’ll give that a shot this evening. And “Realtime” seems like the approach I need to use for sync. I plan on using another VST to playback the click sounds (I currently use ShortCircuit 2 but as it’s no longer supported and I need to jBridge will look for another lightweight sampler). I think this answers my question on VMI too (maybe not for others requirements but this is all I used it for i.e. triggering sampler from another VST (MIDI playback).

Thanks again… I have a lot (A LOT) of learning to do as there seem to be so many ways to achieve an objective but I created my first setlist and it did what I needed. Probably need to experiment with racks and states a bit as not quite getting my head around how I’d use them for optimal reusability in sets but very nice so far and looking forward to trying out the Song Grid (although I don’t see that option in my current trial version). TOP BANANA!

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do you mean I have to record the audio track inside Cantabile and export it from Cantabile? Is this a necessary step? Because I’d like to keep the audio file untouched, as is now, without a re-export. :slight_smile:

Hi again.

OK - I have created a MIDI track with tempo and time signature changes and imported this to a Media Player in Cantabile, Set the Media Player as Sync Mode (Master) and this works fine - splendid.

However, the internal metronome acts a little “funny” when playing back “measures” so I thought I’d add some MIDI note information into the MIDI file to play a sampler with the click sounds I need. I can see the MIDI notes in the MIDI file in Cantabile however I can’t seem to get the MIDI information passing to the “Object” VST to playback. Note: I have just added the MIDI Notes to the same tempo/time track - I can’t see that being an issue, can it?

Here’s a screenshot of my screen/routings at present;

I have created an Input Port for my master keyboard and set this to “Click - MIDI In” (the instance of Kontakt I am using to test the click) and I plays the notes fine.

I have also set the Media Player MIDI Out route to Click - MIDI In.
In the Click Rack I have the Inpute Port as “Rack: MIDI In” (the only option available) and Destination as Kontakt 5.

As I mentioned, I can play the samples via the keyboard but the MIDI track in the Media file isn’t triggering the Kontakt samples.

I’m sure I’m missing something obvious but can’t for the life of me figure it out…

Can anyone provide any pointers?

Thanks again!

EDIT Ignore Me… IGNORE ME! Apolgoies - I realised when I edited the Media Player file I removed the MIDI track from the Media File Properties… Ooops!

This is what I have now and all is well in the world again!

I think it means in the DAW/Host that you are creating the Temp/sig track (Cubase/Logic/Nuendo) etc, add the audio here so you can sync up your audio with your click - the assumption being that you created the audio already in the DAW so this should be a simple task. Either way, as long as in the DAW the tempo track syncs with your tempo/sig track you can export this audio file from bar 1 as well as the MIDI track and then use two Media Players; one for the tempo/sig and one for the audio. For the audio Media Player, just set this to slave to the MIDI tempo/sig track (setting the audio Media Player as “Sync mode Slave Realtime”). Then the audio will always be in sync with your MIDI tempo/time sig!

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oh yeah right… sorry! and many thanks!!! :smiley:
I’ll let you know as soon as I can.

hi guys. I just can’t make it working. I made a MIDI track and set the Time Signature changes (basically on 4/4, I made a 2/4 measure and a 3/4 measure, then back to 4/4). Exported MIDI track and imported into Cantabile, into Media Player, set the tempo to 82 BPM and made it MASTER. I imported the audio track into another Media Player and set to Slave (Realtime).

The Time Signature does not change. What did I forget? Thanks.

BTW… I’m on Cantabile Solo. Does it change something?

I’m sure someone much more knowledgeable than me will point you in the right direction but just to confirm,did you create a “blank” MIDI track before exporting? As Ade mentioned above, without this there may be issues (don’t know why).

Have you tried only setting the MIDI file (in Cantabile) to Master (i.e. not worrying about the audio yet) and not setting the tempo in the options (let the MIDI file determine the tempo i.e. setting tempo in MIDI setting in Cantabile Media Player to “unchanged”?)…

Not sure what else to suggest as it should work (not helpful I know) and don’t think Solo would impact this. If you can share the MIDI file I could try it in my setup and see what happens?

yes, a blank MIDI track. here’s the MIDI file. Let me know, thanks :slight_smile:

EDIT Ignore the below - I discovered the time signature changes just right at the end of the file (my zoom won’t zoom out far enough to see it… See edit at end of post!

Ok… I don’t see any data in that file. No MIDI part, no time signature - only tempo data (which DOES work in Cantabile when leaving Tempo as “unchanged” and I skip onto bar 121.

See the below screenshot for the file which I will attach which I used to test (and works fine);

You can test using the file here
As you can see, when imported in Cubase you can see the Time Signature changes (just right click “Add Signature Track” which will actually just display what is already there).

When I import your file in Cubase I only see the below;

So I only see Tempo changes at bar 121,221, 338 etc but no time signature changes. It may be that you have already done this but maybe this isn’t being exported as there is no MIDI part (try creating even a blank 4 bar MIDI part in the OmniSphere track?

SO - if you are overwriting the tempo in the Cantabile Media Player, the tempo changes in your MIDI file will be ignored (and there are no time signature changes). If you WANT the tempo changes you need to leave Tempo as Unchanged otherwise Cantabile will change ALL tempo’s to whatever you input here;

So, just try and add the time signature changes to your file again and all should be fine; all you do is move the cursor to the position you want (best done on a measure/bar) and manually type in the time signature. You will then see the “flag” in Cubase (or whatever DAW you are using).

EDIT APOLOGIES… There ARE Time Signature changes but all right at the end of the file and they DO work (even if overwriting the tempo);

So unless you play right at the end of the file (bar 1361, 1362 etc) in Cantabile you won’t hear them

ok, I found my error: I exported without locators, so the MIDI file went exaggerately long. Now I exported the right lenght (here’s the correct MIDI file and it works, but one issue: when it change to 2/4 for one bar and then to 4/4, the metronome doesn’t switch correctly. Instead of having 1 bar of 2/4 and the rest of the song of 4/4, the sound of the metronome (not the time signature on the upper main bar in cantabile, on which I can see the time and the flashing green and yellow light) plays 2 bars of 2/4 and the rest in 4/4, so I have the 4/4 bars that don’t have the first bell on the metronome on the first time. So:

the bell is * and the others are -

instead of having
*- *— *— etc
I have
*- *- *— etc
and the result is that 4/4 bars are inverted: the * is on the third time.

I already contacted @brad, he is so patient with us… these days I bombed him with many mails… sorry Brad :sweat:

Yes - I had the same issues too (as mentioned in an earlier post). This is why I started using the MIDI file to playback my own click track (by routing the MIDI to my own sampler using whatever sounds I wanted)… Would be nice to simplify this in Cantabile metronome so if this is something Brad can fix that would be swell… Glad you figured out the time signatures :slight_smile:

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