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Forte OR Cantabile??

Official support for: cantabilesoftware.com

Moderator: bradr

TiUser
KVRAF
 
2308 posts since 13 Apr, 2008, from Germany

Postby TiUser; Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:32 am

I don't know much about forte but the audio and midi routing looks more static to me. Controlling external midi gear also needs a second software addon. But a simpler structure can have benefits too - easier to understand and set up...

Both Kore and Kore 2 didn't appeal me personally much. Simply too slow in switching sounds. I had the impression operating an "elephant"... Maybe Kore 3 is better now. Kontakt works faster since version 4.1 - however sample loading is still far from instant, a couple of seconds is still too slow for a performer. So my personal expectations with Kore upgrades are not too high.

Cantabile is quite elegant, true. But even if I am a big fan of Cantabile I have to say that some of the features are hard to use - like the master bus. If you have plugins with multiple audio inputs/outputs assigning and routing this is a nightmare. Other things are simply inconvenient - for instance when you need a long list of triggers and manage them assigned to certain subsessions. Technically most works because it is pure logic - and I like that - however the "midi pass through" feature in the midi routing table is a less elegant decision... Anyway, technically there is a lot in Cantabile but practically I would appreciate some gui tweaks which would double the value of what is already there.

No email responses? No clue but I would guess you will get a reply within some days. Just try it and let us know!

But I for sure do not appreciate Brads vanishing for 3 months without even a one line message here... :(
Best regards, TiUser
...and keep on jamming...
fas1piano
KVRist
 
352 posts since 19 Jul, 2007

Postby fas1piano; Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:05 am

krraqk wrote:Forte looks to me also so dated and not really complete and intuitive, in the other side I think that with Kore there is hope... maybe kore3 will be an elegant solution.


talking about GUI and marketing - yes!
talking about functionality - not at all. KORE is not really a live host. you have to use a live-vst-playing software for some time to find out what is really important!
fas1piano
KVRist
 
352 posts since 19 Jul, 2007

Postby fas1piano; Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:11 am

TiUser wrote:I don't know much about forte but the audio and midi routing looks more static to me. Controlling external midi gear also needs a second software addon. But a simpler structure can have benefits too - easier to understand and set up...


check what you can do with VMI (virtual midi input)...anything, really.


sample loading is still far from instant, a couple of seconds is still too slow for a performer.


i load samples once on startup. changing forte patches (scenes) does not reload samples for me (it's a preference). i presume, cantabile has some kind of pref to exclude sample reloading. it's vital for a live host imo.



If you have plugins with multiple audio inputs/outputs assigning and routing this is a nightmare.


in forte, it's quite a hack, too. you need to use a modular vsti like eXT and auxbusses for that - i normally just use stereo out for live.

technically there is a lot in Cantabile but practically


... is very it's at! :P

it's when you use stuff seriously in a band for some time you find out - unfortunately many people base their decisions on great marketing (look at mainstage :D - can you believe that it loads a SEPARATE INSTANCE of each vst for each patch? don't worry, with 64 GB of RAM you'll be fine...)
TiUser
KVRAF
 
2308 posts since 13 Apr, 2008, from Germany

Postby TiUser; Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:08 am

check what you can do with VMI (virtual midi input)...anything, really.
Well I thought more of real midi outputs to external modules. How many midi inputs do I need? Probably one for each keyboard - almost anything else can be done in inside Cantabile. But I am nor familiar with forte details... so maybe I misunderstood the point.

i load samples once on startup. changing forte patches (scenes) does not reload samples for me (it's a preference). i presume, cantabile has some kind of pref to exclude sample reloading. it's vital for a live host imo.
Preloading samples is of course an option. But this means as well that you have enough ram to hold all samples you want there or live streaming works flawless... Loading samples once is also still a waste of time.
I am not sure if a host can directly control loading of samples within plugins... but I doubt. Only thing you can do is avoiding the host loading vst banks / patches that might cause the plugin to reload stuff and using program changes instead.
To be honest, I am not happy with all the streaming, preloading, loading samples into ram story on pc's. I think pc's provide not the right HW design to handle access to lots of sample content instantly.
Imho Motif XF and Kurzweil with sample flash is a better solution for fast access to sounds. Don't tell me it sounds worse - that's maybe true or maybe not, it's for performance - who performs on a studio like environment?...

in forte, it's quite a hack, too. you need to use a modular vsti like eXT and auxbusses for that - i normally just use stereo out for live.
That's the typical keyboarders view - as I have myself. But I've learned that some use Cantabile as a guitar effects rack and there is always the mono/stereo thing. Cantabile has a complex master bus under the hood, so this needs no hack - it's just accessing the dialogues to set up things are basic at best...

it's when you use stuff seriously in a band for some time you find out - unfortunately many people base their decisions on great marketing (look at mainstage Very Happy - ...
...oh dear, how frustrating when even marketing is bad... and no fresh apples... :hihi:
Ok, seriously, I still stick with my opinion when I say VST was invented as studio technology. "Abusing" it for playing live can be difficult and tricky. You don't get the suggested flexibility and freedom of vst's in realtime for free...
Best regards, TiUser
...and keep on jamming...
humphrey
KVRist
 
162 posts since 11 Sep, 2004, from Germany

Postby humphrey; Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:54 am

Hi,

a very interesting discussion here. Don't want to interrupt anything but only to give my 2 cents in. My situation I use forte for live purpose till now but have purchased cantabile and am planning to do a migration to it in the next months. What I learned from the postings in this thread: every user seems to have his own view on what he understands under "live".

For me it's to have a live setup available for rock and pop music in coverbands. This means: I don't care about dancefloor stuff and I don't really need to have spontanious access on functionalities in sounds (besides volume, sustain and drawbars on hammond sounds).

Seen from this aspect it is very useful to have these rudimentary aspects of a live setup available (volumes, effect sends, some midi routing and layering and replaying a wav or mp3 now and then). Here cantabile has several advantages as I have available all these features inside cantabile without any external plugs. I know there are lots of possibilities in forte too (beginning with the aux-fader sets from Dirk Offringa to lots of other plugs and the very flexible possibility that VMI makes available). For me it is mainly the workflow of cantabile that makes it more handy for me.
There are some other aspects that tend to vote for cantabile: (and of course this also is the personal view again): really working 64Bit version, smooth integration of jbridge, the possibility to use convolvers (leads to strong cpu bursts in forte that make it unusable).

On the other hand: the audio and midi routing isn't so flexible in forte but more transparent for me (sometimes less is more - think of these sensless MIDI pass through buttons that only make the use more complicated), the scene view that really makes it useful for live (for me), a stable feeling (but to be serious: I didn't do enough work with cantabile till now to be really sure I'm able to compare both),... means: it is not a really clear decision - both hosts have their advantages.

There is one non-technical aspect already mentioned before: it is very annoing that we don't hear anything from brad. This leads to a sort of unsteadiness (do I really use a host that is "living" and I can be sure to have a programmer in the background that feels responsible for his product and cares when things get complicated? For the developer of forte (Mike) I can say: he does!

Concerning VSTis for live use: I agree with TI user, they are originally not developed for live use but for studio. So what is the problem with them? I think one main reason is "embedded" in the PC itself: It is not that PCs are generally not useable for live purpuse under the aspect of availability and stability. Automation industry f.e. uses PCs for the control of roboters and so on .

But in these cases the OS is tweaked (f.e. WinXP Embedded). In principle this means: leave everything away that is not necessary, use absolutely stable drivers, good outboars stuff like soundcards and MIDI Interfaces and freeze this setup (also means: don't use it for surfing, playing games,...). I think treating DAWs in this way can lead to very stable systems and very low boot times (and I'm aware that many of you out there are familiar with this).
In addition a UPS is a really good decision for stage use for several reasons. Probably it could also be a good idea for software developers to engage with high availability PC systems (in simple words to have 2 identical PC systems available as havary system where both are doing the same and controlling each other). This is not really new as already used in IT systems and coukd lead to super-stable systems (even more stable than workstations) for professional live acting.

Next aspect of course is to only use stable hosts and plugs. Everybody knows there are lots of very good but also tons of crappy plugs out there. I think it is necessary to have experience with our plugs and to be very restrictive not to use those that seem to have instability issues (would we be willing to use hardware from which we know it fails on every 3rd gig?).
In my eyes the same idea is true for the number of plugs we use. How many do we really need to produce a proper live show (keep in mind: in the 80th keyboarders with 5 or 6 different soundmachines were kings - and they were not nearly as powerful as some actual plugs)?

Concerning samplers / romplers: I think this is really tricky and I asked myself: why isn't it possible to do the same as workstations are doing (keep in mind: the flash memory available here isn't really a thing for a PC - even if it has all of them preloaded into RAM!). In fact there are nearly no "RAM-optimzed" romplers available as plugs. My personal clue (and again: I may be totally wrong here): the libraries for plug based samplers / romplers are as big as they are cause PCs can handle them (and here I totally agree to TiUser again: they are designed for studio and not for live).
So, if I know about these problems why do I try to use a rompler like Omnisphere in a live situation?? The reason in my case is: there are sounds that are really different from bread an butter sounds out of workstations and they can be highlights in a live situation (this is not only my opinion but also that of the band members I play with). For me this means: I'm absolutely able to produce sounds adequate to my workstations with plugs using (nearly) no samplers / romplers. My strategy in this case: I only use these plugins for special situations which leads to a reduced RAM consumption that can be preloaded and is so available at once (exactly the way as fas1piano described it in his posting).

My personal conclusion: for me it is possible to use a PC on stage but this means to be aware of what I'm doing including some discipline in not doing everything that seems to be possible. For my part: i don't regret using these machines on stage. But (as said in the beginning): only my 2 cents.

Best regards, humphrey :)
TiUser
KVRAF
 
2308 posts since 13 Apr, 2008, from Germany

Postby TiUser; Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:17 am

Hi Humphrey,
you're not "interrupting" anything at all. I wished more users would talk about how they use Cantabile or other live hosts - what they like and dislike, what they do and don't do, what they want or what they don't - without flame or trying to convince others their way of doing it is best... Of course everyone has different opinions and needs!

Speaking for myself I am looking at things from keyboarders view. But I know there are guitarists and other user types I try to not forget during discussions - as all this is about live.

Live use means to me using the technology realtime - without bouncing down tracks, offline rendering, studio DAW work and so on. It's everything involved in performing - on stage or at home is not really a relevant difference here.

My personal starting point was to try to finally replace an arranger keyboard - like Tyros or similar. Right now I have to sum up this failed completely for a lot of reasons I have spread on many posts.

I have also some amateurish stage and band experience and basically know about that too. I agree that this is a very different situation. You do not mimic a full band but just play your part. A band show is often more static than a one man band entertainer has to be. Still it's easy to panic a band keyboarder with a complicated setup when the band decides some minor program sequence changes here and there 10 minutes before the gig starts - or probably during a show when there is some feedback from the audience... that's live too...

Then there are so many band styles... what does a "traditional" keyboarder need? The bread and butter keyboards... a selection from piano, e-piano, organ, maybe some basic synth stuff... that's it. Then what does a "modern" keyboarder need? Maybe something very different... all kind of synths, sequencers, drum machines and what not...

If you look at it just as providing sound sources for your live keyboard playing - hosts like Cantabile and vsti's may serve the purpose. In this situations it's just the little things - glitches during sound changes for instance that complicate things. This is what you hardly face in a DAW situation, you just open a track for every instrument/sound. You also work usually just on one song in a DAW - not a complete show program...

When I look back at the one man band thing an arranger keyboard means I get some content too. I am no composer and I can't play many of the other band instruments like a drumkit, bass or guitar. So now while I tried to put the needed elements for that together I felt really lost. Ton's of professional tools covering each niggling detail aspect of production but nothing "standard" ready to use in a vst host environment. When it comes to style type accompaniment - again no chance, there is nothing that even competes with a lower end 500 bucks keyboard. It's not single sounds - you can have far superior ones on a pc based system - it's about the total cake - and how long it takes to get it done. 'til now I could not find vst components to implant in a live vst host to make it similar to an arranger - not to mention the operation is more complicated.

So why there is no vst similar to a workstation? I guess there are many answers for this... One might probably a similar one as with vst's - it's live technology... The compressed soundsets of workstations contain also a lot of experience how to do that to make it still sound well... then exposing this to the software market and risking to see a crack one day later?...

I think it's endless what you can weight in with this and that... any one always finally ends up with some sort of compromise... :wink:
Best regards, TiUser
...and keep on jamming...
godly
KVRist
 
246 posts since 22 May, 2013, from Gent, Belgium

Postby godly; Thu May 23, 2013 5:54 am

PFozz wrote:That's why some musicians love Cantabile while some others love Forte or BloXpander. I'm glad to know that some BloXpander fans also love Cantabile or Forte (which is a real fact). I personally love all my guitars and e-drums things. Some may say it's different when it comes to choose a piece of software but I don't think so.

I'd say: Cantabile with the interface of bloxpander, and I'm a happy man :-D

I really love the functions and performance power of Cantabile, but the interface is totally not what I seek. So it's a software to use by remote. There's no overview, certainly not when you're on stage, you need clear and big images and readable text or meters viewable from a distance.

Also some manual GUI configuration is wanted, or modules that you can choose to . As I understand it in that french Live Host, but I forgot the name of it as it's not ready for download yet. ;-)
(ah: found it http://www.livefactory.com/products/modules/rack-performer )

I will check out Bloxpander to see if it has similar functions before I decide wich one to buy.
pinkcanaru
KVRist
 
193 posts since 6 Dec, 2005

Postby pinkcanaru; Thu May 23, 2013 6:29 am

Just out of interest, how far away would you be from a laptop screen to view data which is useful?
I would really love to have midi/keyboard remoted window layouts recalled by cantabile.
Having said that, there is no doubt that open GUI's on some plugins can cause clicks at very low latency.
For that reason, the only panel I have open when working live is the Status panel which shows me, in BIG text, the name of the song and the name of the next song, along with tempo and transport status.

After that,it's down to various control surfaces and pedals. For those people who need to directly control specific GUI functions I know that being able to quickly access any GUI would be a real plus.

Could you give me an example of the kind of thing you'd be likely to do with a given plugin when working live?
godly
KVRist
 
246 posts since 22 May, 2013, from Gent, Belgium

Postby godly; Thu May 23, 2013 7:12 am

1 or 2 meters distance, no? But that's not close enough to view in a glance the VST host settings of Cantabile (for example).

Some things seem obvious to me when playing VSTs live from a laptop:
Let's see what makes the perfect VST host for live use :-)

- Clear modular GUI with large fonts where needed: On top the current Song with the current PRESET(s) used from the VST, BIG buttons on the GUI to

- Easy enter Program Change on the keypad to select presets

- Clear meters that show the status of your system (audio, cpu, midi,...)

- Show the current VST that is being played (choose wich one in the chain you prefer)

- Playlist view at hand

- Big buttons to select by mouse

- Key assign to switch by a stroke

- Of course midi and audio assign as for dummies (i like that learn function, it should be on anything you see and need, click it, turn it, programmed...)

- Mixing/routing console at a mouse click away, matrix or connection lines

- And of course, snappy GUI and low CPU :-D

What else did I forget? I know I'm not asking allot ;-)

Seems that some software have some of these functions. I don't understand why they don't integrate those obvious features?

Imagine your laptop is your car's dashboard :-)
You only need to see the basics, that changes according to your needs at that moment, you don't need to see the engine running, but the meters are very important :-) So you can concentrate on the road and do complex things by the instant push of a button

Apple has it understood with MainStage, great GUI and low cost. Pitty I'm on pc :-)
http://www.apple.com/logicpro/mainstage/
TiUser
KVRAF
 
2308 posts since 13 Apr, 2008, from Germany

Postby TiUser; Fri May 24, 2013 1:02 am

1 or 2 meters distance
Is there any music gear solution to archieve this - except using a 42" screen? :wink:

snappy GUI and low CPU
From a technical view on Windows this is pouring water into fire. Snappy gui response, especially timing related things, can take more cpu than the audio processing. Most Windows audio apps can't guaratee not to spoil audio on heavy gui activity. Try to use some cpu heavy plugns and start continuous resizing cantabile's main window and watch the cpu load meter going up...

midi and audio assign as for dummies
Also I agree there are some limitations to "dummyness"... You need to understand some basics. I agree that cantabile should visualize some things better. However designing a splendid gui is a separate job. I'm doing some own programming and I'm always jumping forth and back between gui stuff and business logic.

From a users point of view all ideas are welcome. But we should also be aware that programming all that isn't as simple as it looks like - even some industry guys push consumers to think so. This counts in even more for small development and one man shows...
Best regards, TiUser
...and keep on jamming...
godly
KVRist
 
246 posts since 22 May, 2013, from Gent, Belgium

Postby godly; Fri May 24, 2013 1:26 am

Lol TiUser,
Yes, I'm wearing glasses, so 2 meters is an enourmous distance LOL
But you get what I'm saying, I guess...

I know how programming works :-) But still, a good concept and functionality is a wanted feature. Ever wondered why Apple has such a succes? Because all their stuff is sort of dummy proof. You don't need a manual. Just hands on and everything shows itself.

I have this problem now with Cantabile. Maybe you can help? I asked the developer here on the forum also:

I'm trying to get to the Proteus VX presets via Cantabile.
I cannot assign a program change midi control to the vst and the presets are not loaded in the cantabile unit (only 1)

When opening the plugin, you can access the presets by the VST gui, but not by the (Cantabile) bar on top of it.
- it shows only 1 init preset
- all the other presets are shown in the Proteus list on the left
Image

I saw that Cantabile and Proteus use a different (*.exb soundbank) while Cantabile is standard extension (fxb?), could that be the reason?

Or could it be an administrator problem as stated here?
http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=278670

It seems a general problem with the Proteus and any DAw to access the presets?
Can you help me find a work around?
pinkcanaru
KVRist
 
193 posts since 6 Dec, 2005

Postby pinkcanaru; Fri May 24, 2013 9:28 am

That plugin - by the looks of things - uses a proprietary browser. Other plugins in like Omnisphere also use a similar approach and they cannot use midi program changes in the traditional way.

That plug in is 16 channel mult-timbral. You can load all 16 slots and use midi routing in Cantabile to choose which are played.

So... you could set up several instatiations and simply enable what you need for a given song or...
If you right click on any plugin in the rack you see a menu 'Subsession Behaviour'. You can set it to Entire Bank. The entire contents of a VST plugin get reloaded with each subsession you select. Depending upon the plugin, that can be instant or it could a take a few seconds if you're loading a massive Kontakt setup. I suspect the Proteus will be relatively quick.
pinkcanaru
KVRist
 
193 posts since 6 Dec, 2005

Postby pinkcanaru; Fri May 24, 2013 9:52 am

There is SO much practical common sense in TiUser's post!

Cantabile is for live performance. That is, you sit down and play plugins and media files.

My priority is low latency, click free operation of my plugins.
The idea is to get into the performance situation, know that I have done my homework and that everything is mission ready. How flexible that programming is in a live situation is totally down to me - but I don't expect to be doing fine editing on stage. I need control of the plugins for performance but I sure ain't gonna be typing in values!

I'm running a fairly massive array of plugins which have to handle guitars and keyboards. The only plug in I look at is the guitar tuner which is programmed to mute everything else and display its operation in the plugin view window. LOL! It really works well - because I'm not asking Cantabile to produce any sound. :D

There is no doubt....none whatsoever, that open plug-in GUI's put stress on the system and will cause clicks at low latency with the current technology. Some plugins are guiltier that others. Anything with moving doodads is a risk. I guess that's why Brad kept Cantabile so bare bones as an interface. He acknowledged what the priority was. Clean playback at low latency.

Now then, there are two distinct user interactions in Cantabile IMO. The first is the editing interaction where one is setting up plugins, routings, filters etc. At that point I would LOVE to see some screen action! Some window layout memories would be just fantastic. And OH BOY do I want to see some housekeeping tools in the Midi assignment window. A few folders would make life so much easier when setting up complex patches.

The other situation is actually playing that work in a live situation. At that point get all that greedy GUI outta the way! Even a simple meter like Sonalkiss's lovely freebie can cause clicks.

We could go a long way with some key commands to access plugins, some window layouts and some folders.


TiUser wrote:1 or 2 meters distance
Is there any music gear solution to archieve this - except using a 42" screen? :wink:

snappy GUI and low CPU
From a technical view on Windows this is pouring water into fire. Snappy gui response, especially timing related things, can take more cpu than the audio processing. Most Windows audio apps can't guaratee not to spoil audio on heavy gui activity. Try to use some cpu heavy plugns and start continuous resizing cantabile's main window and watch the cpu load meter going up...

midi and audio assign as for dummies
Also I agree there are some limitations to "dummyness"... You need to understand some basics. I agree that cantabile should visualize some things better. However designing a splendid gui is a separate job. I'm doing some own programming and I'm always jumping forth and back between gui stuff and business logic.

From a users point of view all ideas are welcome. But we should also be aware that programming all that isn't as simple as it looks like - even some industry guys push consumers to think so. This counts in even more for small development and one man shows...


"From a technical view on Windows this is pouring water into fire."
Think you may have meant gasoline :)
godly
KVRist
 
246 posts since 22 May, 2013, from Gent, Belgium

Postby godly; Sun May 26, 2013 12:52 am

Thx for the wise advice !!! :)
I decided to buy Cantabile, but having some issues now. Check my new post:
http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=382960
TiUser
KVRAF
 
2308 posts since 13 Apr, 2008, from Germany

Postby TiUser; Sun May 26, 2013 6:02 am

pinkcanaru wrote:There is SO much practical common sense in TiUser's post!

Thanks for the flowers... LOL :D

pinkcanaru wrote: "From a technical view on Windows this is pouring water into fire."
Think you may have meant gasoline :)


You can not fight all types of fire with water... some will even explode when you pour water in it...

But ok, gas and gasoline will probably do as good on regular fire, even better as a mixture of oxygene and gas...

Well, what type of fire is windows about? LOL :hihi:


Finally all I was about with my comments is making a "perfect" software is an immense challenge and sometimes it's all about squaring circles. :roll:
Best regards, TiUser
...and keep on jamming...
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