By Jeevan T Joy
VST Stands for virtual studio technology. They are considered as the most essential part of modern day music production. VST plugins are software instruments or effects that can be use in your digital audio workstation(DAW). The emulate hardware synthesizers, effects processors, samplers, thus allowing the music producers to access wide variety of sounds and effects directly within the DAW. Some of the VST s that are available in the market , have a very similar(almost equal) emulation to the famous hardware’s that are being used by music production community. VST enables the seamless selection of sounds.
VST plugin comes in various forms like instruments , effects, and utilities.
VST instruments Emulate synthesizers, pianos, drums, ethnic instruments, woodwinds, strings and other musical instruments. They generate sounds that can be played via MIDI(Musical Instrument Digital Interface) controllers or programmed in the DAW.
Synthesizers that are both analog and digital are emulated through VSTs and can produce wide range of sounds. Those sounds including leads , pads, basses, drums and more. There is a wider array of VST instruments that are topping the music industry currently. Major Companies that are producing Virtual synthesizers are ARTURIA, SPECTRASONIC, SPITFIRE, ROLAND, ReFX, Xfer, U-he ,Synapse, sonic academy and many more (Thank You guys J)
Samplers allows the users to load multiple sounds, such as individual notes from real instruments, drums or ambient noises and manipulate them according to the users wish. They offer the ability to play these sounds across the keyboard in different pitch. Almost all the DAWs have dedicated sampler plugin and there so many other standalone plugins as well. Native instrument Battery is an example for standalone sampler.
Pianos and keyboards VST instruments often include high quality sound with real like texture. They provide the most realistic and expressive keyboard sounds.
Orchestral and ensemble instruments focus on emulating sounds that allows the composers to create real and authentic orchestral arrangements.
Some of the sounds that are produced by these plugins provides surreal string emulations , without barring the dynamics and tightness. These plugin provides opitions for controlling the dynamics using modulators and other fader that are available in your MIDI controller.
Specialized Instruments are the vst instruments caters specific needs , such as creating unique and unconventional sounds. These instruments let the users to use a real instrument as pads, risers, effects, drones etc. These are also used for sound designing as well.
Effects plugins in music production are tools used within a digital audio workstation (DAW) to modify, enhance, or shape the audio signal. They can drastically alter the sound of individual tracks or the overall mix, allowing producers to achieve specific sonic characteristics and create professional-quality music. Here are some common types of effects plugins.
- Modulation Effects
- Gating and expansion
- Pitch and time-based Effects
Effects plugins are crucial in the mixing and post-production stages, allowing producers to shape individual tracks, create a cohesive mix, and add creative elements to the music. Using a combination of these plugins with finesse and creativity can significantly enhance the overall quality and character of a musical piece.
Utility plugins in music production refer to a diverse range of tools designed to perform specific functions that aid in the production, mixing, and mastering process within a digital audio workstation (DAW). These plugins may not directly alter the sound like effects plugins but serve various utility purposes.
- Metering tools
- Spectrum analysers
- Analysis plugins
- Time and phase alignment tools
- Automation tools
- Pitch correction and tuning tools
- Noise reduction and restoration tools etc
are some of the major utility plugins that are commonly used. Utility plugins play a crucial role in streamlining workflow, optimizing audio quality, and addressing technical aspects of music production. While they might not directly contribute to the creative aspect of music-making, they are essential for achieving a polished and professional end product.
VSTs are highly versatile and customizable, offering a vast range of sounds and effects. They can be third-party plugins developed by various companies or individuals, as well as those provided by the DAW itself.
VSTs are a cornerstone of modern music production, providing access to a vast sonic palette and allowing producers to create professional-quality music entirely within a digital environment.
Personal note:- Although VST provides this many advantages and possibilities, nothing can beat the authenticity and affection towards hardware’s. They have a special place in the evolution of music (I know they are costly, but still).
HAPPY MUSIC MAKING !