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Minihost Modular

Minihost Modular is a modular environment for hosting/interconnecting VST/AU plugins based on a custom modular engine especially developed for this purpose. As a standalone, Minihost Modular can be used as an advanced VST or AU host with modular routing with some sequencing recording/playback capabilities. As a VST or AU plugin, Minihost Modular can be used to extend the capabilities of your existing DAW software with its powerful modular, recallable, environment. Minihost Modular bares some similarities to FL Studio's Patcher but has an extended capability as a self contained host.

Further resources - See the Minihost Modular video tutorial playlist here or visit the user forum here.

Features include:

Getting Started & Setup

See the setup video here

System requirements:

32Bit / 64Bit versions:

Minihost Modular 32 Bit loads 32 Bit plugins while Minihost Modular 64 Bit loads 64 Bit plugins. There currently is no 32 to 64 Bit bridging possible inside Minihost Modular. You can, of course, load either the 32 or 64 bit VST version in hosts that support both bit-depths such as FL Studio and even run both Stand-alone versions simultaneously.

Registering Plugins

Before MiniHost can find your plugins you need to specify their location and scan them. The fastest way is to use Scan (no verify), but we recommend Scan & Verify as it will tell you what plugins might cause problems (you will get crash reports in the lis), and give more information such as manufacturer, number of I/Os etc.

Select File > Preferencs > Plugins > Scan & Verify

NOTES:

  1. Scanning - Without scanning your plugins, you won't be able to add any plugins in MiniHost Modular and .gra files from other users won't load correctly.
  2. Enter up to 4 VST search locations - These are in ADDITION to the standard VST locations that will also be scanned.
  3. Bridging - Minihost Modular will only run 32 or 64 Bit plugins equivalent to the version you are using (32 or 64 Bit).

Menu Bar

Modular View

The Modular (Graph) view is an intuitive, what you see is what is connected affair. Objects can be added, edited and moved as needed.

This window shows the 'Graph' of interconnected Modules (such as plugins or the Piano roll Module). NOTE: The workspace is resizable, drag on the window to resize OR drag an object to the edge of the workspace to auto-resize.

Data Links

NOTE: To use Minihost Modular with Patcher, set the In/Out ports on the Wrapper to 0.

Working with the Graph window

Graph Modules (Sub Graphs)

You can add entire Graph modules (windows) to the project. These have all the features of the parent Graph except connect to the Graph above the level at which they are added.

Using Minihost Modular as a Plugin

Minihost can be loaded as a VST plugin in compatible host DAW software such as FL Studio or Cubase. There are 32 and 64 Bit versions and each can load VST or AU format plugins.

NOTE: When loading MiniHost Modular .gra (graph) files from other users, you will need to have the same plugins as they used installed. Make sure scanned all your plugins prior to loading the Graph Module.

Using Minihost Modular as a Standalone Host

As standalone, Minihost Modular fulfils two main purposes:

  1. To serve as a powerful plugin-hosting modular environment for live performance musicians.
  2. As creative tool to record, create and easily prepare modular setups and sequences that can later on be used in a DAW (in the plugin version of Minihost Modular) or on stage.

Standalone & Host Mode Input/Output Settings

Minihost Modular standalone and plugin versions are largely identical, but there are a few details you should know about. The following section informs you about these differences.

Midi and Audio Inputs and Outputs

Hardware AUDIO Input & Outputs

  1. Select your Audio device in the Preferences:
  2. Assign the inouts and outputs to Master I/O nodes by double-clicking on Audio Nodes (Ogrange) and selecting the hardware I/O they should receive audio from (Input Nodes) or send audio to (Output Nodes).

    Assign nodes by double-clicking on the node and setting the properties:

    NOTE: In the plugin version, only hardware I/O 1 is available because the plugin VSTi/AU has only one MIDI input and one MIDI output.

Hardware MIDI Input & Outputs

  1. Select up to 6 MIDI I/O devices in the Preferences. NOTE: The number (1 to 6) for each device as you will need this in the next step.
  2. Assign main input and output nodes by double-clicking on Event Nodes (blue) and selecting the hardware I/O number they should receive data from or hardware to send data to. To add new nodes right click the empty graph space and select Add input node > Events node or Add output node > Events node.

    Assign nodes by double-clicking on the node and setting the properties:

    NOTE: In the plugin version, for audio input hardware only I/O 1 (left) 2 (right) will be used, because the plugin VSTi/AU has only one audio input. For audio output hardware I/O 1-6 will are valid because the plugin VSTi/AU has 3 stereo audio outputs. Other settings will be ignored.

TIP: When using MiniHost Modular as standalone, you may want to use it as multi-FX modular environment to process outboard equipment. In this situation, it makes sense to have more than 1 stereo input and more than 1 stereo output.

MIDI Clock synchronisation

MiniHost Modular automatically synchronises to incoming MIDI Clock signals. This can easily be tested by activating the Metronome and listening for the click to follow the incoming MIDI Clock's tempo.

Piano roll Module

The Piano roll Module allows you record, create and play back small loop-able musical sequences. The musical sequences can then be routed to plugins and can even be used to trigger other Piano roll Modules. It also possible to freeze Zones to lower CPU usage, and to create graphical envelopes that can control automation.

Top: Zone Editor, Middle: Per-Zone parameter bar, Bottom: Sequence Editor. NOTE: The Open/Save MIDI data (*.mid files) menu as shown above. This will save the note data for the selected zone.

Zones

The Piano roll Module can hold 1 or more Zones. A Zone is a named musical sequence which reacts to a given MIDI keyboard range, on a specific MIDI Channel or all MIDI Channels (Omni). It can also play one or more graphical envelopes, routed to different destinations.

Zone Editor

All Zones of the current Piano roll Module are shown in the Zone Editor.

NOTE: All operations can be undone.

Per-zone parameters

Information for the selected zone is shown here.

Parameters:

Editing Sequences

Snap button (on top left). Other: Most is FL-like, so I'm not gonna be explicit about this here

Using the Piano roll

NOTE: Many of the movement and draw commands are constrained by the snap setting that determines how notes move relative to the Piano roll grid. Hold the (Alt) key to temporarily bypass snap. Note also that the Global snap setting can be used for MIDI input quantizing.

Recording sequences

  1. Stop playback in your DAW (Plugin version only)
  2. Select the Zone you want to record MIDI on.
  3. Activate the Record/Monitor button to hear (monitor) the input.
  4. Set Metronome volume via the control.
  5. If you want your notes to be quantized while recording, activate the Snap option.
  6. Press Play and the recording will start. Recording is per the overdub process, which means you can record in several loops.
NOTE: Recording is sample-accurate ("as-you-hear"). Best results will be achieved in the standalone version, because the incoming MIDI's position accuracy is dependent on the DAW software used.

Adding/Editing Automation Envelopes

Enbvelopes are associuated with the Piano roll, although you don't need to have any note data to create an envelope for a Zone and use it to automate a plugin. To link an Automation Envelope to a Plugin target, procees as follows:

  1. Add an Automation Output Node - On the Piano roll module, Right-click it and select Add Output Node > Automation Node> and then give it a name.
  2. To add an Automation Input Node - On the Plugin you want to automate, Right-click it, and select Add Automation Input Node > Parameter. NOTE: You can control as many automation targets as you like with a single Automation Output.
  3. Connect - Click the Output Node (on Piano roll Module) and drag to the Input Node (on the plugin).
  4. Choose the target - Open the Piano roll and select destination Automation Node in the Editor drop-down menu.
  5. Edit envelope - Right-click to add and delete control points. Left click, hold and drag to reposition control points. Alt + Click and drag to move without snap. Alt needs to be held before clicking on the control point.

    Envelope controls

    There are several basic operations for editing the envelope/mapping shape:

  6. Delete envelope - Use the Remove Envelope function from the drop-down menu OR just unlink the node if you plan to use it later. NOTE: Envelopes will also be removed when all Nodes are deleted.

Plugin Credits:


Code: Daniel Schaack.