I have a MIDI keyboard linked to my laptop with Reaper software. There, I can access all of my VST collection. The question is: what kind of keyboard must I have to play live and get my VST list on it?

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    Are you wondering if keyboards exist that will load VSTs in the keyboard so you don't have to have a computer and host application with you? If that's your question, I've never heard of such a thing. There was a rack unit several years ago that would run VSTs but it was very expensive and I think they went out of business. Cheaper to have the computer with you. Jan 19, 2018 at 18:20

2 Answers 2


The usual setup is a laptop plus keyboard with MIDI.

I've never heard of a keyboard that runs VST instruments natively, but there were some external rack units and pedals (for guitar players) that either existed or were announced. I don't think any of them really caught on, though. The problem is that it basically needs to be a computer itself. But they need to design it themselves to fit in a little box, stay cool, and be at least as reliable as a laptop. This inevitably results in it being more expensive than a laptop and with a worse interface (small screen, no trackpad). In other words the concept was pretty much destined to fail.

So you already have the cheapest and most usable setup. If it were me I'd probably want some kind of stage keyboard that also has a MIDI out so that in case your computer dies in the middle the of gig you could switch to the onboard sounds. Also in terms of reliability maybe have a laptop dedicated to stage/studio use that only gets updated periodically and won't get bricked by normal day-to-day usage. That can get expensive though.


It doesn't appear that there are any keyboards that will let you directly load VSTs into them. The most common way to use VSTs live is to simply use a laptop with a small USB audio interface that you can plug into the soundboard.

EDIT: it appears the standalone hardware VST host company SM Pro Audio is out of business. Even though you can still get them on Amazon. It's probably best not to.

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    But be aware that that company is out of business and it can be hard to install your own VSTs on these things. Also, even if you could get it load, imagine a computer that size circa 2010 and then imagine how well it would run your favorite 2018 VST.
    – user37496
    Jan 19, 2018 at 18:35
  • Yeah, I just read the comments on that. So I removed the link to it. :)
    – Tekkerue
    Jan 19, 2018 at 18:38

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