Today we are going to answer a question that I have probably took for granted but that recently a user asked me (thanks Jewfro), so I have noticed that we have actually no dedicated article about it.
Once you install one of the many Vst plugins suggested on this blog, how do you actually use it?
The answer is "you need a real time Vst host".
What is a vst host? A software that lets you load your Vst plugin and use your instrument (a keyboard, a guitar, your voice and so on) through it, giving the processed signal as a result.
Which are some good Vst hosts?
The most commonly used Vst hosts are the Digital audio workstations (DAWs), here is a list of the best ones:
Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) overview.
How do you get your signal in your pc? Here are my tips on how to build your perfect home studio with the smallest budget possible:
How to build a Home Studio.
Once you have an audio interface and a Vst host it's very easy: you open your (Vst compatible) Daw, create a new track, and you'll notice that for each track there will be several empty slots called Vst inserts (or Vst chain). Here you can load any Vst you want, in any order you prefer, and experiment with it. In order to be visible in the menu that lets you load the plugins in the slots, the Daw must know where to look for them, so you must specify in the options of the workstation where to look for them, but once everything is setup your Vst plugins will all appear in the list and you will be able to load them in the insert.
One last thing: if you are trying to play through a plugin in real time and there is a bit of latency that doesn't let you play well, you must reduce the size of the buffer:
Here is a guide that explains the relationship between buffer size and latency.
I hope this was helpful!
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