VST System Link setup guidance

I know this can happen in 5 mins if I learn exactly how to set up the wiring between 2 macbook pro’s via VST system link. I want to run my Cubase 6.5 as the host to my music partner’s macbook pro, who will run ableton slave or may run cubase as well.

Do you, or does anyone in your network know the most affective way of achieving this? how to set it up from start to finish, in terms of what cables, ‘wi-fi, toslink…’

I’ve put a lot of time and research into this but need a little help making it happen, connecting the dots. Looked all over (the article specific to this subject here, forums,youtube, space) but haven’t found actual tutorials or walk through’s on just one or two simple ways to set it up straight from start to finish (specifically the wiring set up part!) I’ve been researching diligently like a silly fool for a long while now & find i need still need advice.

PLease any assistance is greatly appreciated. Macbook pro '12 with a Duet 2 soundcard. Latest 6.5.4 cubase update.


You need a digital in and out on both computers. Then set up as explained in the manual…

I’m afraid, Ableton Live doesn’t support VST System Link.

I’m wondering whether what you might really be asking is “can I slave my friend’s Ableton set-up to my Cubase set-up using MIDI time code”?

If so, then yes…

In this situation you’d just need to connect MIDI out on your system to his MIDI in- probably with a standard 5-pin DIN to 5-pin DIN MIDI lead.

This way, you should be able to keep the two systems in sync - the proviso being that you’d have separate ‘arrangements’ running on each machine, but with the advantage that you need not be running the same sequencer/DAW on both machines. The software running on the ‘slave’ machine though must have the capability to sync to external MIDI time code (which most do). …and you will probably need a mixer, or sufficient low-latency I/O channels on each machine for real-time inter-connect.

But if you really do need VST System Link, that’s a whole different ball game, and requires much closer integration of the two systems - including available digital audio I/O channels on all machines. VST system link is about using CPU resources on the slave machine(s) to supplement the master. You would need two (or more) copies of Cubase or Nuendo though… To make this work, you’d need to have a good understanding of digital audio clocking, and probably you’d want an external mixer, or some available spare digital audio I/O on your computers. It’s not for the faint-hearted or noobies. (no insult intended:-)

Are you sure you really need this? MacBook Pro is well specified modern machine…if you aren’t intending running multiple orchestral sample libraries and CPU-intensive real-time FX, I doubt that you really want the complexity and compromise that goes with VST system link. After all, bouncing heavy duty VST tracks to audio, or freezing, are free, quick, easy and 100% in the box with Cubase and Nuendo.

I’m working here on a single 6 year old dual-core 2.6ghz PC with just 4Gb RAM. I’ve produced more than 50 commerically-released tracks on it this year - almost every one of them with typically 40-80 mixed audio/MIDI/instrument tracks and multiple VST FX per audio channel. The PC sits at less than 50% CPU most of the time. RAM never gets maxed-out, and the latency/audio-glitching compromises rarely give me problems.

It’s my guess that VST link, in it’s current guise, hasn’t got much life left in it now. PCs are so much more powerful, and multi-channel networking solutions based on Ethernet/MADI et al are more likely to be the next way forward.

If you don’t already have serious identified performance problems, I recommend you spend your time making music…

Thank you for your input on this kind sir! Yes, arranging and producing the same project in real time or ‘separate arrangements’, is more along lines.

It’s a point of interest mainly for the production collaborative aspect, a seamless way to edit and play instruments in real time with the master project, but equally wanted to do this playing live at a music festival coming up. Most of the time I currently spend making music is solo working on the master mix, though when my pal does come over I’d like to be able to sync up & work on the same project in real time, editing, arranging, and playing instruments. We’ve been working on separate computers but with an identical channel batch export of my master file in his abelton program. So as you can imagine constant revisions & edits, thus having the same project on both to open up when sync’d would be helpful.

CPU isn’t much an issue here since I bounce most heavy track lanes to audio, its a great method for keeping the computer happy.

Would each audio interface need to be the same, or could they be different models as long as their specs are up to standard. I’m using Duet 2, and wonder if there’s another interface you’d recommend to pair?

They can be different interface makes/models - they just both need to be VST System Link compatible.

I have searched and tried to start a table of working and non-VSL compatible interfaces.
I am running 3 x VSL computers (1 x MacBook Pro, 1 x MacPro tower and Win7 PC). Two of them are running Cubase 4 and the other Tower is the Master running C6.
The working interfaces are a Tascam DM3200(Master), M-Audio Lightbrige and RME HSPe 9632 PCI (I think). The timestamp is very accurate and no noticeable delay or jumps.
One interface that didn’t work is a Tascam US 1641.
It took a long time for me to set this up, but once it’s done, document it coz one missing setting can run you in looops for hours, days. I found that in order to get it working, you need to restart all puters after each setting change.
Also, you must start boot Cubase completely in order. Starting from Master, to next in line, then next in line, until they’re all booted.
In response to using Midi-sync with Ableton is achievable, though with VSL, it allows for locators, loops, etc to be completely sync-ed. Just make sure your bars are alike.
If you have any more ?'s on my setup, pls ask
Good Luck

So I have a new problem where one of my cherished VSTs only work on OSX 10.6 or earlier. I upgraded my DAW to 10.8 without realizing this. I’m wondering if I should purchase a used Mac Mini to run Snow Leopard and the one VST that I need.
If only AVID updated the Wizoo products!

So, for the secondary computer, do I have to have another licensed copy of Cubase 7 on a dongle? This solution is getting rather expensive.
Does anyone have any other suggestions? I don’t want to have to restore Snow Leopard…

You need a VST System link capable program. And yes you need a second license, but no, it does not need to be Cubase full version.