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The NetVSTHost program is based on an older, open-source version of Hermann Seib's excellent and popular free Windows VST Host program, VSTHost. As such, it has some of that program's nice features, but not all of them. Unlike the full VSTHost:
The present NetVSTHost is really a very quick hack of the open-source VSTHost code. As a result, several of the program's original features don't actually work in NetVSTHost, even though you'll still see them in the GUI:
Once you have configured your network IP address and port number in the Network Parameters dialog, NetVSTHost will save them in the Windows Registry and come up ready to receive network connections each time you start it. (Unless there is a network error, e.g., if you removed a network adapter. Just open the Network Parameters dialog again and re-configure, and you should be good to go.)
NetVSTHost can open any number of VST plugins at once. To add a plugin, do one of the following:
All three of these will have the same effect, which is to open a standard Windows file-selection dialog. Here you have to navigate to wherever your desired plugin .DLL file is located, select it by clicking on it, and then click the Open button.
C:\Program Files\Vstpluginsis commonly used. On 32-bit Windows systems, this will contain 32-bit VST plugins. On 64-bit systems, this would contain only 64-bit VSTs; 32-bit VSTs would go in
C:\Program Files (x86)\Vstpluginsinstead.
Once you select a VST plugin and open it, a small window will appear, with some information about the plugin. For example, here is the description window for TubeOhm's T-FM synthesizer:
Once you have opened at least one plugin (effect or synth), several of the buttons on the NetVSTHost toolbar will appear, and you can use them as shown below.
As soon as you open more than one VST, you need to define how they are to be “chained” together, so audio flows from one into the next. Suppose you open one synth plugin and one effect plugin, e.g. a delay or reverb. By default, both plugins are set up to accept input from the network (this does not make sense for synths, and you may hear a nasty noise) and send their output back to the network. Conceptually, they are connected in parallel like this:
To rearrange this parallel structure into a chain, where the effect follows the synth, do the following:
Each running instance of NetVSTHost has one input and one output (both stereo). If you need a more complex arrangement, you can simply run NetVSTHost more than once, making sure to set up each one with a different port number. (You will normally use the same IP address for all of them, when all are on the same PC.)
Another use of multiple instances would be to run one 32-bit NetVSTHost instance containing 32-bit VST plugins, side by side with a 64-bit instance containing 64-bit plugins.
If you have more than one PC on your NetVST network, you can run NetVSTHost on each of them. In this case, each PC will have a distinct IP address, and you need only assign distinct port numbers if you run more than one NetVSTHost instance on any one PC.
The main reason to want to do this is to gain access to additional CPU power. If you have, say, two different synthesizer VSTs, each of which is a real CPU hog, then if you have the necessary hardware you could run each one on its own PC, and perhaps run your DAW on a third computer.
Virtual PC software such as