Monday, January 17, 2011

VST Plugins

John Marine | 1/17/2011 02:02:00 AM | | |
(UPDATED: MAR 2 2011) I have embedded Facebook video of one song I created. Check out the final section before the closing to have a listen!)

For the first time this year, I went back to using MadTracker. This time, for a new reason- VST (Virtual Studio Technology) instruments. VST instruments offer new possibilities for various music makers. There are both VST effects and VST instruments. Proper utilization of these can lead to great-sounding, almost professional-quality music. Programs that allow for VST to be used (like the aforementioned MadTracker) can give you the power to make your own incredible music. Initially intended to be on VST instruments alone, I have made this blog post about both VST effects and instruments.

--- Virtual Studio Technology ---
Virtual Studio Technology gives you professional-type power in making music. The godfather of VST is a company called Steinberg. Their VST plugins have helped give many musicians, from hobbyists to professionals, great music-making power. There are many VST plugins for various programs. Some are free while some others are sold for a price.

I will provide videos to help you get a grasp on what is possible using VST instruments. I will try to find mostly brief videos to help you to get a grasp on what each entails. I want to offer videos while trying not to find tutorials or videos that have a lot of talking. The stars of these videos are the sounds. I also tried not to find tutorials, because the main point of this is on demonstrating items; NOT on tutorials.

VST Effects.

When you use VST Effects, you are able to dynamically change the flow of songs. Skillful use of VST Effects will allow you to create some great effects and make your songs sound better. A big difference can be made in how songs sound once you start implementing VST effect plugins.

This video features a VST effect called Vocalizer. Have a look (and a listen) to this video:

VST Instruments.

I can speak as someone who has made tracker music previously using samples. After having used samples a lot, I have discovered VST instruments recently. VST Instruments sound much more professional and much cleaner than using samples. The best thing about module tracker music is that you can make music either with your PC keyboard or with a MIDI-compatible keyboard (which I recommend). There's also better overall control of your music when you make tracker music. A lot of these VST instruments also allow you to easily change and customize all effects. I found this to be very convenient. Thing is, I think you have to specify certain instruments individually, especially if you're going to use one VST instrument across multiple tracks.

I'm still learning how to use VST instruments, but I have a nice grasp so far. I wish I could have found something better, but here is a VST instrument sample here. This VST plugin allows you to generate sounds similar from what you'd hear from a sitar:

So What is Possible Using VST Plugins?

Almost anything. As long as you have great skill in making music, any kind of music that can be made from generated material is possible.

The most common genre of music for VST plugins is usually some form of electronic dance music. Here is some trance using VST instruments:

Here is a hip-hop song using VST plugins:

Here is a rock song. The only real instrument in this video is the guitar. Everything else is either a VST plugin or plugins from FL Studio 8:

--- How to Utilize VST Plugins ---
VST Plugins mean absolutely nothing if you don't have a program for which to load and use them. So you need programs that can use VST instruments like FL Studio, Cubase, MadTracker, Renoise, or any other program that allows you to use VST plugins. Load the VST plugin(s) into your created song and use its parameters to make professional-quality music.

An important thing to take note of is that some VST plugins can be difficult to use and may eat up a lot of your PC resources. About the bare minimum for most PCs for using VST plugins is 256MB of RAM and a 1.0 GHz processor. Some VST plugins aren't as intensive on computer resources. You'll need to check out the certain aspects of VST plugins to help you into getting a quality VST based on your PC's CPU and difficulty level in using each VST plugin.

--- VST Instruments to Get Started With ---
It can be tough to not be able to have a good set of VST plugins to use when making music. I have been able to find some VST instruments for you to get started with. I use MadTracker 2 for my tracker music. The best thing about downloading MadTracker 2 is that it comes already bundled with a good set of VST plugins to help you on your way to making great music. Here are some free! VST instruments I recommend (click on the headings to learn more about each VST instrument:

Drumatic 3.

At its most basic, Drumattic 3 is a very efficient drum synth VST in coming along with various drum effects. A lot of the other effects, however, are fairly weak. So you may need to download some other drum sounds (especially some much better cymbal crash sounds) in conjunction with Drumatic 3 if you really want to make great music.

Superwave P8.

Superwave P8 features a variety of different synthetic sounds you can use in your music. This is great for those of you into electronic dance music. You are able to adjust various elements of each synth sound to your liking. At least in MadTracker, however, some sounds are a bit tough to cut off when you try to cut off notes. Just take note of this as you try to make music using this VST instrument.


The Iblit VST features a handful of different sounds you can use for your music. There are many effects for you to choose from. To make the best music, however, you'll need to really play around with each instrument to find ones you can really work with and utilize for your music. Your songs will not sound very good unless you really know what instruments work best for you and your song(s).

mda Piano.

If you need piano sounds, the best free piano VST is mda Piano. This VST instrument features a great-sounding piano VST with multiple settings offered.

These VST instruments alone are a good set of VST instruments to start off with if you're an amateur. I will add more VST instruments in the future to help you to really get the most out of your tracker music. Some other VST instruments have to be paid for. There are some VST instruments that are free, but are only demos. So you don't get as much out of them as you would like.

--- Sample Tracker Songs of Mine! ---
(added: March 2, 2011; edited March 6, 2011)

Here is a song I created called "Right Here With You," taken from my Facebook profile page. I even share what VST instruments I have used in creating this song. Don't expect anything spectacular... just have a listen:

Here is another one I released not too long ago. This is "Saturday Night Delight" on YouTube:

That's just a sample of the VST instruments I've used and utilized. Let me know what you think if you want to comment on it!

I hope this blog post has given you some insight on VST plugins. Here are some links you can visit:

* Steinberg - the ones who created the VST format, as well as Cubase
* VST Planet - Free VST Plugins

Here are a few programs that utilize VST plugins. This is for all of you wanting to make your own music:
* Cubase - Steinberg made the VST format, and also their greatly acclaimed digital audio workstation
* FL Studio - perhaps the world's most popular digital audio workstation
* MadTracker (what I use for module tracker music)
* Renoise (a module tracker)

There are MANY more sites and such that offer VST-enabled programs as well as VST plugins themselves, so use your preferred browser to find many more VST plugins and VST plugin programs!

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