Using Racks versus individual Plugins and more

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I recently started using C3 and have been loading individual plugins with each song in my set-list rather than use common racks. I chose this method because I’m my band’s Ray Manzarek (bass & keyboard player) and each song has a specific range of keyboard realestate alocated to playing the bass parts. I know I could use two keyboards but I’m up front and sing so I don’t want to be buried behind hardware. What I was curious about was whether I should be creating racks for each song instead of having separate plugins?

I don’t use sample-based VST instruments because I’m running an old MS Surface Pro 4 with a 6th generation i5 and only 8GB ram which I’m currently looking to replace.
These are the only VSTs I use in C3, purposely chosen because of their low CPU overhead:

  • VB3
  • MODO Bass
  • Pianoteq
  • Korg Legacy M1
  • PG-8x

Before switching to Cantabile, I used a Nord Electro 73 which has amazing sounds but I absolutely hated the limited number of fixed split points for such an expensive keyboard. I’ve been searching the forum regarding laptop recommendations but the info on here is fairly dated and a lot of recommended models are no longer in production. I’m currently tossing up between the Lenovo & Asus 2 in 1’s but there’s not much info on whether they throttle the CPU when temperatures get high, so I was wondering if anyone could recommend a 2 in 1 style laptop (like an MS Surface) suitable for playing live keys in 2021.

Many thanks!!

Hey Pete

Instead of making racks for songs, I suggest reversing that thought…Make your racks, then insert them into a song. Using racks in a setlist, reduces reloads of the same instruments. Once the rack is loaded, it sits ready for command throughout the setlist.
I approach it this way:
I have a piano rack with several pianos in different states. All I have to do is drop the piano rack into a song, choose a state, and you are done. You can change rack states at anytime throughout the song using bindings. I use a footswitch to advance states.
Next song also uses the piano rack, but starting with a different state. BUT…it didn’t reload, because it is already loaded in the system, and is immediately available.
I use racks in every song. So, if I need a piano, and an organ…I drop them in the song, select states, save the song, and everything is ready to go, just waiting for you to play. WARNING…once you do this, you will never go back to your way, lol!


Clear answer - you should definitely use racks! Especially if you have very few plugins that you use across songs, this will save you memory and loading time.

But don’t create racks for full songs - create them for individual instruments: simply have separate racks for bass, one for Pianoteq, one for VB3, … Then drop these racks in your songs, wire up your keyboard zones, and you can construct your songs using racks as “lego blocks”.

This way you can use racks like you would use plugins




Gaaaah - @Corky beat me to it…


Hah!! Tricky…ain’t I? :rofl:


Thank you gents!
I’m going to try that method now…