Where can I find the midi out of the background rack in a song?

Hello, another newbie question after 3 weeks with Cantabile. I have found several related threads but not quite what I’m looking for. Here’s the use case:

  • I am building a software equivalent for my Korg Kronos workstation. Reason for doing that is that the Kronos is too heavy to ship internationally (or it’s too expensive, too much of a hassle).
  • I got an Arturia Keylab 88 as my main controller. That is semi portable. Certainly compared to the Kronos :slight_smile:
  • But I’ll be playing in various locations where I cannot bring the Keylab88. In those situations I’ll have to make do with whatever is available; usually some sort of simple stage piano. Certainly with limited controls, and anyhow, I never have the time to map whatever is available to my C3 setup.
  • So I’m thinking of using a small portable controller like an Arturia Minilab mkII, to take with me as my main C3 controller whenever I can’t take the Keylab
  • In order for that to work, I need a simple and generic way to define both Keylab and Minilab as input devices, define similar controller assignments to both, so that it becomes transparent whether a control comes from the one or from the other. And locally, easily add in the keyboard that is available as well. And then use the whole of that setup as one “generic” midi input device to whatever song I’m calling up.

I have by now figured out how to do that, song by song, but I’m looking for a way to do this generically.

What I’ve tried:

  • Define both Minilab and Keylab as input devices in the background rack. The background rack can map the Minilab controls to whatever I have set up in the Keylab, so if I could work starting from that I’d be settled. I would just have to set up whatever keyboard is available as main note input in the background rack, route everything omni out to the rack out and done. BUT … I see no way of using the background rack midi out as input to any instrument in a song? How do I do that??? How can I see (and where) the midi output of the background rack?
  • I’ve tried the same by creating a linked rack. That works, because I can “see” the output (both midi and audio) of that rack in any song where I embed that rack. Why can I not see or do this for the background rack?

I have found threads pointing to different C3 configurations at startup but that won’t cut it for me, as I need bindings and filters to make sure I have similar controls on both devices. PLUS I never know what device I’m going to get when I arrive for the gig … Am I going about this the right way? Is there a different way? Am I missing something trivial? Any advice would be appreciated!


PS: apart from minor niggles like this the Kronos rebuild is progressing really well. I’m playing at a festival in Finland mid june and an planning to take C3 along - I can’t believe what I’ve managed to duplicate in less than 3 weeks. Absolutely loving C3. I’ll post a testimonial when I’m done!

Hey Tom.

you could define a “dummy” MIDI port without a physical input and use the loopback input of that port from your background rack. A bit convoluted, but might work.

Allow me to suggest an alternative: Use a “fader” rack in your songs to abstract whatever input you use from your Keylab or your alternative controller. Inside this “fader” rack, you can map whatever inputs from your Keylab AND your alternative controllers to send pre-defined commands to individual MIDI outputs of that rack. My “Faders” rack has outputs for

  • Main keyboard sound volume, reverb and delay level
  • Solo sound volume, reverb and delay level
  • String / pad layer volume and filter cutoff
  • Overall master volume for keyboard and guitar sounds
  • Song-specific individual parameters, to be used as needed per song

The fader rack contains bindings that “listen” to my controllers on my master keyboards and MIDI controller and converts them to CC7 or CC11 and routes them to the individual MIDI outputs.

This allows me also to use controllers on my upper AND my lower keyboards to achieve the same thing (e.g. control overall keyboards level) - very convenient to have the master controller wherever my hands happen to be…

And of course it allows me to use any MIDI keyboard found on-site with my USB controller (Novation Launch Control), which also feeds into my “faders” rack - without having to change anything in my songs.

BTW: I’m currently working on also creating bindings in my “Main Keyboard” rack to allow my Launch Control to also act as modulation wheel and pitch bender - if there is only a MIDI piano without wheels on-site. Again - all without having to change anything in my songs…

That’s the power of encapsulating your input devices in racks.




Thx a bunch Torsten. Actually what you describe is exactly what I’ve gotten working! For some reason I was expecting that the background rack might function as a fader rack. I’ll stick to what I got right now - if it works for you it should work for me :slight_smile:.

Though I still wonder why the output of the background rack cannot be routed anywhere in a song. Perhaps @brad knows the reason behind that one?



@Torsten: still a question: in your fader rack, you cannot access the midii input devices, unless you defined them as input devices in every song, right? I am looking for a way to get the Fader rack to listen to midi input, and define all midi input there. Otherwise, when I get an unknown keyboard at a gig, I still need to add it as an input device in every song, and that is just not doable. How do you go about solving that in your setup please?

You need to activate this check box in Tools->Options->Miscellaneous:

Now you can use your input ports inside your racks. See my fader rack (no routes, only bindings):



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BTW: here is my fader rack in a typical song context:

Solo Parameter (and Main Parameter, unused in this song) is my song-specific fader; all others are assigned identically in all songs.

In this song, I use Solo Parameter as a “Solo Boost” for the organ on my upper keyboard; turning this knob moves volume on the upper sound between 0 dB (= CC value of 64) and +6.5 dB (CC value 82) - useful to have exactly this range, so I don’t need to use my Solo Volume fader, which is too broad (-oo to +18 dB) for a simple solo boost. Just an example for a useful application of a song-specific fader.

Hope this gives some useful ideas!




Excellent!!! Extremely helpful! I owe you a beer (or other beverage of your choice :smile:).

@Torsten: I’m still not totally done :frowning: - with your last tip I can indeed see the physical MIDI inputs in my background rack. But now I can’t figure out how to route the midi output of the background rack to the plugins in a song - it’s like the song does not see the midi outputs of the background rack… so how do I do that???

It’s like I’d need to be able to “see” the background rack in a song, in order to make routes from it to plugs - like you do with linked racks; what am I missing here?

OK, I think I’m getting this. I can get this done with a fader rack indeed, but not with the background rack!

@brad: why can we not see the background rack in a song, just like any other rack? And have output from the background rack routes (in the song, not in the background rack) to wherever we want? Is there a particular reason for this?

Hey Tom,

yes, that is one of the gripes with the background rack for some time. There is a - somewhat convoluted - workaround to it:

  • Create a new “virtual” MIDI Input port and call it “BG Rack”
  • Don’t assign any physical inputs to it
  • Within your background rack, use “Loopback - BG Rack” as a target for routes or bindings. Loopback allows you to send MIDI data back into a MIDI input
  • Now you have a MIDI input port for your song called “BG Rack” that gets MIDI data from the background rack



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