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Chapter 7. Using VST Instruments > VSTi Visual Editing Tools

VSTi Visual Editing Tools

Part of what makes VSTi so great is that the designer can create a software tool that operates according to whatever rules the designer wants. Some VST instruments look and act just like hardware, while others look and act like nothing you have ever seen before. This makes it impossible to say for sure how every VSTi will work, but here are a few examples of the more common interface tools used to change parameters for a VSTi. Always consult the documentation that comes with a software instrument to find out more about how to edit its sound.

  • Knobs: You've encountered them in the real world, and they do just the same jobs in the virtual world. Many (though not all) knobs on software instruments work differently than their hardware counterparts. Often you change the value of a knob by clicking it and dragging your mouse up or down, which controls the direction the circular knob moves on the screen.

  • Sliders: Whereas knobs are sometimes tricky to turn on a computer screen, sliders (Figure 7.16) are easy to drag up and down to set values.

    Figure 7.16. The sliders on this VSTi work just like mechanical sliders and can be edited simply by dragging them.

  • Buttons: Like sliders, buttons translate well to the computer screen. Often buttons are backlit and change color when they are selected.

  • Breakpoint editor: These are visual, intuitive tools for editing parameters that are normally assigned to knobs. In Figure 7.17, the Attack setting is all the way to the left, at zero. Attack is the parameter used to determine how quickly the envelope reaches its maximum setting. With a computer-based synth, it's easier to click the first breakpoint and drag to the right (Figure 7.18). This changes the Attack time, and the setting on the Attack knob reflects this.

    Figure 7.17. This breakpoint editor works differently than any mechanical device.

    Figure 7.18. If you move one of the breakpoints, the corresponding knob (Attack) moves as well.



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