Using Cantabile for keyboard patches in a live setup


Hi all,

I’m new to Cantabile and wanted to ask the easiest/fastest way to set several keyboard patches in Cantabile for live performance?

I’m talking splits & layers using several different VSTs all in one file - similar to the way Apple’s MainStage operates.

Thanks so much.


There are many vid’s for the first impression.


Suggest you give @brad’s videos a look first - a lot will become clearer. Then scan through the guides, with a special focus on routes, racks and songs, then setlists.

Once you’ve gotten through this and have your first experiments under your belt, do come back with any remaining specific questions you have,

Cantabile has a bit of a learning curve - it is a super-powerful environment - but once you’ve got your head around the key underlying concepts, it’sll all make sense quickly.




Thanks guys, I’m watching Brad’s videos now.

Is it possible to advance patches with a foot switch like MainStage?


Hi Chris and Welcome,

The answer is yes, see the section on bindings for more info.



It’s very different to MainStage but I’ll get there :slight_smile:

I’m working on a music theatre project where there are several songs and for each song I need several different layers/splits accessible immediately, no time for loading/re-loading samples each time I advance to the next patch.

What you guys think is the best method of achieving this in Cantabile?


Hey Chris,

The outline would be

  • use the input routing area to make the splits, layers and transposing

  • use the output objects area (add object) to populate with your vsti instruments and effects

  • the input routes then connect to the objects in the configuration you create

  • when you add an object (vst instrument) it automatically creates a route to the Main Keyboard you designated in the Tools>Options area of the program.

  • use ‘Song States’ to cover your quick instrument patch/split changes

  • use Set List Pre-Loading to have all your vst instruments loaded in memory for fast switching during a performance

  • if you reuse the same vst instruments a lot put them into linked racks to save on memory and use rack states for storing your favorite sounds for fast recall

  • if you use multi-timbral vst’s like Kontakt,Omnisphere or UVI Workstation use MIDI channel routings (in the input route area) to smoothly switch between the loaded patches.

That’s one rough outline, hope it helps :grinning:



The preferred method for this is to use pre-loaded setlists and shared racks (see videos and guides!)

  • setting a setlist to “preload” will load every effect and instrument on loading the set list, allowing fast song switching
  • using instruments in racks instead of loading them directly into a song allows Cantabile to re-use these racks across songs

The problem with large sample libraries is that pre-loading all sounds used in a setlist might be too much for your memory. So it pays to select a number of memory-efficient instruments like Korg M1, Roland JV1080, Xpand!2 instead of using huge Kontakt libraries.

But I’ll reiterate: there is no real alternative to learning the basics of Cantabile thoroughly, especially in a demanding setup like yours, there is no shortcut, unfortunately…




Thanks for your replies, everyone. I’ve managed to get up and running fairly quickly but have a couple more questions:

  • Is it possible to avoid the sound cutting out when I advance from one song state to the next?
  • Re MIDI filters - how would I add a MIDI filter so that a particular channel/patch doesn’t receive sustain/hold messages?

Thanks again!


The whole point of States is that nothing should cut out if the condition of a given plug-in doesn’t change between States. If you’re changing patches in the plug from State to State then it will obviously cut out, as it would with any synth, hardware, or software - you need to construct your combination of plug-ins to avoid that.

To answer the second question… I’ve finally understood the concept of creating a ‘Hub’ for each of my keyboards (thanks, Torsten!). In these ‘Hubs’ I use filters to isolate notes, sustain pedal, expression and any other messages that may be helpful to route separately. This way I can positively decide whether the sustain pedal is sent to any plug-in, rather than having to filter it out where I don’t want it. This really has made my Cantabile configuration MUCH simpler to manage.

To make a ‘Hub’, simply create an empty Rack (I use ‘Linked’ Racks for everything for re-usability), add as many MIDI outputs to it as you want separate MIDI message outputs, then add ‘Supress’ filters on each output to reduce each output to the MIDI messages you want to pass through it. In my ‘Sustain’ output, for instance, I filter out everything except MIDI Controller 64. I have one output that only passes notes.

Route your incoming MIDI keyboard to the ‘Hub’ alone. Make sure it doesn’t route to any of the plug-in Racks directly - do everything via the Hub.

Now you can simply add outputs to the Hub as you like, send messages to multiple destinations, avoid sending sustain where it isn’t wanted, etc. Life becomes so much easier! If none of this makes any sense, then take time to learn the basics of Cantabile and it should begin to become clearer.


I guess I went a little CRAZY doing the “Torsten Effect” to my Akai MPK249 a while back!

Here is a file one could use as an example for such an extreme application - every knob and slider and button virtualized!

Yes, I’m mad. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: