Using Cantabile for live backing tracks


Hello everyone. I play in a band where we need to use pre recorded backing tracks as we are only 3 but our music involves more instruments and sometimes arpeggiators etc.
The main matter was that we all need also a click track in our in ear, so the challenge was to manage my keyboards, the backing tracks and the click tracks with cantabile.
I’m writing this here to share my solution and ask if you think it’s a reliable and good choice.

I added 2 media players in every song, one of which is the backing track file and the other the click track file. I use a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 as audio driver so I have 2 stereo outs and an s/pdif out (using an digital to analog converter allows me to use that out port). I assigned the output of the VSTs I play on the first stereo port, the backing track on the 2nd stereo port and the click track on the s/pdif port.
Obviously with the 2 media files I bind one button on my keyboard to both their play buttons so the 2 tracks can start concurrently.

I also used a 4 channel stereo headphones amplifier to split the audio signal of the click track and reach every in ear of the musicians

I hope I explained it well and tell me if you think there are better choices (I know I could use the Cantabile metronome but if I have a song where the times changes I don’t think I could manage with it) my main doubt is if this is reliable in therms of synchronization between the 2 media files. I still haven’t used this solution live yet but I made some tests and it seems the 2 files are perfectly synchronized. Thank you for reading.


I solved a similar scenario with a combination of a Behringer XR18 and Cantabile. The beauty of this system is that I have plenty of I/O to feed both FOH and monitors with individual mixes.

PLUS (and this is the biggie for me) I added Behringer’s personal monitoring system, so that each artist can hear what they want to hear.

Cantabile takes care of everything - it mutes/un-mutes the stage mic’s between songs, lifts the audience mic’s into our in-ear monitors, gives me lots of feedback on screen (such as when the talk mic is on)…

It also means I can multi-track record each gig.

This really has simplified my live rig, but has also made it far more flexible for all concerned.


Hi, I do something similar in Welsh Floyd (heaven forbid if we ever get going again!) with Cantabile and a Scarlett 2i4

I typically have

  • Stereo backing track in one media player going to Front of House via 2i4 CH1 and CH2. I’ve since of course learnt that any decent sound man in large venues mixes sources to mono, but I can’t be bothered to change the backing if he can do that on the desk :slight_smile:
  • I then have another stereo file in another media player for the click going to 2i4 CH3 and CH4. CH3 goes to mine and guitarist’s IEM transmitter and CH4 is for bass and drums IEM. Depending on the song we may have different cues for the different pairs.
  • And I also have a MIDI file with the note based cues going to DMXIS for our DMX light show, which is synced to video. I have this MIDI track as the master and the audio files as the slave media players. I do it that way as the MIDI track also has tempo info in, so it seemed more logical and if ever we needed to use a visual cue (e.g. Cantabile’s tempo indicator). The MIDI file also has chords that get routed to a TC Helicon Voice Live for one show I do (not the Floyd) so we can get vocal harmonies for the singer, and I step through TC Helicon effects for different points in the song.

The backing track has additional instruments and all the Floyd sounds effects, and having the cues in your ears means you start a song as tight as a tight thing(!) and the audience do not hear any counts.

On the click channels I also put extra cues for us where helpful, for example a whistle (does not occur in Floyd!) two bars before a big change - e.g. the come down between “any colour you like” and “brain damage” - after a fairly long solo and you are just going between DM7 and G for several minutes it is easy to lose track of how often you have done that and where the change is coming! So put something on the track to help.

You maybe interested in my guides

HTH - the power and flexibility of Cantabile allows all of that.


The best way to be sure about the synchronization is to set one track (I use the click track for instance) as master and the others as slave.
I use Cantabile (version2 first, now ver.3) in this way since several years without problem: I have several media player for click, backing track, sometimes an added choir, audio timecode for the lights consol, midi track for starting LivePrompter.
I also have the transport trigger to send program change to the pedal board of the guitarist.



Ok that’s something I still miss (I’m slowly learning all the potentials of cantabile) this feature. I thought something like this was possible but I hadn’t found the way to do it. So if I have understood when you set a track as master, if you play it also the slaves will be played at the same time, right? Where this option is located? Ahah. (from your name I guess you are Italian too) thank you for the answer


Similar Scenario here: I‘m using media players in master / slave mode which also enables synchronisation to arpeggiators / step sequencers if necessary.

Audio interface of main system is a RME fireface UFXII. Audio Outs are seperated into keys, playbacks, click and percussion if necessary. Depending on situation I tend to use way more media players than audio output lines. This gives me the freedom to do some finetuning during rehearsals which is especially useful in case of hybrid sounds consisting of several layers (mixing at home and under live conditions can be very different).

Furthermore fireface also does monitor mixing for me as total mix inside fireface can be cotrolled by midi controllers in my keyboard via cantabile. Here I get a monitor signal from the FOH mixer leaving out those audio signals I send by myself. This way there‘s no need for an additional ipad app or the like.

Last not least I have 2 of these systems running in hot standby. In case of a crash a pushbutton swaps audio routing to the (hopefully) still running system.

Regards, humphrey


Right click on the name of the media player, then Sync Mode and select Master or Slave.
And yes, I’m italian.

Give a look also here:



I’ve got essentially the same setup on my XR18/Cantabile rig. If you don’t mind my asking, what method do you use to mute/unmute the mics? I’ve got two batch files set up using some CLI programs that send OSC commands to the mixer. It works but it’s not very elegant. Is that what you do?


If you look at the documentation for the XR18 you will find the MIDI commands for channel mutes. I bind these from Cantabile’s transport, but also allow for manual override. Here’s my Background Rack:


Right! I forgot about this functionality because I have my XR18 in passthrough mode.
Thanks for reminding me.


Thank you very much. I see that when a media player is set as master, when I play it also the Cantabile metronome starts. I guess there is no way to disable the metronome apart from setting it to mute or disabling the metronome output port.


I’ve muted the audio from the metronome.


Our band has been using backing tracks since 2014 and I have been using Cantabile for equally as long. We have never used C3 for BT because, with our band, if C3 fails (which it never has) I would lose both my keyboards and our band would lose backing tracks. Further, removing BT from the performance LT frees up resources to avoid any clicks or pops (Since C3 buffer should be low). We have 2 iPads (performance and backup) running Multitracker which is easy to see songs and integrates easily with any audio interface. Mixer routing of click is the same as you all have mentioned.

Our backing tracks, nevertheless, are lots of tracks for versatility. I prefer to separate BT resources from performance resources.


Amazing info here guys! :heart:


So with the xr18, how do you send multi tracks to the foh when you’re using the mixer for the stage?


I don’t need to. Everything is mixed in rehearsal. FOH just gets a stereo feed.

I do send the talk mic separately to FOH.

The XR18 has six separate Aux outputs, which could be put to use, but it’s not something I need.