Someone needs to invent a modelling unit that runs VST plugins

V|J

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Some of the motivation was the appeal of a modular system that allowed me to piece together my favorite components to build the rig I wanted. Some of it was the level of control it gave me over everything. And some of it was the ability to orchestrate multiple instruments into clips and trigger them all together to add multiple layers of instrumentation to a song.

Making changes was as simple as getting a MIDI controller and assigning a parameter to it. I generally worked in Ableton Live to use it as a hub for all my MIDI mapping. It has amazing tools and flexibility to allow for those kind of things
Yeah, I guess it's quite versatile as a rig.
I've only seen it being used for a backing track so far.
I've heard Abelton Live works great for this; a friend has moved to it from Logic or Pro-tools.
 

jvin248

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6,920
.

Get a $35 Raspberry Pi, it runs Linux, and use your plugins for software running there.
The newer "Raspberry Pi Zero" costs $5-$10 and can work in these applications too.






I used the early Raspberry Pi computers around a decade ago when they were first getting started and I've used Ubuntu Studio to record and manipulate music at various times, including loading in VSTs. The market has made big advances since then. So it would be worthwhile to investigate what you can do with the R-Pi platform.


.
 

Kutch

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Im sure im confused, and im going off the thread title, but why doesnt a DAW fill this role?
 

deathbyguitar

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255
Great news!
And makes sense considering how much popular H/W modeling is compared to the S/W plugins.
I hope they market it well; the plugin is under appreciated as compared to others like Neural DSP despite being better, imo.

It's under appreciated because IMO because I don't think it's that impressive anymore compared to newer stuff. Nembrini Audio especially. Not sure I would buy it again today but I have an old license from way back and did the paid upgrade to 2.9 just in-case some of the promised improvements blow my mind. It's not gonna beat my Axe-FX III though. :p
 

speed12

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331
Some of the motivation was the appeal of a modular system that allowed me to piece together my favorite components to build the rig I wanted. Some of it was the level of control it gave me over everything. And some of it was the ability to orchestrate multiple instruments into clips and trigger them all together to add multiple layers of instrumentation to a song.

Making changes was as simple as getting a MIDI controller and assigning a parameter to it. I generally worked in Ableton Live to use it as a hub for all my MIDI mapping. It has amazing tools and flexibility to allow for those kind of things

Definitely check out GigPerformer as a host - for this sort of thing it's far more usable than Live.

I've been using it for the last few years for a laptop based modelling rig and it has been absolutely bulletproof.
 

Digital Larry

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972
.I used the early Raspberry Pi computers around a decade ago when they were first getting started and I've used Ubuntu Studio to record and manipulate music at various times, including loading in VSTs. The market has made big advances since then. So it would be worthwhile to investigate what you can do with the R-Pi platform.

I spent quite a bit of time a year or two ago trying to get SooperLooper working on a Raspberry Pi connected to a Behringer USB audio interface. I even customized SooperLooper's UI to work better on a 7" LCD. Ultimately it was a bit frustrating. I think the main thing you're going to find difficult there is the latency. I posted a link earlier to https://elk.audio - a small outfit in Sweden that has targeted the Pi as a development platform for synths and FX boxes.
- They don't use USB for audio, rather I2S directly to CODECs on their custom board.
- They have developed a special low latency kernel to go along with that

I also tried installing Ubuntu Studio on an old Macbook Pro, again using it with a USB audio interface. I developed a few FX plugins in FAUST and again was trying to use that in a SooperLooper context. I could not get the latency to be acceptable and would occasionally get glitches that would render any recording useless. That sort of thing hasn't happened on my Windows system in MANY years. It was a real step backwards and I had to give it up, much as I wanted it to work. Yes, I tried the real time kernel, the low latency kernel, blah blah blah. I even hung out at the Linux Musicians forum for awhile.

Native audio processing in Linux uses a system called "JACK" and while it is super flexible, it also presents the challenge that everything is "turned inside out" compared to Mac/PC. What I mean is that on Mac/Windows, your DAW "contains" all the plugins and you put them where you want them, e.g. as a track insert or in an aux send, and the connections are made automatically. JACK on the other hand, shows all ins and outs as connection points, your effects live outside of any app, and you have to hook them up manually. This starts to get REAL tedious. The JACK ecosystem attempts to overcome this by using tools like "Carla" and "Claudia" which are supposed to save and restore complex hookups, but the reality is that it never worked all that well.

Recently, some of the DAWs like Reaper or Bitwig have become cross-platform and are pretty much the same on Mac, Windows, or Linux. At that point there's not really any advantage to using Linux unless you REALLY like trying to solve low level problems like latency and glitches all the time. Honestly, I gave it a go. I have used Linux for work for the past 15 years and am not scared of it, but I cannot really recommend you try this unless you really just like tinkering. Maybe I had a bad run of luck, but I don't think so.
 

FattRaxx

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556
Vst 2.0 to 2.4
Vst 3

Vst coded in SE
Vst coded with some other runtime

Vst with 18 outputs
Vst with side chain input

Vst coded by an idiot
Vst exists as .DLL only.

Vst from 2002
Vst with copy protection that is windows dependent.

It just goes on and on. This is why muse receptor failed, whilst axefx didn't, despite being the same concept, for different users.

Fractal took the Apple approach, ie they coded all the user software "in-house" themselves, and it's solid as a rock.
 

V|J

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2,905
It's under appreciated because IMO because I don't think it's that impressive anymore compared to newer stuff. Nembrini Audio especially. Not sure I would buy it again today but I have an old license from way back and did the paid upgrade to 2.9 just in-case some of the promised improvements blow my mind. It's not gonna beat my Axe-FX III though. :p
Yeah, v2.9 was mostly functional improvements. I'll check out Nembrini Audio; hope they have a free trial. Axe FX is a giant.. everytime I see a video, I'm overwhelmed.. I'm sure there's nothing it can't do. Haha.
 

totoleheron

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Messages
158
Peavey/Muse went down this road like 10 years ago with their Receptors, there's also I think V-Machine?
I have one (V machine) but i never be able to use it because they never send me the key.

On the paper it's fantastic but there was no support when i bought it.
 

kylevaughan

Member
Messages
3
For what its worth I have accomplished something similar to this. I got the idea because I owned a Helix Floor, but had to sell it but I really liked it and once I found out about Helix Native I knew there had to be a way to use that live. This is what I have done.


Lenovo Tiny Form Factor PC with 4 gigs ram, 120gb SSD and an Intel 4th gen Celeron.
M-Audio Fast Track C400 interface.
Originally Used a Behringer FCB1010 foot pedal but have since switched to a custom controller I have designed that includes switches and pots so that I can change various effect parameters like delay time and distortion gain etc. in real time just like I would an actual stomp box.
I also originally had a 10 inch capacitive touch screen LCD display with HDMI.

The PC runs Windows 7 with basically all services and everything disabled except for what is required to make the audio interface and the VST host software work.

I have modified the registry to hide the windows boot logo as well as change the shell to the VST host software so that it is the only thing that loads when windows loads. no desktop at all.

Once you map your buttons on your controller to whatever you need in your VST whether it be Helix or Amplitube or Guitar Rig, you can save the whole setup as the default. In my case I have Helix running into Amplitube as if they were 2 stomp boxes on my pedal board.

After a while I found that the screen was really un necessary as I didn't use it very often and for the odd time i did use it was only to tweak some parameters which can now be done from my custom midi controller. And if I need a screen to make new presets etc. I can do it from my phone using remote desktop or something similar.

I also modified the windows registry and Bios so that it will never try to go to safe mode from an unclean shut down. It auto boots on restoration of AC power. and a few other tweaks.

I stuffed all this in a custom pedal board I made with an internal compartment to keep it out of the way.

The result is a pedal board that functions and sounds just like my old Helix does with some extra functions like chaining VST's. And when powered on it loads strait to the last preset that was loaded when it lost power and it does it in about 6 seconds. WAAAY faster than the actual Helix Floor.
I have been running literally like all day every day for about 7 months now and it only gets turned off to be moved. It's been used for gigs and the setup itself is Rock solid, I have never had a crash or a hiccup. it just works. and the latency is non detectable. Around 3 - 6 ms.

Total cost was about $250 vs $2500 for an actual Helix.

Hope this helps.
 

kyolic

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1,073
Lenovo Tiny Form Factor PC with 4 gigs ram, 120gb SSD and an Intel 4th gen Celeron.
ThinkCentre.jpg
 

DunedinDragon

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1,669
There's a pretty big difference between using a laptop for backing tracks and stage production automation and using plugins. The reason being that tracks and automation use very little computing resources since they're all typically simple audio files and MIDI files, whereas plugins can require considerable computer processing resources. Even DJs are primarily using synth plugins that are very lightweight. The issue becomes the risk of operating system background processes kicking off in the middle of a performance creating latency or buffering problems. Not much risk with simple things like audio files, MIDI or synth plugins but a significant risk with processing heavy VSTs like modelers and some effects.

That doesn't mean someone couldn't use a simplified form of operating system, but given that most of the more often used VSTs are meant to be hosted on Windows or Macs, that would be a challenge to create and license. The best solution might be to create a simple multi-threaded OS that presents itself as a Windows or Mac host, but has little to no background processes. In a way it might be similar to the console-less digital mixing boards and configured via a tablet or phone. I wouldn't expect it to be a cheap solution however.
 




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