Soft Synth Shells for live performance

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Geso
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Soft Synth Shells for live performance

Post by Geso » Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:15 pm

Hi all. Here's my problem. I have 4 soft synths that i can't live without for my live show (Gmedia's M-tron and Minimonsta, and the B4 and Elektrik Piano). Right now i'm using Steinberg's Vstack on a PC laptop. Upside- it more or less works. Downside- it occasionally crashes, and any instrument that's not in midi channel 1 the sliders on the midi keyboard don't work.

What i'm looking for is something that i can leave several VST soft synths open and then switch between them easily by switching midi channel and even potentially map out half the keyboard to one soft synth and the other half to another.

I have a MacBook Pro with an Mbox1 as well as an Acer laptop with the M-Audio Fasttrack Pro so platform isn't an issue. I'm considering Ableton Live, Logic, or Cubase. I don't need recording capabilities. Just need to be able to switch between them.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Soft Synth Shells for live performance

Post by Hair » Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:06 pm

An easy solution could be Reaper (free to try DAW, cheap to buy, doesn't cripple when the trial runs out - only has a nag screen) in which all you'd do is put each synth on a seperate track, tell each track what MIDI channel to listen to and set the channels to listen to MIDI in and click the speaker button for each track to monitor the output and you're there. It's been rock solid for me so far.

I've also heard of people using a VST host called Console, but I have no experience with it.

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Jinsai
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Re: Soft Synth Shells for live performance

Post by Jinsai » Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:18 pm

I was a big fan of XLUTOP CHAINER. The demo version is quite useful and free. I paid for the full version a while back. Worth it I guess, but it doesn't support dongles, so I can't use it with Waldorf Largo. Boo. The developer hasn't really supported it for several years, but it works, so...

I also had STEINBERG V-STACK, which was basically Cubase but ripped down to just the mixer so you could load up VSTs for live performance. I really liked it, but their licensing policy was brutal and it was too hard on the CPU of the (admittedly VERY old) laptop I ran it on. I think it's been discontinued.

I also bought CONSOLE a while back. It was a modular-type environment. I wouldn't recommend it for live performance unless you are OK with building your patches in advance. It's fine for more elaborate types of things and studio recording. I would not recommend it for live situations - the set-ups became too complext to troubleshoot fast and it was a little unstable. However, it may have changed/improved in the years since I last used it.

I suspect there's still a market for a good, simple, live VST shell. The ideal product would allow the user to configure keyboard splits and layers of VSTs for a single MIDI channel, have good set-up/preset recall, LARGE UI, low CPU usage, and allow the PC keyboard to act as a second MIDI keyboard.
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"A musician is someone who's heard a lot of music" - Pierre Boulez

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krushing
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Re: Soft Synth Shells for live performance

Post by krushing » Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:36 pm

In addition to those already mentioned, there's also Brainspawn Forte - no idea about dongle support, though.

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Re: Soft Synth Shells for live performance

Post by toad » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:08 am

Jinsai wrote: I suspect there's still a market for a good, simple, live VST shell. The ideal product would allow the user to configure keyboard splits and layers of VSTs for a single MIDI channel, have good set-up/preset recall, LARGE UI, low CPU usage, and allow the PC keyboard to act as a second MIDI keyboard.
Bidule does all that + a whole lot more. I especially like the built-in HID support (game controllers, graphics tablets etc). It has a bit of a learning curve, but there are pre-made layouts (patches) for VST hosting/"synth racks", and you can always ask on their very helpful forum.
http://www.plogue.com/

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