Some DAWs like FL Studio only let you specify a single folder for VST plugins. This is a problem if you need to use more than one location, such as when you’re running low on space on the drive with the original VST folder and you don’t want to reinstall every plugin one by one.
The trick is to use NTFS junctions so that the application points to a single folder that has subfolders of the plugin locations. You can manually use the mklink command, but I used a tool called Junction Link Magic to make the junctions. Don’t mess around with any existing junctions that came with windows.
So make a new folder anywhere. I Made one called ‘VSTJunctions’ in the root of drive C. Then inside of this folder you’ll make an empty subfolder for each location of VST plugins that you have. If you’re using the mklink command, it will create these subfolders instead of you making empty ones. In my case, I just have one location of VSTs in Program Files and another one on another drive, so I named the 2 subfolders as ‘C-ProgFiles’ and ‘H-VST’.
Now in Junction Link Magic, hit the ‘create’ button and set your junction host and target for each of your VST locations. The host is one of the empty folders you just created, and the target is where the VSTs are actually installed. Now Junction Link Magic should look something like the following image:
Finally, set that initial folder you made that holds the junctions as your VST folder of your DAW. It should now see every plugin that has been installed to either location. Here is how FL Studio would look like:
By the way, this of course is not just limited to VSTs, you could try it on other things such as moving Steam games to another location without reinstalling anything or moving Steam’s location.
I should get back to posting content, so here’s a quick tip if you’re making music, working on a voice track, or pretty much any audio you’re dealing with.
Digital audio has all kinds of fixed limits, one of which is amplitude or volume. If a sound is too loud, the wave will become ‘clipped‘, causing an obvious change in the sound that most people would identify as distortion.
The first thing I would do when I start a blank music or audio project is add a basic compressor to eliminate clipping as much as possible. As an example, this is what I stick on the master FX channel in FL Studio. It’s pretty much the default preset, but the attack and release are all the way down, and the ratio is up. When listening to any sound, quiet or loud, it seems to do the least modification while protecting from clipping. Any compressor should have about the same knobs or settings available for tweaking.
Later on if I’m going for a specific final sound, I could use a more powerful chain of compressors, equalizers, etc, but always have some kind of a compressor on the final master output. Let’s take a look at the difference this makes:
Here is a kick sample where I increased the volume way beyond the original. If left alone, you can see how it is clipping when the limits are hit. It almost looks like a square wave, which is quite a different sound from the original sine. With the compressor enabled, the wave does still change a bit, but it’s not as harsh and won’t be as obvious to the listener’s ears.
Now you may want to have a distorted sound like the drum track or a voice that sounds like it’s on a walkie-talkie. I would stick the distortion chain on a separate FX channel and still have a light compressor on the master channel. This leaves room for other sounds that need to be untouched.