Wait, what plugin did I use for that sound?

Wait, what plugin did I use for that sound?

Most players have run into this problem. Over time, we create lots of sounds for different songs. We spend time meticulously tweaking a plugin to get it just right and then save a plugin preset. Then, a few months later, you need that sound, but wait….what plugin was used for it?

Or maybe you have created five different variations of a string sound, using different plugins for some of them. A bit later, you know you need that “Soft Symphonic” sound, but with which plugin did you create it?

But wait – it gets worse. There’s that other sound where you layered three different plugins and ran them through various effects, some conceptually using “Inserts” and others conceptually using “Sends” and the volumes and balances have been set up just right. How do I get it back and, oh year, I’m in a hurry.

Gig Performer has two features to help you with these needs:

1. GP User Presets
2. Favorites

Let’s first take a look at GP User Presets

The unified GP User Preset management

Although most plugins have their own preset management, they tend to work differently, certainly if the plugins are from different developers. However Gig Performer offers its own solutions for managing presets and adds some powerful workflow shortcuts.

If you open the editor for any plugin, there is always a header area with two buttons on the right edge.

Gig Performer Plugin Header

Clicking the rightmost button (displayed with three dots) brings up a new menu and the second item lets you save the current sound of the plugin as a GP User Preset. As we will see in a moment, it actually does a little more than that.

The Gig Performer Plugin editor Menu

Suppose you have just created a nice new pad sound for your romantic songs so perhaps you might call it “Soft Romance Pad”

Naming and saving a GP User Preset

In the example above, I happen to be using a plugin called the Legend which emulates a Minimoog but with some extra features such as polyphony and some built-in effects. When you save the preset, several things will happen:

First of all, the preset will be saved in a subfolder called Legend, i.e. the name of the plugin. The parent folder will be named after the manufacturer of the plugin and that folder lives inside the Presets subfolder of your Gig Performer documents folder.

Folder hierarchy for GP User Presets

You should always respect this hierarchy and never try to save a preset to a different folder (although you can absolutely create new sub-folders if you want to further classify your presets and we’ll see a benefit to that as well below)

Secondly, that preset will show up automatically in the main popup menu that appears when you right-click inside the Wiring view. That menu is used to choose a plugin you want to use. It appears in a section called User – GP User Presets

A saved preset shows up automatically in the main menu for inserting plugins

Of course, with this popup menu, you still need to know which developer and plugin to select to find the preset. However, when you bring up the quick plugin finder, formally called the “Plugin, Favorite or Preset Finder” dialog (press CMD-P), things get more interesting. Here’s what that dialog looks like when you first open it.

As you can see, it displays a list of all your plugins. But now, start typing the word, “romance” into the filter area at the bottom

Finding a sound using substring search

As you can see, the list has been reduced to one item, your saved preset. It also conveniently shows you the name of the plugin and the developer. If you now insert that preset, Gig Performer knows that an instance of the Legend is needed, and so it will automatically create and insert an instance of the Legend into your wiring view and set it to the Soft Romance Pad sound, ready for you to use.

By the way, as an aside, if you prefer to use a different application to search your file system for presets, e.g. Spotlight on the Mac or Copernic on Windows, you can just drag the found file from the Finder (Mac) or Explorer (Windows) into Gig Performer’s wiring view and again, the appropriate plugin will be created and set to the desired sound.

By judicious naming of your presets, perhaps even including keywords in them, you can quickly find the sound you need without having to remember which plugin you used to create the sound.

Incidentally, GP User Presets aren’t just for sounds and effects. If you have configured a MIDI In Block (say) with certain channels remapped or blocked, or perhaps some MIDI event blocking, transpose or splits, you can save that as a GP User Preset to quickly reuse it again in the future.


The Favorites mechanism extends the concepts of user presets to apply to collections of interconnected plugins. Suppose you have created a really nice piano with an added phaser, some EQ so the sound fits into a band context and perhaps a reverb effect implemented similar to using Send.

Select the blocks, right-click and click on Save as Favorite…

Saving some interconnected plugins as a favorite

I am going to save it with the name, Bright Rock Piano

After you have saved it (and this should not be surprise), that favorite will now show up in the popup menu…

…and in the Quick Plugin, Favorite or Preset Finder.

As with GP User Presets, you can just insert a favorite into the wiring view and all the plugins will be inserted, connected together and with the right sound, ready to use.

Scaling Curves

Scaling curves allow you to control the shape of the output of a widget or convert an incoming note velocity to a new velocity. Various predefined curves are available and they can be tweaked as necessary. You can also just draw your own curve as well to achieve the effect you require.


MIDI File Player Plugin

You can load up to 128 MIDI song files in a single plugin instance. Switch from one song to another, mute tracks and/or change their channel numbers. Tempo can be controlled by individual songs or you can use the global tempo and tap tempo to control the BPM interactively.


Favorites and Presets

Create a sound by placing and interconnecting your desired plugins, such as a synth, some effects and perhaps a mixer. Select them all and then save the selection as a named favorite. The favorite will subsequently show up in all plugin insert menus, making it easy for you to recreate that configuration whenever you need it again. This feature is also very powerful for creating your needed sounds on your studio computer and then transferring them to your touring laptop.


Probabilistic Sound Designer

Parameters you select in an open plugin are captured into the Probabilistic Sound Designer dialog window. When you click Randomize, you're only adjusting those selected parameters. Each entry in the PSD dialog has a curve but unlike widgets where the curve controls scaling, in the PSD the curves are used to define the probability of particular values being selected. Make sure the filter cutoff never gets too slow so as to block all sound. Perhaps adjust the max range of the VCA attack parameter so that the sound doesn't have too much delay. Constrain the octave ranges of the oscillators, perhaps ensuring that 1/3rd of the time we select 8' and 2/3rds of the time we select 4'. The possibilities are endless.


More Widgets

Numerous new widgets are included in Gig Performer - a new sustain pedal, plastic knobs, drum pads and more colored sliders. Shapes can be colored with different borders and fill colors and morphed from rectangular to circular. Your creativity is now the limit to creating fabulous front panels in Gig Performer.


MIDI Message Helper

Select MIDI devices by name. Choose the MIDI message type and adjust the appropriate parameters for the specific type



Layout management

Gig Performer supports arbitrary resizing. Layout your widgets the way you want - resize the main window and the widgets will grow or shrink as necessary to maintain the same interrelationships. No matter what size screen you have, your front panels will still be neat and usable.


Undo Support

If you move your widgets around and/or resize them, or even delete them by mistake, the Undo facility will correct your mistake. Minor moves to a widget by mistake will no longer spoil your design


Plugin Channel Count

Some plugins support a large number of outputs and they depend on the traditional channel strip to control how many ports should be available.   When you only need a stereo pair, it is convenient not to have a large horizontal block. In Gig Performer, the number of available ports  is controlled by the channel count override, which can be applied to individual plugins and will be remembered when the gigfile is reloaded or if the plugin is saved as a favorite.


Input muting and output fading

Rather than a single audio length tail, Gig Performer 4 gives you the ability to control input muting and output fading separately. Input muting controls how much time it takes for audio input to be silenced when you leave the rackspace. Output fading controls how much time will be taken for audio to fade out when you leave the rackspace.


Faster Plugin Finder

Instead of searching through menus of perhaps hundreds of plugins (you know who you are!), the Quick Plugin Finder makes it easy to find the plugin you need by simply typing partial strings. For example, as shown here, to find the Modartt Pianoteq 7 plugins, it's enough to type pia mod 7 (in any order, by the way)  to restrict the list of available plugins to those matching your query. The Quick Plugin Finder also knows about manufacturers, presets and favorites.



Touch Friendly Input

Any entry field can be changed by either dragging your mouse (or finger) up or down, or by using the large popup touchpad where you can just tap on the squares to enter a value. The large popup keypad also does validation so you can't enter an invalid value. You can also just tap the BPM field to pop up a larger view where you can quickly change tempo, tranpose, trigger Tap Tempo and enable Ableton Link, the last allowing you to synchronize Gig Performer with any other application that also supports Ableton Link.


New Tuner Display

The tuner view makes it easy for guitarists to quickly check and adjust their tuning. You can toggle into the tuner view from any other view and toggle right back as soon as you're done. All output will be silenced automatically while you're in tuning mode. You can adjust the concert reference pitch from its default of 440 Hz to suit your own needs. The tuner view fills the entire screen so you can easily see it from a distance.