Using Cantabile as a slave rack on a second laptop/PC

I play live as a solo act using a combination of dedicated music gear and VSTs. Over time, the VSTs have been winning, and now I’m starting to reach the point where I’m wondering when the combination of the DAW and multiple VST instances is going to be too much of the laptop to juggle.

One obvious answer would be to move all of the VSTs to another PC, and run them with Cantabile as a VST rack, kind of like a Muse Receptor. Has anyone here done this? What software is available to connect two ‘midi ports’ via USB – or even Ethernet – so the two computers will talk to each other? Is this setup reliable?

Yes, I know that I could trade up to a faster laptop, but I like the thin, light, cool-running HP laptop I already have. I could easily bury a little Lenovo ThinkCentre in my physical rack.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.


A possibile solution for MIDI over ethernet would be this one:

I can’t talk about reliability, since I have used this solution only at home (to connect a midi sequencer running on a laptop to VST plugins running on a PC) and very few times. I have not tested it enough.


I’m doing this right now.
Because it promotes such a different kind of interaction, I really wanted a Cantabile environment in the studio as well as live. It just promotes a creative approach that a typical DAW does not. It promotes playing! I run MIDI over Ethernet but chose to run a simple digital connection between two audio interfaces. SPDIF or ADAT. This, to me, is the most responsive approach. In Cubase, I have the external Cantabile configured as an ‘Instrument’ and it integrates easily with that approach.
Gabriel has recommended the network MIDI driver that I use. It’s good!

This is the next best thing to having Cantabile as a plugin, IMO.

Thanks for the replies.

@cdv_gabriel: I’ll have to check out rtpMIDI. I’ve been using another of Tobias’ programs, MIDILoop, for a couple of years now and it’s rock solid!

@Ade: Yeah, that’s my hope – move all the ‘standard’ VST setups that I use and reuse into a Cantabile rack that I can call from the DAW (for my solo act), or play live (with pickup gigs). This has become especially important as I move to using virtual guitar: the MusicLab VSTs work pretty well with Amplitube, but I’ve found myself limiting what I use, in order to get all of the VSTs to fit in my one 8GB RAM drive. I still can’t put even a limited subset of SampleTank out there. If I can get a ThinkCentre set up with Win11 and about 16GB of RAM, I’ll have a lot more flexibility. And the laptop can go back to primarily being a DAW and lyrics warehouse.

-BW (whose Visa card is warming up in the wings …)

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I am sort of running my set up like this now. no extra software was used. mind you
my setup is studio. It could be adapted for live (not that this would ever happen)

The PC running Cantabile is basically running like a hardware synth with a USB to DIN midi interface.

Central to to my setup is a controller keyboard/external sequencer with a DIN midi out expander which connects to everything else, including the Cantabile PC.

If I want to add a second PC just as you want to, i’ll plug it into a spare port
on the midi expander, like a star network.

I’m trying to say away from DIN MIDI at this point. I was having a bunch of issues with dropped notes and such with my Nord Stage 3 as a master controller. It all went away as soon as I moved to USB MIDI. Plus, I’m likely to be driving 4-6 VST synths through the ‘cable’ during live shows. (My signature sound often involves using different analog or VA synths L and R playing the same notes, but different sounds. I also layer several synths into one monster keyboard at times.) But if I can get two PCs to talk to each other over Ethernet or USB 3 and think it’s MIDI, that’s my choice.


Hi, I found this hardware on the internet:
It can connect four ports of MIDI from USB to USB. It works fantastically in my setup (Laptop controlling a NUC via MIDI).

Interesting item. I don’t think it would work in my setup anymore, because I now use two slave PCs – 3 PCs total. And the slave PCs need to talk to each other, too, so I’m not sure how a ‘triangle’ setup would work. But for the average user, it’s a little simpler than connecting up rtpMIDI. The cost isn’t bad (49 Euros).

I can report that using rtpMIDI with up to three virtual MIDI cables (48 MIDI channels) runs reliably on Windows 10 and 11.