VST Plug-ins

The other kind of device that can be used in the Device Panel is VST plug-ins. Aside from setting up Bitwig Studio to recognize the plug-ins you own (see Other Settings for information on the Locations page of the Dashboard), we haven't talked much about them. They operate side by side with Bitwig devices, and both generally function in the same way, but the interface for plug-ins is a bit different.

The bulk of the panel is reserved for the VST's Parameter area, but the parameters are in the form of a long scrollable list of knobs. And above this list is a single joker knob, which is really an alias (or wild card) which follows the last plug-in parameter that you touched. So after you scroll halfway down a very long parameter list, the last parameter you adjusted will still be accessible just above the list.

The top row of most plug-in devices has three important controls:

  • The Plug-in Parameters button (with a knob icon) is lit up whenever the joker knob and list of parameters are being shown below.

  • The next button varies depending on the type of plug-in your have loaded:

    • Most plug-ins then have a Post FX chain button (with a single right-facing arrow for an icon), as was shown in the above image. Clicking this button expands the right edge of the plug-in interface to display a chain where other devices and plug-ins can be loaded.

      The advantage of loading devices within a plug-in's Post FX chain is that when you store a preset for this plug-in, that preset will include all attached devices as well as their settings. So in the example above, saving a preset for Surge would include the Chorus device and the MasterVerb 5 plug-in along with all of their current settings, but the Blur device would not be included.

      [Note]Note

      For more information on nested device chains, see Nested Device Chains. And for specific information on Post FX chains, see Other Common Device Chain Types.

    • Multichannel plug-ins do not have a Post FX chain button and corresponding chain. Instead, they have a Multi-out chain button (with two right-facing arrows for an icon). Clicking this button toggles the parameter area below to instead show the Multi-out chain selector.

      This chain mixer gives you mixing controls for all the various outputs of this multichannel plug-in within the current stereo track. Clicking on the plug-in parameters button will return the parameter area to its normal joker knob and parameter list.

      To access audio channels from a multichannel plug-in on a different track: either from a track's audio input chooser or from an Audio Receiver device's SOURCE menu, select the track of the multichannel plug-in, then select its Chains submenu, and finally select the desired audio source.

  • The Parameter Search field is provided in the top of the plug-in area to let you filter the parameter list and find what you are looking for.

    This is useful as the parameter list for a complex plug-in can be exceedingly long.

    The parameter search field's magnifying glass icon also doubles as a menu. By clicking on this icon, you can thin the parameter list to Show only automated and modulated parameters. You can also revisit your recent SEARCH HISTORY from this menu.

If remote controls are configured for your plug-in (see The Remote Controls Pane), an active controller may show parameter mappings here using small colored circles in both panes.

Finally, in the device header for any plug-in is a Plug-in Interface button. Clicking this button calls up the plug-in's custom interface in a floating window.

(As all plug-ins have their own custom interface, please don't expect anything else to look like Surge, shown as the example above.)

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