VST is short for Virtual Studio Technology, software which essentially enables you to mimic different hardware equipment used in the studio, allowing you to access virtually any instrument or effect.
VST audio plugin can process audio effects such as reverbs, delays, distortions and modulations, sending audio through the plugin itself to process the sound and create the above effects. In other words, this midi information which creates audio outputs is transformed into virtual instruments, for example, synthesizers, drum machines and samplers.
In a nutshell, VST software uses digital signal processing to transform recording studio hardware into software, allowing producers to access a wide range of instruments and effects.
Some VSTs are already included and built into Ableton or other DAW, however, you can install external third party VST plugins to expand your effects or instruments artillery.
Having many VST plugins is not going to make you a great producer, however, your knowledge, expertise and most important creativity will. We would advise to first really get to know well the built-in VST that comes with Ableton and once you have mastered this, to look into adding some external VSTs to help you achieve incredible results.
As you may know, Ableton can be run on both MAC and Windows operating systems and in our opinion, Ableton is the most user-friendly and intuitive DAW, especially important for all starting out producers.
Installing VST on Ableton:
Download the VST installation file from the third-party website and run the file.
The plug-in installer might ask you where to store the files and you can choose either default suggested folders or these examples:
C:\Program Files\VSTPlugins - 64-bit VST2 plug-ins - for Windows
Macintosh HD:/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST/ - MAC
The default storage space can be confirmed by going to Options - Preferences - Plug-ins
Once you have installed the VST plugin, launch the Ableton software and go to: Preferences - Plug-ins/File Folder - Plug-In Sources and activate the folder you used to install the Plug-in into.
Every time you launch Ableton it scans for new plug-ins, once it’s scanned and located it will appear on your Plugins sidebar. If you can not locate it, try to rescan the Plug-ins.