16 VST Instruments vs 1 with 16 Channels?


I’ve been researching on here and your YouTube series about Expression Maps.

I’ve noticed several times that for each instrument (Eg I think I saw on YouTube someone creating a woodwind template) there is a separate VST instrument.

I was always of the understanding that one instance using the 16 channels would be more efficient.

Can anyone enlighten me?


It depends on the VST instrument you’re using. In general if you have a multi-timbral, multi-channel instrument like HALion Sonic SE, Kontakt, etc., you should use multiple channels in a single instance rather than multiple instances. But quite a few virtual instruments – such as Vienna Instruments, and the Spitfire player for BBC SO for example, only allow a single sound to be loaded, so in that case you have no choice. Be guided by the way your particular instrument is set up.

Legend. Thanks! Hope you got lots of presents.

I think a general rule is that if the players are designed to host multiple instruments in one “instance” of the vst, do it that way, but as Daniel says, some vsts only allow one instrument.

It’s a bit like adding reverb in a daw: it’s a lot less work for your computer (generally speaking) to have a bunch of dry audio signals all routed to one reverb plug-in, rather than duplicating the same reverb vst onto every single channel and then having to compute them all simultaneously.