Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Plug-ins

3. History and Formats

The first software effects processor was created in 1992 when Waves introduced the ‘Q10 Paragraphic Equalizer’, which even then was quite a match for many hardware products, and is in fact still in common use today. This was initially a standalone product, and it wasn’t until a little later that the ‘plug-in’ concept was developed. Here’s a brief overview of the more common plug-in interface types:

VST - Virtual Studio Technology

In 1996 Virtual Studio Technology (VST) was incorporated into Steinberg's Cubase VST 3.0 to cater for the introduction of their own audio plug-ins. Initially it was only available for Macintosh, and was not introduced for the PC until version 3.5.

The arrival of Cubase VST was largely responsible for the huge success of plug-ins - its built-in recorder, automatable mixer and effects processors provided a complete recording environment on a single computer. The amount of effects you could use simultaneously was of course limited by CPU power – at the time, Cubase offered just four effects sends in total, but crucially, Steinberg made the VST standard an open format, paving the way for third-party plug-ins.

By the end of 1996, Waves had launched its range of Native Power plug-ins in VST format, which until then had only been available for Digidesign’s high-end Pro Tools TDM system.

AU – Audio Units

Not long after its invention, Emagic integrated Steinberg’s VST format into its Logic sequencing software, but when Apple acquired Emagic, they decided to create a new plug-in interface which brought us ‘Audio Units’. This is now the industry standard for Mac OSX and is supported by all Apple’s media products including Final Cut, Logic, Garageband, and iLife.

TDM/RTAS -Time Domain Multiplex & Real-Time AudioSuite

Digidesign developed two separate interfaces - RTAS and TDM. RTAS uses the computer’s native processing power, and is all that is available in Pro Tools LE systems, whereas TDM uses the dedicated DSP only found in the top of the range Pro Tools HD system to provide higher resolution processing with no strain on the CPU.

DSP Processors

Although they initially became popular when computers had slower processors and needed all the help they could get, DSP processors are just as useful today, now that plug-ins are really pushing the boundaries of the DAW, and the users’ thirst for power seems unquenchable! These systems use separate hardware to run plug-ins without using the computer’s own processing power. Models are available in PCI card format, and also as external units connected via FireWire or USB. While the hardware itself will integrate with your DAW using one of the standard formats such as VST or AU, they will not run standard plug-ins written for these formats and instead require plug-ins to be written specifically for them.

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Plug-ins overview

Dante AVIO Analog Input Adapter 2x0 Electro Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb Gibson Les Paul M2 Citron Green C.Giant LP-6210C Black Vic Firth SIH2 Roland TM-6 Pro Drum Trigger Module Steinberg UR-RT2 Stairville Wild Wash Pro 648 LED RGB DMX Positive Grid Bias Mini Guitar Harley Benton TE-7 FanFret FBB 2018 DLX Marshall PEDL-91016 Footswitch Ampeg Opto Comp Compressor
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Dante AVIO Analog Input Adapter 2x0

Dante AVIO Analog Input Adapter 2x0; converts analog audio line signals to feed any Dante-connected system; 96 kHz / 24 Bit; fully-functional Dante interface; adjustable signal levels: +24dBu / +4dBu / 0dBu/ 0dBV /-10dBV (through Dante Controller); frequency Response: 20Hz...

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€163
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Electro Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb

Electro Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb, effects pedal, 11 different reverb types: HALL, SPRING, PLATE, REVRS, ECHO, TREM, MOD, DYNA, AUTO-INF, SHIM and POLY, Tails switch: Select whether the reverb fades out naturally or stops immediately when the pedal is switched...

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Gibson Les Paul M2 Citron Green

Electric Guitar Poplar body, Maple neck, Rosewood fretboard (Dalbergia latifolia), Slim Taper neck profile - .800"-. 875", 22 Frets, Pickups: 2 Gibson Pro-Bucker humbuckers, Volume and tone controls, 1 Toggle switch, Chrome hardware, Wraparound bridge, Mini Button machine heads,...

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€398
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C.Giant LP-6210C Black

Keyboard 61 Keys with touch dynamics, 162 Sounds, 200 Rhythms, 61 Percussion effects, 50 Demo songs, Fill-in, sync and rhythms variations, Split function, Chord, Recording, Pitch bend wheel, Microphone input, Line out sockets, Headphone output, Sustain pedal connection, USB...

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Vic Firth SIH2

Vic Firth SIH2 isolation headphones, (reduces overall noise levels by 25 dB). successor of the legendary Vic Firth SIH-1 headphones, features redesigned larger driver in the ear cups that deliver a more powerful low end, cleaner mids and clear highs...

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€79
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Roland TM-6 Pro Drum Trigger Module

Trigger Module For acoustic drummers who want to extend the sound possibilities of their drums with electronic sounds, 500 one-shot sounds, 268 V-Drum sounds, 80 Drum kits, SDHC card slot for importing your own samples, 6x 6.3 mm stereo...

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Steinberg UR-RT2

4x 2 USB 2.0 Audio Interface Up to 24-bit/192 kHz, 2 Class-A D-PRE microphone preamps with + 48 V phantom power, Rupert Neve Designs transformer switchable on each front input channel, 2 Analog XLR/jack combo inputs plus 2 line...

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Stairville Wild Wash Pro 648 LED RGB DMX

Multi-Functional LED Spotlight with 4 Effects in One DeviceWith its SMD LED equipment, the Wild Wash series is a magic box for events and shows of all kinds. Whether on small to large stages, in clubs of all sizes, exhibitions,...

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€243
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Positive Grid Bias Mini Guitar

Positive Grid Bias Mini Guitar, electric guitar head, 300 Watt RMS @ 4 Ohms, component emulation engine, BIAS AMP 2 inklusive, 16 Custom-Amp Presets, 300 watts RMS @ 4 Ohms, Groundbreaking component emulation engine, BIAS AMP 2 inclusive, 16 preloaded...

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€821
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Harley Benton TE-7 FanFret FBB 2018 DLX

7-String Electric Guitar Build: Fanned Fret TE style with reversed headstock, Body: Ash, Top: Flamed maple, Bolt-on 5-piece neck: Maple/Nato, Fretboard: Roseacer, Neck profile: Modern C, Offset DOT inlays, 24 Fanned jumbo frets, Black graphite nut, Nut width: 48...

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Marshall PEDL-91016 Footswitch

Footswitch Marshall 6-way footswitch with LED, Programmable for DSL40CR & DSL100HR

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€119
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Ampeg Opto Comp Compressor

Effects pedal Analog bass compressor, Controllers for compression, release and output levels, True bypass, Power supply with 9 V battery or 9 V power supply (both not included, suitable battery available under Art. 132579 , suitable power supply under...

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€99
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