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Report article RSS Feed Vst to AU wrapper, a great idea for some users.

For many of us not running Ableton Live, Cubase, FL Studio, REAPER and Sonar, the exciting world of VSTs have been largely inaccessible. This article is geared mainly towards mac users.

Posted by the_simian on Jan 26th, 2009

Digital PerformerWhile Vst Support is increasing, and quickly becoming standard many peoples, such as those running Digital Performer (MAS) and Protools (RTAS) might have issues depending on the version of software.

I typically play in Ableton Live and Max/Msp which are thankfully VST friendly, but i still often use Digital Performer for typical recording and audio sequencing.

While there is an exciting array of compatible plugins out there, many plugins, especially homebrew plugins are often written in VST. May of these people like to author them in Max/Msp. (If you're interested in learning how to make your own check out this tutorial that is really interesting).  I'm especially talking about those kids in the KVR community. Do a search there sometime for some of the awesome homebrew vst synths available.


The CrakBox BAssline Some of these are very interesting, and capture the imagination. The Delay Llama features an expressive singing monk's head that makes various facial expressions as you "play him". Creak Box is a 303 like mono synth with a built in sequencer. IN other words is a tonal beat machine in a box. The CM- 101 Is an interesting 16 voice polysnth that aims more for the utilitarian.The CM 101 Vst

These are just a few. Thankfully many are starting to migrate to AU format, which due to OSX's Coreaudio has a much wider support base. However, many don't leaving some DAW users unable to access the fun.

The Vst- Au converterHere is the point of this article. To use these (FREE) synths, you'll need a way to play them. I use the FXpansion VST to AU wrapper.  Its 100 bucks that will open up a whole treasure trove of new options. The overhead is low too.. less than 2% CPU capacity even at peak moments on my 6 year old machine. Getting this plugin lets you play with other peoples creations, as well as many commercial (remember, its not ONLY about the homebrew synths) ones you couldn't use before. The result? More unique music of course! And i don't know about you, but more synths/effects = more fun!

Post comment Comments
Georgios-Savvinidis
Georgios-Savvinidis Jan 26 2009, 4:13pm says:

I like it as an idea and is very cheap! Now just have to buy it and see what this baby can do!

Thanks for the article!

+2 votes     reply to comment
freedomorfire
freedomorfire Jan 26 2009, 4:29pm says:

Great first article simian :) Though maybe I'd cut down on all the links you gave :P hahaha

but seriously.. this is pretty helpful to a lot of people who you want to use some VSTs :)

+3 votes     reply to comment
the_simian
the_simian Jan 26 2009, 6:28pm says:

Yeah, the links are numerous. Too numerous really. I'll keep that in mind next time, but the good news is that an inquisitive reader can follow them and get more info if they want.

Truth is, I plan on making VSTs myself,so maybe in the future I might share a synth i've been working on (I call it ShadowSynth) with the community. i was using it for the sound generation of an algorithmic music making robot i was building (before my funding got cut).

Here's a short camcorder video of it i made before i had to tear it down. - Youtube.com

I'm still gonna release the sound generator portion even thought my robot is R.I.P. ... and its gonna be a VST soooo... maybe this article will help future user make use of my synth...

Its gonna be a while though. Its a mega CPU hog right now! :P

+2 votes     reply to comment
Crux_Borealis
Crux_Borealis Jan 27 2009, 7:44am says:

"This article is geared mainly towards mac users" Does this mean VSTs and Macs don't get along (VSTs are dll files after all) or is it the software?

Great article, thanks for that :D And I for one didn't find the amount of links a bad thing, they just save time as everything doesn't have to be googled. Also, gonna check those recommended plugins out soon :) There's never too much, unless most of them suck :p

+2 votes     reply to comment
the_simian
the_simian Jan 27 2009, 12:58pm says:

"This article is geared mainly towards mac users"
Does this mean VSTs and Macs don't get along (VSTs are dll files after all) or is it the software?

Good question.

VSTs are only .dlls on PC. On a mac they have a .vst extension.
In other words, VSTs DO exists on both platforms, but a ".dll" wont run on a mac and vice versa. When downloading or purchasing a VSt is is imperative that you look to see what platforms support the VST.

The reason this is geared towards mac users is the "AU", or in other words "Audio Units". Audio Units (AU) are a system-level plug-in architecture provided by Core Audio in Mac OS X developed by Apple Computer. In other words, they are proprietary to Apple. AU plugins are universally compatible in any sequencer that runs on a mac. Furthermore, because the API of Core Audio so closely links an Audio Unit Plugin to the Os of the mac the result is low overhead and very stable performance. I have never once seen or heard of an AU plugin crashing a DAW.

Great question. Keep em coming!

+2 votes     reply to comment
Crux_Borealis
Crux_Borealis Jan 27 2009, 2:09pm says:

I find the whole issue very interesting. Already had a few fights ith it too. I hate Vista, but won't change to Linux because there certainly are some compatibility problems, with VSTs exactly. On the other hand I don't use Macs because they are so expensive (plus a hundred bucks more to use my favorite synths). I guess I'll just get a 64-bit version of Windows XP...
Also, I use an old version of Sonar LE which doesn't directly support VSTs so I have to use a wrapper.

I bought EWQLSO Silver recently, it should arrive here soon. Can't wait to see what kind of problems I'll have with that one :/

+2 votes     reply to comment
the_simian
the_simian Jan 27 2009, 4:08pm says:

Hmm didn't expect the Pc/ Mac/ *whisper* "linux" thing to come up ( i was just clarifying file extensions), but since you mentioned it....

There's no super short answer to that:

If you want my opinion, I use all three platforms. For recording I recommend Macintosh SIMPLY because of the stability of core audio. Yes it is more money, but for a professional machine its worth the bucks. Audio apps really do run more efficiently on the mac due to better programming so you make up the $$ in CPU cycles certainly. I can especially tell the difference in max msp! My 6 year old mac can many times outperform my hot rod PC with an x58 chipset. Furthermore, external hardware works better with OSX than windows. Especially stuff like firewire interfaces. Many companies (MOTU comes to mind and obviously Logic by apple) aren't PC friendly and are really optimized for the Mac.

+2 votes     reply to comment
the_simian
the_simian Jan 27 2009, 4:09pm says:

(continued..)

Consider this example...when I was a pro audio consultant ( was also working at Guitar Center Pro Audio at this time), it was back when the Alesis Multimix 16 units had just come out (notoriously buggy back then). The mac users had zero problems but the PC guys were hit or miss.. lots of driver issues.

Again, i use all three platforms, I am currently typing this message on a self build lanbox (running XP), actually... and I am (nearly) linux+ certified. I feel like i really do understand the nuances of each platform pretty well. I actually still master on my PC, but i wouldn't dream of multitracking on it. Running reason or fruity loops is certainly not a big deal, but for hardcore sequencing (30+ synths and samplers open at once ..) really the mac is designed for it. And for the record no, i'm not a 'mactard' or in the 'cult of mac' or anything. I'm not telling you to 'think different' (*barf*).. that's just the honest result of my personal testing.

+2 votes     reply to comment
the_simian
the_simian Jan 27 2009, 4:09pm says:

(continued..)

Really, my 896HD interface has been running for nearly two years straight. I literally mean i rebooted it once 2 years ago and never touched it again, and before that it had been going for about a year. The reason for the reboot? I moved to a new place and had to disassemble my studio. That's stable.

The Windows 7 beta is out and it looks nice. If it elegantly addresses the problems that CoreAudio solved on the mac platforms, we might see more professional studios using windows. I'm with you - I hate vista! this new breed of windows (win 7 beta) looks promising, but can it be a reliable workstation? Hope so! I can build a (smoking) windows rig for cheap.. but the reliability of the mac OS STILL outweighs this.

+2 votes     reply to comment
the_simian
the_simian Jan 27 2009, 4:09pm says:

(continued..)

I might write an article about my thoughts on this sometime. I have even loaded OSX on to some Intel machines I built, and that's been a pretty good (well... interesting) idea, but support was limited (obviously!) and i spent just as much time setting up as using the system.

Of course, I also have some friends at Mills College that use PCs for basically everything and have for years, and definitely push the limits of their machines. They run some esoteric stuff ..supercollider comes to mind.. and i think Cubase has been their main DAW for years. The point is, there's options out there and PCs aren't BAD just not my first personal choice after having had to fix numerous PC rigs over the years. Really, with a PC the machine runs as well as the user can operate it. Your skill in fielding issues that arise will directly correlate to how effective the platform is for you.

in other news...
I use the East West XP stuff myself. Its the best orchestral library for the dollar (compared to say Vienna $SSSymphonic) and sounds much better than most competitors I have come across. Its sounds just great, even the bassoon (which ALWAYS sounds fake/sampled to me) sounded really good. (I used to play bassoon in college so I'm picky about my woodwinds) Congrats on your purchase! Its a fine orchestral library!

Lord! this comment is longer than than the article! AHA! Heres to short answers *toast*

+2 votes     reply to comment
Georgios-Savvinidis
Georgios-Savvinidis Jan 27 2009, 5:15pm says:

Hey Simian!

Are you working with MAX MSP or Super Collider?

+2 votes     reply to comment
freedomorfire
freedomorfire Jan 27 2009, 6:56pm says:

Hackintoshes? :)

I've tried that a few times, got it to install but never could get past it. Also for those of you keeping score, I use Linux/Ubuntu ALOT (not for music production) :) but my primary OS is Windows 7 now :).

+2 votes     reply to comment
the_simian
the_simian Jan 27 2009, 9:18pm says:

Yes I use Max Msp a lot, its one of my favorite programs! I've been getting into the "Jitter" bits recently.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Crux_Borealis
Crux_Borealis Jan 28 2009, 2:53pm says:

Thanks for taking the time to write all that, it certainly made things a lot clearer :)

+2 votes     reply to comment
Crux_Borealis
Crux_Borealis Jan 28 2009, 3:31pm says:

"...but my primary OS is Windows 7 now :)"

Windows 7 is THAT good? :o Even in the beta stage it kicks Vi$ta's ***? Seems like Microsoft has actually done something good for the first time during its existence, although I'm not going to say that for sure until I see it myself

+2 votes     reply to comment
the_simian
the_simian Jan 28 2009, 4:09pm says:

All my friends like it and most internet sources have favorable reviews.

Here: Telegraph.co.uk That one comes to mind.

I'll post my thoughts later sometime, i'm still testing a lot of my favorite programs in it.

You can download the iso for free until feb 10.
Microsoft.com <-- here.

+2 votes     reply to comment
freedomorfire
freedomorfire Jan 28 2009, 6:03pm says:

I love it compared to Vista :) It has a few bugs of course but its most definitly usable at this point for anything really :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Crux_Borealis
Crux_Borealis Jan 29 2009, 6:14am says:

I guess I'll give it a try some time... Do I absolutely have to uninstall Vista if I do it?

+2 votes     reply to comment
the_simian
the_simian Jan 29 2009, 6:20am replied: +2 votes     reply to comment
Crux_Borealis
Crux_Borealis Jan 29 2009, 8:51am replied:

Wow, that's awesome, thanks! :D

+2 votes     reply to comment
freedomorfire
freedomorfire Jan 29 2009, 6:31pm replied:

I find it 1000x more better (yeah.. more better) than Vista if you can get past a few bugs.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Crux_Borealis
Crux_Borealis Feb 4 2009, 12:05pm says:

Using Win 7 seems risky and I can't currently afford a back up hard drive, also Windows XP seems to have became even more expensive than Vista is (is it really the only thing they can do to make Vista more tempting than XP - to make it cheaper; and moreover doing it by lifting XP's price :S) so it seems like I'll fight with this piece of %¤# until I can afford a new computer. Oh well... :P

+2 votes     reply to comment
the_simian
the_simian Feb 6 2009, 5:23pm says:

I feel what you're saying, Crux. We all want performance/stability/comaptibilty ...moreso than flashiness and looks. Thats whats important to me!

+2 votes     reply to comment
the_simian
the_simian Feb 12 2009, 1:54am says:

I was studying some tutorials on coding in C# yesterday and i saw an article that reminded me of this thread.

Aspfree.com

Its ten performance tips to increase Vista's performance. Maybe that is useful to someone!

+2 votes     reply to comment
Crux_Borealis
Crux_Borealis Feb 13 2009, 6:35am says:

There are even more of those articles "N tips to increase performance in Vista" and most of them are quite helpful.

A bit of news on my fight against Vista: I just couldn't stand it, so even though it felt absurd, I got XP. The increase in performance was incredible! For a little comparison I tried Sonar LE with EZDrummer, Play, two Kore Players, Independence Free and Texture on both operating systems. With Vista this setup needed 60-75% of CPU while with XP only around 30% was used. Finally I can concentrate on composing instead of closing background tasks ^^

+2 votes     reply to comment
MWinteringham
MWinteringham Mar 13 2009, 9:29am says:

I have been using the sister version of this wrapper which does the same job but RTAS plugins and I have to say its a really reliable (and handy) tool and for £70 its an absolute bargain!

+2 votes     reply to comment
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