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Using Cakewalk Live with Setlists - HELP

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Hi all

Couple of problems. Please help.

I use Cakewalk as a live playback using MIDI and Audio. I have a very decent, custom built laptop with plenty of headroom so the problems aren't hardware. I have two, fifteen song setlists with multiple tracks of audio, mixed to busses with effects and compression and two twin tracks of stereo out (via a Behringer UMC204 HD 2 in/4 out), one for main one for backing vocals to the desk. I'm using WASAPI Shared Drivers as they seem the most stable with the least latency. I have MIDI controlling patch change on my Roland FA06 and handling routing from my Alesis Vortex Wireless 2 to the FA06, and PC/CC for my Lexicon MX200. Finally I have DMXIS, with the plug in app taking note on/off to run lighting scenes. Questions:

1. In my setlists, as I load songs, Cakewalk doesn't always instantly recognise the assigned audio outs and prompts me as the next song loads. I have to 'OK' it before I start the next song with the spacebar.  Surely it 'remembers' from the song when it was last played?

2. As the song starts - only with some songs, the asterisk comes up in the top bar of the song, suggesting I have edited the song and need to save it, even though I haven't touched anything. What have I got set on some songs and not others? It causes a bit of a screen pile up with songs sat in the background waiting to be 'saved'.

3. If I edit DMXIS scenes in some songs, the DMXIS is prone to crashing. It takes Cakewalk with it as when I shut it down,  I can't restart the DAw and have to reboot the laptop. I've had Cakewalk since v3 (and v8 Producer) and remember Cakewalk is always prone to staying latent in the background on crashing and not unloading itself, requiring a total system reboot. ot good when you have an expectant crowd waiting for the next floorfiller.

Grateful for any guidance on this

HARDDRIVE

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Hi HardDrive,

Sounds like there's plenty going on in your setup, but my 2 cents on your points would be:

1) Make sure you always plug the same gear into the same USB socket on your PC every time, particularly any controllers and your sound card. The device and the port it's plugged into are used by Windows to identify the device. If devices are plugged into ports different to when the file was last saved, you will get CbB prompting you to assign ins and outs to devices when opening the file (even though they may have the same name in the dialog)

2) Try un-checking the Reset All Controllers to zero at start / stop option - sometimes these messages are interpreted by plugins as a controller change, so the project gets marked as dirty, and it has to be saved before closing. (Would be great if there was a command line switch to open a CbB project in read only mode - I did raise it as a feature request, but no traction so far)

3) No experience - sorry!

Cheers,

Matt

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Many thanks for this Matthew.

1. I do find that plugging the last set USB ports in helps. I have also found over the past few days that if I load a song independently from Setlist then save, as well as keep the same USB configurations to outboard, it sometimes (not always) solves the issue

2. The asterisk bit also can be (sometimes) helped in the manner above however another overlooked article is in Setlist window where it says 'Discard Edits During Playback'

3. I think Bandlab need to look at the insong editing of DMXIS as a plug in and stop the app taking Cakewalk down. And also solve the long standing issue of Bandlab/Sonar not completely dismounting and halting when it crashes, This has been going on for too long. If I suffer a crash on stage (and the reliability of this software doesn't leave me even 60% confident at times) I need to shut it down and reboot it quickly to maintain my performance continuity and not have my back to the audience with them losing faith in the band's output and credibility.

HARDDRIVE

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For wharever the worth, a VST Hosting product, designed from the ground up for facilitating live performance, might give you better results.  I absolutely LOVE Sonar, and the current Cakewalk by Bandlab, for their music production features and strengths, but it is not designed for handling live performance.

I used to use, and loved, VST performance software from Brainspawn, called  Forte, but they went away, sadly.  I now use Cantabile and it meets my needs, with instant preset switching, even for multiple instances of sample-based instruments, can trigger file playback start\stop and lighting changes, and lots more.

They have a free 'lite' version, not sure if a free trial on their more robust versions.  I pasted a link to their version comparison page farther down in this post.  I believe there are other VST Hosting software products out there on the market - I am sharing this one because it is what I use.  

What I do for live performance, is to load up instances of all the different synths I need, for a particular performance, into Cantabile, and load up the presets and any sample-based instruments, using a separate instance of Kontakt or Sample Tank for each sample-based instrument.  Then, I can combine any number of different sounds from any of the loaded synths, for a given preset, like strings and piano for one preset, or strings/piano routed to one midi controller, and a lead sound routed to a 2nd midi controller, and a big fat Taurus Bass Pedal sound routed to my midi bass pedals controller, and save all of those combo as a single preset, and so on - like the following preset could route different combos or single sounds to each of my 4 midi keyboard controllers and the bass pedal controllers, with multiple zones for one or more of the keyboards, so that a single keyboard could split sounds into multiple playable zones, etc.... and all of the switching, and layering, and zones, and different controllers, and all of that, can all be instantly switched as different presets.  VERY powerful - then you can throw in tempo-based file playback and lighting changes through midi, and it all works like a champ.

So here is that link to the versions comparison page: https://www.cantabilesoftware.com/compare 

Again, I LOVE using Cakewalk by Bandlab for my music production needs - I just find using a VST Hosting program for live performance better suits the task of playing live.

Bob Bone

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Cheers Bob

As you were typing that response, I was possibly out successfully delivering two sets of synthpop to a welcoming audience! One of the problems still existed - no matter how I plugged in my outboard, it still asked me to select the external soundcard outputs on every song. I do need the split - the mixdown of multiple instruments and drums into one stereo out to go to the desk and the BVs to another stereo out so I can control levels from my mixer. The glitch still seems to be when I have BVs and both stereo outputs in use in a song (i.e. on a song with BVs)

Maybe Sonar isn't built for live use but I have been using it since ProAudio9, then Sonar 3, then Sonar 8 Producer, and now Bandlab Sonar. I am reluctant to change platforms as I am so familiar with Sonar and the use of Setlists, which are ostensibly built for live use.

HARDDRIVE

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For live performance, definitely check out https://gigperformer.com/

I did gigs with Cakewalk Sonar starting in 2013 (because I knew Sonar so well, but of course it was not suited well at all for "live gig" situation), then I was much happier after switching a true "live VST host and song/setlist manager" which was Brainspawn Forte  (until they ceased development),  and now, Gig Performer is my choice for "live VST host and song/setlist manager".

 

Edited by dougalex
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18 hours ago, Harddrive said:

Cheers Bob

As you were typing that response, I was possibly out successfully delivering two sets of synthpop to a welcoming audience! One of the problems still existed - no matter how I plugged in my outboard, it still asked me to select the external soundcard outputs on every song. I do need the split - the mixdown of multiple instruments and drums into one stereo out to go to the desk and the BVs to another stereo out so I can control levels from my mixer. The glitch still seems to be when I have BVs and both stereo outputs in use in a song (i.e. on a song with BVs)

Maybe Sonar isn't built for live use but I have been using it since ProAudio9, then Sonar 3, then Sonar 8 Producer, and now Bandlab Sonar. I am reluctant to change platforms as I am so familiar with Sonar and the use of Setlists, which are ostensibly built for live use.

HARDDRIVE

Please understand that I am not advocating getting rid of Cakewalk. I absolutely LOVE Cakewalk.  I am suggesting that there are ADDITIONAL tools for managing VST sounds, and complex routings, and lighting control messages, that are better suited to live performance. 

Using Cakewalk for live performance is simply not as capable as using a performance-engineered VST Host.

Just take a look at some of the VST Hosting programs out there, and try out their free trials, and you will begin to see what I mean.  Doing that will not interfere with Cakewalk whatsoever, nor will installing a VST Host, should you decide to buy one.

And, while I don't know about other such apps, Cantabile has a completely, and permanently free "lite" version. Just check it or others out.

Bob Bone 

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Again - thanks to all for your recommendations.

Trouble is, I have 'everything' programmed and setup in BL Sonar now and transposing it into another platform (let alone learning how it works) is something which gives me the stomach cramp. And $149 for GigPerformer? Wow!

All I need is BL Sonar creators to look at the problem and involve a patch in the next upgrade. Everything else is simply ace.

Some songs don't finish with the save asterisk and some do. Some songs are happy to load the next song 'underneath' and retain which audio out is assigned. However some don't.

There must be an easy solution to this. Even Pro Audio 9, Sonar 3 and Sonar Producer 8 didn't give me this problem.

HARDDRIVE

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Hey Harddrive. I used Cakewalk for live performance with DMXIS for many years.  The best way to use DMXIS is as a standalone application running alongside Cakewalk rather than as a vst insert, and then trigger your scene  changes via midi notes from Cakewalk using virtual software midi cable such as loopbe (which is free for a single 'cable' version). That way DMXIS only needs to load once, and all of your scenes stay in ram rather than having to load with every song. It also solves the problem of blackouts between songs should it arise. The programming process is the same. Just store your scenes.  The only difference is how they are triggered. It is rock solid. 

With regards to your other issues, I had a similar problem with songs showing as 'dirty' with the asterix appearing upon loading into a setlist. It turned out to be a particular plugin causing it. Regardless, I believe there is an option in Cakewalk now to tell it to ignore any 'changes' if the song is loaded via a playlist. This should solve your problem. 

Your audio outputs are indeed stored with your Cakewalk song when it is saved as a .cwp. They should be correct as long as your hardware does not change. Unfortunately some drivers/interfaces will show up as different outputs when an external interface is unplugged and then reconnected. Have you tried ASIO drivers with your setup to see if they are more consistent? 

Another thing  you can do is to save all of your songs with the outputs assigned and your interface connected, then backup your configuration files. That way if you have any issues in the future you can quickly restore them. The files are  AUD.ini, ctlrsurface.dat, INSTRMAP.INI,  Master.ins and TTSEQ.INI. Not all of these apply to your audio i/o, but they are small files and backing up all of them saves your entire daw configuration.
 
Last time I used Cakewalk (win 10) they were located at C:\Users\"user name"\Appdata\Roaming\Cakewalk\(your version). Hopefully they still are :)

Edited by Tenfoot

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