What is a Virtual Instrument?
In the world of hardware synthesizers, there is a wide variety of synthesizers, and all of them have different goals—reproducing the sound of acoustic instruments, creating classic synthesizer and keyboard sounds, creating drum sounds, creating new and previously unheard sounds, and more. Computer–based recording gives you access to an incredibly vast array of instruments that can run on your computer.
Figure 13-1: A Logic virtual instrument: ES1
At its essence, a virtual instrument (VI) is a synthesizer on your computer. The variety of virtual instruments available and the power of these instruments is unequalled in hardware. While many VIs are meant to emulate or replace actual instruments, there are many brilliant developers creating instruments with capabilities that have never been seen before. From incredibly detailed pianos that require large, fast hard drives to run to collections of instruments from all corners of the globe, from hybrid instruments that allow you to mangle sounds until they're unrecognizable to synthesizers you can “build” to suit your needs, VIs can play a major role in your music.