Hermann Seib's VSTHost is a popular free VST host program, which allows for quite flexible routing of MIDI and audio data among multiple plugins. The image below shows VSTHost running an instance of Phadiz (a free Phase-Distortion synthesizer VSTi) into an instance of NetFilter, whose output goes to the primary audio output:
SaviHost is a cut-down version of VSTHost which hosts only a single plugin, and hence has none of VSTHost's fancy routing capabilities.
Refer to the main web pages, user manuals, and Help menus for details about how to use these programs. This page concentrates only on what you need to know to run the NetVST plugins, and in this respect, the two VSTHost and SaviHost are essentially the same.
Both VSTHost and SaviHost have a Devices menu, with two primary menu items MIDI and Wave.
Choosing Devices > MIDI opens the Select MIDI Devices dialog:
If you will be using a MIDI keyboard, you must select it from the Input Port 1 combo box item.
Choosing Device > Wave opens the Select Wave Devices dialog:
The Input port combo box is only important if you want to process sound from, e.g., your PC's microphone through VST filters. You can ignore this if you are only using synthesizer VSTs.
The Sample rate setting will default to 44100 samples/sec. The NetVST system should work fine at this rate or perhaps a little higher, but I have not tested with higher rates.
The Output port combo box should ideally be set to select the ASIO driver for your audio interface, or ASIO4ALL if you're using that. If you don't have any ASIO driver, you can leave the default setting of “MME: Microsoft Sound Mapper”.
The Buffer combo box is the critical one. Note that you can use this like a pop-up menu, to select from a list of built-in buffer-size values suitable for use with the Microsoft Sound Mapper system, OR you can also simply type in a number such as 512.
Once you have set all the values, click OK to dismiss this dialog.
Refer to the VSTHost documentation for complete instructions on how to use the program.
To load a VST plugin (including NetSynth or NetFilter), click on the “New Plugin” button near the top-left corner of the program window as shown below:
This will open a standard Windows “File Open” dialog, where you can navigate to the plugin's .dll file, select it and click “Open”. A small box representing the plugin will appear in the main part of the window. Along the top of this small box you will see a cluster of four small icon-buttons. In the case of NetFilter or NetSynth, the second button (whose icon looks like a knob or dial) will be greyed-out. Click the button to the right of this one, as indicated below
to open the generic parameter-edit dialog, which looks like this:
Update Dec 24 2017: You can now click on the knob/dial button to open the custom GUI editor, which looks like this for both NetFilter and NetSynth:
The rest of this section defines the generic edit dialog, which you may still want to use if you want to try using the remote parameter sliders at the bottom.
In this dialog, the various parameters are represented by horizontal slider controls, and each parameter's current value is displayed in yellow text on the left of the corresponding slider. Note that you can hold down the SHIFT key on your PC keyboard while adjusting any slider, to make fine adjustments. This is particularly important when editing the IP address values.
Skip ahead to the Setting NetVST parameters section below.
To set up SaviHost, you put the SaviHost.exe file into the same folder as the VST you want to host, and change its name to match that of the VST. E.g., if you want to host NetSynth.dll, rename SaviHost.exe to NetSynth.exe.
In SaviHost, the main view will show the GUI for the one hosted VST plugin. For example, here's a screenshot of SaviHost hosting the NetSynth VST:
To change any setting, click on the appropriate line to highlight it, then use the value slider on the right-hand side to change the value. The value itself will be displayed in the value box at the bottom of the window.
Unfortunately, SaviHost does not appear to have any “fine-adjust” capability for the parameter sliders. This makes it impossible to set the IP address values precisely, and as a result, SaviHost will pretty much only be useful to connect to a NetVSTHost instance running on the same PC, using the default “loopback” address 127.0.0.1.
The first parameter (“00: On/Off”) is used to connect to the remote NetVSTHost. Leave this at 0 (OFF) until
As soon as you do set the “00: On/Off” parameter to ON (any value above 0.5—slider half-way up), you should be able to play on your MIDI keyboard and hear sound from the remote plugin hosted inside NetVSTHost. If you do not hear any sound, switch OFF again and double-check all settings before retrying.