In the realm of technology, VST has several distinct meanings. Voice-Scan Technology is one technology that is abbreviated with the acronym VST, and it refers to the verification of individual identity based on distinctive aspects of the voice. Another phrase associated with this acronym is Variable Speed Technology, an example of which is a motor in, for example, an air conditioner that is fine-tuned to control air temperature through the ability to run at a wide range of speeds rather than the single speed of a conventional motor. Most often, though, it seems that VST is used as the acronym for Virtual Studio Technology.
Virtual Studio Technology, or VST, is an interface that processes and integrates audio effects and synthesizer plug-ins with VST-enabled host software, such as audio editors such as Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) or music notation software, such as Sibelius Software. Plug-ins are software modules that are made for integration into an existing software environment, adding on to software applications without requiring an upgrade for the user or an entirely new version to be released by the developer. VST engines provide a means to add effects, mastering tools, and both synthesized and sampled sounds to be added in real time to such hosts.
FVST is not the only plug-in standard: Audio Units (AU), for example, is another one. VST, developed by Steinberg, can be used on both Windows PCs and Macs, while AU, developed by Apple, can only be used on Mac. Other formats on the market include Real Time Audio Suite (RTAS), Time Division Multiplexing (TDM), MOTU Audio System (MAS), and DirectX Instrument (DXi). VST’s popularity is boosted by its dual platform compatibility and Steinberg’s choice to support third- party development, and the fact that VST virtual instrument plug-ins range from freeware to high-end VSTs.
The main categories of plug-in are virtual instruments and virtual processors. VST instruments include the Vienna Symphonic Library, the East West Quantum Leap line of virtual instruments, as well as those by Native Instruments, Garritan, GForce, MusicLab, Wallander, Synthogy, Arturia, WaveMachine Labs, and VST’s by Steinberg itself. Instruments range from choirs to concert grand pianos, from drum sets to orchestral instruments. Virtual Processors are made by companies such a Waves, DigiDesign, McDSP, TC Electronic, and URS. VST processor plug-ins add effects such as reverb and delay, compression, modulation—such as phaser, flanger, and pitch shift—guitar effects, vibrato, and filters.