- Brandon Smith
Small component program (software) designed to add functionality to an existing computer application. Computer programs such as web browsers commonly use plug-ins for playing different multimedia formats. In the context of music software, a plug-in refers to virtual instruments and effects. Most common sequencer applications allow the user to apply plug-in effects to an audio track, eliminating the need for external processing equipment. All standard studio effects such as delay, reverb, equalization, etc. are available as plug-ins. Every sequencer application comes with stock plug-ins to provide basic necessities, but many companies devote their entire product lines to plug-ins for all major formats. Plug-in sets such as the Waves bundles provide professional-grade audio processing and mastering tools. Some plug-ins such as Native Instruments’ Kontakt and IK Multimedia’s SampleTank are complete virtual instrument programs capable of running independently from host applications. When used in conjunction with sequencer applications such as Pro Tools, they are treated as plug-ins. In modern computer-based music production it is common to run many plug-ins simultaneously. The amount of computer memory and software being used defines how many can be run at one time. The distinction between hardware instruments/processors and plug-ins is less obvious with plug-ins supported by external hardware. The Muse Research Receptor is a hardware device dedicated to running software plug-ins. Other products such as the TC Electronic PowerCore series are designed to work in tandem with a computer to handle the processing requirements of plug-ins....