VST Live seems way overkill for me. I need help finding a simple solution

This probably seems pretty primitive, even childish, to anybody who is well accustomed to using software in live performance. I have a really simple need. It is not for live performance on stage with an audience. I simply need an easy way to play my MIDI keyboard in my home studio.

I use the keyboard with Dorico and Cubase, and that is no problem because that software connects it with VST instruments. But there are times when I just want to sit down and play the keyboard without all launching a Dorico or Cubase project. My keyboard is MIDI only – no built-in sound engine. I guess I could buy a hardware sound engine so that the keyboard would always be capable of playing immediately. But it seems like there ought to be some cheap, simple stand-alone app that I could run to do the same job.

I do have the Halion SE stand-alone app. That works, but it is really not set up to easily save my sound settings. Is there some other program out there that has a really simple user interface and can allow me to store 5 or 10 patches, easily switching to different sounds? It seems like such a simple requirement, but I have not found anything like that. I get the feeling I am looking in the wrong place or searching with the wrong keywords.

Any suggestions would be welcome.

I’m sorry to say, but when sitting down to my midi keyboard, just quickly loading Halion. Even I can even prepare multiple patches and just change my keyboard send to corresponding midi ch. So again, I would just simply load Halion standalone app

I kinda object :slight_smile:
Personally, I often use VST Live as a “sketchbook”. It boots up in seconds, loads my last project right away and very quick if no media are involved, and I have a great list of Layers or Stacks plus ready-to-go Parts which I use as presets, and together with the Media Browser (right zone), a large variety of sounds to be fired immediately (after preload Parts perhaps), be it prepared Layers or Stacks, or Parts with multiple of those and more. Notes, and Metronome come in handy, and if I have a great idea simply press the Main Record button.

Sure, loading a standalone player is probably even faster, but not much, so you’d have to consider if it’s worth the additional features.

Yes, I do that. I have 6 or 8 patches loaded into the slots and I mute all but one at a time. The user interface for Halion (and most other Cubase-related Stienberg stuff) is truly horrendous – as if the objective was to put some button in every single pixel on the screen. Doing the most simple thing like changing voices is a process of un-muting one and muting the others. It isn’t a huge amount of time, but it seems like there ought to be a better way to enable such a simple, common need.

I see there are some programs like NanoHost, but they mainly just make a wrapper to turn a VSTi DLL into a stand-alone app. Of course, I already have the stand-alone Halion SE app. So maybe what I am really looking for is a completely different VSTi that has a stand-alone app and a much simpler user interface, with an easy, intuitive way to save all my settings between sessions.

I think Keyzone Classic 2 would do what I need. I don’t know if it comes with a stand-alone version, but NanoHost would take care of that.


Actually, the combination of NanoHost and Keyzone Classic works brilliantly. The only issue is that the box that shows the name of the sample (Rhodes, Yamaha grand, etc) is a little garbled. But that is no big deal. This solution doesn’t save any of my settings across sessions, but the default settings in Keyzone are OK for my needs. Nanohost does save the audio settings, so it is basically one click to start everything, ready to play in a couple of seconds.