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Best vst/vsti host software for live playing?

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  • Best vst/vsti host software for live playing?

    Hey, all...

    I currently use a "rompler" and digital synth in a band and am looking to move to a laptop configuration with anywhere from two to four midi controllers attached. Can anyone recommend a good vst/vsti host to use? The idea is to be able to move from song to song, each having pre-assigned zones for as many as six combinations of sounds mapped to different controllers. No loops or beats. Just live keyboard playing.
    Laptop is 64-bit, i7 chip, 16 G RAM, ssd plus sata drives, Win7. Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Nobody loves me


    • mate_stubb
      mate_stubb commented
      Editing a comment

      Tronophile wrote:
      Nobody loves me

      I don't love you either.  

      For PC, look at Cantibile and Brainspawn Forte.

      For Mac, it's Mainstage.

      All of these allow you to set up complex midi routing and control racks of internal and external synths. They are optimized for live performance.

    • Rudolf von Hagenwil
      Editing a comment

      why you guys not just push the PLAY button

      that's the button with the red dot on it

      almost any software with a PLAY button will do


      Tronophile wrote:
      Nobody loves me

      I am your father, son.

  • #3
    Nobody loves me

    I'm in the same ship... also trying to figure out the best configuration for live playing. My requirements are a little different than yours, but I posted a thread on the live performance forum, you may have better luck there.


    • #4

      I've been contemplating how to do this for awhile.

      I don't think there's a commercial product that addresses this market.

      I'm toying with using Reaper, which is a DAW application. It provides a framework for hosting VST and VSTi channels simultaneously, and it is very reasonably priced, though it is marketed as a recording tool.

      I've used it to manually blend simultaneous outputs from a Ghost-equipped MIDI Strat electric guitar: "acoustic" piezos, magnetic pickups, and MIDI sampling synthesizers, each running separate VST & VSTi programs.

      My next step is to hook it up to a Mackie Control MIDI mixer,then to figure out how to create a non-linear remapper, so a single control will allow me to morph voices by manipulating the various channel faders.

      If I can't figure out a way to do it using existing software, it may be time to recruit some entrepreneurial software gurus to make one.




      • #5
        If any of u use reaper, make sure u run the vsti under dedicated process
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      • #6
        I tried quite a few, wound up buying forte. It has been very stable, has done everything I threw at it. I solely use it for live use with several controllers, several hosts, multiple audio inputs (Rhodes, mic'd accordion), vst effects on the audio, other vst effects on the synth VSTs, all in an i7 laptop. Works great.


        • #7

          I'm still in the testing phase with Cantabile. . . I was working on phasing it in on a 8-core laptop with my current setup, I had to take a step back when a new project came along, but I'm planning on picking it back up eventually. 

          I tried a couple of others but I like the design and feel of Cantabile best. 

          I've had some issues with audio interfaces and switching USB ports and adding controllers, and some VSTs. . . and so I'm still tweaking and testing. . . overall, the latency is very low, and Catabile seems stable, but I'm still working on the right combination of VSTs. I've recently has issues with the Imperfect Samples VST player I believe, but the Native Instruments VST player seems pretty stable within Cantabile. I'm just running multiple instances of the NI player, but, I've read that setting up the multi-timbral capabilities while allowing different VST effects/controllers/etc to be used on each MIDI channel is a real hassle, but is apparently doable.

          9/25/2013 Edit: I switched MIDI/Audio Interfaces and now Cantabile and the Imperfect Samples VST player are very stable. It appears the problems I were having were related to the Focurite Scarlett interface I was using. I switched to my old, trusty Tascam US1641 and now everything is running smoothly.


          Check my band: SoulPlay - > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TH9-e4FmaE
          Key Rig: Alesis Fusion 8HD; Alesis Vortex Keytar; Toshiba i7 laptop running Cantabile VST host with IK Multimedia Total Workstation Bundle, NI Vintage Organs, Tyrell N6, Sylenth1, Imperfect Samples Walnut Concert Grand, NI FM8; Tascam US-1641 USB MIDI/Audio Interface; 2 x RCF Art 310-A MK III series monitors.


          • mate_stubb
            mate_stubb commented
            Editing a comment

            I have heard that Cantibile is no longer under active development, but don't know if that's true. If it is stable and works for you as-is, you are good to go.

        • #8

          Well, I use Ableton live and I have some setups in live without a single note in clips or tracks - that means everything is vst generated live from keyboard and controller input.

          However this has one downside - if each performance song/track uses different vst setup you need to load each setup as project and, depending on vsts used, this may take ages (I mean minutes) to load project even in fast laptop with hybrid HDD (I have no SDD), what I think is not acceptable for serious live playing.

          Alternatively to Ableton, new Sonar supports something like scenes and Fruity Loops has them too. I used Sonar long time ago (I switched to Ableton because I hate linear sequencing and since Cakewalk Pro they were not interested implementing my suggestions to nonlinearity) and don't know how well new Sonar is suitable for live performances. Many people like Fruity Loops, but scenes functionality is new to Fruity Loops as well, and are available only in recent version. If you are ready to wait and take a risk, you may have look at Bitwig Studio - 'Ableton clone' - which looks very promising especially for live and is planned to be released later this year... or some time next year ...

          If you are seriously into live playing, I'd rather recommend you to look at Korg Kronos - which is essentially as PC with integrated keyboard optimized for live playing. You can well look to Kronos as 9 'vst' (no other vsts can be installed) sound engine host even supporting usb midi class compliant midi controllers.





          • Gatorkeys
            Gatorkeys commented
            Editing a comment

            So I'm not well versed in it yet, but I was trying to answer this same question for a while and in googling stumbled across this program that I've been using for a little while now called Bloxpander:


            I've been using it to host Omnisphere, Pianoteq, and Massive for the most part, and I've had a little issue with stability, but I'd attribute that more to my lack of time invested than the software at this point. I think its worth checking out!