Lesson 1: Installation

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Learn how to install Armchair Guitarist on your machine, load it in a Digital Audio Workstation and connect it to an Instrument.



Lesson 1: Installation

Armchair Guitarist is a VST Plugin, designed to run in a Digital Audio Workstation, such as Reaper, Energy XT, Ableton LIVE or the program that VST Plugins were designed for, Cubase.


When you play notes in Armchair Guitarist, it sends messages to the Digital Audio Workstation which are then played using an Instrument, such as a synthesizer or sampler. This is how sound is produced- Armchair Guitarist does not produce sound by itself.


In this tutorial we will learn how to install Armchair Guitarist on your computer, load it in a Digital Audio Workstation, and connect it to an instrument, ready to play.

Proceed to the next page to begin.

Step 1: Downloading and Installing Armchair Guitarist

First you must download Armchair Guitarist by clicking the button below. This will take you to KVR Audio's Developer Challenge '09 page, which hosts the download.


Open the archive (.zip) file that you have just downloaded. If you are already a user of some form of Digital Audio Workstation, you should already have a folder on your hard drive for VST Plugins. If this is the case, extract the .zip file to your existing VST Plugin folder.

If you do not already have a VST Plugins folder, you will need to create one. This can be done when you extract the .zip file- for the extraction path, enter c:\VstPlugins\Armchair Guitarist\.

Next we will load the plugin in a Digitial Audio Workstation.


Step 2: Setting Up your Digital Audio Workstation

In order to use Armchair Guitarist, it must be loaded in a Digital Audio Workstation. If you are already a user of such software, then you should already be familiar with this process, and can skip this section. Otherwise, read on.


There are a large number of different Digiatal Audio products around, some free and some commercial. For the purposes of this tutorial, I will use Reaper, as it typifies many of the features found in other products. Download Reaper by clicking the button below, install it, and then continue.



Now that you have installed Reaper, we will tell it where to find VST Plugins.


Start by opening Reaper. You should see a screen that looks similar to this:


Reaper Main Screen


Next, go to the Options menu, and select Preferences, as shown below, highlighted in green:


Reaper Preferences Menu


You should now see a window like this:


Reaper Preferences Window


In this window, navigate to Plugin-ins -> VST using the tree menu on the left. Click the button labelled "Add", and, in the folder selection window that appears, find and select c:\VstPlugins\ and click OK. Reaper will scan the folder and find Armchair Guitarist. Click the OK button to return to the main Reaper window.


Next, we will find out how to load Armchair Guitarist into a track in Reaper.

Step 3: Loading Armchair Guitarist

In the previous steps we installed Armchair Guitarist to your hard drive, and told Reaper where to find it. In order to send MIDI messages to other plugins, Armchair Guitarist must be loaded into a Track in Reaper.

We will do this now.

As of the conclusion of the previous step, you should be in Reaper's main screen, show below:

Reaper Main Screen


All the various sources of audio data in Reaper are organised into Tracks, shown in the top half of the screen. Click with your right mouse button in the area beneath the buttons in the top-left of the window to bring up the track menu. This should look like this:


Reaper Insert Menu


Select Insert virtual instrument on mew track... (highlighted in green). You should see this screen:


Reaper Insert Instrument Window


Select VSTi: Armchair Guitarist (Mike Norrish) (mono) from the list, and click OK.


Armchair Guitarist should now load: The GUI will appear, and a track will appear on the left hand side:


Reaper with Armchair Guitarist Loaded


Armchair Guitarist is now ready to start sending MIDI messages. In the next step, we will add an Instrument to allow Armchair Guitarist to produce sound.

Step 4: Adding an Instrument

In the previous step, we loaded Armchair Guitarist into a new track in Reaper. In this step, we will add an Instrument to allow Armchair Guitarist to produce sound.

An Instrument is usually another VST Plugin, generally either a Synthesizer, which produces wholly electronic sounds, or a Sampler which plays back prerecorded sounds from real instruments.

Most of the best instruments to use to produce guitar sounds are samplers. There are numerous guitar samplers available- KVR Audio maintain a database of plugins that will contain what you need- click the button below for a list of guitar samplers from the database.


For this tutorial, we will be using a KVR Audio Developer Challenge entry from a previous year, SuperRiff Guitar. Download SuperRiffGuitar using the button below, and then continue.


Extract the .zip file you downloaded into your C:\VstPlugins\ folder.

Now we will load SuperRiffGuitar in Reaper.

As of the end of the previous step, you should have a screen resembling the following:

Reaper with Armchair Guitarist

As described in Step 2, go to the Options -> Preferences menu, and navigate to Plug-ins -> VST.

Reaper VST Preferences

Click the Rescan directory button, and then click OK.

We can now add a new track for SuperRiffGuitar. In the main window, right click the track area as you did in Step 3, and click Insert virtual instrument on new track.... Select SuperRiffGuitar from the list, same as you did for Armchair Guitarist, and click OK.

Your screen should now look similar to this:

Reaper with Armchair Guitarist and SuperRiffGuitar

In the next step, we will connect Armchair Guitarist and SuperRiffGuitar together to produce sound.

Step 5: Connecting Armchair Guitarist to the Instrument

In the previous step we loaded SuperRiffGuitar as an instrument. In this step, we will tell it to receive MIDI messages from Armchair Guitarist. This will finally allow Armchair Guitarist to produce sound.


At the end of the previous step, you should have had a screen like this:

Reaper with Armchair Guitarist and SuperRiffGuitar

On the Track Controls for SuperRiff Guitar, you will see a button marked io. This allows you to select where a plugin will receive MIDI data from.


Click the io button, highlighted below in green:


Reaper Track IO Button


This will cause the following window to appear:


Reaper Routing Window

This is the Routing Window.


Click Add new receive..., and select 1: Armchair Guitarist, as shown below:

Reaper Add New Receive


You may now close the Routing window. SuperRiff Guitar is now set up to receive MIDI messages from Armchair Guitarist- when a note is played in Armchair Guitarist the corresponding sound wil be made by SuperRiff Guitar.


This concludes the Installation Tutorial. Continue to the other tutorials in this series to learn how to use Armchair Guitarist.

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