NanoHost manual

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NanoHost manual

What is NanoHost?

NanoHost is a free, minimalist host application which can load VST-synths. It works well for live-performance, testing, jam-sessions and sound-design.
Furthermore, it can act as a wrapper which converts VST-synthesizers into standalone applications.

Why should i use NanoHost?

  • It is free, requires no registration and you are allowed to share it with your friends!
  • It requires no installation. You can run it directly from a USB-stick or CD.
  • There is no plugin-scanning required since a plugin can be loaded directly - no matter where it is located on the hard-disc.
  • Because of low-level code-optimization it offers highest performance and can operate with lower latency than conventional hosts.
  • The GUI refreshes with an extremely high frame-rate (120 Hz). That's why you will experience smoother animations and graphics than with other hosts.
  • Nanohost allows you to zoom the interface of all(!) vst plugins - even those who do not come with a re-sizeable GUI.
  • NanoHost itself requires nearly no space on the screen. As a result there is more space available for the interface of the VST-plugins.
  • The software is very small. It requires (nearly) no hard-disc space and is loading extremely fast.
  • Unlike conventional hosts the soundcard settings can be configured individually for every single plugin. This allows you to achieve the best possible performance for your VSTs.
  • NanoHost is very easy to use and offers context-sensitive help.

Loading a VST plugin

Use NanoHost64bit.exe to load 64-bit VST-plugins and NanoHost32bit.exe to load 32-bit VST-plugins.
VST-plugins are files with an dll extension. When you start NanoHost it will open a file-dialog and ask you to select a plugin.
The default location for 64-bit plugins is "C:\Program Files\Steinberg\VstPlugins\" .
The default location for 32-bit plugins is "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steinberg\VstPlugins\" .

Converting a VST-synth into a standalone-application

NanoHost can convert a VST-synthesizer into a standalone-application. You just need to rename NanoHost to the name of the corresponding plugin. Right-click with the mouse on NanoHost32bit.exe or NanoHost64bit.exe and select "rename". Then copy the renamed exe-file to the same directory as the plugin. When you start plugin.exe, the VST-synth is wrapped and loaded automatically.

Example: To wrap FireBird.dll rename NanoHost32bit.exe to FireBird.exe and copy it to the same directory.

Audio Output Settings

Make sure that you select the proper wave-device for playback.
On standard home-PCs and laptops there will only "MME: Microsoft Soundmapper" and "DS: Primary Sounddriver" (Direct Sound) available.
If you own a sound-card you will have access to the ASIO-drivers. The usage of ASIO-drivers will offer a better performance in most cases. If there are several different ASIO-drivers available, try to avoid the "ASIO: Generic Low Latency ASIO Driver" and use the native driver of your sound-card instead.

Buffer Size

If you select a buffer-size which is too low you will experience a "crackling" sound. If you select a buffer-size which is very high there will be a noticeable delay till the instrument reacts to strokes on the MIDI-keyboard.
The buffer-size settings depends on the performance of the sound-card.

Asio Control Panel

This section is only available if you selected a an ASIO driver. It will open the settings page of the ASIO-driver. Here you can select a buffer-size and configure advanced settings for your sound-card.

Asio Channel Selection

This section is only available if you selected a an ASIO driver. Here you can select different channels for the output of the audio-signal.

Soft Clipping

If this feature is enabled a soft-clipping algorithm with tube-sound will be applied to the output. It has a more smooth and warm sound than the conventional hard-clipping.


Click with the mouse on the knob and move it up or down to change the BPM-rate.

Autosave Bank on Exit

If you enable this setting the current sound-bank with all parameters will be stored automatically when you exit Nanohost. it is automatically restored when you load the same plugin again.

Zoom interface

This allows you to zoom the interface of all(!) vst plugins - even those who do not come with a re-sizeable GUI.
It automatically changes the screen resolution to a size that fits best with the plugin size.
The screen resolution is only changed temporarily. It will be restored automatically when you close the app.

Midi In Settings

Here you can select from up to 4 Midi-ports for the input. If you enable "Pass Through to Output" the Midi-signals will be routed to the selected output-port.

Show keyboard

Displays a virtual keyboard on the bottom of the vst plugin.
You can detach it by klicking and moving the left dotted strip.
You can change the height by clicking on the upper border. Then move your mouse mouse up/down while you hold down the left button.
When the virtual keyboard is shown you can use your computer keyboard to play notes.
C#2 : 2                       
D#2 : 3                       
F#2 : 5                       
G#2 : 6                       
A#2 : 7                       
C#3 : 9                       
D#3 : 0                       
C 2 : q                       
D 2 : w                       
E 2 : e                       
F 2 : r                       
G 2 : t                       
A 2 : z                       
B 2 : u                       
C 3 : i                       
D 3 : o                       
E 3 : p                       
C#1 : s                       
D#1 : d                       
F#1 : g                       
G#1 : h                       
A#1 : j                       
C#2 : l                       
D#2 : ”                       
C 1 : y                       
D 1 : x                       
E 1 : c                       
F 1 : v                       
G 1 : b                       
A 1 : n                       
B 1 : m                       
C 2 : ,                       
D 2 : .                       
E 2 : -     
left shift - 2 octaves lower                   
right shift - 2 octaves higher    
left - upper octave down      
right - upper octave up   
up - lower octave up  
down - lower octave down        
PgUp - velocity up      
PgDn - velocity down   
Home - mod wheel up    
end - mod wheel down   
Insert - pitch bend up        
Delete - pitch bend down  

Midi Transformations

Here you can select from different velocity-curves which change the behaviour of the dynamic expression.
If you select 'Fixed' the midi-velocity signal will not provide any dynamics at all.
'Linear' is the default behaviour and does not apply any changes.

With transposition can change the tonality. It shifts the notes you are playing several semitones up or down.

Midi Filters

The midi-channels that you select here will not be passed to the plugin.

Load Bank / Save Bank

Loads or saves a sound-bank (*.fxb) which can contain several patches.

Load Patch / Save Patch

Loads or saves a single patch (*.fxp).

Rename Patch

Here you can rename the currently select selected patch.

Create Random Patch

Randomizes all parameters and generates a random patch.
You are using this feature at your own risk! This feature can give unexpected results, very loud or no output at all or might even crash some plug-ins.  
If your plugin does come with an own randomizer you should use this one instead.

Next Patch / Previous Patch

You can use this to switch through the patches. This feature is only available if the plugin uses banks with several patches.


Here you can select a patch. This feature is only available if the plugin uses banks with several patches.


The output of a plugin can be recorded to a wav-file in high quality (32-bit float, stereo).
Click on "Start recording..." to start a recording. The time elapsed is displayed in the title bar on the top. As soon as you click "Stop recording" you can optionally save your track to a wav file.


Big thanks go to Hermann Seib, Anna Krause and Troels Nygaard!

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