What's the difference between _x64 (VST2) effects plugins and VST3? Which should I use?

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gimariechacon
KVRer
Topic Starter
2 posts since 29 Nov, 2022

Post Tue Nov 29, 2022 3:38 pm

When I import plugins to my Studio One DAW, I always get several versions. Originally I assumed that the ones that have the _x64 tag were the ones intended for my 64bit system so I used them instead of their untagged counterparts. But recently I noticed an information window at the bottom of the plugin manager that reveals the category for the untagged vsts is VST3 while the _x64 ones are VST2. I thought 64bit was the difference? And if I only need the VST3s on my system why are the _x64 versions in my plugin manager. Should I remove them?

Thanks so much for any guidance!
Giselle

Unaspected
KVRAF
3177 posts since 4 May, 2012

Post Tue Nov 29, 2022 3:46 pm

If there are no issues with the VST3 format then use that.

This said, I'm still installing both, having experienced plenty of issues with VST3 versions in a couple of DAWs. So I view VST2.4 as a safety net right now - one that is being cut away by Steinberg.

And indeed, you'll want to match 64 bit applications with 64 bit plugins wherever possible.

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dionenoid
KVRian
1390 posts since 3 Jan, 2019 from Holland

Post Tue Nov 29, 2022 3:58 pm

Use vst3 as much as possible. vst3 is recommended by most developers and daw's. vst2 support stopped a few years ago.

The only reason to keep vst2 versions around is when you used these in the past and want to keep backwards compatibility in the case where the vst3 versions don't automatically replace them.
More BPM please

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EvilDragon
KVRAF
22862 posts since 7 Jan, 2009 from Croatia

Post Tue Nov 29, 2022 4:22 pm

Sometimes VST3s don't have feature parity with VST2 versions of the same plugin, so I always use VST2 unless VST3 is the only variant available. VST2 is not gonna break, it's tried and tested for decades now.

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jamcat
KVRAF
3133 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Tue Nov 29, 2022 4:30 pm

More often than not it's the other way around.
  • VST3 has better CPU efficiency by only processing audio when there is a signal
  • VST3 Supports multiple MIDI inputs and outputs
  • VST3 allows you to route audio to plugins (side-chaining)
  • VST3 supports multichannel and surround 5.1 outputs
  • VST3 supports advanced control of MIDI on a per note basis
  • VST3 supports plugin window resizing
  • VST3 categorizes automation parameters
  • VST3 supports sample-accurate high resolution automation
https://inmusician.com/difference-between-vst-and-vst3/

https://blacktidemusic.com/software-and ... 2-vs-vst3/
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

jinotsuh
KVRian
784 posts since 31 May, 2008 from Australia

Post Tue Nov 29, 2022 5:15 pm

Like my dad told me, whatever you do, don't get the CLAP.

inaheartbeat
KVRist
73 posts since 8 Oct, 2011

Post Tue Nov 29, 2022 7:00 pm

jamcat wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 4:30 pm More often than not it's the other way around.
  • VST3 has better CPU efficiency by only processing audio when there is a signal
  • VST3 Supports multiple MIDI inputs and outputs
  • VST3 allows you to route audio to plugins (side-chaining)
  • VST3 supports multichannel and surround 5.1 outputs
  • VST3 supports advanced control of MIDI on a per note basis
  • VST3 supports plugin window resizing
  • VST3 categorizes automation parameters
  • VST3 supports sample-accurate high resolution automation
https://inmusician.com/difference-between-vst-and-vst3/

https://blacktidemusic.com/software-and ... 2-vs-vst3/
Just to be clear, the spec has all those features defined but that doesn't mean that VST3 plugins have even any of them implemented. In fact, several VST3 versions of plugins have issues that do not exist in the VST2 version. The features are not mandatory to be implemented.

One example is CPU efficiency which, alone, would be a great reason to use VST3. Mute a track and boom, no CPU consumption from the VST(s) on it right? Wrong! Try it yourself as I have. Check your CPU meters for a track with lots of CPU consumption and then mute the track and see if your CPU useage actually decreases. More than likely it does not. Maybe for some plugins but not the majority at this point.

Window resizing most definitely does not come automatically. I am looking at you Soundtoys!

Multiple midi inputs and outputs sound great unless you are in Ableton where you can forget about all that for now. Other DAWs may also have similar issues. Yes, Ableton HAS to fix this but here we are...

Nice to have 5.1 support but not too many people need that.

I am not advocating for VST2 over VST3. No more development licenses for VST2 are being issued by Steinberg so any new plugins being developed by new manufacturers have to be VST3. VST2 is NOT going away any time soon though. I ALWAYS install both to be on the safe side if I run into a problem. Any developer with a VST2 license can still continue to develop the plugin and add features. This is what is being done now and definitely will continue for some time to come.

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jamcat
KVRAF
3133 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Tue Nov 29, 2022 10:08 pm

I see this argument a lot from the anti-VST3 brigade, usually when they're pimping their untested upstart format. It always comes down to them blaming VST3 for the laziness and/or incompetence of some small subset of developers who either don't implement VST3's advanced features, can't fix their own bugs, or simply wrap a VST2 plugin with a VST3 interface. All of these issues are shortcomings of the developers in question, not VST3.
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

DarkStar
KVRAF
10265 posts since 2 Sep, 2003 from Surrey, UK

Post Wed Nov 30, 2022 5:19 am

^^^
Indeed. But it is the developers (of DAWs and of plug-ins) that we rely on. Finding out which VST3 features are actually implemented is not easy.

And, I do wonder, how many have done just this: "simply wrap a VST2 plugin with a VST3 interface".
DarkStar, ... Interesting, if true
Inspired by ...

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dionenoid
KVRian
1390 posts since 3 Jan, 2019 from Holland

Post Wed Nov 30, 2022 6:29 am

inaheartbeat wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 7:00 pm One example is CPU efficiency which, alone, would be a great reason to use VST3. Mute a track and boom, no CPU consumption from the VST(s) on it right? Wrong! Try it yourself as I have. Check your CPU meters for a track with lots of CPU consumption and then mute the track and see if your CPU useage actually decreases. More than likely it does not. Maybe for some plugins but not the majority at this point.
I have a project for demoing/testing plugins and such in Cubase. Pretty much all vst3. When all tracks are muted it uses 10% cpu. When unmuted it uses around 80%. A significant difference i would say.

I've also tested many plugins that migrated from vst2 to vst3, the results were almost always the same : the vst3 uses no cpu when bypassed or muted, while the vst2 did.

Many vst3's even use less cpu on itself, probably because these were updated versions while vst2 versions are mostly not longer been updated and/or optimized.

So, i'm guessing your experience is more releated to your daw or plugin choice than with vst3 itself.
More BPM please

rasmusklump
KVRAF
1648 posts since 13 May, 2004 from Germany

Post Wed Nov 30, 2022 6:36 am

jamcat wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 4:30 pm More often than not it's the other way around.
  • VST3 has better CPU efficiency by only processing audio when there is a signal
You mean the super feature that the inventor of vst3 advices to turn off in Cubase and Nuendo because it causes so much trouble?

I never had so much trouble and crashing across all my host/plugin combinations than now that I have replaced most of my vst2 with vst3 due to the pressure steinberg generates.

Unaspected
KVRAF
3177 posts since 4 May, 2012

Post Wed Nov 30, 2022 10:24 am

jamcat wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 10:08 pm All of these issues are shortcomings of the developers in question, not VST3.
Pretty much. Which is why it seems to unfortunately be wise to install both and use VST3 wherever possible. And, of course, report those bugs!
Last edited by Unaspected on Wed Nov 30, 2022 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jamcat
KVRAF
3133 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Wed Nov 30, 2022 1:08 pm

rasmusklump wrote: Wed Nov 30, 2022 6:36 am
jamcat wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 4:30 pm More often than not it's the other way around.
  • VST3 has better CPU efficiency by only processing audio when there is a signal
You mean the super feature that the inventor of vst3 advices to turn off in Cubase and Nuendo because it causes so much trouble?
The inventor of VST3 left Steinberg over a decade ago and went on to develop Studio One. He doesn't recommend turning off Plug-In Nap in Studio One. So if Steinberg's products have bugs, again, that's on Steinberg and their current development team.

I ditched buggy Cubase for Studio One 1.0 and use only VST3, and have never had any problems with VST3 plugins in a dozen years there.

dionenoid wrote: Wed Nov 30, 2022 6:29 am So, i'm guessing your experience is more releated to your daw or plugin choice than with vst3 itself.
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

gimariechacon
KVRer
Topic Starter
2 posts since 29 Nov, 2022

Post Thu Dec 01, 2022 9:31 pm

Hey everyone, thanks for chiming in with all the info! It seems that most of the time I've selected vst3 without knowing any better, simply because I was of the misunderstanding that vst2 was 32bit and vst3 was 64bit. I don't have any legacy recordings with the older gen plugins on them, so I'm not invested in maintaining the legacy versions. And since Steinberg seems to have decided that vst2 is no longer worth licensing, I may as well invest in vst3. If a particular plugin gives my system fits, it gets put away. I can't say it's always a fault of the plugin. Izotope crashes my system if I look at it. Melda does the same thing. I have a new i5 13400 system coming so I'll try them again with a more robust cpu and memory. But in the end, no matter how good its supposed to be, if it doesn't work over here, it's not for me. :)

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