VST plugins, in combination with the right hardware and software, can be used to take advantage of a digital audio workstation software’s full functionality and drive an entire professional recording studio.
In this article, I will show you how to install and setup VST plugins in REAPER Digital Audio Workstation software. As an example, we will install FreeAmp 3 Full, a free multi guitar amp and effects simulator by Fretted Synth.
To install a VST plugin (both virtual instruments and effects):
- Download the FreeAmp 3 Full guitar VST plugin (download link at the bottom of this post) and extract files.
- Create a new folder in C:\Program Files and name it “VST” and paste the extracted VST plugin files (the files with .dll extension) in that folder. I suggest you save all your VST plugin files in that same folder for better organization.
- Open REAPER, then go to Options > Preferences > Plugins > VST to open REAPER Preferences > VST plug-ins settings window. Click the ‘Add…’ button and browse to the VST plugins directory which in our case is C:\Program Files\VST.
- Click the button ‘Clear cache/re-scan’ for REAPER to find and analyze the VST plugins, then click the ‘Apply’ button.
To make sure that the VST plugin is successfully installed:
- Go to Track > Insert new track (or simply press Control+T).
- In the newly inserted track, click the tiny FX button to open the Track FX window. Select VST and a list of installed VST plugins will be shown. Look for the name of the VST plugin. The name of our example VST plugin is FA3 Full (Fretted Synth), make sure it is present.
Note: FreeAmp 3 Full is a VST effects plugin for electric and bass guitar. VST effects differ to VST instruments in some aspects.
To make sure that a VST instrument is successfully installed:
- Go to Track > Insert virtual instrument on new track… to open the Insert Visual Instrument on New Track… window.
- Look for the name of the VST instrument.