First off, what is a VST?
VST (Virtual Studio Technology), developed by Steinberg is a dynamic link library (A DLL file) plug-in that communicates with a host-program (Any VST compatible program like our DJ software, PCDJ DEX 2 or Ableton Live). VST’s are for Windows based computers, and come in the form of effects processors, drum machines or other instruments. For DJ Mixing Software, VST effects plug ins are what you would want to use and not instruments.
Since VST is open standard, it allows freelance programmers and/or companies to freely create new VST’s, so new VST’s for DJs become available regularly. The best thing about VST being an open standard? It means that there are many quality and powerful VST plug-ins that are completely FREE to download, and many others that are very affordable.
VST effects plug-ins create an effect via the audio data from host DJ software, such as Echo or Reverb, and the plug ins parameters can then be manipulated by the DJ – effectively changing the audio output on-the-fly according to the parameters in the VTS plug-in.
PCDJ DEX 2 DJ mixing software comes equipped with a basic VST effects pack already, and will accept as many as you wish to install and use. Using the “Learn Feature” (Click here to see how to use the LEARN feature) in PCDJ DEX 2 you can also map the VST control parameters to a DJ Controller easily – allowing tactile hands-on control over the effects plug-ins.
There literally thousands of VST plug ins available on the web, ranging from high-end studio plug ins like AutoTune, to more basic plug-ins that create simple effects like reverb. Some include many parameters for control and manipulation – while others may limit you to “on/off”
There are three types of VST plug-ins you should be aware of: VST1 is what you use with DJ Mixing Software like PCDJ DEX 2. VST2 and VSTi are considered instruments, an example would be a software synthesizer – these are not compatible with DJ software.
Due to the vast range of VST plug-ins, and their diversity and varied level of performance quality — there will be some VST plug-ins that work flawlessly with PCDJ, while others may simply crash. Bottom line: always fully test any VST you install to use with PCDJ DJ Software before using in front of a live audience!
Installing VST Plug-Ins for use with PCDJ DEX 2:
- Download the VST
- Unzip the DLL VST file from within the Zip to:
- Program Files (x86) -> PCDJ -> DEX2 -> EFFFECTS -> VST
- Open up PCDJ DEX 2
- (Instructions for the default skin): In the Mixer section of our DJ software, look for the ADD button next to the FX button. Click ADD and then select SCAN EXTERNAL PLUG INS.
- DEX 2 will now scan the effects folder and update the effects list with any new VST’s you’ve installed
- To then use the installed VST, click ADD again and select VST – this will tab over and display any installed VST plug in.
- Click on the VST you wish to use and now when clicking the FX button you’ll see the plug in controls (in the browser section of PCDJ DEX 2 at the bottom)
Here are a few great FREE VST plug-ins for DJ Software to help get you started:
Classical Chorus VST Plug-In
Classic Chorus by Kjaerhus Audio is a natural and clear sounding chorus VST plug-in. It features delay times ranging from 1.25ms to 320 ms and stereo spread with modulation depth and rate. The Classic Chorus audio plugin supports sampling rates up to 96kHz, and is great for adding depth, phatness and stereo perspective to almost any sound signal.
Tape Delay VST Plug-In
A tape delay emulation for Dub Musicians/DJs that offers you just the right amount of settings that you can adjust to obtain a satisfactory effect. Includes a highpass and lowpass filter in the feedback path, adjustable simulation of tape hiss (useful for endless delays at high tape saturation levels) and all parameters are mappable to DJ Midi controllers.
Camel Crusher VST Plug-In
CamelCrusher is a free ‘colouring’ multi-effect plug-in. It offers two characteristically different distortion sounds which can be blended together to create a wide variety of tones and textures. There’s also a warm, smooth analogue-style low-pass filter with buckets of resonance. Finally, let’s not forget the easiest-to-use compressor you’ll find anywhere. It can ‘phatten’ up your sound as quickly as you can turn up the ‘Amount’ knob!
SynthScience 10 Band EQ VST Plug-In
The 10 Band Graphic EQ is a versatile equalization plugin with ten selectable frequency bands for precise adjustment of the audio content within 6 or 12Db range. Each of the ten frequency bands allows the user to cut or boost specific audio frequencies according to the particular demands of the audio material to work from.
If you want to find more VST for use with PCDJ DJ software a simple Google search will yield pages of results – just be sure to test each plug-in thoroughly before using at a gig!
Learn more about VST Plug-Ins HERE
Know of any great VST plug-ins for DJs? Feel free to share with us in the comment section below!