I’m looking into getting VST Connect Pro but wanted to see whether it would work the way I’d like it to. It seems its geared towards recording a remote performer via the performer app into your session. But thats not really what I’d want from it.
We have 2 cubase setups, and I’ll be moving cities and want to work out the best way to collaborate with my collaborator. We’d be sending each other files back and forth, MIDI, audio, projects etc. So its a two way process. I’d like to record some output (eg. drum stems) of mine into their session, and be able to record multiple stems of theirs into my session. Apart from any internet limitations, how would this work? Do we need 2 copies of VST Connect?
For example, I would need to be the host, to receive recordings, but then the other would need to switch to host to send recordings to me? This is perhaps a more general question in that I’m trying to find the best way to collaborate and share files, whether it be automated cloud backups or something else. My collaborator is not too technically inclined so I’m trying to find something that is simple without too much fuss. Ive also investigated things like teamviewer and myself being able to remote control the system and bounce stems, send files and so forth myself remotely. The drawback is I dont know how I could stream the ASIO output remotely so I could hear what Im doing.
The other caveat is were working mainly on film projects. Synchronicity is important.
VST Connect won’t connect to another VST Connect, only to VST Performer or the Studio Pass iOS app.
It’s not meant to be a two-way project collaboration tool, it’s meant to be used for remote recording via the Internet.
There are however ways to use it more creatively.
With online collaboration, the key is to keep it as technically simple as possible, because there are a lot of pit falls along the way. And if your collaborator isn’t too technically oriented, you should definitely keep the communication simple.
My co-writing buddy lives 300 km from me, we’re both on fast fiber Internet connections, and have worked out a great way of collaborating.
We can work on the same Cubase project, but my setup is much more advanced so we try not to do it too much. When we do - me teaching him mixing and production tricks - we put the project in its own folder on a cloud service. That way, the folder is always synced at both places. I use a Synology server with built-in cloud functionality, so I’m actually working straight on my server, I don’t even move those projects to my studio computer.
I can highly recommend using a Synology server, but if you don’t have one, just use Dropbox or your favorite cloud service.
To be able to open the same Cubase project on both computers, you of course have to have the same set of plug-ins. Again, keep it simple, especially with huge VST-instruments, sample libraries etc. The goal is to create music, right? Not make the biggest and most complex Cubase project, just because you can.
As soon as you start changing or adding something to the project, you save it with a new name, incrementally numbered and with your name - “Happy Song Mike 05 Steve 02”.
As for the VST Connect functionality, my suggestion is that you use it more for audition than recording.
Let’s say that you’re going to add real drums to one of your collaborative projects, then set up the Cubase project and make a nice sounding mix. Then start VST Connect and hook up your co-writing buddy, him using the VST Performer program. Both using headphones and talkback microphones.
That way, you will be able to record the drums without any technical difficulties and your buddy can cheer you on - in close to real-time - and give you suggestions how to play different sections of the song, and you can try them out.
When the session is done, the new recording will already be on its way to your buddy.
You will have different roles for the project anyway, and if you use a strict operation always properly naming tracks and sound files, and maybe add notes in the Notepad on what changes you’ve made – it will be possible to work together in a very creative way, even though you’re not in the same room.
And when it’s time for you buddy to add guitars to the project, he opens the latest project version (with your already edited and mixed drums), save it renamed, start VST Connect, and then you hook up to him via the VST Performer software and listen and cheer him on during the recording.
When he’s done with the recording, the new sound files are on their way to you.
You can of course experiment with the VST Transit functionality in Cubase – but it’s still quite restricted – so my suggestion is to use a cloud service instead. VST Transit will hopefully become the proper bridge between collaborating parties, but there’s much to be done before that is the case.
For song writing session and when you want to hear each other with as low latency as possible, unfortunately that kind of rules out VST Connect, because its internal buffering is too high. If you can live with 100 ms latency or so (depending on your Internet connections), one of you could be the “producer” and the other one the “top-line writer”. The latter being hooked up using VST Performer.
But if you and your buddy have fast and stable Internet connections, my suggestion is to try out the software Jamkazam, which allows for performing real-time jams with several musicians at the same time.
Register on the webpage and then start a session and jam away.
I and my co-writing buddy find JamKazam to be very liberating during the songwriting process of a song. 300km apart, we get a stable connection with a round-trip latency of 10-12 milliseconds – that’s like we’re four meters away from each other. The excellent sound quality and low latency makes us forget that we’re not in the same room – and that makes it so much easier to get “into the zone” of the songwriting process.
You can get into the zone using VST Connect too, but you can’t sing and play together.
My buddy used VST Connect to record a singer in Los Angeles while he was sitting in his kitchen in Sweden, and it worked like a charm. The only arguable thing was the time difference, but it’s manageable. Instead of just sending an MP3 with and without guide vocals, and then wait for days until some recorded takes was sent, he managed and produced the vocal recording, guiding and pushing the singer to give her best. And he got the recorded result right away.
VST Connect is one of the coolest music production features ever!
My final tips are: be patient during setup, keep it simple, keep it clean and tidy, and the creativity will flow.
I hope this information has given you some new angles of online collaboration.