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Joined: Sep 2009
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I started using piano software with Ivory 1.5, running under a freebie VST host called MiniHost (or another one called asHost). They're fairly limited, but they work well enough if all you want to do is play the piano ... and that was my world.

But later I discovered the Galaxy line of pianos, which sound so very good. They run under Kontakt, which offers a good deal of flexibility, to wit: I can load all six of my pianos and switch from one to another with a mouse click (or a pedal+note press).

Of late I've regained a liking for the Ivory 1.5 pianos. But I cringe at returning to the MiniHost world. I'd like a better, more flexible VST host. In particular I want one that will allow me to load multiple pianos and switch among them at will. (Free is good, but not required.)

The free VST hosts that I've tried lack the multi-piano capability, and they are variously: limited, buggy, or hard-to-use. Meanwhile, the paid software is far too complicated to use ... they seem to be built more as mini recording studios replete with a gaggle of controls that I don't need.

If I could just find a VST host that will load at least two VST libraries (without the complexity of a jumbo-jet control panel), then I could load Ivory 1.5 (that's one VST library) and Kontakt (that's a second VST library) under which I can load my other six pianos) ... and I'd be all set.

Does such exist?

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I'm sure you've tried it already, but what about VSThost?

http://www.hermannseib.com/english/vsthost.htm

James
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Yes, KJ. I discovered his 64-bit version and I loaded it last week. It has lots of controls, but they're hidden inside menus, so they're nicely out of my way.

I cannot understand how to configure the MIDI input. I've selected the Presonus MIDI input ... and yet the loaded VST piano gets no keyboard inputs. (The computer is getting MIDI, confirmed with a MIDI monitor.)

The manual is little help. The words are English, but (like many computer applications) it sorely need a good writer, one who knows how to describe the job/task at hand, rather than "this button does this, and that button does that".

If I could get this working, it might be the right solution.

(But what took you so long? A full 16 minutes elapsed from my post to your reply!) smile

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I used VSThost as I was searching for a good solution as well...took me forever to figure out which tiny buttons had to be clicked to make the thing work. I agree that it sorely needs some documentation and probably some input from a usability expert. Once you learn which button does what it's not a bad piece of software. Ultimately I decided against it, though...I think because it doesn't have the capability of recording a MIDI file.

Cantabile lite seemed to have a pretty good interface when I glanced at it. Do you think the full version might have the capability you are looking for? It has this concept of a rack, that I think allows you to either chain instruments or have them side by side. Anyway that's what it looked like to me...I didn't get into it too much.

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I like MuLab and it seems fully featured. You can record to MIDI and edit notes and velocities, etc. But it's not free. The trial version will let you do everything you want but it will add some static when you mix and render your MIDI to audio (for final export). It doesn't do this for regular playback, so you can alternatively use "stereo mix" to record without this limitation.

I am looking for an alternative as well.


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Cantabile (Solo version) it's 50 dollars (with Money Back Guarantee).

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Originally Posted by eulerdisk
Cantabile (Solo version) it's 50 dollars (with Money Back Guarantee).


I considered this. I feared what wasn't available in solo? Here I had Ivory Cantabile. It was nothing but a lead on to buy more from Cantabile. Things would work once and only once. Like the recorder. What did Solo have for me?
No I don't count on Guarantee's like this. In my experience, the guarantee is only a guarantee to argue.
I gave up and bought a Mac instead. smile

I don't know what Ivory did on the Mac. The "plugin" itself comes up. Works great.


Ron
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Yes, KJ. I discovered his 64-bit version and I loaded it last week. It has lots of controls, but they're hidden inside menus, so they're nicely out of my way.

I cannot understand how to configure the MIDI input. I've selected the Presonus MIDI input ... and yet the loaded VST piano gets no keyboard inputs. (The computer is getting MIDI, confirmed with a MIDI monitor.)

The manual is little help. The words are English, but (like many computer applications) it sorely need a good writer, one who knows how to describe the job/task at hand, rather than "this button does this, and that button does that".

If I could get this working, it might be the right solution.

(But what took you so long? A full 16 minutes elapsed from my post to your reply!) smile


I have used VSTHost for years. You have to select what midi inputs are available from the menu under "devices... midi..."
Then you have to select which of the available midi inputs are connected to your piano VST by clicking on the midi input button on the left of the VST's icon. When that menu opens, you can do all kinds of things like filtering, modifying response curve, excluding certain channels, etc.
You can have multiple pianos available in a particular "performance" setup, and select among them with midi-switched routing VSTs.
Of course, you can also load impulse response reverbs, and mix multiple VST outputs into a single reverb.

The setup is a little complicated, but once set up and the "performance" saved, the complication is a thing of the past.

About once a week it gets an unrecoverable error and has to be restarted, so I don't know that I'd use it for public performances, but for day-to-day use, it's fine. I'm using it on a Windows PC, so I don't know if these comments apply equally to "mac cubed"!


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Thanks joflah. I'll try that tonight. I was messing around with some of those controls last night, but nothing worked. I'll try again.

eurlerdisk: I can't use Cantabile. It has the the very jumbo-jet control complexity that I don't want.

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Originally Posted by rnaple

I don't know what Ivory did on the Mac. The "plugin" itself comes up. Works great.


I suspect that you are using the standalone application.


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I forgot to mention that there is a free VST plugin called VST-midi-monitor, by Walter Cescato, that can be loaded into VSTHost. It can display the midi codes actually received at its input, which can be set to the overall VSTHost or to places within the midi chain (if you are using the digital midi connect lines available in the program).
Also, the icon for the loaded VST piano shows a narrow vertical green line graph of the sound output when a piano key is pressed if it is actually producing sound; there might be something wrong with the audio chain.


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Well, still no joy with VST Host.

Small problem: I cannot set the audio output. It always uses the Windows default. Annoying.

Big problem: It does not see ANY midi input, no matter what choices I make in the configuration. (Yet Kontakt works fine in standalone mode. So does MiniHost.)

Are there any other recommended VST hosts?

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Mac, it may be worth contacting the developer to clarify that what you're hoping to achieve is possible.

I recall emailing him a few years ago with a query and he responded straight away with the correct steps to follow. By all accounts, he's a good chap.

Cheers,
James
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After a deeper look at the manual, it seems that VST Host is not really suited to my needs. Too many options to configure. I was expecting to choose a MIDI input, choose an audio output, and load a VST or two. But this tool wants much more than that, so I'll have to look elsewhere.

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Originally Posted by Allan W.
I like MuLab and it seems fully featured.


From free software, I used Mulab too, it works, and it's quite easy.

From commercial ones, right now I'm considering using Brainspawn Forte 3. I don't know it yet, but it has opinion of very stable program. Unfortunately, there are no youtube tutorials, only some examples how people use it, like this funny guy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRpcGIj4Nss


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I tried Mulab, as you suggested. It sometimes works. But it crashes every time I try to save a session ... both the x32 and x64 versions.

Isn't there a reliable VST host out there somewhere?

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What was the situation with MultiTrackStudio? That one seemed solid to me.

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If you buy a Presonus AudioBox VSL you can StudioOne Producer Free. So if you
need a solid little interface that might be an option.
Or Cakewalk is having a sale on Sonar X2 essential for $49.00. I find it stable.


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gv: I tried Multi Track Studio ... but it could not find any of my VSTs.

I finally found a VST Plugins folder inside the application folder. (Why can't it see C:\Program Files\vstplugins like EVERY OTHER program out there?)

No matter ... I copied in three VSTs. In the application I could see all three of them. so I tried to open one, and it says "this is a plugin, not an effect". (Well duh!) And then that one gets removed from the menu! There are now only two VSTs listed.

So I try to open one of the remaining two. You guessed it: "this is a plugin, not an effect". Removed from menu. Only one VST left. (Would anyone care to guess what happens when I tried to open that last VST?)

EPW: My Presonus AudioBox came with the free version of StudioOne. I never tried it, so now would be a good time. But the CD has gone missing.

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I don't know Multi Track Studio, I'm afraid; but on my two multi-track programs (Reaper and Cakewalk) your messages would be caused by adding in the wrong place. In order to use a VST instrument, I would need to be doing something like adding a new track. In order to use a VST effect I would need to be in the "effects bin" of an existing track. So I would get your message if I was clicking in an existing track in order to add an effect (like EQ or delay) but was selecting a VST instrument instead of a VST effect.


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