How to Install VSTs in Audacity

VST stands for virtual studio technology; VSTs effects formats that are widely used in today’s music and music production. DAWs like Audacity, Ableton Live, Cubase, FL Studio, and others, all use VSTs as a primary source for effects.

The most crucial aspect that contributes to making the music production process easier is definitely, the technology. Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) in the latter part of the last century have wholly revamped the studio recording setup.

The application software is an essential audio recording device that aids in the editing and production process. DAWs can run as a stand-alone unit and in alignment with the laptop or be configured in a complex setup as well.

It can be connected with various components such as a MIDI-controlled keyboard, fader board, and other audio outputs that are ultimately controlled by a central unit i.e. a PC.

VSTs in Audacity

Any Digital audio workstation or software application like Audacity makes use of the rich selection of free and paid VST plugin options to enhance their functionality. The VST integration expands the horizons of DAWs in terms of their originality and so is the case with Audacity.

The software utilizes a massive library of available VST plugins to expedite the recording and editing of the tracks. However, Audacity only supports VST effects and cannot integrate MIDI VST and Instrumental VST.

No doubt, the lack of MIDI and Instrument VST integration in Audacity limits the creative process. However, you can still make use of the versatile effect plugins in your tracks without any hitch.

How to Install Plugins in Audacity

Installing VST plugins in Audacity is a fairly straightforward procedure. You download the plugin, then add it to the Audacity plug-ins folder located in the installation folder, and then you enable them within the DAW. Usually, they come with an installer, then simply select the directory.

  1. Find the VST from plugin sites such as Plugin Boutique, KVR Audio, Hit Squad, etc.
  2. Download the required plugin file in the correct version i.e. Windows 32-bit, 64-bit, or macOS.
  3. Unzip the file and place it in the plug-ins folder, or if it has an installer then install it in the directory.
  4. Access the plugins manager menu to sync the new VST file in Audacity.
  5. In case you’re using an earlier version, download a VST enabler first and then follow the same steps.
  6. Click the effects menu and find your newly installed plugin.

The Best VST Plugins for Audacity

  • Multiply Chorus by Acon Digital is a free VST if you want to spice up your sound with a chorus effect for vocals and instruments, modulation, integrated equalizer, and more. It’s compatible with Windows PC as VST or AAX, and for macOS as VST, AAX, or AU.
  • VK-1 Viking Synthesizer is an analog synthesizer VST that comes with 228 presets ranging through numerous categories like Bass, Bright Lead, FX, Soft Lead, Synthwave, and more. The VK-1 Viking Synthesizer is a colossal VST synth and it’s compatible with both Mac and Windows.
  • Antares Auto-tune is a pitch corrector VST plugin that shapes your vocals. Antares Auto-tune is usable in Audacity and is a high-quality plugin that gives bang for your buck. It’s compatible with both Mac and Windows PC, as VST or AAX.
  • CamelCrusher is a multi-effects and highly used plugin. It provides distortion, compression, a low-pass filter, and many presets to shape your sound. The best thing about this plugin is that it’s free! With most functions being very easy to use, this one is a must on the list.
  • Guitar Rig 6 is a Native Instruments plugin that offers the ultimate guitar package for recording and shaping your sound. With many pedal effects, modeled and vintage amps, even different mic options, it gives you the ultimate studio feel. Guitar Rig 6 is compatible with Windows as Stand-alone, VST, and AAX, and with Mac as Stand-alone, VST, AU, and AAX.
  • iZotope Ozone 9 is a mastering tool that will be a great addition. It has very good presets and features that allow for good sound shaping and editing. An essential tool considering the value it brings to you mixing and mastering process. It’s compatible with Windows PC and Mac as AU, AAX, VST2, VST3, NKS (all 64-bit format).
  • Piano One is a free VST plugin that features acoustic pianos. Most notably the Yamaha C7 Grand Piano and the great sound it gives. It also features a hybrid modeling technology, a reverb engine, and it’s also modest regarding CPU usage. Piano One is compatible with both Windows PC and Mac as a VST and AU.

The Lightweight and Super-efficient DAW – AUDACITY

Known for its super-efficient workflow and reduced load on the processing, Audacity is one of the go-to digital audio workstations for many music producers. The software pulls out heavy-duty work as it offers multitrack audio processing for easy recording, mixing, and analyzing tracks.

The ability to record at 16, 24, and 32-bit along with built-in dithering and compatibility with most operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, and Mac gives Audacity the edge. Additionally, the drag and drop functionality easily combines and converts samples in conjunction with the vast range of the effects menu.

Despite the consumer-friendly and efficient features, the major drawback of Audacity is its inability to edit linearly. Due to the nonlinear editing in Audacity, the process becomes an extreme annoyance since to undo any change within the track, you have to go back to un-doing and re-doing all modifications that you have applied in the process.

Despite this limitation, which makes editing a painstaking process, Audacity is a free source solution for quick, no-fuss editing since it is versatile and efficient.

Conclusion

Audacity is a highly appreciated recording software that is a definite choice for many music producers. The free-of-cost application software is extremely efficient, and light on the processing system which makes it perfectly suitable for those who require stable workstations with minimum system requirements.

The software supports the integration of effects VST and requires easy and hassle-free installation. Therefore, exploring some of the best effect plugins that are compatible with Audacity, amplifies the overall functionality of the recording and editing software.

Brian Clark is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer. He is passionate about practically all areas of music and he particularly enjoys writing about the music industry.

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