Confused New User of VST Live - Any Tips Appreciated

Hi all. I’m a longtime user of Cubase, including for live band use wherein we ran a bunch of RME gear at low sample rates and used markers to control our setlist with backing tracks. Worked great and played some good sized (500-2k people) regional shows. 10 years later, getting a similar band together and want to use this more elegant solution but I’m having a hard time conceptualizing how to do it even after reading the manual and watching the tutorials (which if I’m being honest seem more like promo material).

So we have a 4 pc band (drums, r guitar, l guitar, bass) where three of us sing. We mic the guitar cabs and will run bass mic’d and direct. Right now we are not using backing tracks because we have mostly rock tunes, but we may want to add tracks or midi keys later, so I’m trying to get VST Live going now so we can transition later. I also want to be able to control some DMX lighting.

I’m running into confusion in a couple of places. I don’t understand the difference between stacks and tracks. I want to record the shows and tracks remind me of how Cubase works. Right now, my use case is going to be very simple because we aren’t playing arrangements timed to a click where I’d want to change sounds/use parts (though I think that will come later). Right now I just want to use Live as a glorified monitor mixer where I can apply presets to the vocals across an entire song (e.g., don’t want to change for each part, just a single preset per song) and possibly apply some doubling or other effects to the mic’d guitar and bass channels. I’m getting hung up on stacks vs global parts. I think I would need to use stacks on each song so the effects can be specific to that song, but I like the idea of a global preamp level etc so if I change gain in one song it applies to all (think of a circumstance where we are playing a show and want to turn up the guitar cabs higher than in our practice space, gains will need to come down for every song). Is there a way to accomplish this? I think we will eventually create entire songs playable to click so we can add some midi synth and more complicated lighting on cue, but for now I just want to have each members instrument and vocals set for each song in a setlist.

Any tips on the easiest way to get to that point? For now, I plan to route each output from VST Live from my antelope interfaces to a Soundcraft UR24 mixer and handle the overall mix and monitor mixes from iPad. I just really like the sound of VST effects on the drums and vocals (and understand the potential limitations and complaints from FOH on preprocessed sounds- for now we will be running our own sound).

If anyone that’s been down this road could share any tips, I would greatly appreciate it.


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Stacks are submixers in themselves, and meant to be used for processing guitars, or vocals thru their own set of insert and send fx. Stacks are switched per Part, except for global Part Stacks.
Tracks are valid throughout a Song. Tracks are also mixed to the Song buss (but can also be output elsewhere individually). If you don’t need to change sound (insert/fx send) during a Song, tracks are just fine, their individual channels also feature Insert fx and Sends.

It depends on what you mean by “Gain”. That term normally defines the gain control on your audio interface (mic/instr level or the like), those cannot be set by software. If you mean level (as in what the faders do), sure, you can program all levels in the mixer. Group and Output channels are global, as well as Global Part Layers and Stacks; Song bus channels (track channels) are per Song, and Layers/Stacks are per Part.
You can also load and save audio channel settings if that helps.

I ran in the same one-way-road. And i wished there are some “best practice” tutorials. Starting from the ground.
But: After a timeconsumption learning curve and a lot of misapprehensions (project vs song, export variations etc.) i (think so) understand the concept and use it with growing enthusiasm.
Since my “enlightenment” i see the enormouse technical complexity of VST-Live and the (funfact) relativly simple usability.
Some things are not really completed and Steinberg had to do more (dedectable) basic tutorials ( espacially how to organize the files, songs or a more confortable way to write lyrics-track etc.)
But i apriciate the accurate reaction if errors are reported.

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