VST Plug-Ins in Ableton Live

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How to use VST Plugins in Ableton Live. VST plugins allow you to have unlimited variety in your sonic palette. They are little computer programs that run inside of a bigger music program like Cubase, Protools, or Ableton Live. These tiny programs can make a dramatic improvement on the quality of your sound.

There are two types of VST programs: VST instruments (a.k.a. VSTi) and VST effects. VST instruments produce sounds and VST effects change sounds. A synthesizer is a common example of a VST instrument. A reverb is a common VST effect.

Finding Your VST Plug-Ins

Ableton Live comes with lots of built-in instruments and effects. Both the Impulse drum machine and Ping-Pong Delay come bundled with Live. However, these instruments and effects are not VST plugins. Live has a special section exclusively for VST instruments and effects. To see this section, click on the circle button that has a plug inside of it. You now see a listing of Plug-In Devices. (See the screenshot below.)

Adding VST Effects to Tracks

You can add VST Effects to any track in Live. Listed below are two different ways to add an effect to a track in Live.

  1. Click on a VST effect in the Plug-In Devices menu and drag it anywhere in a track.
  2. Click on a track to select it. A track will be highlighted when it is selected. Then double-click on a VST effect in the Plug-In Devices menu.

Adding VST Instruments to Tracks

You can only add VST Instruments to MIDI tracks in Live. Listed below are two different ways to add an effect to a track in Live.

  1. Click on a VST instrument in the Plug-In Devices menu and drag it anywhere in a MIDI track.
  2. Click on a MIDI track to select it. A track will be highlighted when it is selected. Then double-click on a VST instrument in the Plug-In Devices menu.

Conclusion

Adding VST effects and instruments are very similar processes. Now that you know how to add them, you are ready to explore the limitless world of VST plugins! If you have any questions or comments, please post a message on the SonicTransfer Forums. Click here to visit the SonicTransfer forums.

Happy Producing!

Matt Sonic