Uses for Cantabile

I’m looking for backing track software for my new band. And after some Googling it seems Cantabile can do it all, though I’m aware it’s developed as a VST host.

I want to:

  • Make a setlist of songs for a gig. The music to play form cantablile per song then contains one or more wav’s a a bbacking track. One of them will be the clicktrack.
  • Choose which song to start (and stop) from the setlist from a midi footpedal.
  • Send midi commands at certain times to my Helix pedal during songs so it changes snapshots and/or presets.
  • Send DMX commands ar certain during songs times so I can develop a light show

Am I right in assuming that Cantabile can do this all?

Arthur van Rooij

Hi, and welcome

This is all very doable. A lot of us use Cantabile for this very purpose.

As well as Brad’s excellent tutorial resources, I have written the following guides that delve into how I use Cantabile, which has been the main stay of my Pink Floyd tribute band.

I have also used it with the Line 6 Helix and used the Helix patch changes to select Cantabile songs and the Helix command centre to start and stop songs in Cantabile, and of course you could do it the other way as well

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And here is a thread where I gave some information on Helix and Helix Native

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Hi Derek, many thanks for replying. I will continue my Cantabile endevours then! :wink:

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Do reach out if you have any questions, we are a friendly bunch over here. :slight_smile:

I need to do a guide for how I do my Helix control, as I realised that the guidance I have given on that over the years is buried in posts. I am currently doing a very large guide on how to do looping in Cantabile, which is nearly done. Once I have done that, I might as do the Helix guide whilst I am in that mode and before I get down to my musical plans for autumn/winter.

I’ve been gigging with Cantabile for about 5 years now, and it will definitely do what you’re looking for. One of the bands I’m in uses backing tracks for about 75% of our sets. I used to try to premix the backing tracks down to one track, which is a challenge because once you’re with the actual band there are usually some changes you want to make. but I now run about six tracks per song, and can adjust the volume for each during rehearsal. Of course you can even EQ or add effects to individual tracks too. Once I’m happy with the final mix with the actual band, I then have the option to mix the backing tracks down to one track. My computer is pretty powerful so I don’t really need to do that anymore, I just keep all the tracks separate.

I tried a few other VST hosts, and have worked with several different DAWs, and cantabile is the most powerful and versatile for live work. Plus, this community and the developer, Brad, are extremely responsive and helpful. Where else can you post a question directly to the developer and get a reply and solution to your problem quickly?

I happen to use a behringer FCB 1010 MIDI foot pedal, And I do all the other things you’re looking for with that pedal. You can program things any way you want in Cantabile, but, for example, I have a button for next song, a button for previous song, a button for next song part, another for previous song part. Then I have a double tap button to play the backing tracks (I programmed it to require two taps, so I don’t accidentally start or stop something in the middle of a song). And another double tap to stop the tracks. There’s also a song grid mode which shows all of your loaded songs on one page, so you can use your laptop or touch screen monitor and jump around, if you choose songs on the fly instead of following an established setlist.

It can definitely do the other things you were looking for as well. You may find that as you become more comfortable with cantabile, you’ll switch to amp sims in your PC and leave the Helix at home. But that’s personal preference. Read up in the cantabile guide on Show Notes, I love that feature… Each song part can have its own notes. And when using backing tracks, I sometimes create a cue track instead of show notes… it’s just an audio track of my voice for cues to the whole band… like “standby for guitar lead” or “repeat chorus three times”. Very helpful, especially if you are adding a lot of new songs continually.

There is quite a bit of a learning curve, but that’s true of just about any software of this nature. On the other hand, once you wrap your head around song states and the best way to set up your racks (which is covered somewhat in the guide and more extensively on this forum) you can program a song pretty quickly.

Best of luck, and welcome!


Thank you both for stepping in! Since I suspect my progress will be somewhat slow (I have little spare time) there was no use in getting the 30 day free license, so I just bought one (the price seems to be gone up from 169 dollars to 199 in a just a few days, but okay :slight_smile: ).
I will open a new thread and log my endeavors!