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Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Plug-ins

7. Basics

Most plug-ins are designed to run within a host program such as an audio editor or other music production software, and cannot be run as standalone programs.

Multiple effects plug-ins can normally be run simultaneously by a host program, and most plug-ins support multiple ‘instantiations’ (the same plug-in being used on more than one track with different settings) - the limiting factor is usually only the speed of the computer.

Plug-ins communicate with their host programs by utilising one or more software interfaces conforming to standards created by the host software developers. Amongst the most well-known companies, Steinberg invented the VST (Virtual Studio Technology) interface for use in its line of products such as Nuendo and Cubase, whereas Apple came up with the AU (Audio Units) format, and Digidesign use both RTAS and TDM depending on whether the processing is being done by the computer’s CPU, or by DSP chips on one of their interface cards. Make sure that any plug-in you buy supports the correct format, as some products are not cross-platform compatible.

Digital reproduction of Universal Audio’s famous 1176 compressor

The scalable nature of plug-ins can demand a great deal from your DAW - if you’re planning on running many plug-ins simultaneously, you may want to consider taking the load off your processor by adding a DSP (Digital Signal Processing) device. Connected via FireWire, USB or fitted internally in a PCI slot, a DSP card uses its own processing power to take the strain off your CPU, and also frees up RAM. Most DSP devices are manufactured by plug-in producers - the TC Electronic Powercore and Universal Audio UAD-1 for example - and as such often come bundled with several plug-ins. Be aware though that DSP cards all use proprietary formats, and so can only use plug-ins that have been specially written for them, rather than for some of the more common standards mentioned above.

Although some plug-ins offer frighteningly accurate representations of their hardware relatives, for the purist there will always be slight sonic differences which means that plug-ins are unlikely to completely replace their hardware relatives in the near future. Interestingly, the release of a new plug-in ‘reproduction’, often causes a revival of the old classic, and in some cases the original hardware versions have even gone back into production.

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Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Thomann GmbH, CEO: Hans Thomann, Hans-Thomann-Straße 1, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
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    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Thomann GmbH by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
  3. Qualifying Entrants

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      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
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      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
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      Thomann GmbH
      to the data protection officer
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      96138 Burgebrach, Germany
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Plug-ins overview

Toontrack Superior Drummer 3 Upgrade Toontrack Superior Drummer 3 Digitech SDRUM Strummable Drums Boss Katana Mini Kala Spruce Mahagony Sopran Ukulele Fender Standard Telecaster MN BB Arturia KeyLab Essentials 49 Stairville Octagon 20x6W Tourpack 4 Roland SPD::ONE Wav Darkglass Alpha Omicron Bass Distortion Arturia KeyLab Essentials 61 Stairville Quad Par Profile 5x8W RGBW 45°
(4)
Recommended
Toontrack Superior Drummer 3 Upgrade

Virtual Drum Production Studio (Download)Upgrade from Toontrack Superior Drummer 2 to Superior Drummer 3 Based on meticulously recorded samples of high quality drums, Recorded in 11.1 Surround by George Massenburg in the Galaxy Studios, Over 230GB...

to the product
172 €
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Toontrack Superior Drummer 3

Toontrack Superior Drummer 3 (ESD); virtual drum production studio; extensively produced drum software, based on meticulously recorded samples of high end drums; recorded in 11.1 surround sound at the Galaxy Studios by George Massenburg; over 230 GB of raw, unprocessed...

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333 €
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Digitech SDRUM Strummable Drums

Digitech SDRUM Strummable Drums, drum machine in stomp box format, creates drum patterns based on scatches and strums across muted strings, 5 studio quality drumkit sounds, 12 different hats/rides styles, stores up to 36 differents songs, 3 song parts programmable...

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222 €
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Boss Katana Mini

Modelling Combo Amplifier for Electric Guitar 3 Basic amplifier types selectable (Brown/Crunch/Clean), Analogue multi-stage gain circuit with 3-Band analogue EQ, Channels: 1, Power: 7 W, Equipped with: 1x 4" speaker, Cabinet construction: Closed, Controls: (Mono): Gain, Volume, Bass, Middle,...

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99 €
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Kala Spruce Mahagony Sopran Ukulele

Kala Spruce Mahagony Soprano Ukulele, Soprano body size, 348 mm scale, overall length 533 mm, Spruce top, Mahogany back and sides, Mahogany neck, 12 nickel silver frets, Black Walnut fingerboard, Black Walnut bridge, chrome, geared machineheads, Aquila Super Nylgut strings,...

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80 €
Recommended
Fender Standard Telecaster MN BB

Electric Guitar Mexico, Alder body, Maple neck, Modern "C" neck profile, Fretboard: Maple, 21 Medium jumbo frets, Nut width: 42 mm, Scale: 648 mm (25.5"), Pickup: 2 Standard Tele Single Coil, 3-Way toggle switch, Volume knob and tone knob,...

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599 €
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Arturia KeyLab Essentials 49

USB MIDI Keyboard 49 Velocity-sensitive keys, 8 Velocity-sensitive pads with aftertouch, 1 clickable encoder, 9 Rotary control, 9 Faders, 13 Buttons, Transport section with 4 function buttons, LCD display, Pitchbend and modulation wheel, Chord Play mode, Mackie / HUI...

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199 €
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Stairville Octagon 20x6W Tourpack 4

Stairville Octagon Theater 20x6W 4x Tourpack incl. Flightcase, 20x6W CW / WW / A, Complete Tourpack with 4 pieces Stairville Octagon Theater 20x6W in a stable roadcase. Professional LED Theatre Spot with infinitely adjustable colour temperature. The, Octagon Theatre is...

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990 €
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Roland SPD::ONE Wav

Roland SPD::ONE Wav pad, one rubber pad playable with sticks, hands and feet, 4 GBs storage for 12 WAV samples plus click track (muted one main output) (WAV format 44,1kHz, 16 bits, mono/stereo), volume knobs for master and headphone outputs,...

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282 €
Recommended
Darkglass Alpha Omicron Bass Distortion

Effect Pedal for Electric Guitar Provides the distortion and flexibility of the alpha-omega in a smaller format, With the two distortions, it offers the same harmonically rich, various sounds as its big brother, Knobs: Blend - mod - level...

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274 €
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Arturia KeyLab Essentials 61

USB MIDI Keyboard 61 Velocity-sensitive keys, 8 Velocity dynamic pads with aftertouch, A Clickable encoder, 9 Rotary control, 9 Faders, 13 Keys, Transport section with 4 function buttons, LCD display, Pitchbend and modulation wheel, Chord Play mode, Mackie /...

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249 €
Recommended
Stairville Quad Par Profile 5x8W RGBW 45°

Flat LED PAR Slim design and rich colours, even in the pastel range, Thanks to its compact size, the Quad Par Profile can be mounted or placed almost anywhere, 8 W Quad-colour LEDs ensure its amazing light output, and...

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82 €
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