The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'vst'


Some news on the computer music front: version 2.0 of the veritable Windows audio patching environment AudioMulch is now out, and it's now available for OSX. It costs US$189, though, so it may not be everyone's cup of tea; however, the objects are higher level than those in other environments like Pd, and there's less fiddling around with oscillators involved before you actually start getting interesting noises.

Meanwhile, I somehow managed to miss the fact that the veritable MDA VST plugins are now open-source. And for some reason, there are precompiled VST binaries for Linux. It turns out that people are using Steinberg's VST plugin standard on Linux (presumably unofficially, though).

(via Create Digital Music) audiomulch computer music linux software vst 0


Just looking at the super-secret VST SDK download page, whose URL you get when you fill in the form; it's interesting to see that Steinberg have VST SDKs for not only Windows and MacOS but for SGI (I remember those) and BeOS (ditto). Conspicuous by its absence is any mention of Linux, a platform which would easily dwarf BeOS and SGI put together. Steinberg seem not to approve of Linux, or their disdain for the proprietary software model; apparently, when the LADSPA people were starting to develop an audio plugin system for Linux, they asked Steinberg if they could port the VST SDK and release it under and open licence; Steinberg, ever protective of their precious intellectual property, said no.

Anyway, now that someone has written a Windows VST adapter for Linux, the issue seems moot. In fact, if Steinberg wanted to jump on the Linux bandwagon, they should probably not create a separate Linux binary platform for VST plugins; instead, they should modify the Windows VST spec to ensure that compliant plugins load under Linux with the WINE-based adapter, and release the VST glue code required to load them under an open-source licence. That would save Linux hackers the need to download the SDK separately, allow compiled Linux VST programs to be put in RPMs and such, and create a pool of VST plugins shared between Win32 and Linux, without a single commercial vendor needing to add an extra platform to their product.

Aside: it's funny that it's apparently easier to run Windows plugins under Linux than it is to use MacOS plugins under MacOS X.

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I stand corrected; it is possible to run Windows VST plugins under Linux and use them with Pd and LADSPA clients. This announcement describes vstserver software, which may be found here. You'll also need WINE source code and Steinberg's VST SDK (which requires an agreement, but it doesn't seem particularly restrictive).

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This looks (and sounds) pretty nifty: Virtual Guitarist, a VST plugin which plays rhythm guitar in various styles, getting chord information from MIDI input. It appears to be an intelligent sample player/chord engine and a big bank of guitar note/part fragments.

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I'm not making this up: Some Dutch students have written a VST plug-in which synthesizes Tibetan throat singing. I'm not making this up. Named Delay Lama, it uses formant synthesis, is MIDI controllable (with the pitchbender controlling vowel sound) and sounds uncannily lifelike. And if that wasn't enough, it draws an animated Tibetan monk, lip-synched with the audio, in the GUI. Best of all, Delay Lama is free (though donations to a Tibetan charity are encouraged).

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Big Tick Audio have some pretty doovy-looking VST instruments, including a funky-sounding (and free) Clavinet emulator and the pretty impressive-sounding Angelina, a "formant synthesizer" which makes vocal-sounding pad sounds. Unfortunately, there's no Mac version of the latter yet.

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I was walking past Manny's in Fitzroy today, and stopped in, finding that they had a few items on sale. Hence, I ended up buying a copy of Waldorf Attack, the VST analogue rhythm synthesizer plug-in. (Something I had been meaning to get my hands on for a while; though the fact that it was on sale sealed it.)

It's pretty doovy; one can make all sorts of sounds with it, from analogue drum sounds to the sorts of bizarre noises found only in German laptop electro and Warp CDs, and miscellaneous odd burblings, hisses and insane ring-modulated cacophonies. And the fact that one of the preset kits it comes with is comprised of video-game sound effects is encouraging.

I laughed out loud when I heard the start of the "Beat Box 3" sample song, though; there it was: a perfect knock-off of the Casio VL-1 "Rock 2" pattern (that's the one from Ninetynine's Wöekenender).

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"Girl" is a very odd name for an audio synthesis program, but the description sounds pretty doovy. Basically it's a modular sample-based synthesizer/mixer of sorts, which can apparently work standalone or as a VST plug-in, and can be controlled in realtime using the keyboard or 2D 'plane controllers'; which brings to mind all sorts of glitchy loop-based laptop mayhem. The demo MP3s on the site also sound quite promising, in a What Is Music? sort of way. Though whether it's worth the A$200 or so it'd cost to register it remains to be determined.

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The latest issue of Computer Music magazine comes with a VST drum-sampler plug-in (SR-202, by the Muon people). Unfortunately, the Mac version of this plug-in can crash the entire machine, which renders it rather useless. Hopefully they'll fix this in a future issue (as it looks like quite a doovy plug-in; potentially better than LM-4).

(Yes, MacOS's nonexistent memory protection is to blame; I'll be glad when they start making native audio software for MacOS X, and compiling VST plug-ins for said platform too. Mind you, I'll also need a new Mac then, as my beige toaster doesn't want to boot MacOS X (probably because of the CPU upgrade).)

In other plug-in news, Roland have a VST version of their Sound Canvas module out; I'm thinking of spending the A$135 (with 3RRR subscriber discount) and buying it (I do have an ancient SC-55 module, but this is internal and VST-based, and thus more convenient; and you never know when you'll need some GM sounds).

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I must say I'm very impressed with Maxim's J10 VST soft synth. It's one of the more capable free synth plug-ins I've seen, on a par with real synths. I'll probably be using it in places I'd otherwise record an external synth.

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More VST instruments you can shake a stick at. Though their images and some of their links seem to be broken.

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Cubase geek stuff: There is now a Mellotron plug-in for VST. The demo sounds pretty doovy, though the fact that it takes up "hundreds of megabytes" is a bit daunting. Time to get a new disk for my Mac, I think...

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VST plug-in update: I've just played around with Ces's synth plug-ins, and they're great. Well, the ones that work (which would be the analogue synth, the wavetable synth and the first drawbar organ). The wavetable synth makes some interesting sounds, the analogue is top-notch, and the drawbar organ sounds pretty useful too. (The analogue drum synth didn't seem to want to play anything other than the kick drum when I tried it though.) Anyway, nice one, mate! I'll be buying some registered versions in the near future. (Though I still reckon they should do something about the names...)

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Speaking of VST plug-ins, this site seems to have a number of VST soft synth plug-ins of various sorts (standard analogue, drawbar organ, wavetable). Looks interesting, though one can't help but think that the names leave a bit to be desired...

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Interesting VST plug-in of the day: VSamp, a virtual sampler for VST 2.0. May be useful for using all those vintage synth separates off Future Music cover CDs...

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Free VST toy of the day: VB-1, a virtual bass guitar simulator, using physical modelling techniques, and capable of sounding like a bass guitar, a clavinet, a DX-7 and a bunch of other things.

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I just found a page with a lot of LM-4 drum kits for the downloading. (The main page didn't show up well on my browser; maybe that has something to do with it being "Internet Explorer 4 only".)

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I've been playing with a demo version of Pluggo, an amazingly doovy collection of audio effects plug-ins for Cubase VST, and getting some interesting sounds out of it. I'll probably end up buying it sometime soon, especially since it's only US$74 (though that's about twice that number in Australian play money).

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