If you have 2 versions of Cubase…even if one of them is FREEBEE, I’d give VST System Link a try. It’s said to be sample accurate. VSL started with VST 5/32 last version, but only works as the slave, and later Cubase versions work as master or slave. In action it can be the best way to work…depending on your preferences of course. Like most anything, it’s a challenge to get going at 1st. With System Link you don’t HAVE to have both computers turn ON (if you don’t want), because you can record all your midi tracks directly into the dedicated VSTi machine - no need to send midi between machines at all. You can do everything you need ‘locally’ on that machine for FX’s etc, etc to your VSTis…THEN you can turn on both machines & System Link them together (after you do all your midi & set up VSTi’s) and either then keep them synced & proceed…OR just send over a stereo VSTi sub-mix to your dedicated audio machine - unless you want to send over multiple audio tracks, but hell, a stereo sub-mix is all that’s needed IMO, then turn off the VSTi machine, and proceed to work on all your audio tracks on the 2nd (audio) machine.
You do NOT NEED a hardware mixer to use VST System Link with 2 computers either…maybe you do with 3 or more computers…but then again, if you have a very capable sound card in your master machine that has plenty of I/O then you still can do without a hardware mixer.
I’ve extensively worked with simple Ol’ midi networking between computers, it’s a challenge to get going at 1st and you have to really get to know about the midi transformer/filter, otherwise each incoming midi part/track will play ALL VSTi’s loaded on the 2nd machine…it happened to me at 1st, what a mess!
It all began when my old XP DAW had been at near it’s max on my largest projects, ie; too many VSTi’s for it’s comfort. After I offloaded all VSTi to a 2nd machine, my now dedicated audio DAW resources dropped to a never seen before low. That is of course, an audio machine + all midi tracks with that method. Works fantastic. No big deal to buy another sound card with midi I/O. I’ve bought what was a $700-$800 audio cards when new, for like $100 used from ebay. You of course have to have both machines on full after getting started on a project.
I’ve tried FX Max’s FX-Teleport, you can get it for free now to try directly from the site. It was a FAIL for me, my audio/midi networking worked far better. Never tried Vienna Ensemble Pro…I prolly won’t ever. Not with methods of syncing computers available. With both of those methods, you have to have both machine turned on full-time too.
You can also use an old Motu Time Machine (not the MTP AV) but the device meant to lock up all types of various devices, including computers…you can get them used on ebay for less than $100…this is a good way to go if you’re not a Cubase user, or don’t have 2 versions…but then again I’ve seen legacy Cubase versions for next to nothing on ebay. There’s also Steinbergs Nuendo ‘Time Machine’ but wow, I checked and is freakin’ EXPENSIVE! You can work with ONE machine on a time with this method as well (if you want).
A concideration… about VST System Link with buying a 2nd Cubase license… of say, the latest version you have…say it’s Cubase 7…how much does the 2nd license cost, comparing it to buying Vienna Ensemble Pro? I’m still on Win XP and legacy Cubase…I’ve been reading & reading & experimenting with stuff until the cosw come home for a couple/few years to find my own best solution…If I had the money, I’d buy Cubase 7, buy a 2nd license, build (2) killer 6/8/12 core 64 bit machines with ram up the Ying-Yang and use VST System Link. Last night I downloaded the Cubase 7 manual, to see if VST System Link is still included, apparently it is…but the explanation & amount of info on it, and how to set up & use it (which is next to nothing) sucks!
Don’t know anything about “clusters” per say.