BloXpander turns your PC into a Live VST rack with

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Maybe you want to be able to use your favorite amp simulation plugin on stage

Maybe you’d rather use your virtual rhodes instead of lugging the real thing

Maybe everything you do musically in the studio is done with software instruments and fx, and you want the same instruments on stage with you.

Heck maybe you use a mack and have an old pc sitting around that you’d like to turn into a vst module.

Whatever the case may be, BloXpander may be the answer

What is BloXpander?

It is basically an asio based vst/vsti host created specifically for use by engineers and musicians in a live situation.

It’s for those that want to use their plugins, but don’t really want to deal with a full DAW on stage just to do it.

It has a pretty slick interface, which is optimized for touch screen use.  So it’s easy to navigate, with a mouse or with your fingers.

There’s a bunch of audio/midi routing options, including 24 channels, 4 bus channels, and 1 master bus.

You get 6 “inserts” or slots per channel…

this is where you can load either a vst instrument or effect.

How about control and routing?

There’s tons of it, depending on what you want to do you can map you midi controller accordingly.

You can even have it control up to 8 parameters of 8 different plugins with only 8 knobs and 8 buttons, easily switchable.

The midi and audio routing options are just as deep.

With midi you can send any channel or number of channels to another or other multiple channels.

Easy to create splits, stacks, and layers with.

You can also route the multiple outputs of your multi out plugins, to their own channels for individual processing on each channel.

How fast is it to load your plugins?

This is what I really like, all you have to do is double click on one of the squares to load a plugin.

This takes you to the “case” where all your plugins are stored.  They can be searched or separated according to various parameters.

Once you load a plugin for the first time, the software takes a screenshot of it, so now all of your plugins are represented by a graphical representation of each.

I really liked how this system was setup.

In addition to loading one at a time, you can save scenes or libraries. Libraries are more like a “collection” of plugins you want to draw from for a specific purpose.  Maybe for live use, one for studio use, one for pop, etc.

Scenes recall the entire state of BloXpander so you can think of these like songs, where everything you need is in there.  Collections of scenes can be stored in sets, for recalling entire shows with one double click or midi messge.

So what’s final thought on this product?

I think it’s a really useful product for those in live situations, or those that simply want to turn a pc into a sound module/fx rack.  Those with hardware gear can use something like this without needing to purchase a full daw specifically for using as a vst rack.

You can use this to expand/offload your vst processing to another computer, the options are pretty much endless.

A few gripes I had was that the program is full screen, period, there is no in between.  But then again, for live use, that’s good, all you have to deal with is this interface.

I also wish it could be loaded as a vst itself, I could see many uses for this in the studio as a vst rack for gathering all of your favorite plugins in one place, the organizational features alone would be worth it.

All in all, I think it’s a great product, I really like how simple and efficient the interface is, and I can only imagine how it feels to use a touch screen monitor or device with this thing.

Go checkout the demo, and see what you think for yourself. Eareckon BloXpander

48 Comments

    • @01halo, I think the little “gauge” on the left is more accurate than the digital read out. Plus everything I do jumps up in cpu when I’m running the screen capture software…it’s a monster, especially when running it with audio software.

      Once I get my new pc built, faster processor etc, that shouldn’t be a problem when running camtasia.

      As far as audio goes, I don’t have any problems or cpu issues, only when I open up this screen capture software. To be fair, I’m not running the newest version of it either lol, I’m sure they (screen capture software company) optimized it in their newer version, which I’ll probably get at some point, but it works for now.

      Reply
  1. Hey Joe, that’s a pretty slick application. Its kinda like Open Labs Karsyn which does the same thing. Yo man, I got my Timbaland Special Edition Miko last night. I’m really digging this thing man. Its fully maxed out and fast as hell. I’m working on a track using Presonus Studio One. Not a bad DAW I have to say. If not for your review I wouldn’t even know about that thing. I may end up buying it after my demo expires.

    Reply
    • @Madbull1971, man that sounds dope! lol…I know you havin fun over there, and yes Studio One is a very nice daw 🙂

      Good stuff bro!

      Yeah this is like Karsyn a lil bit, but I think Karsyn can be used as a rack in your daw correct? Like you can use it and sequence the stuff in it from Reaper or whatever?

      Reply
  2. SaintJoe! you’ve done it again man. This thing is Sick! Downloaded the demo last night and am definitely copping it. Running it alongside Maschine Standalone feels amazing! It’s like you have access to all your VST’s and the easy workflow of maschine. Good drop man. You always know how to bring the good tools and sounds to the forefront.

    Reply
  3. Hey Joe just wanted to through out some info,
    For anyone that has 2 or more computers and wish to run a huge amount of VSTs you can use MidiOverLan this will also eliminate the issue of switching Dongle keys back and forth between computers being that you can have access to all of your VSTs on multiple PCs that can be running simultaneously and use less CPU & Ram. I just setup this up on my system and it works flawlessly.

    Reply
      • @saintjoe, Yes sir. My old PC is a Core 2 Quad as well with 4GB of RAM so I when I ran across MidiOverLan I figured the benefit for one was that I’ll still have access to the apps on that PC that required dongles which also lets me eliminate reinstalling those apps onto my Miko again. New apps will go on the Miko and most of the apps I’ve been using up to this point will be housed on my other PC. Doing this I get the best of both processors without taxing the RAM out on either PC. (Also the other benefit of this is that I’ll still have access to my Motif XS which I have connected to my other PC) and I can rotate the host from PC to PC and easily have access to the sounds stored on either PC at the same time depending on the project I’m working on (the same could be said for my midi controllers) I’ll have total control of midi and how to deploy it.

        Reply
        • @Madbull1971, no doubt man, that makes sense. So when you ready to bounce the track, you have audio over lan or are you physically tracking the audio from one pc into the other?

          Reply
          • @saintjoe, The Miko uses the Firebox and the audio for my other system is using the Audio Interface provided within the Motif XS6. I have both going into my Mixer then out to my Monitors.

            Reply
            • @Madbull1971, yeah…but what about when you want to export the track? Say you made it on the Miko, and you used some sounds from the pc via midioverlan, how will you get those sounds to be bounced in the same track?

              That’s what I was asking about, like when you post tracks up online, you have to export them from whatever daw you are using, if you have sounds coming from two machines and you’re not using audio over lan, how you plan to do it?

              Reply
              • @saintjoe, I got a easy answer for ya on that. You know how Maschine can export separate instrument tracks for each instrument.
                Well Presonus Studio One can do the same thing once I bounce the midi to audio (which is done very quickly in that application). From that point I can just send those tracks via the network over to which ever PC I’m using as the host and BAM those tracks are now in the DAW that I’m using.

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                • @Madbull1971, yessir, didn’t know you were using S1 🙂 I like the midi bounce function. So you record the midi into s1 from the miko then just bounce those to audio…nice.

                • @saintjoe, I might have to check out that AudioOverLan and see whats up. I’m open to anything that allows me to be faster.
                  Is AudioOverLan the name of the software? Unfortunately I’m having trouble reaching Musiclabs site right now if they are the manufacturer of that software. I’ll have to check it out when I get home.

                • @Madbull1971, I’m not sure if that’s the name but I know there are apps that let you send audio over the network, I remember one named wormhole lol…but I know they are out there.

                • @Madbull1971, yeah man, I knew there were some out there, keep me posted, I may do something similar with my laptop once I finish building this new pc.

                • @saintjoe, Yeah bro FX-Teleport will do nicely. It allows me to open up the VSTs from my 2nd computer and I’m not getting any latency (Its creating VST wrappers with the suffix (LAN) attached and putting those in my VST folder on my HOST PC where my DAW is so once I open the DAW I have access to all the VSTs from the slave PC. Also the audio is being brought over to my DAW as well. I just bounced a midi track of a VST that’s on the slave PC using Studio One and it works great.
                  FX-Teleport has a 14-day trial but it only cost $99 so its not a bad price for what it does. I’m gonna mess around with it some more and after my trial ends I’m sure I’ll buy it unless I find something better but I doubt I will…this app is dope.

  4. Hi everyone!

    First of all, Saint Joe, thanks a lot for demoing BloXpander and being the first to review it!
    FYI, Wormhole 2 is now free (open source as well) and it works like a charm. Here’s the link : http://plasq.com/wormhole

    All the best to soundsangear.com and everyone discussing BloXpander here!

    Reply
  5. That’s whasup, so you still need to bounce midi to audio on the slave pc? I thought the app would just let you do it on your main host? Either way, good stuff, i knew there was something like that.

    Reply
  6. I’ve been considering a setup like this for a while now. Currently I have 4 PC’s, 3 tweaked as DAWS and the 4th could go that route with a $60 RAM upgrade. Of course in true DAW tweaker style I’ve disabled anything remote or LAN based on my PC’s to save clock cycles:) I’m gonna re-configure that and demo these 3 apps mentioned here. Bloxpander looks dope, but I’ll want audio/MIDI so maybe FX teleport is the move.
    Thanks SaintJoe and Madbull for the info!

    Reply
    • @Metatron72, yeah man, I know there is vienna ensemble pro as well, but I’d want audio/midi myself…I just couldn’t think of the name of the app I had saw lol…Madbull was on it tho!

      it’s really handy if you have multiple machines.

      Reply
  7. Hi SaintJoe,

    First of all thanks for all of your testing and very clear reviews.

    I’m working with the Maschine now for a while and I love it. I’m liking the workflow and sequencing so much that I want to use it as my DAW too. There are a few restrictions though as you know. One of those is that I’d like to start using my VST(i)’s and as long as NI doesn’t implement this I will need some kind of host. This app. looks like the one since Steinberg’s V-Stack still doesn’t support W7-64 (as far as I know). Ofcourse there are other possibilities like Ableton, Reaper, Renoise etc. What is your preferred way so far? I tried Ableton but didn’t really like it, except may’be using it for the final end-mix or live situation where I combine Dj-ing (NI TS Pro) with my own tracks.

    Another thing I kinda miss is an arpeggiator, I do have some hardware with arps but depending on the setup I use they are or are not available to use, so do you have any software suggestions in this area?

    Keep on

    Reply
  8. @saintjoe, mmm I’ll try to fool around with Reaper then, seems pretty straight forward in your video.

    Regarding the ARP q. don’t know much about catanya but will have a good look at it.

    Just saw your review of the TimewARP2600, if this thing can do what I think it can do I’ll prob. won’t sleep for a few nights 😉 … but again like with the V-Stack it doesn’t seem to support W7 64 (yet?)

    Reply
    • @Korenelius, yeah there are a few ways to do what you want, but I’ve been asking for vst support in Maschine since I got it, hoping they do it 🙂

      timewARP sounds nice, no x64 version…I had to buy bit bridge to use some of my 32 bit plugins in 64 bit hosts. Reaper x64 has a built in bridge so it can use both 32 bit and 64 bit plugins 🙂

      Reply
      • @saintjoe, on the site of timewarp W7 support is not mentioned …. however on the site of sonivox they do mention W7 support so I guess I’m gonna have those sleepless nights …

        Catanya looks good too and for that price I wont stay awake 😉

        Reaper seems the way to go … it’s not like I’m an expert on this whole 32versus64 bit story but if Reaper play’s all I’m a happy camper

        Thanks and see you

        Reply
        • @Korenelius, word, well…most 32 bit applications still work with windows 7, it’s just that if you have a 64 bit host, it will only use 64 bit plugins unless it has a built in bridge to use both. Basically 64 bit plugins break the limits of memory, etc that 32 bit applications have. So 64 bit plugins can access more ram and such. Doesn’t make as much difference for synths as it does sample based products, but having a native 64 bit plugin in a 64 bit host will have better performance than using a conversion bridge to use 32 bit plugins in a 64 bit host…so to speak.

          Reply
          • @saintjoe, nice ….. so I won’t have any issue regarding the VST’s it’s just that I got a little cautious after a problem with my Ecler Evo5 mixer (after I bought a new laptop last year) which I use now as an audio mixer because they still didn’t provide a 64 bit version driver and therefore lost my Firewire AudioInterface capabilities and had to buy an extra soundcard. The support really sucks over there although the quality of the mixer is not bad.

            Reply
            • @Korenelius, yeah it’s a little different than hardware, hardware requires 64 bit drivers, but software is different. Most software that works on regular 32 bit windows, works on 64 bit windows…it’s just that for plugins the host has to specifically support 64 bit. If you don’t have any 64 bit plugins, you can still use all your regular software/plugins on windows 7 as normal, 64 bit isn’t required for windows 7, it’s required for any 64 bit host/daw.

              Reply

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