Effect or Virtual Instrument?

Did you know that there are two versions of Blue Cat’s PatchWork?

PatchWork Synth

In case you have not noticed, the PatchWork plug-in comes in two flavors: effect (“PatchWork”) or virtual instrument (“PatchWork Synth”). That’s two different plug-ins that you may want to use differently.

What’s the difference(s)?

First, both plug-ins do not report the same type to the host application: in many DAWs, the instrument version is the only one that will be listed when inserting a virtual instrument on a track, while the effect will be displayed when you want to insert an effect. But that’s not true in all hosts (Pro Tools for instance lets you choose) – so you need to pick up the right one!

Second, the effect version has an additional side chain input bus, while the synth has auxiliary outputs, so both plug-ins do not offer the same routing capabilities in your host application. for effects, the extra side chain input will let you use the side chain signal in sub-plugins such as compressors, gates… For virtual instruments, the extra auxiliary outputs let you route aux signals to different tracks.

Does it mean I cannot load effects in the Synth and Virtual Instruments in the Effect?

No, both plug-ins will let you load any plug-in, regardless of its type, so that you can mix both (audio and MIDI) effects and virtual instruments in the same PatchWork session. However loading virtual instruments in the effect version may have unwanted side effects in some DAWs: for example starting with Pro Tools 12, dynamic plugin processing may be triggered and loaded instruments will not produce any sound if PatchWork is fed with silence. So you will want to use the Synth version instead!

Well, there are actually three versions!

That’s for the Audio Unit format only: an extra “MFX” (Midi FX) version can be used on Logic’s MIDI tracks to host MIDI effects, step sequencers or arpegiators: no audio is processed, only MIDI events.

patchwork 1.62 - choose_your_style

4 thoughts on “Effect or Virtual Instrument?

    • What do you mean? Both versions can load instruments, it’s just that PT will stop processing them when the plug-in is fed with silence, so using the “synth” version is recommended.

  1. I am using an instance on bluecat synth on an instrument track in PT. Inside Bluecat, i am hosting the vst (Instachord) which is triggering a grand piano inside of kontakt 5. Everything is working great! I play one note on my midi keyboard and it triggers instachord to play a full chord, the only problem is that when i record the midi, i am receiving the “1” note from my midi keyboard. I would like to record the midi output of the Kontakt grand piano instance (the full chord). I have tried to record a separate midi track who’s input is the output of blue cat synth, but no luck. Any ideas/solutions would be greatly appreciated.

    • I guess what you want to record is the MIDI output of the instachord plug-in which contains all chords notes, right? In this case, before recording to another track like you did, you simply need to add “Host” to the list of MIDI outputs used by the instachord plug-in. It will send to the host all the events created by instachord, so you will be able to record them.

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