Rhythm Creation - Music Production and Sound Reocording

VSTi instruments (also known as Softsynths or Virtual Instruments) are plugins which are run by a VSTi host. A VSTi host which usually comes in the form of a sequencer and some of the most popular VSTi hosts are Cubase, Ableton Live, FruityLoops Studio and Cakewalk Sonar. The VSTi instruments add a new instrument to the VSTi hosts which allows for more and different sounds to be produced. If you can't get your head round it then the best way to look at it is to imagine the VSTi host acts like an operating system such as Windows which runs programs which are the VSTi instruments.

VSTi instruments come in different forms but are usually in the form of a softsynth, a synthesizer made in software as opposed to the classic way of making a synth in hardware. Some softsynths can be just as good if not better than their similar hardware versions as softsynths allow for unlimited saving space for presets and sounds as well as the ability to run multiple instances of a single synth allowing two sounds to be played simultaneously.

To allow for ultimate control over a softsynth it is best to use a MIDI controller which allows the softsynth to be used with a hardware interface. This allows for ultimate control of both playing and adjusting the sounds. Settings can be controlled on the screen using a standard mouse easily enough but playing the notes you want will be a bit more tricky.

The great thing about VSTi instruments is that they are cheaper than hardware and you won't have to find more room to store them in the place you use for music making. You don't need any extra cables, plugs or stands. The downsides are that they can take up a lot of system resources on your computer so lots of ram and a good processor are needed, especially if you plan on running multiple VSTi instruments at the same time.

VSTis designed for Windows come in the the form of a .DLL file and for the MAC a .VST file. This file needs to be placed or installed into your VSTis plugin directory or into an appropriately named folder within that directory. Your VSTis plugin directory can usually be set in the preferences of your VSTi host which will then be able to be located and load it up into its own channel ready to be sequenced.

If you don't currently own a VSTi host then I would suggest trying a small piece of software called Savihost created by Hermann Seib. This free software enables you to basically run a VSTi in a standalone state. Whilst this is not the most ideal way to run a VSTi host compared to a sequencer, it does allow you the chance to try out VSTi's before investing in a sequencer or to run them in standalone mode without loading up a full sequencer . To use Savihost just rename the Savihost.exe to the name of the .DLL file of the VSTi Instrument you want to use which should be located in the same directory as the Savihost.exe file.

Download Savihost


If you want to try out a brilliant and free (yes free) VSTi Instrument then you can't go wrong with The Claw from ReFx. You can download The Claw for the ReFX links below.

Download Claw For Windows
Download Claw For Mac
Download Claw Manual

You should hopefully now be well on your way that you can start using VSTis in your music, there are some great ones available and it opens up new doors to lots of new sounds.

Tutorial written by Edward Cufaude for Rhythm Creation.

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