Audio Plugins Architectures

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Audio Plug-ins

 

VST - AU - DX - RTAS - TDM - HTDM  - AAX - MAS

PowerCore - LADSPA - LV2 - DSSI- VAMP

 


Architectures


VST 
VST (Virtual Studio Technology) is a real-time native plug-in format created by Steinberg. Currently there are over 300 plug-ins made for VST. It is becoming one of the most widely-used formats for audio plug-ins. VST plug-ins differ from Direct X plug-ins in a few areas: VST can be used on PC's or Mac's, it is dependent on the host program.

AU 
AU -Audio Units is the plug-in format developed by Apple to coincide with their new audio and MIDI technologies in OS X. Certain programs like Logic support Audio units exclusively, while other programs like Digital Performer 4 support their own MAS format as well as Audio Units. Audio Units are handled at the level of the OS X operating sytem itself and for programmers they can have a certain advantages in that two seperate engines exist for the GUI of the plug-in as well as the sound engine itself, allowing for a more advance user interface design.

 

DirectX 
Direct X Plug-Ins Direct X is a real-time plug-in (i.e., Direct X plug-ins can process or alter the sound without creating a new file). Direct X uses "native processing" to function. Native processing uses the existing power of your CPU to process audio. Native processing has become more popular as CPU's keep getting faster. Direct X was created by Microsoft for Windows users to play fast video games without using DOS. Microsoft saw an opportunity to unify the gaming industry, their result was Direct X. Direct X uses low level application programming interfaces (API's) for high performance multimedia applications such as plug-ins. It includes support for sound, music, graphics and network applications. Host programs must implement Direct X to run plug-ins. 

RTAS 
RTAS (Real Time Audio Suite) is a new plug-in format created by Digidesign for Pro Tools LE. RTAS is the next generation of AudioSuite plug-ins. RTAS uses host based processing, your CPU, to run. RTAS is only limited by the available CPU processing power. RTAS offers similar performance to TDM in that each plug-in is fully automatable. 

TDM 
TDM (Time Domain Multiplex) is a plug-in format created by Digidesign for Pro Tools systems. TDM can only function with Digidesign Farm cards. The number of plug-ins that you use depends on how many Farm cards you have and the type of plug-in. TDM is a 24 bit, 256 channel path that integrates mixing and real time digital signal processing. This plug-in format offers zero latency and is fully automatable. 

 

HTDM 
HTDM stands for "Host TDM" and refers to Plug-Ins that do all audio processing on the host CPU instead of the DSP chips found on your TDM hardware. They use a single, shared DSP on the TDM system to allow the audio from these host Plug-In processes to stream in or out of the system. The faster your computer, the more Plug-Ins you will be able to run. HTDM Plug-Ins allow the power and flexibility of host-based processing for synths and sampling to directly integrate into Pro Tools. You can work with these Plug-Ins as you would use standard TDM Plug-Ins, including major benefits like using Pro Tools automation (in addition to MIDI) to automate parameters, or using control surfaces for hands-on control of Plug-In parameters. 

AAX 
AAX (Avid Audio eXtension) is Avid’s new advanced plug-in format, offering workflows and sound parity when sharing sessions between DSP-accelerated and native-based Pro Tools systems. The format comes in two flavors: AAX DSP—compatible with Pro Tools|HDX systems only (TDM is not supported in Pro Tools|HDX) AAX Native—compatible with any system running Pro Tools/Pro Tools HD 10 software

MAS 
MAS (MOTU Audio System) is a real-time native plug-in format created by Mark of the Unicorn. MAS was created as a proprietary plug-in format for Performer and Digital Performer. MAS plug-ins are fully automatable and do not require external DSP. MAS is becoming a widely supported format by third party developers and currently supports a wide range of software synthesizers. Available on Macintosh OS systems that use MAS. Host programs must implement MAS to run plug-ins. 

PowerCore 
The Powercore format is a hardware-supported plugin that can be used in VST and Audio Unit compatible applications. Hardware supported plugins require the hardware be present to run. They also take strain off the CPU by doing the processing in hardware, hence there is less of a drain on the computer for processing audio in real time. Future development of the PowerCore platform has been ceased. As part of a larger strategic review, they have decided to cease further development of the PowerCore product range, including hardware units as well as software for the PowerCore platform. With the most recent release of software version 4.0, PowerCore is fully compatible with current operating systems, such as Mac OS X Leopard, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, as well as the most popular DAWs – 32 bit and 64 bit.

LADSPA 
LADSPA is an acronym for Linux Audio Developers Simple Plugin API. It is a standard for handling filters and effects, licensed under the GNU LGPL. It was originally designed for Linux through consensus on the Linux Audio Developers Mailing List, but works on a variety of other platforms. It is used in many free audio software projects and there is a wide range of LADSPA plugins available.

 


LV2 
LV2 (LADSPA version 2) is an open standard for plugins and matching host applications, mainly targeted at audio processing and generation. LV2 is a simple but extensible successor of LADSPA, intended to address the limitations of LADSPA which many applications have outgrown.
Currently there is support for LV2 in Ardour, Qtractor, Traverso DAW, and the Linux version of Audacity. LV2 replaces the former DSSI plugin infrastructure.

DSSI 
DSSI stands for Disposable Soft Synth Interface. It is a virtual instrument (software synthesizer) plugin architecture for use by music sequencer applications. It was designed for applications running under Linux, although there is nothing specific to Linux in the interface itself. It is distributed under the terms of a combination of GNU Lesser General Public License and some BSD licenses, all of which are free software licences.

VAMP 
Vamp is an audio processing plugin system for plugins that extract descriptive information from audio data, typically referred to as audio analysis plugins or audio feature extraction plugins.

Direct X Plug-Ins Direct X is a real-time plug-in (i.e., Direct X plug-ins can process or alter the sound without creating a new file). VST (Virtual Studio Technology) is a real-time native plug-in format created by Steinberg. AU -Audio Units is the plug-in format developed by Apple to coincide with their new audio and MIDI technologies in OS X. RTAS (Real Time Audio Suite) is a new plug-in format created by Digidesign for Pro Tools LE. RTAS is the next generation of AudioSuite plug-ins. RTAS uses host based processing, your CPU, to run. RTAS is only limited by the available CPU processing power. RTAS offers similar performance to TDM in that each plug-in is fully automatable.  AAX (Avid Audio eXtension). For Pro Tools|HDX and host-based systems running Pro Tools 10, Pro Tools HD 10, or Pro Tools Express 

TDM (Time Domain Multiplex) is a plug-in format created by Digidesign for Pro Tools systems. TDM can only function with Digidesign Farm cards. The number of plug-ins that you use depends on how many Farm cards you have and the type of plug-in. LADSPA is an acronym for Linux Audio Developers Simple Plugin API. It is a standard for handling filters and effects, licensed under the GNU LGPL. Vamp is an audio processing plugin system for plugins that extract descriptive information from audio data, typically referred to as audio analysis plugins or audio feature extraction plugins.

The Powercore format is a hardware-supported plugin that can be used in VST and Audio Unit compatible applications. MAS (MOTU Audio System) is a real-time native plug-in format created by Mark of the Unicorn. MAS was created as a proprietary plug-in format for Performer and Digital Performer. LV2 (LADSPA version 2) is an open standard for plugins and matching host applications, mainly targeted at audio processing and generation. LV2 is a simple but extensible successor of LADSPA, intended to address the limitations of LADSPA which many applications have outgrown.

VST is a trademark of Steinberg Soft- und Hardware GmbH.

Audio Units™ is a trademark of Apple Computers Inc.

Real-Time AudioSuite™ RTAS is a registered trademark of Avid Technologies Inc. 

TDM (Time Domain Multiplex) and AAX (Avid Audio eXtension) are plug-ins format created by Digidesign for Pro Tools systems.

MAS (MOTU Audio System) plug-in format created by Mark of the Unicorn.

DirectX® is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation


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