In today's world of high-end music production hardware and software, aspiring songwriters, recording artists and engineers can assemble a powerful working studio quickly and affordably. In some cases, it may even be possible to find the tools needed to craft the next hit song for free. Audacity is an excellent example of a free-for-use recording tool, which can be combined with a variety of plug-ins to create a comprehensive audio solution. You can quickly integrate third-party tools, such as the GSnap pitch-correction utility, in order to expand the functionality of the Audacity framework.
The Basics of Audio Plug-ins
Programs such as Audacity are compatible with smaller functional utilities commonly referred to as plug-ins. Generally speaking, a plug-in cannot function as its own application, although exceptions to this rule certainly exist. Instead, plug-ins rely on the architecture of larger applications in order to handle the majority of audio processing. This allows the plug-ins to perform one specific task, such as incorporating special processing or effects into audio.
Plug-ins typically are available in one of two formats, those being Virtual Studio Technology, or VST, and Audio Unit, or AU. The VST format is by far the most popular plug-in extension used today, primarily due to the fact that it is the only type compatible with the Windows operating system. The Mac operating system can use VST plug-ins, in addition to their native AU and Component framework.
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Depending on your specific operating system, Audacity plug-ins can be used in either the VST or AU formatting among other less common plug-in codecs.
Incorporating the GSnap Autotune VST
In order to integrate GSnap into your Audacity setup, you will need to ensure that your designated plug-in file is placed inside of the appropriate directory on your computer. For starters, you may need to create a separate folder inside of your computer for your audio plug-ins if you have not done so already. Name the file folder something very standard, such as "plug-ins," in order to ensure that you can return to this directory quickly and easily in the future.
Once this folder has been created, you will need to install the GSnap VST plug-in using the tools included with your download. After downloading GSnap, you should notice that the plug-in is housed in a compressed file folder. Extract the .dll files from the compressed folder and copy them into the plug-in folder you created previously.
Finishing the Installation Process
Now that your plug-in is located in the correct folder, you should be able to use these plug-ins with just about any audio application. However, in order to ensure that Audacity recognizes your plug-ins, you will need to make an additional copy of the VST file in Audacity's plug-in folder, located within the application's file folder. Once this has been done, you can open Audacity.
At this point, the application should recognize the presence of new plug-ins and provide you with the option to incorporate them into your Audacity workspace. Once you have confirmed this, you should be able to immediately access the GSnap plug-in by clicking on the "Effect" tab at the top of the screen.