|AudioMulch Help > Contraption Reference > Plugins
As well as its own contraptions, AudioMulch also supports the industry standard VST (Virtual Studio Technology) and VSTi (also known as VST2) plugin formats. This gives you access to a large number of third-party effects and instruments to expand AudioMulch.
There are thousands of free, shareware and commercial plugins available on the internet; check the AudioMulch website (http://www.audiomulch.com) for links to some relevant sites.
See the Adjusting Contraption Properties section for information about using sliders, knobs, presets etc.
Installing VST plugins
VST plugins must be placed inside a special “VST Plugins” folder, which AudioMulch scans to find plugins. AudioMulch has a default VST Plugins folder, but you can also tell it to use a different one. See the next section for the location of the VST Plugins folder.
To install a plugin, copy it into the VST Plugins folder, or if the plugin has a special installer program, specify the VST Plugins folder when prompted by the installer.
You can also install a plugin into a sub-folder of the VST Plugins folder. These sub-folders will be displayed in AudioMulch as additional sub-categories in the Patcher Pane's Contraptions Palette and New contraption menu.
If you add or install a new plugin while AudioMulch is running, you can update the VST Plugins contraption menu without restarting the program. You can do this in several ways: select the Refresh Plugins List item located below the list of installed plugins in the New contraptions menu (right-click in the Patcher Pane, and select New > VST Plugins > Refresh Plugins List) from the popup context menu. You can also right-click on the Contraptions Palette and select Refresh Plugins List. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut; on Windows: Ctrl+F5 or on Macintosh: Command+Shift+5.
Location of the VST Plugins folder
On Microsoft Windows, AudioMulch creates a VST Plugins folder in the AudioMulch parent directory when the program is installed. On a Macintosh, AudioMulch usually looks in the system VST Plugins folder located at /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST.
AudioMulch lets you configure any folder as the VST Plugins folder. If you share plugins with other music software you can use a common plugin folder for all programs. This removes the need for plugin duplication.
To change the VST Plugins folder, access the VST Plugins page of the Settings/Preferences Dialog box. In Windows, click on the Edit menu, select Settings... Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut F4. To access the Preferences Dialog box on a Macintosh, select Preferences... from the AudioMulch application menu. Choose the VST Plugins page from the list at the left. Click on the browse button to select or create a new folder for your VST Plugins.
Selecting and organising VST Plugins in AudioMulch
Once VST Plugins are installed, you can use them in the same way as you use built-in AudioMulch contraptions. They can be selected for use in AudioMulch from the VST Plugins section of the Contraptions Palette. You can also select plugins from the New contraptions menu in the Patcher Pane. To do this, right-click in the pane, select New from the popup context menu, and then select VST Plugins from the list. As mentioned above, this menu shows the file structure of the VST Plugins folder, which lets you group plugins by nesting folders. This can be useful for organizing plugins according to type or creator.
Graphical user interfaces, parameters and values
VST Plugins can be used just like other contraptions. Some plugins have their own graphical user interface that will appear as their Properties Editor. For other plugins, AudioMulch provides a generic editor displaying all parameters and their values. It is possible to use the generic editor for any plugin, including those with their own user interface. This can be selected by right-clicking on the Properties Editor's title bar and selecting Generic Editor. This can be useful when trying to manage screen real estate. For example, the graphical user interfaces of some VST plugins can take up too much room on the screen. In such cases, use the Generic Editor instead. You can also use the Generic Editor when a VST plugin's custom user interface is causing other problems, for example, if it is not functioning correctly due to an incompatibility.
Presets and VST fxb program file format
AudioMulch also provides selective support for the VST fxb program file format. Many plugins come packaged with a set of programs, and some host platforms allow the creation of further custom programs using the fxb format. AudioMulch lets you access and save these externally-produced programs and also lets you store additional presets in AudioMulch's own preset system. However, only AudioMulch's own preset system can be used to automate preset changes.
Many VST and VSTi plugins automatically load a set of programs when opened. Right-click in the Property Editor's title bar and select the VST Programs item of the pop-up menu to see these programs. If there are more than 127 programs for a contraption, they will be organised into submenus.
To manually load a new set of programs or to replace a pre-loaded set, right-click on the Properties Editor's title bar, select the VST Programs item of the pop-up menu, and then select the Load VST Program Bank (fxb)... item. Locate the fxb file in the Load VST Program Bank dialog box. Once loaded, the new set of programs will replace the previous set. To save a VST Program Bank for use with other applications, select the Save VST Program Bank (fxb) As... item.
MIDI control of VST plugin parameters
VST plugin parameters can be controlled by external MIDI control sources. Mapping of external controllers to VST parameters follows the same procedure as for AudioMulch contraptions. Go to the Controlling AudioMulch Parameters from MIDI page of this Help File for further information.
Note: the Quick Map MIDI Control function only works with the Generic Editor. When using a VST with a custom editor use the Parameter Control window instead.
Routing MIDI to VST plugins
VST instrument plugins are designed to respond directly to MIDI input. They are often played by pressing keys on a real MIDI keyboard, or triggered from a MIDI drum pad. There are also VST plugins that are designed to generate MIDI data (for example, a step-sequencer plugin), and others that let you transform MIDI data (for example, by transposing incoming notes, or filtering certain messages).
In AudioMulch, you use the Patcher Pane to route MIDI data from one plugin to another (and also to and from AudioMulch). Note that this is separate from MIDI parameter control described in the previous section.
Plugins designed to respond to MIDI input have a MIDI input port at the top right of the contraption in the Patcher Pane. In the case of a VST instrument, this MIDI input must be connected to a MidiIn contraption or to the MIDI output of another contraption in order for the plugin to receive MIDI messages. Plugins that generate or process MIDI have a MIDI output at the lower right of the contraption in the Patcher Pane. MIDI outputs can be connected to the MIDI inputs of other plugins, or to MidiOut contraptions. See Routing MIDI in the Patcher Pane for more information.
MIDI input channel
By default the plugin will receive messages on all incoming MIDI channels (1-16). You can assign the plugin's MIDI input channel using the Parameter Control dialog box. The dialog box allows you to select a single MIDI channel or configure the contraption to receive messages from all incoming MIDI channels. To access this setting, display the Parameter Control dialog box (from the View menu, F3 key, or right click in the Property Editor's title bar) and select the VST plugin in the tree at the left of the Parameter Control dialog box.