Cantabile as Scaler host

Whereas Scaler will often be run within a full blooded DAW host, it is sometimes convenient to use the application without the overhead of a heavyweight host, rather akin to ‘standalone’ use. Also, it is sometimes the only way to achieve certain things simply with Ableton Live (which has no concept of MIDI channels), since certain functions mandate external operation.

There are several non-DAW frameworks for hosting VSTs, including the following (probably non-exhaustive).


So why ‘stand alone’ use (from a perspective of Cantabile)?

  • It’s quicker to fire up than most DAWs
  • It’s really easy to use
  • There are no tracks or ‘scenes’ to consider; basic sequencing is provided by Scaler
  • Its graphic ‘wiring’ of MIDI and audio make it quick and simply to configure routings
  • It has extensive capabilities for defining rules simply to be applied to MIDI passing to and from the system
  • It provides DAW host sync for hosted instruments, to initiate them simultaneously
  • It can then link with an external DAW driven by MTC from the DAW.
  • Comprehensive ASIO tuning options with regard to threads and processors

As stated above, this site will focus on the use of Cantabile, as in the view of the author, it has advantages over each of the others. This is not to suggest that the others are flawed in any way (except Nanohost does not host VST3s as at Dec 2022), but that the balance of functions and ease of use of Cantabile have been found to work very well with Scaler.

Connected pages with some tutorials on this topic are shown in the following table. They all assume a reasonable familiarity with Scaler operation.

Cantabile as a Scaler host This page. The video below gives a brief introduction to running Scaler as a VST inside Cantabile as a standalone host.
Managing multiple Scalers in CantabileThis explains how Cantabile can host multiple Scalers to synchronise their starting, More importantly, it explains how (for example) two Scalers can be linked to each other as Leader and Follower, while a third can run in synch with independent content in section C of Scaler. Cantabile can then act as the common transport mechanism to launch all instances of Scaler simultaneously.
Cantabile MIDI routing functionsThis topic covers the uses of Cantabile’s MIDI routing capabilities to handle (a) Scaler channel setting i.e. different channel for each instance, (b) Scaler’s multi-voice / channel function and (c) for using rules to perform divisi style operations, including routing of individual notes to several different channels, and hence to different instruments in either Scaler of a DAW.
Working with MIDI with multiple synchronised Scaler instancesThis extends the above topics by setting out how multiple linked scalers can drive either VST hosts in Cantabile or VST hosts in a DAW. It touches on multi channel issues and discusses whether to use ports or channels to send MIDI data to the DAW.
Use of MIDI Time Code with multiple instances to synch a DAW to Cantabile, including
Ableton Live specific issues.
With this configuration, work can take place simultaneously in the DAW and the Cantabile host. The Scaler instances can drive VSTs in the DAW, or send audio /MIDI to be recorded in the DAW, merged with any DAW content.
Given this is all running on the same machine, ‘clocking issues’ are not relevant.