VST stands for Virtual Studio Technology. The VST plugins are used by both professional and amateur musicians and artists. They can be described as tools to generate sound or to enhance the sound.
With VSTs, musicians can have access to a variety of virtual instruments and effects without owning a physical copy of them. All the magic happens inside a DAW (digital audio workstation) – the audio software platform where you arrange, edit, mix, and master your music tracks.
There are three types of VST plugins:
- instruments (synthesizers, samplers, or ROMplers) which generate audio – basically they give you the sound to express yourself;
- effects which are designed to process the audio signal; these allow you to manipulate, enhance, balance, and further design the sound;
- MIDI effects – can act as a bridge between software and hardware (MIDI controllers) by processing and sending MIDI data.
The VST plugins can completely replace or complement the physical musical instruments and effect units. They give any musician access to a lot of creative tools without investing a fortune in hardware. Of course, most of these plugins cost you money, but the investment is much smaller. It can be close to zero if you mainly use free VST plugins.
Now you can create a complete song using only virtual instruments and effects – something unthinkable three decades ago.
Who knows what surprises the future will bring us…