VST confusion

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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VST confusion

Post by Flange » Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:19 am

I have recently switched from apple to windows and it has made the installation of vst plugins very confusing. I have no idea where Im supposed to install them. With apple i never had to choose the location. So i created some folders in programme files but then they dont show up in ableton. Can someone please help me with some clear instruction as Im ending up with stuff installed everywhere and its getting messy.
Ableton 10

System -
Windows 10

Interface -

Fireface UC

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Re: VST confusion

Post by gbert » Fri Jul 26, 2019 6:43 am

This article gives an overview on where to install them. Basically, 64 bit VST2 plugins end with .dll and go in one location, whereas 64 bit VST3 plugins end with .vst3 and go in another location.

https://help.ableton.com/hc/en-us/artic ... on-Windows

64-bit VST2 .dll files: C:\Program Files\VSTPlugins
64-bit VST3 .vst3 files: C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3

It’s interesting that there seems to be a trend now of switching from Mac to Windows. Apple’s hardware is overpriced now IMO, and Windows 10 seems to be quite stable compared to past versions.

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Re: VST confusion

Post by jestermgee » Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:52 pm

Yeah one of the bigger differences between Mac and Pc is with Mac it kind of handles all the file system stuff on its own where Windows you need to invest a little attention and care as to where you place things. Personal taste, some like the idea of just install-and-work but others prefer being the boss and deciding on how things will work.

Make a decision on where YOU want things installed because it will ask you with every program. As mentioned above those are kind of default locations but you can create them how you like just keep pay attention to each VST installation because there are 2 to 3 components to a VST instrument that can all be installed in different places if you wish (may seem confusing but think of it as flexible):

- The Program Files
This will be the help files, standalone files and main program files which would just be installed to "c:\Program Files\[whatever it is.... typically vendor name]". Just leave this as default.

- The VST Plugin File (dll)
You really are only interested in the 64bit these days and often you will have the choice as to where to install this file. This is the plugin file that Live will want to scan in so install ALL your VST DLL files to the same folder. Create one such as C:\Program Files\VSTPlugins and install to this location. You can also make sub folders within that location but remember it as you need to install all your future VST plugins here, just don't install the program files into this location as it starts to make a mess

- The VST Library Files
Some plugins have the library content files for the sounds and this should be installed wherever you have a good amount of dedicated space for it.

So basically the "Program Files" folder is where all your programs get installed and for simplicity we also keep the VST DLL files here too but in a separate dedicated folder. We could in fact set this folder to be anywhere on the computer but it makes sense to just leave it in Program Files for simplicity.

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