VST Instruments Tips & Tricks

Loading and Saving VST Instrument Banks and Presets

To get the most out of your VST Instruments, it is a good idea to put together one good "best of" bank with your favorite sounds or "presets". This way you can have instant access to the sounds you use most and have them be in the order you want. This tip will tell you how to load different banks of sounds, save the individual presets, then assemble them into your own custom "favorites" bank.

First of all, many people don't realize that VST Instruments already come with extra sound banks which are automatically installed with the plug-in. So, now is a good time to load up some of those extra banks and check out the sounds.

To load a bank into the Model E or PPG for example, click in the upper right hand corner of the VST Instrument Rack or in the lower left hand corner of the Plug in edit window. You will see a few options, so for now, choose Load Bank.

Load Bank = Load an entire Bank of Presets (Effect Bank = .fxb)

Remember "B" for Bank.

Look inside your VST Plug-ins folder and then look into the Model-E folder for Model-E Soundbanks or inside the Waldorf folder for PPG Soundbanks. Choose any one of the banks, load it, and now you will see that your VST instrument has a new bank of sounds for you to choose from. Play the different presets and when you find one that you would like to add to your own personal custom bank, click on "file> Save Instrument". Why save Instrument? Because you only want to save that one individual preset, not the whole bank of presets.

Save Instrument = Save one single program, patch or preset (Effect Program .fxp)

Remember "P" for Preset

Make sure that in the "File Type" window you have chosen .fxp so that it is saved as an instrument. You can continue to save individual presets from the current bank, then load another bank and go through the different presets in that bank. Continue saving more presets from different banks until you feel that you have enough to start a custom bank.

To assemble presets into a custom bank, start loading those saved individual presets from your hard drive into one bank in the order you want. First go to a preset you are willing to overwrite and then click on "file> Load Instrument."

Load Instrument = Load one single program, patch or preset (Effect Program = .fxp)

Remember "P" for Preset.

Load the first instrument (preset) into the current program slot, then go to the next preset you are willing to overwrite and continue to do this until you have enough presets in your bank as you like.

To save your custom bank, click on "file> Save Bank."

Save Bank = Save an entire Bank of Presets (Effect Bank .fxb)

Be sure to have the "File Type" window on .fxb so that it is saved as an entire bank of presets. That's it! You have just made your own custom bank of favorite presets.

When you save a song in Cubase, it also saves any parameter changes you have made in the VST instruments as well. The advantage of saving banks gives you quicker access to your favorite sounds that may have been in different banks and the flexibility of being able load your favorite bank into older songs you may have been working on and use your new sounds.

Besides the Model-E and PPG, all other Steinberg, Waldorf, Free and most other 3rd party VST instruments stick to the same VST Standard by loading and saving from the "File" window. The one instrument that is a little different is the Waldorf Attack. Attack does not come with any "Banks" only "Instruments." You must click on "Load Instrument" which is a drum kit, then you can load a few more and save it as a bank (.fxb). Just always remember that when you save, you will need to be sure to have the file type suffix right when saving an entire bank (.fxb) or a single preset (.fxp).

Native Instruments Pro-53, Absynth, FM7 and Battery.

In general all Native Instruments synths load and save from within their own instrument window, so you will need to look for the load and save buttons on the synthesizer's front panel. They are also organized a little bit differently, depending on the synth, where "p" is for Preset, "b" is for Bank and "a" is for All. In the FM7 for example, you have individual presets that you should store or save into the synth's memory first before saving to disk. The FM7 also has 4 Banks of 32 presets each and finally All stands for everything. So, for the FM7 you would have 3 file types, a preset (.f7p) a bank (.f7b) and all (.f7a).

About the writer:

Costa Kotselas worked for Steinberg for many years as a product specialist and content producer for cubase.net. Costa has also been working as a consultant to some of the world's top film composers and is now offering intensive weekend "learn cubase" seminars.

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