Vst vs Outboard

These days with the introduction of vst everything it’s very easy (money provided) to have an entire setup soley on your pc.

Lots of home studio and diy recordists are making the transition from outboard equipment to pc based software.

This has a nice knock on effect for people like myself.

I work on a budget, plus there’s something kind of nice about seeing racks of equipment.

Ebay is packed with sound modules, fx processors and samplers all for under £100 and in some cases for under £50.

Room is a factor, if you’ve got limited space then the software option is usually best.

But for me there’s something about outboard stuff that makes me want to work with it much much more than something software based.

The main factor though is processing power.

For every vst instrument, vst effect and wotnot pc load is increased.

This can cause a very unstable working environment, as such I now have a very clean system setup.

My PC has 2gb ram and a 2.6 AMD processor.

The only software packages I use are Sonar 6, Wavelab and Recycle, Chicken Systems Translator Special Edition and ES-Win.

The only VSt’s I use are T-Racks Fx and Toontrack EzDrummer.

Although I intend to phase out Toontrack and use a sampler based drumkit.

My PC does not connect to the internet and has only the specified software loaded.

For synthesis I have:

Proteus 1

Proteus Orchestral

Yamaha TG500

Roland U110

Before i bought each Item I investigated several sites to read reviews.

So okay some of the string patches sound ok not great but used together with the 2 samplers you can create some pretty realistic string sections.

Each module has it’s merits. Keyboards for example, each machine dependant on synthesis can hide a gem. It’s worth the money just for that.

Also I paid no more that £60 for each. With is the cost of most bottom end VST instruments these days.


Guitar Fx I use a Behringer V-Amp pro.

Compared to Guitar Rig it works very well. Less the processing power, also with the attached midi based software available it can be quick and easy to use.

Guitar Rig is great. But that option of being able to change the sound after recording is too much temptation to fiddle about.

A sound comitted works better for me.


Lets’ face it too many toys cause delays.

I know which sounds I want to use each time I record.

I know which FX sits well with what I want.

I also know that there’s nothing worse than an overly worked pc staggering and spluttering or in the worst scenario crashing, whilst in the middle of recording.

So for me Outboard wins.

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