AudioGridder (FREE Plugin Host)

From the website:

I know nothing about this, but it sounds like a pretty great idea to offload your resource hogging plugins and virtual instruments to another machine!

Of course my immediate questions are “what about latency” and “how difficult is it too set up and maintain”?

That sounds like a pretty cool way to utilize extra computers. For mixing only, latency would probably not be an issue, since most DAWs are pretty great at reporting and dealing with latency. Tracking might be a whole other ballgame… and of course, the downside is that it probably would add considerable complexity to your setup.

On the upside, it is apparently donation-ware/open source, so I’d imagine the uptake will be pretty huge!

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Yes, a very interesting idea! I’m in the midst of installing a new-to-me DAW, so will soon have another PC… Although, the point of upgrading the DAW PC is so I will have more processing power and not need something like this. I’m definitely going to keep it in mind though!

I took one for the team here - installed it to check it out. Very interesting in concept and execution. I installed the beta 1.1 version and not the stable 1.0 version. I installed the server version on the desktop and ran it. It runs silently in the background until you call it up. You give the server an ID number and it just waits.

On my laptop I installed the actual plugin. You put an instance of it in your plugins in a channel, and if all is working well it will detect a server running on the network. Here’s where it gets interesting. The server has already scanned what plugins its own hard driv. There are some very curious side effects of this. Firstly, your user machine could (in theory) could run with zero VST’s installed, and you could run them all off your server. This presents some very interesting licensing issues. Although I haven’t tested it, could you transfer all your iLok licenses to the server and then have multiple computers use those plugins? I know I hate having to transfer licences from laptop to desktop.

Another very interesting thing I noticed was that the plugin itself is running on the server. On the user machine your running Audiogridder, and then within that you call up an instance of a plugin that is hosted on the server. The server loads up the GUI of the plugin, and then transmits a video of that GUI into the Audiogridder within your user machine. I realised this when I moved the plugin window on my server, and then on my laptop could see the desktop of my server! So it’s essentially “remote desktoppping” the plugin’s GUI across to the user machine. All in all a weird implementation, because when the GUI of the plugin is on your screen, you can’t resize it any way. So I had a plugin way off on the side of my laptop screen, of which about 30% was inaccessible.

The actual plugin performance was really good. Surprisingly good, but to be honest I had 1 plugin running on the server. I can imagine that this setup would be a life saver for those people using dozens of plugins per channel. How it would handle the lag, and how it would interact with plugins that you’ve put in your actual channels I wouldn’t even know how to predict.


Cool! I was wondering about this and how you’d control your remote plugin. I’m mainly interested in this for Nectar 3. That’s one of my go-tos, but also one of the most CPU intensive plugins I use. I’ve been gravitating away lately because of the CPU usage… But as I said in my reply to Andrew, hopefully the new PC will make my CPU issues a thing of the past. I’ve been very conscious of CPU hogs out of necessity to-date.

Thanks for checking it out and letting us know. This might have some very interesting possibilities. I’m now thinking about the possibilities of a file server/plugin CPU server for the second machine… Pretty cool! :sunglasses: