VST2 vs VST3

Discussion in 'Software' started by wasgedn, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. wasgedn

    wasgedn Audiosexual

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    VST3: New Standard for Virtual Studio Technology

    With VST (Virtual Studio Technology), Steinberg established the world’s leading and most widely supported standard for plug-ins and virtual instruments in 1996. With VST3 Steinberg releases the next major revision of Steinberg’s Virtual Studio Technology to the audio industry. VST3 marks an important milestone in audio technology with a completely rewritten code base providing not only many new features but also the most stable and reliable VST platform ever. This combination of latest technology and new features is the result of Steinberg’s twelve years of development experience as the leading plug-in interface provider. VST3 has been designed to provide a technological and creative basis for many innovative and exciting new products for the audio industry, offering a new world of creative possibilities for instrument and effect plug-in users. The VST3 SDK is available as a free technology, open in use for any developer.

    About the VST standard
    The Virtual Studio Technology (VST) interface is nothing short of a revolution in digital audio. Developed by Steinberg and first launched in 1996, VST creates a full, professional studio environment on your PC or Mac. VST allows the integration of virtual effect processors and instruments into your digital audio environment. These can be software recreations of hardware effect units and instruments or new creative effect components in your VST system. All are integrated seamlessly into VST compatible host applications. These VST modules have the sound quality of the best hardware units, yet are far more flexible. All functions of a VST effect processor or instrument are directly controllable and automatable; either with a mouse or with an external hardware controller. VST also allows easy integration of external equipment, allowing you to put together a system tailor-made to your needs. Being an open standard, the possibilities offered by VST have steadily been growing over the past decade. New virtual effect processors and virtual instruments are constantly being developed by Steinberg and of course dozens of other companies. Leading third party VST instrument creators include renowned software companies such as Native Instruments, Arturia and Spectrasonic as well as known hardware manufacturers like Korg, Waldorf or Novation. Companies such as Waves, Sonnox, Antares and TC Works have contributed virtual effect processors.

    New VST3 features

    Improved performance
    Managing large plug-in sets and multiple virtual instruments on typical studio computer systems can often be difficult because of CPU performance limits. VST3 helps to improve overall performance by applying processing to plug-ins only when audio signals are present on their respective inputs. Instead of always processing input signals, VST3 plug-ins can apply their processing economically and only when it is needed.

    Multiple dynamic I/Os
    VST3 plug-ins are no longer limited to a fixed number of inputs and outputs. Their I/O configuration can dynamically adapt to the channel configuration they’re inserted in, meaning that any VST3 plug-in can be surround-capable with true multi-channel processing. For example, all the new VST3 plug-ins in Nuendo 4 can work in stereo-mode when inserted into a stereo channel, but switch to 6 channels when inserted into a 5.1 channel. Each audio channel is processed independently. Interaction between channels depends on the type and design of the plug-in. In addition to their flexible audio bussing capabilities, VST3 plug-ins may also offer a dedicated event bus. Typically, this is a MIDI input for control/modulation but these busses are no longer restricted to MIDI standard only. Future plug-ins may replace the common MIDI interface with alternative methods of control.

    Activating/deactivating busses
    A typical issue with current virtual instruments is their audio output bussing system and how they’re connected to the mixer after loading. Especially virtual samplers with multiple outputs often occupy more mixer channels than need. The VST3 interface offers the possibility to deactivate unused busses after loading and even reactivate those when needed. This cleans up the mixer and further helps to reduce CPU load.

    Sample-accurate automation
    VST3 also features vastly improved parameter automation with sample accuracy and support for ‘ramped’ automation data, allowing completely accurate and rapid parameter automation changes.

    Logical parameter organization
    The plug-in parameters are displayed in a tree structure. Parameters are grouped into sections which represent the structure of the plug-in. Parameters like “Cutoff” and “Resonance” could be grouped into a section called “Filter”. This makes searching for a certain parameters easier, such as on an automation track. This also allows assigning a group of parameters to a specific MIDI Channel input and audio output bus.

    Optional VST3/SKI combination
    As a direct result of the modular interface design of VST3, the Steinberg Kernel Interface (SKI) can be combined with VST3 plug-ins. SKI is an additional SDK that allows extremely close integration of a plug-in with a Steinberg host application, and allows functions to be carried out almost from within the application. This extends to the ability to create tracks, copy, cut, paste or process events in the Steinberg host application. SKI is provided to selected industry partners upon request.

    VSTXML for remote controllers
    Remote controllers for audio and MIDI software applications have become increasingly popular. With VSTXML, VST3 offers far more flexible control of VST plug-ins by remote controllers. Using the knobs and faders on the control surface, parameters can be recorded, renamed and edited in many ways. Parameters that cannot be edited can be routed for display purposes to the control surface, for example to show Gain Reduction on compressor.

    UTF16 for localized parameter naming
    In VST3, all strings that can be displayed to the user are in Unicode (UTF16) format. Usage of this universal character base allows the host application to display characters in localized languages.

    No MIDI restriction for parameter value transfers
    VST3 has a dedicated interface for event handling that carries a much wider range of functionality than standard MIDI events would be able to provide. This opens up a big range of opportunities for musical use cases with very high potential for innovative product design. For example with VST3 some controller events (for example, pitch) can be referred to a note event (using a note unique ID). This offers the possibility to e.g. modulate only a single note which itself is part of a chord.

    Audio inputs for VST instruments
    The VST3 interface expands VST instruments by adding the ability to create audio input busses. As a result, audio data can be routed to an VST3 instrument. A synthesizer which has a built-in e.g. vocoder effect is able to process audio data coming in from other sources as well.

    Multiple MIDI inputs/outputs
    Unlike with VST 2.x,, a VST3 plug-in can have more than only one MIDI input or one MIDI output at the same time.

    64-bit processing
    VST3 plug-ins are generally able to process audio data in 64-bit.


    thx
    Giggity

    EDIT:dunno::woot:
    https://audiosex.pro/threads/is-there-any-factual-performance-advantage-of-vst3-over-vst2.38713/
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
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  3. wasgedn

    wasgedn Audiosexual

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    all true ?
     
  4. mild pump milk

    mild pump milk Russian Milk Drunkard

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    VST2 may process input/output in 64 bit, double precision float, 80 bit: airwindows (80 bit processing, output truely dithered/noiseshaped to 64 bit float) , TDR Nova 2, TDR Kotelnikov since 1.5.1/1.5.2 or so, PSP MasterQ2 (80 bit), ozone 3 (even this old version is 64 bit double precision in vst2) and many others.

    Interesting thing in reaper with slate digital: vst3 truncates sound too strong, vst2 are higher quality.
     
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  5. SmokerNzt

    SmokerNzt Platinum Record

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    great info ty guys
     
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  6. Giggity

    Giggity Ultrasonic

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  7. ThugLife

    ThugLife Ultrasonic

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    Well thats the point for me.
    Back then there was this thread

    https://audiosex.pro/threads/is-there-any-factual-performance-advantage-of-vst3-over-vst2.38713/

    And the Statements there Made me untick vst3 in every Installation from there on, just to find out that: (and to be honest i dont know if that is only fl related but)
    In fl when I used a third Party sidechain compressor like waves c6 sidechain, I Wasnt able to select my sidechain input ive just Set up.
    I Went back to the vst3 Version and my input was back. I didnt know About this since I do most of Mixing Stuff in pro tools and aax is aax and not aax2 and aax3.
    Maybe i'm Just an idiot and somebody here can enlight me but if you want to Feed a plugin with a sidechain input, you will have to use vst3.
    If somebody can tell me otherwise, Please do so :)
     
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  8. wasgedn

    wasgedn Audiosexual

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    good question..i thought bout...
    in live i did use vst2 plugs with side chaining...but maybe its structure of live...also it can use multiple interfaces , dont kno if its able in other DAWs
     
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  9. wasgedn

    wasgedn Audiosexual

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    fck...sry i did dupe post..thx for input thug life


     
  10. wasgedn

    wasgedn Audiosexual

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  11. ThugLife

    ThugLife Ultrasonic

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    I also didnt know. I had a Version of waves which triggered the plugins, not the waveshell and there i opened the vst3 and everything worked as it used to.
    Then I read the old thread I Posted above, updated waves bla bla had to use Shell2vst which doesnt work with vst3 which made me trigger vst only from there on, noticing i couldnt select the sidechain like I used to.
    Thats why I come to that conclusion but im sure there's someone in here who will tell us :)
     
  12. techdevil

    techdevil Producer

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    VST3 gets bad press occasionally, mostly to do with its midi controller implementation and its complexity. Dev’s have been slow to adopt. Now Ableton’s getting VST3 not many left without. It has lots of pluses as detailed above, midi criticisms are mainly down to indecision in Steinberg about midi controller support. The world needed a new midi standard like forever but its only now the big manufactures have finally agreed a new one. VST3 been around for some time now. There were some in Steinberg who wanted to ditch midi control support in VST3 plugins altogether and just use automation as who the F wants a 127 resolution while others considered it unwise, so it’s a bit of a fudge. Some of the complexity is to do with the way VST3 reduced the chance a plugin will crash your whole session. Manufactures get pissed when people blame the host not the app. Dev's like to take shortcuts ask Apple and Microsoft about that one. So, adoption was slow but technology now well mature and widely supported.

    You can do side chain by various routs in vst2 its not impossible but it’s a bit convoluted in may cases, depending on DAW and manufacture of plugin, Live used a clever routing, some let you use the left channel for an input, but the idea for vst3 was to have a discreet wrapper that held different configurations of ins and outs that could be called upon as needed.

    If you said I like VST but I want it more reliable, to save me processing power when not in use, and support adaptable configurations of ins and out without multiple dll’s or awkward config. its VST3. It is not the devils spawn as some people would have you believe but it’s not perfect and possibly a little over engineered (not like the Germans). Waves have been using VST3 for years now and their implementation is rock solid. Many other plugin devs going same route, change has been a bit painful but if NI get their act together the last big name will fall in line.

    I hope that helps.
     
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  13. CDLF

    CDLF Ultrasonic

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    Don't fall for all the marketing bluff.


    If an FX plugin defines 4 inputs and 2 outputs (stereo), input 1-2 are used as audio input. 3-4 can be treated like sidechain. But that's up to the DAW. Also the plugin has to be created with that idea in mind (so that it processes 3-4 as sidechain).

    VST3 just defines sidechain separately.
     
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  14. wasgedn

    wasgedn Audiosexual

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    i guess only in cubase /nuendo it come to full benefit..
    but not able to structure is so no go....even if vst3 saves up cpu
     
  15. techdevil

    techdevil Producer

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    It’s a fine line in creating a standard that is both adaptable and at the same time a fixed standard. Different DAW makers like to implement different solutions and want USPs to differentiate their product from the rest, so inevitably the standard get stretched. Look at the PC, its an open standard defined by Intel, and over the years is been criticised for being less reliable than Apple, who define the product absolutely and allow no deviation so naturally it may be less prone to falling over but perfection breeds stagnation, while deviations drive up development, its called evolution and has been know to work for millions of years. As a result all macs these days are simply PCs with a different OS on them.

    VST3 is an attempt to define a further structure around plugins that devs can use as standard, like providing a side chain input that is common in all DAWs. In 10 years’ time there will be many different tweaks to VST3 that will further widen its use, different devs will take different approaches and we will be arguing about how great VST3 was compared to VST4 you can be sure it will not suit everyone and it will be in Steinberg’s favour but that’s what happens when you own the standard and pay the cash to build the toolbox. Steinberg develop the tool box, they put the money in, can you blame them for a little self-centredness.

    Is it a conspiracy perhaps just a little, is VST3 not fit for purpose, I don’t think so, but it also depends on how your DAW and plugin implements it. For some reason a lot of people like to hate Steinberg for inventing the most revolutionary thing in music since the sampler and I just don’t get it, hence my previous infamous post, VST3 bashing is my other pet hate.

    What DAW do you use Wasg's? as I'm not sure I understand what you mean by not being able to structure. The ins and Outs of any plugin are defined by the plugin itself and the ways plugin and DAW developers implement it, there is simply more choice in VST3 yet at the same time perhaps a little less.
    That’s rules and standards for you, you cant please everyone all of the time.:guru:
     
  16. orbitbooster

    orbitbooster Member

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    IMO I guess ther's a bit of marketing about VST3.

    Of course they must have something better, but I think that for most users won't make a huge difference.

    It depends from the VST and DAW capabilities also, a poor design in VST or DAW won't make any better in VST3.

    Here you can see a multiple sidechain (multiple carriers, 2+) with a VST2 vocoder in Ableton Live.

     
  17. albert001

    albert001 Noisemaker

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    the worst about vst 3 is the ramp up between audio going in and dsp on is just to quick to use them for live performing (freezing the hole system even visuals)...i compared different vendors on the same setup with same result... would be great to adjust that behavior of the ramp up so it don't go to quick on the CPU and stalls the hole system...i am sick of testing vst 2/3 and host's for hours just to realize that it's maybe the host or the plugin that just don't work!the thing I don't get is the fact that there are to much host's and vst's that just don't implement the hole standard...asio for an example is on v2.3.1 but no sound card under 500€ has implement it...so we talk about 50 to 70% is just not in there and I think it's the same with host's and vst 3.
     
  18. G String

    G String Rock Star

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    Yep, that's my exact same experience and my understanding too. I don't have the reference to hand, but I remember Waves saying (somewhere) that VST2 did not support sidechaining. (though DAWs might provide a workaround and some VST2 plugins maybe do support it now).

    If I want sidechaining in FL, I use VST3 (though I invariably have to go hunting for the install location through the various myriad places Windows dumps such stuff (I like all my dll's in one place)).
     
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  19. SineWave

    SineWave Audiosexual

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    My general rule is still to use VST2 plugins when sidechain is working, and in other DAWs than Cubase/Nuendo, because of what @albert001 said that different DAWs quality of VST3 implementation varies greatly, and VST2 plugins are usually better supported and more stable. It's logical that VST3 implementation in Cubase/Nuendo is the best of all DAWs. It is their DAW and their VST standard, after all. :wink:

    It also helps that almost all of what Steinberg said about VST3 got implemented in VST2 plugins by cunning developers. So use VST3 plugin only when it's needed, and with Cubase/Nuendo. It will usually save you some time troubleshooting and dealing with instabilities. Hopefully, with time, VST3 will become the one only VST standard, but we're just not there yet. Which is odd considering it's been out for so long. It makes you wonder why it still isn't the one and only VST standard. :wink: Well, VST developers don't like it... never did, but they are forced to make VST3 plugins. Can't escape it.

    Cheers!
     
  20. Qrchack

    Qrchack Platinum Record

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    Guys, you know VST3 was first introduced in 2006 with Cubase 4? You're spreading 13 years old news. Most hosts, except Ableton have been supporting VST3 for a long time already.
     
  21. techdevil

    techdevil Producer

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    Agreed, I use vst3 almost exclusively now, sorry it took me so long to say that. I'm an old wind bag :yes:
     
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