Any "best" host(s) for testing plugins?

DSP, Plug-in and Host development discussion.
Fender19
KVRist
192 posts since 30 Aug, 2012

Post Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:59 am

Every DAW has it's own issues, but are there any particular DAW(s) that make a good "acid test" for plugins? In other words, if your plugin works properly in THAT host it will likely work most everywhere else.

I'm hoping to make my test and debugging efforts more efficient by narrowing down to a few "known-good" test DAWs. Any input appreciated!

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Michael L
KVRAF
2543 posts since 25 Jan, 2014 from the End of the World as we Knowit

Re: Any "best" host(s) for testing plugins?

Post Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:31 am

It's sort of the opposite of what you are looking for, but I use BlueCat Patchwork standalone as a "minimal" host, to rule out DAW-specific issues, because it's very basic and stable.
Also, MuLab logs all commands in each session, which can be useful.

Ivan_C
KVRian
1080 posts since 11 Aug, 2004 from Breuillet, France

Re: Any "best" host(s) for testing plugins?

Post Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:46 pm

Have a look for Pluginval as well, it can automate some tests : https://github.com/Tracktion/pluginval

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Music Engineer
KVRAF
3792 posts since 8 Mar, 2004 from Berlin, Germany

Re: Any "best" host(s) for testing plugins?

Post Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:47 pm

because i use juce for the plugin development, it seems most natural to me to also use the juce plugin host for testing. the nice thing is that i can use a debug-build of the host, too and when something goes wrong, i can even look at the host's code in the debugger
Image

stratum
KVRAF
2242 posts since 29 May, 2012

Re: Any "best" host(s) for testing plugins?

Post Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:50 am

Fender19 wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:59 am
Every DAW has it's own issues, but are there any particular DAW(s) that make a good "acid test" for plugins? In other words, if your plugin works properly in THAT host it will likely work most everywhere else.
If we return back to this original question, there is no such DAW. You can find something that helps you to debug your plugins, but there is no DAW that satisfies the above criteria.
~stratum~

quikquak
KVRian
505 posts since 6 Aug, 2005 from England

Re: Any "best" host(s) for testing plugins?

Post Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:03 am

I've always favoured 'FL Studio'. It loads up super quickly, and has crazily variable block size sends, often down to 1 sample.

No_Use
KVRAF
2341 posts since 13 Mar, 2004

Re: Any "best" host(s) for testing plugins?

Post Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:10 am

The Plug-in Test Host Application/Validator included in the VST3 SDK?
I guess you could argue if it works there but not in a certain other host it's the host's fault because Steinberg / VST3 SDK kinda sets the 'standard'?

stratum
KVRAF
2242 posts since 29 May, 2012

Re: Any "best" host(s) for testing plugins?

Post Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:35 am

No_Use wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:10 am
The Plug-in Test Host Application/Validator included in the VST3 SDK?
I guess you could argue if it works there but not in a certain other host it's the host's fault because Steinberg / VST3 SDK kinda sets the 'standard'?
There is no standard way to use a so called standard API unless they have also provided a long list of UML sequence diagrams and a long list of specifications that can only be interpreted only in one way. While this can possibly be done, I don't think it would be worthwhile for a SDK that has a very limited number of users, and then there is the issue of who would actually be wasting their time reading that document. Is one supposed to call his lawyer so that he makes sure he uses a particular API correctly?
~stratum~

Chrisboy2000
KVRist
47 posts since 21 Apr, 2008 from Germany

Re: Any "best" host(s) for testing plugins?

Post Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:58 am

Logic is also exceptionally picky - about 70% of the bug reports I get come from Logic users and it makes so much weird stuff like:

- if you load a project it loads the plugin state, then calls the prepare methods. If you revert the project, it calls the prepare method, then loads the plugin state.
- if you arm and record a track of another plugin, it calls the process method of your plugin on the message thread (WTF?)
- if a track has automation, it switches to a 32 sample buffer otherwise it uses the normal audio settings.
- tbc...

But yeah, FL studio with its 37 sample buffers definitely comes in second.

Fender19
KVRist
192 posts since 30 Aug, 2012

Re: Any "best" host(s) for testing plugins?

Post Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:44 pm

stratum wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:35 am
No_Use wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:10 am
The Plug-in Test Host Application/Validator included in the VST3 SDK?
I guess you could argue if it works there but not in a certain other host it's the host's fault because Steinberg / VST3 SDK kinda sets the 'standard'?
There is no standard way to use a so called standard API unless they have also provided a long list of UML sequence diagrams and a long list of specifications that can only be interpreted only in one way. While this can possibly be done, I don't think it would be worthwhile for a SDK that has a very limited number of users, and then there is the issue of who would actually be wasting their time reading that document. Is one supposed to call his lawyer so that he makes sure he uses a particular API correctly?
What SDK has “a very limited number of users” - VST? I tend to think it is the BIGGEST. What are you saying here?

stratum
KVRAF
2242 posts since 29 May, 2012

Re: Any "best" host(s) for testing plugins?

Post Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:54 pm

Fender19 wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:44 pm
What SDK has “a very limited number of users” - VST? I tend to think it is the BIGGEST. What are you saying here?
OK, does that count add to a hundred different companies? About 200? is that a realistic estimate?
~stratum~

Fender19
KVRist
192 posts since 30 Aug, 2012

Re: Any "best" host(s) for testing plugins?

Post Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:00 pm

Chrisboy2000 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:58 am
Logic is also exceptionally picky - about 70% of the bug reports I get come from Logic users and it makes so much weird stuff
Yes and why is that? Isn’t Logic an Apple product that should comply perfectly with the AU spec?

I have found the same situation in Steinberg’s products, i.e., Wavelab and Cubase treat plugins differently. Shouldn’t they both comply perfectly with the VST spec?

Even more strange, IMO, is when plugins fail in Cubase and Logic but work in lesser-known DAWs with no trouble at all!

Fender19
KVRist
192 posts since 30 Aug, 2012

Re: Any "best" host(s) for testing plugins?

Post Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:08 pm

stratum wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:54 pm
Fender19 wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:44 pm
What SDK has “a very limited number of users” - VST? I tend to think it is the BIGGEST. What are you saying here?
OK, does that count add to a hundred different companies? About 200? is that a realistic estimate?
I’m confused - it seems like you said that VST has a very limited user base and wasn’t worth fussing over.

Or are you saying that it has SO MANY users (hosts) that it’s not possible to design and test for all?

stratum
KVRAF
2242 posts since 29 May, 2012

Re: Any "best" host(s) for testing plugins?

Post Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:56 pm

Fender19 wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:08 pm
stratum wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:54 pm
Fender19 wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:44 pm
What SDK has “a very limited number of users” - VST? I tend to think it is the BIGGEST. What are you saying here?
OK, does that count add to a hundred different companies? About 200? is that a realistic estimate?
I’m confused - it seems like you said that VST has a very limited user base and wasn’t worth fussing over.

Or are you saying that it has SO MANY users (hosts) that it’s not possible to design and test for all?
I'm saying that this looks like a small market composed of close buddies and they don't write formal documents for each other and the number of different popular DAWs probably doesn't add up to 5 either.
~stratum~

quikquak
KVRian
505 posts since 6 Aug, 2005 from England

Re: Any "best" host(s) for testing plugins?

Post Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:18 pm

It’s easy to think that there is a tendency for the format maker’s to be very strict with up-to-date compatibility.

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