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Windows-only plugins on OSX - any success stories? Equalizer Plugins
Old 26th February 2017
  #1
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Windows-only plugins on OSX - any success stories?

Hey all

I've very recently had to retire a very long serving windows machine due to technical issues, and I've currently migrated to an iMac running Mavericks. Most of the stuff I use is cross platform, or I can easily find adequate replacements.
However there are still some plugins that would be great to use that have no OSX version.
The main one I want to use still is Algorithmix RED.

Has anyone had any legitimate and reliable success using a third party wrapper or virtual machine to run windows plugins?? I figured that even if I could get a wrapper to work, the other conditions such as any other resources stored in Windows and also the Syncrosoft dongle authorisation could prove to be a stumbling block. Networked to another machine perhaps?
Via digital audio connections to another machine and use it essentially just like a piece of external hardware. Audio in/out only?

Just wondering if anyone had attempted anything like this, and what your practical experiences are/were.

It's quite possible I still might get an entirely different machine.. but I'm weighing up my options for continuing with this iMac for now.

Thanks for any assistance you might be able to offer. It seems like a tall order, I know.

Last edited by huejahfink; 26th February 2017 at 09:20 AM..
Old 26th February 2017
  #2
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This crossplatform wrapping can't really work because of completely different original system environment.. You can wrap different plugin architectures within OS X platform with varying success (eg. 32lives, DDMF metaplugin, BlueCat Patchwork etc.), but not really Windows VST, where you have to emulate all the syscalls, which particular plugin would issue.
There were some attempts via software called Pluginwire, but this really means audio streaming from main DAW was pushed to another plugin host from Windows (running in emulated environment) via Wormhole (this is currently unmaintained tool and protocol for network audio streaming, so it was also just audio I/O in this context).
However all that seems to incredibly awkward to me, adds latency and introduces possible problems with recalls. Other thing is, I believe you'd hit the wall with Syncrosoft copy protection, because it requires very low level access to hardware dongle.

IMHO you have couple of options..
Install bootcamped Windows at your iMac hardware and run your DAW there. (as there isn't any emulation and Windows runs natively, there shouldn't be any issues with Syncrosoft dongle as opposed to some virtualized environment like VMWare Fusion or Parallels).

As you've mentioned, you can run that plugin at another Windows machine accessible via your network (for example via VNC or Windows Remote Desktop). Then you could use either digital audio interface at this VST host computer or some networked audio protocol (for instance if you'd use Reaper, then it has built-in audio streaming plugin called ReaStream). Possibly you can use for example Vienna Ensemble Pro, but that's another expense besides keeping of another computer.

Retire that overpriced and unmaintained EQ and get something more current like DMG Equilibirum and just move on.. that's what I would do.
Differences among clean digital EQs are generally greatly exaggerated IMO.. and no audio plugin deserves such complicated workflow and obstacles today.

Michal
Old 26th February 2017
  #3
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Thanks for your detailed feedback. Some food for thought about networked solution, will look into that.
Have been trying VFX and Crossover. VFX was more or less a washout with very little of the plugins I tested even loading.
Crossover, looking kinda promising currently had been trying to use Energy XT as a host (which loads, but needs ASIO drivers). I've heard of wineasio which I'll look more into. Plugwire I saw but yeah the whole thing didn't seem like a reliable method from what little I read.
Someone also mentioned Winebottler.
As you say, unlikely I'd get dongle working at all, but could be an interesting start. And I would no doubt use a lot of the weird freeware bits I'd collected over the years.

Re : just replacing the plugin. I already have DMG Equilibrium and this is generally what I use. It doesn't do what the RED does, sorry to say. If it did, I'd probably not be too bothered about trying to get plugins going in OSX.

Yeah and also have put some thought into having a dual boot machine, or just a different machine altogether. This seems the most likely outcome right now, but I'm genuinely interested to try to get all I need on one boot-up of OSX.

Last edited by huejahfink; 26th February 2017 at 02:18 PM..
Old 26th February 2017
  #4
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Honestly I'm bit skeptic about this particular plugin and its emulation.
WINE (or Crossover, which is actually commercial version of the same.. SMPro Audio VFX uses also the same underlying libs) emulates the environment to run some Windows VST host.. be it EnergyXT or H. Seib's VSTHost.. whatever. Then you'll add WineASIO there, a wrapper which redirects audio from this ASIO driver to running JACK instance (another prerequisite), which then pass it to Core Audio layer and your interface. WineASIO is primarily developed for Linux, but there was some previous fork to compile it for OS X.. binary there https://github.com/steveschow/osxwineasio/releases This library needs to be added to WINE.
Then there is the critical step, which I think would be show stopper. WINE generally doesn't allow to install any Windows 3rd party drivers, it doesn't emulate Windows kernel and all of its programming interfaces. So there isn't any way, how to install dongle driver and its supporting service.
So even if all previously mentioned steps somehow succeeded, then plugin fails to load.
To prove that, you can first try to run for instance that VSTHost or VST Plugin Analyzer (neither will require ASIO) under WINE and try to load Algorithmix plugin there.. If that fails, any further attempts are worthless and it will save some time at least.
Maybe other plugins without copy protection or with simple serial could be loaded, but even with that it can be also quite a lottery, if such effect would be working.

With regards to irreplaceable Red.. have you try to match it using some frequency magnitude analyzer and do some fair comparison.
I mean, sometimes, when I'm comparing tools like EQs and have time for the measurement.. I will just use the first one (irreplaceable) in the project, where I make adjustments, which I like.. then I move it to another track, patch this external analyzer, grab impulse, magnitude and phase response.. which I save as an overlay. Then I'd load another EQ and try to match it as close as I can to this overlay. My analyzer allows to show also subtracted residuum, so I can see for example magnitude responses difference is under .1dB. Finally I do some listening tests, one with the effect more or less isolated and second with this effect bounced within context of whole project with other effects applied. Great tool for that is 4U+ BlindTest by HOFA, which can be used directly in any DAW and allows for blind testing with clickless transition among different tracks.
When possible difference doesn't pass through.. or an identification is simply at guessing level without any apparent benefit to any contender, when I try that with my colleague, it's one "problem" less.. and I can use whatever tool fits my workflow. Because the ease or conversely the hassle, which accompanies the way to your intended sonic goal is IMO much more important than some internal superiority of any given tool.
Of course sometimes, it's not always that simple as with clean EQs.. for instance with various nonlinear processors, where analyzers doesn't say so much besides of basic ballpark.

Maybe Red has also some special curve shapes (like their continuous slope shelves), which you find as an essential and unique. If you often use it with very smooth tilt-like shelves with low ordered slopes, then you can try TBPro Audio S-Tilt, which is linear-phase tilt-EQ combined with your other EQ plugins. Also HOFA 4U+ DynamicTiltEQ is interesting for that kind of adjustments, although it isn't linear phase.

Anyway, I don't want to argue with your finding regarding PEQ Red, maybe you already did your "homework". It just came to my mind, when I saw all the hassle you are willing to do to keep that abandonware alive

Michal
Old 26th February 2017
  #5
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Yeah cheers! I'd already established that elicenser wasn't playing. Even with the driver installed on both the virtual and actual machine.. license shows on OSX (where the plug doesn't exist) but not on Crossover where it can't see the USB inputs. There was some mention of trying to hook that up but it didn't sound hopeful.
I think the dual boot option is rapidly becoming the most likely solution for me, and would be back to using Windows, just on an iMac.
OK - it's not directly using the stuff in OSX. But a reboot to a new OS is really sounding a lot less hassle than the rest.
Old 26th February 2017
  #6
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And thanks for the tilt suggestions also.
Old 26th February 2017
  #7
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May I jump in and suggest using Sonoris Mastering eq which I recon to be the closest one compared to 'Red'.
It is a shame that the Pro-side of Steinberg called Algorithmix just left that project with no update like that, those algorithm are still the best period, no matter else, its a matter of facts. They really should release the 64bit version, not for the sound, but for the compatibility with moder daw, thats all.
bye
Old 26th February 2017
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giuseppe Zaccaria View Post
It is a shame that the Pro-side of Steinberg called Algorithmix just left that project with no update like that, those algorithm are still the best period, no matter else, its a matter of facts.
LOL, SlickEQ (free) or Nova(free) are technically clearly better. Let's compare! Less noise, less nyquist warping, a far wider range of control, lower artifacts, regular updates, and and and. We'll maybe have to price it 1500€ before the last one realizes it.

Don't let these 15 year old prices fool you. How "pro" can these guys be to abandon their works and customers without a word! (I bought the compressor back then)

IMHO, it's all about the crazy prices they started with 15 years ago, and never updated their page. This is not professional behavior, do you think that work ethics suddenly change "behind their curtain"? I doubt it.

To be honest, Algorithmic's weird (biz) behavior back in the days was an important reason why started building my own stuff.
Old 26th February 2017
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
LOL, SlickEQ (free) or Nova(free) are technically clearly better. Let's compare! Less noise, less nyquist warping, a far wider range of control, lower artifacts, regular updates, and and and. We'll maybe have to price it 1500€ before the last one realizes it.

Don't let these 15 year old prices fool you. How "pro" can these guys be to abandon their works and customers without a word!

IMHO, it's all about the crazy prices they started with 15 years ago, and never updated their page. This is not professional behavior, this is almost a scam, do you think that work ethics suddenly change "behind their curtain"? I doubt it.



I own all yours GE produts and use them a lot all the time.
Having said that for a more precise surgical work I prefer Sonoris.
I've used Red and SplitComp and as far as I remember they are some you don't forget, IMHO. I agree with you 100% on what you're saiyng about the price and the not professional behave
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