(article by: Doug Beney of midilifestyle.com)
No matter what your skill level is, there is a way for you to make your own audio plugin.

In this article, I’ll be sharing multiple ways for you to start developing your own audio plugins in no time.

 

Ways to make a VST plugin:

Drag-And-Drop Plugin Makers

A plugin maker will take all, if not most, of the coding out of making an audio plugin. Synth makers are especially useful for prototyping.

Coding
Coding a plugin will involve downloading a special sdk for VST development. This is how all the big names in the audio plugin industry make their plugins.


Designing Audio Effect Plug-Ins in C++: With Digital Audio Signal Processing TheoryIf you want to learn how to develop any type of effect imaginable, I highly recommend this book. It teaches you how to develop plugins in C++ and comes with A TON of example code for professional plugins. It is written very well and makes a huge effort to stand out from the other programming books.

I believe the book is well worth the price. It’s the only resource you’ll ever need to learn how to code plugins.

You don’t even need a full understanding of c++! This book starts at the very beginning and works it’s way up to more advanced material. I’d rate this book a 10/10 any day!

designing software synthesizers book

At least give it a look and read some of it’s reviews. It is an extremely helpful resource.

If you are leaning more towards creating software instruments, this book might be more your speed.

It is by the exact same author, Will Pirkle, and offers a ton of great information for you to get started.

 


Synth Makers/Prototypers:

1. SynthEdit

synthedit

This has to be the most well known program for creating audio plugins on the fly. It is a lot more simple to jump into than writing code and is very understandable.

Keep in mind there is no mac version.

You can export plugins so they run on mac just not use the SynthEdit program.

More Information…

 

2. Flowstone

flowstone

Flowstone was Formerly known as Synth Maker. Flowstone allows you to create a virtual synth visually and then add code to create more advanced plugins. What stands out with this plugin is the design and intuitiveness. There are many features to this software including the ability to “connect to the outside world”. That means that you can connect to external hardware including any usb device.

More Information…

 

3. Reaktor 5

Reactor is an audio plugin that allows you to make audio plugins. Reaktor is almost like a giant plugin library within a plugin. Many producers use this as an easier way to publish quality synths instead of having to learn how to program synths all buy themselves.

More Information…

 

You might also like: Best free VST Plugins – The Fun And The Useful

 

Programming

magical programming

Programming a synth, or plugin, will most likely be a very steep learning curve if you have never programmed before.

There are many different ways to code plugins. I will be sharing 4 different ways to get started.

The most popular way to code is with C++. Most plugins nowadays are coded that way.


Coding Plugins:

 

1. Using C++ and Visual studio

C++ is a language a lot of people choose to learn. It is used in most commercial software. It can be a bit tricky to learn so make sure you get the basics down before you try building a VST plugin with it.

More Information…

 

2. Using Java:

I love Java because it is fairly simple to get into. Maybe it is just me, but when I started learning Java, it felt easier and more natural than other programming Languages.

More Information…

 

3. Using Ruby:

I have never used ruby, but I heard it was a really simplified programming language. I found out that there is an add-on for Ruby called Opaz-Plugdk. It allows the creation of vst plugins in Ruby. I couldn’t find too much info on this, but I’m sure if you dig deep enough you could find some helpful sites.

More Information…
Even More Information…

 

4. Using C++ in Xcode:

This or Java is the way to go if you are on a mac. The information I found was once again from teragonaudio. They seem to have a lot of good info on plugin development, so defiantly check them out.

More Information…