When you have dozens of plug-ins, choosing them can be difficult. Unify gives you the ability to define your own plug-in subsets which automatically show up in selection menus like this one:
Unify comes with several pre-defined subsets (which you can edit if you wish):
Thanks to these pre-defined subsets, you can work with Unify without ever defining or editing your own subsets, but eventually you will probably want to. Get started by clicking the list icon (shown in green here) at the bottom right part of Unify's icon strip:
The following plug-in subsets view will then appear in Unify's body area. It can be a little daunting at first glance, but begins to make sense when you see that it consists of three distinct areas or columns:
The basic concept involves four steps:
Unify uses a hierarchical system of XML files in folders to remember your plug-in subsets. (If you'd like to look around these files, go to the Settings view by clicking on the “gear” icon, click the Data folder “Open…” button, then open the Presets folder, and finally the Plugin Subsets folder inside that.)
The top level of the subset hierarchy is the three basic plug-in categories: Instruments, Audio effects, and MIDI effects. The pop-up menu at the top-left corner of the Files area lets you choose which one category you want:
When you select a category, the main part of the Files area shows the contents of the corresponding folder, consisting of XML files (individual subsets) and, in some cases, sub-folders. If you wish, you can click the “Open in Explorer” button (“Open in Finder” on Mac) to open the folder itself. If you make any changes in the Explorer/Finder, click the “Refresh” button to update the Files area view.
In the Files area view itself, you can click any item to select it, and use the small triangles to the left of each sub-folder to show or hide the sub-folder contents. Selected items will be highlighted in green like this:
When no items are selected, the surrounding folder (Instruments, Audio Effects, or MIDI Effects) is effectively selected. You can use the “Refresh” button to clear selections to get back to this state, e.g., if you want to create a new subset in that folder.
To create a new subset file (or a sub-folder), you must first select the folder you want to create it in.
After creating and renaming a new preset file, you'll most likely want to select and add presets to it (below).
At the bottom of the Files area are four buttons. The top two (“Delete” and “Rename”) will change, depending on whether you select a file or a sub-folder in the files-hierarchy display. (Remember, when nothing is highlighted, the surrounding top-level folder is effectively selected.)
The Rename button allows you to change the name of the selected file or folder. Clicking it pops up a small window like this:
The Delete button deletes the selected file or folder. This happens immediately, and no “are you sure?” box will pop up, so use this with care!
Remember, you can use the “Open in Finder/Explorer” button to open any of the preset (sub-)folders, and then you can make back-up copies if you want.
The middle column of the plug-in presets view shows a big scrolling list of all the plug-ins registered in Unify's plug-in database, in alphabetical order. (If you can't find the one you're looking for, you might not have registered it; click the link for details.)
In this case, when we say “all plug-ins”, we mean ALL. Even if you select Instruments, Audio Effects, or MIDI Effects in the Files area, the list in the middle will still include all three kinds of plug-ins. This can be important because, for example, VST plug-ins have no way to distinguish MIDI effects from audio effects, and many VST plug-ins that are actually MIDI effects often declare themselves to be “instruments”, because many DAWs can only load them into “instrument” slots.
To find a specific plug-in, you can use the green scroll bar on the right-hand side (or your mouse's scroll function), but the fastest way is to type any part of the plug-in's name into the Search box at the top:
Once you've found the plug-in(s) you're interested in, you can click on it to select that plug-in, in preparation to adding it to a preset.
When working with a long list, it can be hard to know exactly how many items are selected. Use the “Select NONE” button at the bottom of the plug-ins selector area to make sure nothing is selected.
Alternatively, if your search text has narrowed down the list so that only the plug-ins you want are displayed, you can use the “Select ALL” button to quickly select them all.
When you have selected one or more plug-ins in the all plug-ins area, you can add them to the currently-selected subset by clicking the “Add selected” button at the bottom-right corner of the plug-ins selector area.
The Current-subset editor area (rightmost column) displays an alphabetical list of all the plug-ins in the currently-selected subset, whose name (as mentioned above) appears at the top. If the list is empty, it might just be empty (i.e., you haven't added any plug-ins yet), or you might have accidentally de-selected the subset in Files area (leftmost column). If it says “Choose or create a subset”, and the “Save” button is greyed-out, that's why.
Once you've finished all the editing you want to do, click the “Save” button to save your changes:
To delete plug-ins from the subset list, you must first select them. Use the mouse to select or de-select individual plug-ins, or use the “Select ALL” or “Select NONE” buttons at the bottom) to adjust your selections. Selected items will be highlighted in green. When you're ready, click the “Remove selected” button below the list. Then make sure to click the “Save” button at the top-right to save the change.