VST synth as a track effect?

Or how to replace default synth sounds

Hi all,

I am trying something new to me. I have searched for this on the internet, etc. but I guess I am such a newbie to soft synths that I don’t know how to even search for it:

I am looking for a VST synth as an effect, rather than as an instrument, so that I can apply the manipulation features of the soft synth to the .mid (or .wav) files I have.

OR …

I am trying to find a way to replace, or add to, the default sine wave in some of these nice soft synth VST instrument plug-ins, but there is no folder containing various samples/etc. I can access to add/replace files.

I imagine that this is elementary to soft synth users, but I don’t know the terminology, etc. to find it.

What I wish I could do, for example:
Record a cello note, be able to play it via a midi controller (including different pitches) and apply typical synth modulation/manipulations to it.

Any advice/info. on how, or where, to obtain that capability is much appreciated!


What I wish I could do, for example:
Record a cello note, be able to play it via a midi controller (including different pitches) and apply typical synth modulation/manipulations to it.

it sounds like you are looking for a simple Midi controller (I use the Axiom 25 and a Phat boy for my modules)

This would not manipulate the recorded note however (wav. file) but the MIDI data itself which would result in making a different "note" on the other end (pitch change, modulation etc) or manipulating the speed of the overall track in real time.

If you are wanting to modulate actual audio samples than you are looking for some sort of sampler/looper with LFO VCO VCA ring mod, etc. but that is a much more limited use since you are dealing with audio that has already been recorded, so things like speed and pitch are not as easily manipulated in sync with other tracks as they are with raw Midi data and global settings.

I found a really neat Midi looper the other day that runs in Ntrack as a VST I haven't tested it and got it fully functional yet but I will post a link to it when I get up to the studio.


Thank you Jeremy!

After looking a little into a sampler/looper it sounds like what I need, thank you!

I am interested in the midi looper you mentioned.

Anyone have any other recommended sample/looping VSTs to try (preferably free at this point)?


Zyklus Improvisor, harmonic sequencer

^^^now that one is not for the novice it’s still a Beta run and it doesn’t run like a regular commercial VST but essentially it is a 32 track sequencer with 4X8 layers.
It’s really not that hard to get going you just unzip the file and put the unzipped folder into the VST folder of ntrack, then run it from Windows, Start>Run>Program Files> Fasoft> Ntrack> VSTpluggins> Improvisor505_05> 5IMPROVISOR505_05 then it will run.
You also have to have Midi OX (loaded) and Midi YOke

You send your midi signal in the MidiYOke 1 then the program will get it (you also have to have Ntrack or another DAW running.

THis is one more newb friendly:

Midi Looper

loads as a regular VST inside NTrack your still might need some sort of Midi controller (software or hardware) it really is not an easy thing for me to do sweeps and glides with a natural curve digitally (like drawing it out or trying to record pot/fader movements being made with amouse) that’s why I prefer hardware, I think it’s a booby thing, I just like tweeking knobs ???

now that first program works well with NanoKorg, because it was programmed with parameters for it.
With any controller (even the software ones) you have to route Midi singals to different devices so that is why I am suggesting the Midi OX and Yoke, I mean that and you said “FREE” so that’s sort of limiting your options as far as what’s available : :laugh:

dontcare :cool:

Oh I almost forgot about these guys:


they used to have a sweet Bass synth with Envelope generator and Oscillator called DaHornet, if you can find that in their archives you’ll do well,

but they got a lot of other really dandy stuff their, one might even say fine and dandy! :D


Tony and Jeremy,
I think I just ran into a learning curve/wall ???).
Thank you for the suggestions, I will get started right away.

I’ve had Dahornet for a long time … the kids love it! … and a Studio Logic 161 MIDI controller that works well for me.

I have a bunch of synths but I just couldn’t tweak them to get what I wanted.
The closest I came was using the little CheeseMachine’s initial sine wave with almost no osc. or anything and then putting a tube amp simulator VST effect on it plus another like FreeAmp2 with all the pedals, ect.
There was also a VST tape saturator simulator that helped.
Those were as close as I could get to a synth-as-effect.

With those set-ups I could almost get rid of that thin soft-synth sound and get a warmer, fuller sound like I wanted … hence the example of wanting to record a cello sample and playing with that as a starting point.
It still sounded sort of ‘cheap’ though.

I think it would be so much easier with a sampler/looper -I just knew/know so little about them!

Any suggestions for something like a Samplers/Loopers for Dummies, resource?

Thanks again

I see you already have a midi controller (Studio Logic 161)

what exactly are you trying to do to the sound of the cello that you are not able to do?

Maybe that will help us understand your goal and what would be best to achieve it,

you might not even need a mIdi looper, you might just need to configure you controller properly to work with Ntrack or whatever DAW you are using, then you can do neat stuff like pitch bend,tremolo, etc using the knobs on your controller.

There are also VST type effects that can be put on a Midi track inside Ntrack that will do a lot of things you might want (sweeps, harmonizing, arpeggios, etc etc).
In that case you would be looking for a LFO,VCO,VCA, Ring Modulator type of VST (preferably one that has CC controller assignments implemented.

There is a HUGE learning curve on this stuff, I don’t really have a single online source I can think of that breaks it all down into steps, but there probably are some good ones out there.
that being said you might just want to skip the looper for now and work with basic MIDI tracks and VST’s, loopers really are for more advanced users of MIDI and sequencers

try something like Xmax put your cello midi track through that and out to your synths, all kinds of stuff to work with there, envelope filter, Delay, LFO,VCO a good start for a beginner, IMHO

I notice the link to XMax is redirected, you’ll have to look for that one… :D


Okay, since my vocabulary for soft synth stuff is small this may take a much longer effort than necessary and also, I am talking about two things. Here it goes:

You know how the default sound upon which all the soft synth parameters have their effect is a simple sine wave somewhere in the programing of the VST -that high pitched computer whistle/whine?
Well, it seems to me that if I could replace that with something else (like a full bodied, overtone-rich cello sound) I could then achieve better sounding results from the same VST soft synth plug-in.

But I think that is not possible without a lot of extraordinary effort.
As far as loopers go, this is where it would come into play: to lengthen a short .wav file of the cello -like an “infinite guitar” effect (AKA U2’s Edge guitar effect on With or Without You … I know it worked much differently but it makes a good comparison.)

If it was too hard to get a .wav file into the soft synth as a VST instrument, then it seemed the next best thing would be to apply a soft synth to a .wav file as a VST effect.

So, if I could sample a cello (and somehow loop those samples prior to recording a .mid file utilizing them), and apply a soft synth as an effect, then that would work just fine.

As I mentioned, guitar pedal plug-ins are the closest I can get (with what I have at present) to something like a soft synth effects plug-in.
But I still wish I could sample, loop and create a .mid file with a cello (or a bowed electric guitar, etc.)

The plan is to use those sounds to create soft synth pads, etc.
… I am just not able to get the sound I want from the soft synth plug-ins available to me (read: the free ones).

Did I make things worse?

from your further explanation it sounds like you are wanting to create your own samples for synths.

THere are programs out there to do this, Roland comes to mind as they used to give users the software to edit or make their own fonts and save them to their Eproms on the (AIFF files?).

People make their living off making and selling sound banks even softsynths for software use, so I’m sure you could research that a bit and found out how they are doing it and what they are using but there probably is a huge learning curve on it otherwise anyone could do it and we wouldn’t need them to.
THey also sell hardware samplers that can be played/triggered as notes like a sound font,Akia MPC1000? but that is rather advanced unless you get one that is user friendly something like that could be used for pads.

I know what you mean about the sine wav in most of these synth VST’s that is like white noise generated at a single tone that you can module to create different pitches and oscillation, all of that is basically digital FX trying to emulate analog devices that run on Controlled Voltage (like Moog and other analog keyboards) I am not sure if it is possible to replace that generated noise with an actual wav file sound in the digital realm but I do know that people do use actual audio to go through some of those “effects” (eg. LFO,VCO, Ring Modulator) but that is completely outside of the computer.

As far as I know some of the VST FX I have offered you can do this too, when applied to a wav track as a VST, however I have never tried it in NTrack.

Take a look at a device called The MOthership by Pigtronix on youtube see if that is the type of effect you are wanting on your already made audio tracks/samples.
SASS also makes some interesting devices (envelope-filters for example) as well that all deal with analog sound (as apposed to manipulation of raw midi data BEFORE it becomes sound) in theory VST’s of these same effects could be applied to analog wav files in Ntrack.
There is two routes you can go, either manipulating MIDI tracks BEFORE the data hits the sound fonts and come back as a modified sound/pulse, or manipulating already made wav.files through the same type of effect that are made to work with audio instead of raw midi data.

we are getting there buddy don’t worry about the terminology it comes with time, an example of what “sound” or effect you are after would go a long way tho, at least for me understanding the goal, the how to get their part could be achieved in different manners depending on what you are starting with.
As far as the reference to the effect in the U2 song goes, if memory serves me correct he used expensive hardware long delay units configured in a bi-amping pattern, that might be able to be done with the right software VST sound chain, but might be a little hard in the “free” price range. :laugh:

dontcare :cool:

Or perhaps you want a sample library?

A few examples:


There are literally 100s if not 1000s of others… so this is just to find out if this is what you ware wanting.

Why not start from scratch. Grab something like Alchemy or SampleTank and cello samples and mess around with the frequencies and envelopes.