Wut are they?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by steveodrummer, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. Hey,
    Ive always wondered but cant find the answer. Wut are plug ins exactly. I know they put effects on wutever u want but are they as good as buying the real thing. Like is a plug in compressor as good as a real compressor?
    Thanks, just something to talk about
  2. From what i've seen, plug-ins can be great tools for all kinds of audio production. Equalizers, Compressors, Reverbs, Delay and so on, all fit into a laptop computer and are pretty easy to use.

    The cheap plug-ins tend to sound like real cheap hardware effects: thin and harsh. I've use a lot of equalizers in Pro Tools in a few different situations and had pretty decent success. I prefer being able to turn a real knob to change settings, but it's a lot easier than feeding a signal through a bunch of cables.

    I think good plug-ins certainly have their place, but in my mind, crunching numbers in a motherboard and processor isn't the same as sending analog vibrations through real capacitors and pots and coming back with a real analog signal on the other side.
  3. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Google VST, VSTi (the 'i' is instrument), DX, DXi and AU...for a few. Look for "virtual instruments", "software synthesizers", "plug-in effects".

    Plug-ins are add on software that may, or may not, have been included in a program. They can be instruments (commonly called virtual instruments) that can be manipulated, or they can be effects. They can be inserted (plugged in) and removed from a track(s) or channel(s), or possibly a bus. They may be able to be run in series, or parallel to a signal, depending. They can use CPU power, or add-on card/module power. They can be strictly for a narrow range of particular hardware/software/OS...or they can be cross-platform and used by a lot of stuff.

    Virtual instruments can be samples played by samplers, or they can be completely synthesized, or even a combination. The samples can be strung together, looped and played as audio phrases, or they may be MIDI-triggered notes. Phrases of loops may even be MIDI-triggered.

    They can be good, or they can be bad. They can be middlin'. They are digital emulation and manipulation.

    Purists may say they are bad...no matter what. But by the time that purist runs a Hammond/Leslie through a bunch of outboard analog stuff and manipulates the final recorded signal...and that signal is mixed with all the others...can most people tell whether it's a virtual Hammond run through plug-ins, a real Hammond run through real stuff, a real Hammond run through plug-ins, or even a virtual Hammond run through real compressors and a Leslie?
    Depends on everything involved. You can't qualify it that easily. Some people may have a talent for for making freeware sound pretty darn good. Some people may not be able to make the best and most expensive sound good.

    There's TONS of stuff all over the Internet on all this. Once you find one thing, it often links you to more. Fire up the Google...put the puzzle together. Search these forums. Not enough space here to go into it ALL.:wink:

  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Plug-ins are cool and many do emulate certain pieces of equipment fairly well. But they're just another tool in your incredibly large palette of sound manipulation capabilities. Plug-ins generally don't really sound like the cute little imitation graphical user interface they represent but if it looks like something you know, it must sound like something you know, shouldn't it? It's called placebo effect. Those of us that have the hardware devices, still love to use them. For those who don't have those devices, a plug-in is your next best imitation/emulation.

    I've both mixed through the analog stuff and ITB. Sure, I love my Neve's but I still get similar results from tracking on Mackie's and mixing in software. I have a consistent signature sound that I can attain without much regard to equipment interfaces. It's my technique and experience that makes the difference, not the blah blah specifications nor equipment. We just all have our favorites and if you can afford your favorite, go buy it, be it hardware or software. You're only as good as your technique.

    Ms. Remy Ann David

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