What Is a VST?

What is a VST? Well, Before the mid-90s most producers needed to break the bank to have access to decent hardware, music production wasn’t as accessible as it is now, and audio units, AAX, and rack extensions from other platforms wouldn’t exist! VST short for Virtual Studio Technology is a DAW interface used for the integration of audio and effects plugins giving the producers the ability to enjoy the magic of audio plugins. Without it, you’ll need to invest a lot of money in hardware just to get the right sound.

DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) were first created to assist musicians in producing and composing music with audio as the centerpiece of it and since the invention, it has continued the development of those Digital Audio Workstations as they got more and more widely accepted inside the music community, thanks to the continuous development in more cost-efficient processing power; VST Plugins are having more place in those circles and are made to extend the capabilities of their Digital Audio Workstations to sound better, work easier, more polished, or even more technologically sophisticated in terms of production.

The Tale of VSTs started back in ‘96 with the release of Steinberg Cubase 3.02 which included several plugins, including Spatial (a reverb), Chorus (a chorus effect), Stereo Echo, and Auto-Panner.

VST plugins are classified into three categories:

• VST Instruments

VST instruments generate their own sounds, either by sample playback or algorithmic processing. Sample playback instruments are pre-recorded sounds from guitars, pianos, and other instruments that can be triggered like an instrument, while algorithmic is modeled after and synthesized using the PC’s processor. Both have distinct advantages and disadvantages by themselves, although comparing the better of the two types of plugins can be debatable.

VST Effects

These plugins take audio and modify it in a variety of different ways. They can’t create new audio on their own, but they can add reverb and other effects. This category also includes plugins that provide different types of visual feedback.

VST MIDI Plugins

These plugins are specifically designed to work with Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) files, either alone or in conjunction with other VST plugins. These are really handy if you’re a musician who wants to attach an instrument, such as a keyboard, to your DAW through a MIDI connection.

Digital Audio Workstations And VST Support

To use the VST plugins, you must use a host, also known as a Digital Audio Workstation software (s). Steinberg Cubase, FL Studio from Image-Line, Apple Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Cakewalk SONAR, and Cockos Reaper are among the most common DAWs that support VSTs. Native Instruments Maschine, as a new music creation plugin/platform, also supports VST plugins from other companies.

Due to its support for both Windows and Mac OSX, VST plugins have been the most common format in Digital Audio Workstations running within Windows PCs since the 2000s, aside from Microsoft Windows’ exclusive DX plugin. As compared to other rival plugin formats such as Audio Units, which is exclusive to Mac OSX, RTAS (succeeded by AAX), which is exclusive to ProTools, and Rack Extension, which is exclusive to Reason.

Rack Extension

Propellerhead Software, a form of Digital Audio Workstation, is powered by VST. Reason 1.0, was published at the end of the year 2000. It has a distinctive look that distinguishes it from the competition. They created a realistic virtual studio rack just  like the real one, making it more practical for users to insert virtual instruments, effects, and mixers.

Rather than using the widely used VST plugin format, Reason developed its own audio plugins called Rack Extensions, which are only available on the Reason platform. Propellerhead began with an electronic music development program named ReBirth RB-338 before evolving into a more full music Digital Audio Workstation with Rack Extensions to expand its sound design capability.


VST3 plugins use much less CPU and promise a slew of new features, the downside is that many of the previously listed host / digital audio workstations do not support VST3 (yet), and many developers, both large and small, are having difficulty implementing this technology. Despite the promise of VST3, the majority of VSTs that are commonly used and embraced, both on the host and plugin sides, are still VST version 2. On the other hand, we’ve been supporting VST3 since the introduction of Cerberus Bass Amp, and the latest versions of Steinberg Cubase, Nuendo, Presonus StudioOne, Cakewalk Sonar, and FL Studio are among the digital audio workstations that do.

VST Hardware

VST plugins can be used in both hardware and software, including a range of Digital Audio Workstations. It’s always exciting to think about using VST plugins to their full potential in a live environment! – one comes with its own set of costs, benefits, and drawbacks. If you’re thinking about purchasing one of these, look up reviews on Google for each product to get some customer feedback. Here’s the hardware :

  • Muse Receptor
  • Virtones Vped
  • Seelake AudioStation
  • SM ProAudio V-Machine

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