Plugin GUI in Panels view

Hi all,

is there an elegant way to display a plugin window or parts of its GUI embedded in or next to a rackspace panel? Especially without having to mess around with several windows from the OS?

I’m trying to build a setup for GP as an FX rack (next to a real mixing desk) not only for FOH but particularly for mixing live streams. So e.g. metering plugins are an essential part of the workflow, where I need to see certain displays and values from within plugins (like advanced peak meters, spectrum displays, R128 readouts etc.) that go far beyond what’s available with the two simple meter widgets in GP.
Even if my applications may be a bit special, I can see a bunch of use cases generally for visual feedback from an original plugin GUI, while you don’t need to adjust a lot of plugin parameters at that time. A lot of modern plugins offer a huge range of visual feedback, that may be of use when playing live. So maybe someone has an idea to get around multiple open windows in GP…

I’m using GP 4.1.5 + Windows 10, in case that matters.

You can open and close a plugin window with a widget.

And, welcome to the family.

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That’s one of the rare features I already found in relation to plugin window handling in the panels view.
Besides the options to group widgets to open/close multiple plugin windows at once, or to automatically open/close them on a rackspace change.
But if you imagine a very basic master bus FX chain with a compressor, a limiter and some metering tools and you need to have an eye only on the gain reduction meters of the dynamics plus some peak and LUFS meters, then your screen is already full of plugin windows, esp. if it’s a laptop.
And there’s so many large plugin GUIs nowadays where you may only need to see a fraction of when playing or mixing live, so I thought someone may have come across similar issues.

HI @hma. My understanding is that plugins are essentially a closed solution, apart from what the plugin developer chooses to make available to the host - which are the input/output audio ports, support for midi, and specific ‘automation parameters’ that allow the host application to interact with various controls i.e. what you see when you map a widget to a plugin parameter.

There is official plugin SDK’s (e.g. the VST/VST3 one from Steinberg) that define all of this.

There is no other special access to the plugin’s UI that a host has, so I would see it as technically impossible for GP to ever be able to do what you are describing. The best you will have is the ability to open/close the entire UI (as you’ve previously discussed) or to map widgets to the plugin parameters that the plugin exposes.

For the internal GP plugins (e.g. audio mixer) there are special parameters for the audio levels, which allow you to map them to special widgets in order to show audio levels on the rackspace panels.

Thanks @rank13, yes it seems to be more of an OS issue of window handling, which is not that easy on limited display space of a laptop.

For (loudness) metering in text values I found a first solution today:
I wasn’t aware of the fact that it’s possible to output plugin automation data also of meter readouts (not only of values with a control), but you have to look for a plugin that has these options. Doesn’t seem to be very common… I came e.g. across the free TBProAudio dpMeter, that allows for a bunch of loudness metering values to be sent out as automation data. These can then easily be displayed e.g. in a panel’s text field.

Blue Cat’s meter plugin is another one. It can do both automation parameters and midi out.
Although with a quick test it looks to be quite cpu intensive if you map the meter output to a widget.