What Is a VST Plugin, and Why Should You Use One When Creating Digital Music?

If you produce music, or if you’re a DJ, you know just how many contraptions and software options there are for creating music. Having so many choices is great, but figuring out which one is the best can be a nightmare! That’s especially true when it comes to VST plugins.

You can narrow down your options by checking out the ultimate list of the best VST plugins, but you won’t know exactly what you’re looking for unless you know what a VST plugin is!

Here’s what you need to know about VST plugins, including the different types and why you should add one to your musical arsenal.

What Is a VST Plugin?

Exactly what is a VST plugin? It’s always a good idea to start with the basics. The VST stands for “virtual studio technology”. Just knowing what the acronym stands for is helpful in understanding what they do! They can be used with digital audio workstations because they can emulate hardware onboard gear. Without the need for bulky equipment, VST plugins can make a small bedroom studio sound like a fancy commercial operation.

Types of VST Plugins

Not all VST plugins are created equal. Because they are fairly easy to create, there are literally thousands to choose from, and people have gotten really creative with the different types of plugins that are available:

  • VST instruments: These plugins can emulate famous hardware synthesizers, making them extremely popular.
  • VST effects: Audio is processed instead of generated, making this plugin function like an audio processor.
  • VST MIDI effects: This type of plugin can process MIDI messages and send data to other VST plugins and hardware.

No matter which plugin you decide to choose, make sure you do your homework. Many are free, but that also means they are low-quality. It pays to spend a little money to ensure you get a quality plugin.

Benefits of Using a VST Plugin

Digital music has transformed the music industry. Revenue for digital music has been steadily increasing over the years because it’s so convenient. It should come as no surprise that digital music is also making it easier for music creators.

Just a few years ago, in order to get the sound you want, you’d have to find someone who plays that instrument. That’s not too difficult if you’re looking for someone who plays the guitar, but it’s nearly impossible if you want the sound of an organ on your track.

VST plugins allow you to get a wide variety of sounds without the hassle. And, because it’s so easy, it’s also easy to try out new sounds on a whim without making any big time or financial commitments.

Using VST plugins should be fun! Now that you know what they can do, spend some time doing a little research to find one that’s right for you. And, don’t be afraid to try a new plugin. New and better ones are being released all the time!