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Plug-In Basics

Plug-ins are accessory programs that “plug in” to the host. For example, a signal processing plug-in can insert into a track’s FX bin, just like how you’d patch a hardware signal processor into a hardware mixing console’s patch points.

There are two main types of plug-in technology: host-based (also called native) and hardware-based. Hardware-based plug-ins run only with certain specialized hardware computer cards or outboard FireWire boxes designed for digital signal processing, such as the UAD2 series from Universal Audio, TC Electronic’s PowerCore system, and SSL’s Duende Mini. Host-based plugins, as provided with SONAR Home Studio, use the computer’s microprocessor to do any needed digital signal processing and therefore require no specialized hardware.


  

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