Yes Scott, in essence I use the assignable knobs as on / off switches with OMB. I've adapted pretty well to this thanks to the interface of OMB and find it to be almost as easy as using my PA80.
You do need a host such as Forte or Chainer if Hypercanvas doesn't open as a standalone - it's been awhile since I installed it so I cannot recall if there was a standalone option, but when given the option on softsynths I usually choose Vst only. Sonar and FL are recording apps, but both will also host VST and DX plug ins. I think Soundforge will host them too right ? If so, as Trident explained, SF will need to scan the folder that you choose to install your plugins to. There should be some sort of option for this in the program.
I can open my vsts in Sonar or FL, it's just that sometimes I just prefer less clutter and CPU usage ( when I don't need to record or otherwise process ), so I instead use Chainer.
I cannot comment on Forte, except that I believe it may now be discontinued. I know FLR likes it though. I like Chainer. Both will probably do anything you need. If you need a host to try this out, you can go to this page at KVR-Audio, as these are all freeware: http://www.kvraudio.com/get.php?mode=res...=&sort=1&rpp=30
I had a dedicated controller. A Midiman 61 Usb with 8 knobs and 8 sliders. It worked fine, but I found I didn't like the keys very much, so I traded it away for some custom work on my Les Paul and a small practice amp. The ES works fine for me, except when I need a lot of controllers for a virtual analog. I'm going to have a look at the newest Korg offering. It has full size keys ( unlike their previous offering ) and drumpads as well.
[This message has been edited by Bluezplayer (edited 06-17-2005).]