Trying to create sw equivalent of Korg Kronos with Cantabile - how to deal with Karma-like pattern generation?

Hi all,

I am currently using a Korg Kronos workstation (which I absolutely love) - but a) it’s very heavy and close to impossible to transport on a plane (I have to ship it DHL for our-of-country gigs, which is expensive and time consuming) and b) my original Kronos is getting old. I am thinking of going the software route, using a more lightweight midi controller and a beefy laptop. It looks like Cantabile would fit most of my needs but there is one thing for which I have yet to find a decent solution: a software equivalent of RPPR and/or Karma.

For those unfamiliar with the Kronos terminology: I am looking for some sort of arranger-like plug-in that plays nice with Cantabile. I need to be able to program e.g. different drum loops, bass lines, melodic lines, you name it, combined into “scenes” (i.e. a given drum loop, bass line, melodic line, combined together) have all those behave according to some clock device, letting me switch them on the fly, and in-tempo (i.e. quantized to the next beat). And the non-drum lines need to adapt to any chord I’m playing (like an arranger does). What I do is improvised - so a fixed “track won’t do” - I need to be able to decide e.g. when to play which drum loop, whenever I want.

Does anyone here know of such a software and run it in/with cantabile? Any suggestions? I know about some arranger software (like varranger) but that seems to host the instruments itself - I am looking for something that spits out midi (on different channels) which I’d then route to instruments hosted within Cantabile. What would work best (I think) would be some soft of plugin that can be hosted within Cnatabile. Am I looking in the wrong direction? Does something like that exist? Am I dreaming?

All comments appreciated!


Hi @Tom_Tollenaere

I’m not aware of anything like that off hand, but would be surprised if there’s not a plugin capable of doing this.

Let me know if you find anything - I’d like to know about it.


Brad, any ideas on the following? Suppose I use a standalone arranger software. Can I route the midi generated by that software into Cantabile? Of does Cantabile only receive MIDI from hardware devices?

1 Like

It sounds like something like Ableton would do what your asking. While not a VST you can sync via a virtual MIDI cable e.g. loopMIDI

So in Cantabile you just create a MIDI port and assign it to loopMIDI instead of a physical MIDI port (and in your software e.g. Ableton) set loopMIDI as your Input MIDI (or output depending on what you want to do).

1 Like

A-ha! That sound interesting! And would not be limited to Ableton I would presume!

Thx for the hint!



Hi, yes you can use an external software like Varranger or One Man Band to send midi via a midi virtual cable hosting the instruments in Cantabile. I tried with Forte and One Man Band and it works pretty well. The issue using two separate softwares is that you’ll want the arrangement style matching the Cantabile song selection (or vice versa). I found a tricky way to do this but it was very time consuming and a programming effort, so I gave up.
You should try Geist 2 witch can be hosted in Cantabile. It’s gives you a kind of Ableton where all can be memorized in presets and states. I’m using it for drum loops and choir tracks. It’s very powerful with 8 engines witch can each trigger audio, midi, sample pads but still will not transpose to chord change.


@igbro: I just checked out Geist2 - although it (indeed) is not able to follow chords, it seems it would be what I was looking for! Thx for the tip!


Yes Tom, unfortunately as I said, Geist2 will not follow chord changes.
What hat about One Man Band? It’s an old piece of software witch worked for me.
The issue is recalling both style in OMB and a different sound setup (song) in cantabile. You can’t automate a style loading in OMB so it should be the master.You could manually insert a program change in the .sty file witch would be able to trigger a state or song change within Cantabile, but it’s a time consuming trick. Maybe you could use a generic set of sounds in Cantabile and only change the style you want to play in OMB.

I can work around Geist2 not followng chord changes - I prefer it because it avoids the double programming you mentioned.

Since you use Geist2 - can I ask a quick question about that? I understand how you’d create drum patterns with the tool, but how do you deal with melodic lines? I don’t see a pianoroll editor in the tool, so I’m wondering how that is done.

I first used Geist to fill the gap in Forte which lacks the midi and audio playback I needed.
Still using it with Cantabile despite the media player function.

In my setup (when there is no drummer) Geist 2 plays a midi file to a big drum VSti. I can trigger some audio parts (almost choir) too, while playing bass and chords live.

Drums midifile where programmed outside Geist but I time to time I still adjust things within the plugin itself.
In Geist, each pad refers to a midi note (in and out), so you can play empty (no sound loaded) pads which will trigger the corresponding midi note to the pluggin you wish.
So for me no drum sounds are loaded into Geist, just triggering the Drum vst.
You can throw to it any midi file you like! Editing notes rather than drum in the grid editor would be a little tricky but will work. Each line is a note incrementing from bottom to top. Anyway I recommend doing it in you DAW…
For each engine you can easily switch between several patterns to have, let’s say, intro, verse, chorus etc… All in Geist can be triggered or controlled by midi which is very convenient with a host like Cantabile.

I also trigger audio parts which simply are long samples loaded into pads.

Hope it helps

Very helpful! I’m going to give Geist2 a spin!


Moh! Den Tom Tollenaere van The Crowd???
Moh vint toh !
Blij u hier te zien ! =)

This guy use to play in my band !!! :slight_smile:

What a small world!

Thx all for your reactions - I am ordering Cantabile tonight.

FWIW, your reactions pointed me to other tools that I might check out for my use case and those are mainly arpeggiator VSTs: things like Nora or Kameleono! Anyhow, I should be able to build what I want to do, based on Cantabile!