Portable Plugins

I have a rule that on my PC I do (apart from some “big” programs like renoise and photoshop) only run portable software on this machine. It’s great, cause I can have hundreds of programs on the machine without cluttering the system at all.

Now, I’m looking for good portable free and commercial VSTi instruments and effects. Only portable though, if it comes with an installer, writes to the registry, or the windows application data folders, or anywhere else outside its own directory, then I’m not interested.

Anyone got any great recommendations? Here’s my own:

Chip32 (draw your own waveform synthesizer)
Drumatic 3, Optik, Ersdrums (drum synthesizers)
Majken’s Chimera (nose filtering synthesizer)
Crystal (ambiance synthesizer)
TAL-Elek7ro, TAL-BassLine (subtractive)
Lazysnake (E.Piano)
Phybes (Vibes)

At the time only the GTG’s instruments come to mind, http://www.gtgsynths.com/plugins.htm

I particularly like the ST 2008 for some nice pads.

EFX: All of Bootsy plugins, Classic Series, MDA Series, and of course dblue :)
SYNTH: Oatmeal, Synth1, all from http://amvst.com/

Argurus Voyager http://www.aodix.com/products.html Chris Kann Sophia http://www.audiobulb.com/create/sophia/Sophia1_1.zip Ugo Element Of Surprise http://www.ugoaudio.com/ dschlon nzElektrik http://www.kvraudio.com/developer_challenge/2009/dc09_42_dschlon_nzElektrik.zip Cable Guys Curve http://www.cableguys.de/curve-about.html Elektrostudio Vsts http://elektrostudio.ovh.org/index2.php
Monolisa http://www.omnitaur.se/vst/download/monolisa_v1,12.zip
Medusa http://milkcrate.com.au/ub/medusa.zip
Kraken http://milkcrate.com.au/ub/Kraken.zip
Marvin Vst`s http://marvinpavilion.ojaru.jp/en/sound/vst.html
U-He Triple Cheese http://www.u-he.com/TripleCheese/index.html
Mr.Alias 2 http://www.thepiz.org/mralias2/MrAlias2_WinVST.zip
xciddose xhip http://xhip.cjb.net/xhip/releases/xhip.17.5.zip

just a note, quite a lot of free vst(i) come with an installer, but it really just copies the .dll somewhere… so I copy the .dll to my vst-folder, uninstall the thing again, et voila. it might not be legal to redistribute, but you now hold a portable plugin :D and if you do it in a sandbox, there will be no clutter. and you’re not missing out on some otherwise great plugins. (some people write grrrrreat plugins, but still are 'putar noobs, so they slap an installer on it ^^)

the worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t work without being installed, but I’ve never had that myself… and are there really plugins that use the registry or have files all over the place? never seen that either.

Pretty much every NI plugin stores presets & samples outside of the plugins dir since they use the fancy “Sound Browser”

It’s a good suggestion. I can always install plugins, and run them to see where they store settings. It’s quite common that plugins that needs to write files stores settings outside its own folder though. Consider that VST plugins in Cubase are by default stored in a sub-folder of the application data folder, and that programs are not allowed to store data there in order to follow the NT standards (writing there even requires admin rights in Vista and 7, which is a good thing because it forces programmers to follow the set standards). By this reason, the correct way for a VST plugin is to store the setting in the system’s application data folder, which is where the VST settings usually goes too.

Now, since I have a portable only policy on this PC (I want to be able to bring the “studio” on an USB stick and only have to install Renoise on another computer to load my songs), I can’t really have settings stored there. I’ll follow your suggestion though, there’s probably a lot of nice plugins that comes with installers that are actually portable once the files are extracted.

As an added bonus, you tend to find that a lot of these installers are simply .ZIP archives wrapped in executable form. Many times you can simply open the .EXE as if it were a .ZIP and just grab the .DLL file right out of it, no install/uninstall required! :)

I just noticed (again) that 7zip can extract some installers winrar doesn’t recognize as archives. Yay 7zip! ^_^

destroy fx (DFX) plugins, kjaerhuus “classic” plugins, epicverb, some free voxengo plugins,… hope it helps :]