Quite a while ago I mooted this idea and have gotten around to testing it.
Basically using a micro form factor PC as a ‘hardware’ synth. (Which synths are anyway).
The first test is using a Macmini as the master - in this case an old 2012 running Maverics.
The testing was done with Cubase on that machine…
The ‘Slave’ machine was another old clunker, an old HP200 all-in-one from 2010 running Windows 7.
The midi was sent from the mac using the Apple network midi system. The PC received it using rptMidi (from Tobias Erichsen. ) The Midi latency was less than 1ms, likely much less than that. The returned audio was sent to a USB desk (Roland 24 channel VS-700) and from there back to the mac and Cubase.
The vsts on the PC were hosted on vstboard or Cantible. The PC is set to auto login and start the vst host.
The host and midi settings are automatic on startup for all machines.
The test was measured by sending midi from Cubase and recording the returned audio.
The time difference between the two was on average 3ms. The longest was Arminator 2 vst at 5ms.
Diva at full quality playing a triad on ‘Space Diva’ and using 20 - 68% CPU on the HP came in at <3ms round trip.
Midi custom controls on VMPK on the mac were used to adjust Diva remotely via midii or change vst or racks etc on the PC.
RDP ( Remote Desktop Protocol) from the mac (master) was used when required to really fiddle the PC.
I drove 2 PCs and another Macmini to different tracks in one session.
So what you end up with is a little box(s) with Diva, Legend (say) that is controlled by midi with only Ethernet, audio and power cables in the same manner as my hardware synths.
Mac to Mac, PC to PC, or any mixture works absolutely fabulously!!!
I used texta to write Diva / Legend on one mac mini and ‘master’ on another.