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What might be a suitable VST Host for my Macbook Pro?


Steve Force

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I don't know all that Cantabile Performer does, but have you looked at MainStage?

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Got tired of being an unpaid beta tester for Apple. MainStage never had the stability I needed. I use Ableton Live 8. Never failed me. If you have a completely dumb controller, then having all the smarts in software (MainStage) is a reasonable option. If however you have a controller that lets you set up basic zones and transmits program change then other programs, like Live, are more resource efficient and,for me at least, more stable.

 

Busch.

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Steve, haven't tried MS in a while. Might be solid now. I would still have issues regarding efficiency. It traps all incoming program changes for its own use. If you use soft synths that can be controlled by program changes you can't take advantage of it. For example, if I am using FM-8 and have a dozen presets that I want to use, in something like Live, I can set up FM-8 on its own MIDI channel and send program changes to get to the 12 presets. In Mainstage I would have to create 12 instances of FM-8. All Native Instruments synths (and many others) can be controlled using program changes, including Kontakt.

 

Busch.

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Ableton Live hosts VSTs. As for stability, it's been a known curse for a long time, 8.1.4 finally is the stable version of Live.

 

I've use Mainstage 5+ hours non-stop with no crashes. It starts to drop out various velocity samples due to memory fragmentation, though, so I have to restart the app next time after let's say two hours of constant use.

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Ableton Live hosts VSTs. As for stability, it's been a known curse for a long time, 8.1.4 finally is the stable version of Live.

 

I've found Live to be a highly stable product in general, but I'm talking specifically about using it to host VSTs for live playback. Not editing, mixing, looping audio, just playback of VSTs. Is that what you're referring to? I've used it hundred of hours in the environment and I can't recall a single time it let me down. I locked into specific version of Live and MacOS and didn't change.

 

Busch.

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Ableton Live hosts VSTs. As for stability, it's been a known curse for a long time, 8.1.4 finally is the stable version of Live.

 

I've found Live to be a highly stable product in general, but I'm talking specifically about using it to host VSTs for live playback. Not editing, mixing, looping audio, just playback of VSTs. Is that what you're referring to? I've used it hundred of hours in the environment and I can't recall a single time it let me down. I locked into specific version of Live and MacOS and didn't change.

 

Busch.

 

I saw Tribal Tech last year I think and Scott Kinsey had a hard time keeping Ableton Live up and running, he had to reboot his laptop from time to time. This was the 8.0.x series of terrible releases that forced Ableton to use a year of their engineering resources to rewrite their engine, hence the 8.1 and why 9.0 is so late. I didn't upgrade until 8.1 myself as I don't have time with crashing apps in the studio or on-stage.

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OK, so I loaded Mainstage, USB'ed in my beat up M-Audio keyboard, and initially just used the headphone out. Worked like a champ.

 

THEN...

 

I went to the Apple store and scored a Firewire cable, cabled it into my Steinberg MR-816x and then used output 1 into my bass amp.

 

FARCKING AWESOME. :thu:

 

 

 

 

Steve Force,

Durham, North Carolina

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My Professional Websites

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OK, so I loaded Mainstage, USB'ed in my beat up M-Audio keyboard, and initially just used the headphone out. Worked like a champ.

 

THEN...

 

I went to the Apple store and scored a Firewire cable, cabled it into my Steinberg MR-816x and then used output 1 into my bass amp.

 

FARCKING AWESOME. :thu:

 

 

 

 

Cool! Another option is to use something like the A&H Zed mixer with USB in so you could get a pristine connection from laptop to mixer and from mixer to monitoring/PA/amp.

 

PS: I've done about eight long evening gigs now with Mainstage and an old 2008 laptop that was just gathering dust in the studio, 3Gb RAM, no problems. I tend to reboot the app or the laptop every 3 hours just in case memory fragmentation forces Mainstage to not load each and every velocity sample.

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