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Intro to VST plugins
#1
Hi guys,

I'm new to JamKazam, and I'm excited to learn about all of its features.  Can anyone recommend a good intro tutorial on getting started with VST plugins in JamKazam?  I have not used VSTs before, so something at the beginner level would be best.  Initially, I'm looking for a way to add some reverb to my Mic track and some simple effects (reverb, maybe a little distortion on occasion) to my Guitar track.

Thanks in advance for your help!
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#2
Hi Marty, and welcome,
I'll try to be clear but quick , and apologies upfront as my knowledge is Windows-only. VST's are the software equivalent of effects units, like stomp boxes for guitars, or a rack-mount unit for reverb, etc. They can also be more, like an entire guitar modeling system, with pedals, amps, cabinets, post-cab FX. The term VST implies its use inside some other audio program (such as JamKazam or a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), such as Pro Tools, Reaper, etc), where those programs find them on your computer in specific folder locations(Ex: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steinberg\VstPlugins), so you can call them up as "plug-ins". VSTs typically install themselves in locations, and will even create the folders if they don't exist already. I chose that specific example of "Program Files (x86)" for Windows 10 64-bit, to highlight an important JamKazam limitation: while JamKazam itself requires the 64-bit Windows 7/8/10 Operating System, the application can only utilize 32-bit plugins, which are those installed in that "Program Files (x86) folder. When you go hunting for free or purchased VSTs, ensure that a 32-bit version is available. Many VST manufacturers are dropping 32-bit support, so they will start being less common. Still plenty of excellent stuff out there, but just letting you know.
So what does a VST look like? It's actually just a "*.dll" file in windows, such as "OldSkoolVerb.dll". The audio applications will know how to utilize that file as a plug-in in their app. In JamKazam, when you configure your audio channels, there are options to manage plug-ins and scan for VSTs. This is where you will point to the VSTs that you have installed for your needs. By the way, should the VST installer put the .dll creat an additional subfolder, such as C:\\Program Files (x86)\Steinberg\VstPlugins\Voxengo, don't worry, JamKazam will scan the parent folder and all subfolders to build the list of available VSTs. Speaking of that, My reco for reverb would be Voxengo's Old School Reverb. It's free, 32-bit Windows & Mac, and simple. Simply Google it. Good enough for vocal reverb in a jam session.
The second important tip: each audio channel can only have 1 VST. You cannot load multiple ones. For this reason I would recommend a more complete amp modeler for your guitar track, such as Positive Grid's Bias FX, Amplitube Custom Shop, Guitar Rig 5 Player, or my favorite, Overloud's TH-3 Cakewalk Edition, included in Cakewalk by Bandlab, a completely free DAW (of course, you would have to install the DAW to get it). The others are good enough, have enough variety, include a tuner, have the ability to save a configuration as a patch, etc.
Hope this helps
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