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aidan o driscoll

TONE 2 Nanohost - Host app for Windows - can load VST-synths: ITS FREE

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What is NanoHost?

NanoHost is not a synthesizer. It is a free, minimalist host application for Windows that can load VST-synths. Furthermore, it can act as a wrapper which converts VST-synthesizers into standalone applications.

This essential, tiny tool works best for live-performance, sound-design, jam-sessions and testing.


Key Features

  • It can convert a VST-synth into a standalone-application. You just need to rename NanoHost.exe to the name of the plugin.dll and copy it to the same directory. When you start plugin.exe, the VST-synth is wrapped and loaded automatically.
  • The output of a plugin can be recorded to a wav-file in high quality.
  • NanoHost can create random patches.
  • It offers a soft-clipping algorithm with low distortion and tube-sound.
  • Scrollbars allow you to work also with plugins larger than your screen resolution. It is possible to display also only a part of the plugin's interface.
  • Midi-notes can be transposed and Midi-channels can be filtered. There are several Midi-velocity curves available.
  • Your current sound-bank can be stored and loaded automatically.
  • It is also compatible with very old 32-bit plugins.
  • It does work also with older computers.


Edited by aidan o driscoll
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Haven't had a chance to play with this but it looks like another nice tool for the electronic musician's tool box.
I use programs like this for painlessly authorizing/licensing my plugins before I run Cakewalk's VST plugin scanner.

I'm sure there are other free VST hosts but these are the one's I'm aware of:
SaviHost:  https://www.hermannseib.com/english/savihost.htm
32bit, 64bit, VST2 & VST3 versions available.  As well as versions with or without virtual keyboard. 
https://www.hermannseib.com/english/vsthost.htm   can load/chain multiple VSTs
One of the first free Stand-alone VST host programs that has been updated multiple times. Still viable and useful.

Image-Line's MiniHost (has been in perpetual beta but solid program)
Download: https://forum.image-line.com/viewtopic.php?f=1919&t=123031#p893663  
Details:  https://www.image-line.com/support/flstudio_online_manual/html/plugins/Minihost Modular.htm
VST2 - 32 & 64 bit versions, no VST3 support.  Has virtual keyboard.  You can also create/test plugin chains 
Also has a VST2 plugin version so you can use your chained creations in your DAW.
Currently this is my favorite standalone VST host because you can create a desktop shortcut and then drag&drop a VST (*.dll file) on the shortcut and it'll load it up.  Quick & painless way to test or authorize a plugin.

Carla (I haven't used this one, but have heard it mentioned on multiple occasions)  
Carla is an audio plugin host, with support for many audio drivers and plugin formats.
It has some nice features like automation of parameters via MIDI CC and full OSC control.
Currently supports LADSPA, DSSI, LV2, VST2/3 and AU plugin formats, plus GIG, SF2 and SFZ sounds banks.



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