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VIRTUAL INSTRUMENTS
VSTi

Virtual instruments are plugins that reproduce the sound of existing instruments (piano, drums, violin, hardware synthesizers, etc.), or even produce sounds created from scratch (beatbox, soft synths...). Some VSTi are very simple, with few settings and few sounds, others are very complex with dozens of settings, rich sound banks and a lot of disk space needed. The offer is huge, with either free or retail VSTi. You can find almost anything, from classical instruments to the most exotic ones. New instruments are released all the time, and there are so many of them that it's hard to choose. Most DAWs come with at least some virtual instruments. It's certainly the most complete instrumental world, as the only limit to creating new sounds is your imagination.

As it's absolutely impossible to make a list of all existing virtual synths, I will give you a link to an excellent site where lots of free VSTi are presented, with download links, descriptions and also some sound samples: Burnie's site.

Synthetizers - Soundfonts - Drums

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SYNTHESIZERS

I regularly use the synths provided with my DAW Sonar, like Dimension Pro, Rapture, and also other free or retail VSTi, like Miroslav Philharmonik for orchestrail instruments, or Z3TA+2 for modern sounds.

Dimension Pro

Rapture

Miroslav Philharmonik

Z3TA+2

I also like these two free synths, Microtrance and Kairatune:

Microtrance
Download Microtrance (microtrance.zip - 838 KB)

Kairatune
Kairatune's website

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SOUNDFONTS

Soundfont is a method created by the company E-mu, which allows to stock WAV samples in a file, and organize them in the form of MIDI instruments, in order to use them with a VSTi.

I remember that, originally, you had to own a Creative Labs soundcard to use Soundfonts. Nowadays, these sound cards are pretty rare, but plugins allow you to use Soundfont-compatible sound banks with any DAW. There are many Soundfont sound banks, in the SF2 format, and their sound quality varies from mediocre to excellent. It all depends on how they were created. You can find some on this page, as well as links to other sites who offer Soundfonts.

You can find all sorts of instruments, like bass sounds, guitars, pianos, saxophones, accordions, drums, bells, xylophones, violins, vocals, flutes, etc.

Phenome is a free VSTi in which you can load and use Soundfonts.
As the official website seems to be gone, here is the file to download: Phenome ("VSTi - Phenome (soundfonts).zip" file - 3.69 MB). PC only.
Phenome
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DRUMS

You can find MIDI sound banks, audio drums loops of varying quality, or software that generate electronic drum sounds, but for Rock music, you need good acoustic drums sounds. There are excellent VST plugins, but quality comes to a price.

FXpansion BFD 3

(official website)

I use BFD3, which offers sounds of excellent quality, as well as numerous options to actually forge the drum sound you like. The interface is clear and complete. A very good choice.

BFD 3 is indeed excellent, but it requires a rather powerful computer with a lot of RAM memory, because it's very demanding. it's also not easy to master, and if you don't intend to take some time to learn how to use it, the result may not be up to your expectancies. It doesn't sound great right away, you need to edit the settings but on the other hand, you have control over every parameter and the result can be impressive and sound just like real drums.

FXpansion BFD 3
FXpansion BFD 3

Toontrack

Superior Drummer and EZ Drummer

(official website)
Toontrack EZdrummer
They both come from the old Drumkit From Hell sound bank. Superior Drummer is very complete, and EZ Drummer is less expensive and easier to user, yet not as customizable.

XNL Audio Addictive Drums

(official website)
XNL Audio Addictive Drums
Simpler and more immediately satisfying than BFD or Superior Drummer, Addictive Drums offers settings and presets that will easily match your mix without tweaking. Control over the sound is not very extensive, though. This software is now included in Sonar X3 Producer.


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MESSAGES

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Message page # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31



billynilly
01/18/2020, 18h08

Whatever happened to the Cranked AC plugin? I've been looking all over for it but can't find it anywhere.

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Sorry, I never heard of this plugin. If it's an old plugin, chances are it's also a 32-bit plugin, which may not work properly on modern systems, but anyway I couldn't find it either.
Grebz



Kovrm
01/12/2020, 23h06

So the chain goes:

DAW > Audio Interface Out > Amp > Speaker > Mic > DAW

This is correct based on my understanding from what I've read, and the few videos I've watch on creating IRs. My question, then, is when I plug into the Amp I've seen people say plug your Interface out into the FX return, but you say the guitar cable jack. What is the purpose in doing one or the other?

Side questions:

What channel should my amp be on? I'm assuming the clean channel.

What should my Amp settings be (EQ, Gain, Channel Volume, Presence, Master Volume)? I can't find a clear answer anywhere.

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Hello,

About plugging into the FX return or the guitar jack, I don’t know. Actually, the amps I’ve used myself to make IRs don’t have any FX return, so I didn’t have a choice and had to plug into the guitar jack. I guess there’s no harm trying both (not at the same time!) and comparing if you have that possibility. Chances are there’s not much of a difference, but again, I may be wrong as I have not tried this myself.
About the choice of a channel, and the settings: the channel doesn’t actually matter. You’re not capturing the amp sound, but the speaker sound.
From what I’ve experienced, the EQ and Presence should be neutral, the gain/saturation should not be engaged (or set to a level where no distorsion can be heard). As for the volume, set it to a level that’s high enough for your microphone to be able to pick up a good signal (no need to record higher than -6 dB, by the way, give your signal a bit of headroom).
But you should also be careful not to set it too loud to protect your own ears. It doesn’t need to be pushed too high. I think a level high enough to cover your own conversational voice should be enough. I tried various volume levels, and it did not affect the results notably. I did not get better results with very high levels than with normal, humanely bearable levels. Don’t set it too low, though, because it’s better if your speaker does move some air.

Experiment, try different amp settings and see whether that changes the results.

Grebz



William
10/20/2019, 17h06

Hey, I downloaded the plug-in and extracted it. Then put it in the plugin folder but it is not working. C:|Program Files|Common Files|Avid|Audio|Plug-Ins. Would this be the right steps? Please let me know thanks!

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As you explained it to me by e-mail, you were using Pro Tools First, which doesn't support third party plugins. The solution is then to either upgrade to a paid version of Pro Tools, or use another free DAW, such as Cakewalk by Bandlab (Windows only), or use Reaper, which is not free, but can be used freely without constraints. These DAWs do support third party plugins.

Grebz



Dam40
08/26/2019, 11h06

Bonjour,
Tout d'abord bravo pour ce site.
Je suis débutant et rencontre quelques soucis.
J'ai un PC Windows 10 (64 bits, 8 Go de RAM) avec carte son intégrée en 5.1, driver realteck, et quand je lance un programme de simu type Amplitube 4, il y a un son horrible qui sort, est-ce normal ? Y a-t-il un moyen d'y remédier ?
J'ai essayé également avec Bandlab comme séquenceur mais je ne sais pas comment intégrer le cab et le simulateur.
Merci d'avance

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Bonjour Dam40,
Le son horrible qui sort avec un logiciel de simulation n’est pas « normal », mais c’est peut-être dû au fait que vous utilisez la carte son intégrée de votre ordinateur. Ce type de carte n’est pas du tout adapté pour enregistrer et mixer de la musique.
Pour enregistrer de la guitare par exemple, il faut passer par la prise Jack de la guitare et les cartes son intégrées ne possèdent pas ce type de fiche. D’autre part, les drivers des cartes intégrées ne possèdent pas non plus l’impédance électrique compatible pour avoir un niveau de son correct en provenance de l’instrument, et d’autre part, même quand ça marche, elles induisent une latence, c’est-à-dire un délai entre le moment où l’on joue sur la guitare et le moment où le son est entendu sur l’ordinateur.

Pour remédier à ce problème, il faut acquérir une interface audio, un type de carte audio qui se présente sous la forme d’un boîtier externe connecté à l’ordinateur par la prise USB (le plus souvent, même s’il existe d’autres types de connexions). Ces interfaces sont fournies avec un driver spécifique qui permet de gérer le son grâce au protocole ASIO. Ce protocole est standard et permet d’obtenir de faibles latences pour pouvoir jouer de la guitare et entendre le son, avec ou sans effets, sans délai gênant.

Grebz



Blastrax
08/16/2019, 04h18

Bonjour !

J'ai testé la quasi-totalité des simulateurs présents ici pour une raison : impossible d'ouvrir un fichier DLL !
Mon PC me demande d'associer l'ouverture des DLL à un logiciel mais je n'ai rien de spécial qui va avec...

J'ai eu ce souci, j'avais formaté mon PC vu que je ne l'avais pas fait depuis des années (1,65 To de données à re-télécharger)
Et là encore le même souci, je teste donc sur 6 PC différents et tous ont ce souci... Je suppose donc qu'il faut un logiciel spécial mais rien n'est mentionné, tu pourrais m'aider ? Merci d'avance !

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Bonjour Blastrax,
Tous les simulateurs d’ampli gratuits sous forme de fichiers DLL sont des « plugins », et non pas des logiciels autonomes.
Je l’explique ici.

Ces fichiers de plugins ne s’installent pas, il faut simplement les recopier dans un répertoire du disque dur. À noter aussi que les simulateurs d’ampli gratuits ne simulent que la tête d’un ampli. Pour avoir également une simulation du haut-parleur, un autre plugin qu’on appelle « chargeur d’impulsions », dans laquelle on charge des « réponses impulsionnelles », ou IR (impulse responses, en anglais). Les IR sont des petits fichiers audio qui reproduisent le son d’un vrai haut-parleur. On peut trouver des IR reproduisant le son des amplis Fender, Vox, Marshall, Orange, Mesa Boogie, etc. Il en existe des gratuites et des payantes.

Grebz

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