Program changes Rackspace VS Variations? Help!

I am not sure i understand the difference between Rackspaces and Variations when it comes to changing patches on my plugins. Do you create muplte rackspaces for each patch or do you create 1 Rackspace and use Variations for each different patch?
Does creating 10 rackspaces for 10 different patches eat up memory and CPU power?

Here is a blog article and a couple of useful posts indexed that are useful to make things clearer: [blog] About rackspaces and variations

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Hmm, I just answered this on the YouTube channel where you asked it as well.

Wow you folks are fast! LOL


The best community around!!


I am so Old school and I am trying to catch up! There was a time in a galaxy far far away when I was on the cutting edge of VST tech… using 4 Digidesgn Samplecell cards each with a whopping 64meg of RAM on my Mac IIFX…LOL



The blog article linked above covers it, but the short answer is that it really depends on the plugins you use and how many parameters change between variations.

For any parameter that you want to change between variations, you’ll need a widget attached to that parameter. If you’re using a B3 vst and all you’re moving is drawbar positions, then you can probably do that well with variations.

But if you’re using any of the major B3 VSTs and you’re choosing between different presets in those, there are probably a lot more parameters than just the drawbars changing. e.g., the vib/chorus mode may be different, there may be embedded effects like distortion and reverb that are different between the patches, the Leslie cabinet type and rotor speeds may be different, the capacitor models may be different (which can pretty dramatically change the sound). Unless you map more or less every parameter to widgets, changing variations isn’t going to give you the same results as changing presets in the VST itself.

For model based VSTs (which is the vast majority of what I use these days) I’ll tend to use different Rackspaces for different sounds, and my variations in those rackspaces will just be sound tweaks (e.g., chorus on/off, drawbar positions, mixer blends). If I’m using a VST that’s very RAM heavy (which tends to be load time heavy) I’ll try to use variations when I can.

On my system I’m never anywhere close to using up my RAM, so I tend to use different rackspaces more than different variations. Or sometimes a bit of a hybrid approach, where I’ll have four instances of Pianoteq in one Rackspace, and my variations will be used to turn on/off and or mix between them.

No right or wrong answer.


If you use variations of the same rackspace, this saves ram as compared to duplicating the same instrument in different rackspaces.

This is more relevant for a ram intensive sample-based instruments. For a virtual synth or modeled instrument, it may not make much of a different in terms of ram usage.

I am currently looking into putting my ram intensive instruments (which are used more than once) in the Global Rackpsace so they are only loaded once in ram. But I have not gotten around to it yet.