Lesson 28

3rd Party Software within the DAW

Many Daws come with a library of software instruments, samples, loops and plugin effects, but if you want more, than there are plenty of options for purchasing 3rd party applications that will work seamlessly with your host daw.

There are different categories for add ons to your daw. There are 
- plugins
- virtual instruments 
- loops and sound fx

Plugins are effects that can be added within the recording software to a track, To an aux buss, or to the 2 buss. Aux buss and 2 buss are explained in 4.10, 4.11
These effects are things like compression, eq, reverb.. or pretty much any way of manipulating the sound that can be imagined. Although all daws come with plugins, a lot of people aren’t satisfied with them, so they purchase 3rd party plugins. Some 3rd party plugins are better than others, the good ones will upsample the signal to a higher bit depth and have a more accurate processing algorithm. The result is better sound, at the expense of higher cpu loading. As a result of this higher cpu loading, you won’t be able to instantiate as many instances of these plugins before your computer overloads. That’s why companies like Avid and UAD offer dedicated hardware just for processing their plugins. This hardware can be in the form of a pcie card, or a satellite box, and it will have dedicated processing chips just to handle the plugins. These are normally better quality plugins, so you get better sound quality, and reduced cpu loading on your computer. 
There are many makers of plugins, but some of the more popular ones are UAD, isotope, and Waves. 
Let’s take a look at some of the plugins that logic comes with and compare them to some plugins by Waves.

Now let’s look at the virtual instruments. These are various sounds and instruments that can be played on a keyboard that is hooked up to the computer via midi. These are broken up into 2 categories, software synthesizers, or soft synths, and sample instruments. 
A soft synth creates new sounds from scratch. It will have a wave generator, and various controls for modifying the wave to achieve a diverse palette of different sounds. Here’s some examples of software synths included in logic, and here’s some that I purchased from native instruments.

A sample instrument is meant to sound like a specific real world instrument, like a piano, guitar or violin. The software consists of recordings of each individual note being played on this instrument. These are referred to as samples. when you play a key on the keyboard, it triggers the playback of the sample of that note. These instruments are very common. Let’s take a look at the violin sounds that come with Logic, and the violin sounds that come with native instruments Kontakt. 

Also worth note are virtual instruments that use both synthesis and samples combined to create unique sounds. Spectrasonics Omnisphere is an example of this. This instrument allows you to create new sounds by blending synthesizer sounds with sampled sounds. 

And the final category is loops and sound effects. These are pre recorded sounds, effects, shots, punches, explosions, and instrumental melodies. There’s a whole community of producers who make songs entirely out of these. Let’s take a look at some of the ones that come with logic. I don’t own any third party ones, but one major source is splice.com. easy.