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Steinberg VST System Link Coming This Quarter

Technology enables networking through ASIO By Dave Nagel
Steinberg says its new VST System Link Technology will be making its way into software beginning this quarter. VST System Link is a networking system designed to work through ASIO with VST-based software to allow multiple machines to operate together and to allow multiple operators to work on a single project. The technology is cross-platform and cross-application.

Steinberg has discussed VST System Link at various audio industry conferences, but now they're talking about specifics in terms of timing and distribution. The technology will be available first in Nuendo 1.6 and Cubase SX, both of which are planned for release this quarter. According to a company representative, there will also be a download for old Cubase versions in VST/32 5.2, but the timing of this is still unknown. It will also be available in Mac OS X versions of Cubase SX and Nuendo.

According to Steinberg, VST System Link harnesses "the full CPU and disk power of several computers simultaneously regardless of platform." It's a system for networking computers using Steinberg Virtual Studio Technology (VST) software and Audio Stream Input Output (ASIO) hardware. VST System Link enables the transfer of synchronization, transport and audio data between two or more workstations equipped with compatible software and hardware over standard digital audio cabling systems ,such as ADAT, TDIF, AES/EBU and S/PDIF. Steinberg says that because the technology uses the audio stream itself, synchronization is completely sample accurate, "even across multiple workstation configurations."

VST System Link uses a single bit of the audio stream as a carrier for transport and synchronization information, plus (optionally) other bits of the audio stream for MIDI information. It can carry hundreds of MIDI channels down the same single channel of a digital audio cable, and any computer in a VST System Link network can be accessed from any other, so one keyboard can play any VST Instrument loaded on to any of the other computers on the network.

For more information about VST System Link, including documentation containing hypothetical applications, visit

Contact the author: Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at

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