How to Make a VST Plugin


Virtual Studio Technology is a powerful way of expanding the functions of your digital audio workstation software. A VST plug-in can be loaded from within a variety of host programs, and gives you access to different instrument sounds and effects. To create your own VST plug-ins from the ground up, you would need to be very fluent in the C++ programming language. Short of that, a few programs offer a modular environment for creating VST plug-ins or have the ability to open your projects from within a host program.

Things You'll Need

  • Digital audio workstation
  • VST creation program
  • Obtain a modular environment program that enables you to save your projects as VST instruments or that can be hosted within your audio software to run your instrument. SynthEdit and SynthMaker are programs that can export your projects as DLL files, for use as VST instruments in a host program. Alternatively, a few programs that allow you to create instruments and effects can be hosted within audio software. Native Instruments' Reaktor and Plogue's Bidule offer modular creation environments that can be run within a host program.

  • Create your instrument. Most modular environments revolve around connecting objects with virtual wires. If you wish to create a synthesizer, for example, begin with an oscillator, and connect it with any other desired processing objects you desire.

  • Save your project. If you are exporting a standalone VST, save your file in the folder that contains your other VST plug-ins. Your new creation will be available for use as soon as you open the host software. If you are using a modular environment that can't export standalone VST instruments, save your project in that program's folder.

  • Open your host DAW.

  • Activate the appropriate VST. If you have created a standalone VST, you can load that within your project. If your device will be used from within another program such as Reaktor or Bidule, load the plug-in version of that program. From that plug-in, you can then load your instrument.

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