A plugin effect is a signal processing device such as a reverb, delay, compressor or EQ, while plugin instruments take in, amongst other things, synthesizers , samplers , drum machines and sample-based recreations of real-world guitars, drum kits, pianos, etc. There are literally thousands of amazing free and paid-for examples available in both categories, from emulations of pretty much every classic hardware synth and effect unit ever made, to mind-blowing new designs that could never exist in physical form. These days, most virtual instruments and effects are released in VST, AU and AAX formats, with a few still arriving in the ageing RTAS, but the differences between the standards are minor and partly DAW-dependent, so a given instrument or effect will always sound exactly the same - and, largely, operate identically too - no matter which version you use.
What Exactly are VST Audio Plugins?
They have the ability to make you drool, ruin your ears with saturation and start fights between friends. Each one gives you a new set of values to play around with. Nothing feels better than having all of these delicious controllers at your fingertips. All completely free. Plugins expand your production toolbox. This powerful little compression tool allows you to manipulate the dynamic range of your track with an expert touch. The Kotelnikov offers fast, yet natural sounding compression, A preview mode that allows you to easily hear the original and compressed versions, and an adaptable sidechain function. Essential for all your compression needs. Get it for free.
Best sampler plugin
However, although you could get away with using just that - it can handle recording, arranging, editing, mixing and mastering, after all - the vast majority of tech-savvy musicians choose to furnish their setups with a selection of plugin synths, too. Some software synths are emulations of hardware models, but others are completely original. Read more: Universal Audio Apollo x6.
What are you most interested in? Last updated: Jul 3, His Molten YouTube channel has passed 3. He writes reviews and features for Sound On Sound magazine, the world's premier audio recording technology magazine and is a regular columnist focusing on PreSonus Studio One. He is the synthesizer correspondent for news website Gearnews.