A term that describes a hardware device or software program that is capable of operating by itself, with nothing else required. Standalone can have many contexts, but in music and video production it is generally applied to components that can function both with and without a computer connection or host software.
An example of software is a virtual instrument that can run on its own without being used as a plug-in in an audio/MIDI sequencer. Such an instrument only requires the computer’s OS and support for the transfer protocols of the audio and MIDI interfaces, for example ASIO, CoreAudio or CoreMIDI. Most virtual instruments also support one or more plug-in formats such as VST, AU or DXi.
A common standalone hardware device is a MIDI interface, which can be used by itself to route data to a number of synths and sound modules in a live music setting. The interface can be programmed using its front panel controls. Again, most MIDI interfaces are also able to connect to a computer to respond to commands from a sequencing program.
Other hardware examples include a portable MP3 player, which can play back audio it has downloaded from a computer, and a RAID server that connects directly to a network without requiring a computer to run it.