Can I simply swap a plugin from LV2 version to VST2 version in a session?

I got a session which uses a LV2 version of a plugin. Unfortunately I have only a VST2 version of it and could not find a LV2 version, although there is source code available to build it by myself on Github. As I am not a plugin developer and do not find myself comfortable with the JUCE libraries, I asked myself:

Can I simply exchange the plugin from LV2 to VST2 without loosing the parameters of the plugin?

No, you cannot.

The state of these different plugin formats is not compatible, also parameter ranges are not identical (VST parameters are normalized 0…1, while LV2 uses a natural range for any given unit).

Depending on the plugin, you might be able to hack something up, but in general this is not viable.

Ok, I see. Already started the journey with building DISTRHO ports :slight_smile:

I’ve always wondered about this, so I am glad I now know the answer.

So Robin, how does this work in general? When you add a plugin to a session, what unique identifier does the session file use to identify the right plugin when you reopen the session? It can’t simply be whatever name the dev used to name the plugin (“Easy Compressor” or whatever) because the VSTs and LV2s might have that same exact name.

I once even had an issue with fonts. I had a document laying out perfectly, and I had lost whatever typeface I used in a lot of it, so I replaced with with the same typeface but from a difference source, and the kerning must have been slightly different, and it messed up the layout of the whole document.

That depends on the plugin format:

  • LV2 uses URIs
  • LV1 (LADSPA) are identifier by a simple number (32bit integer)
  • VST3 uses UUIDs
  • VST2 uses 4 chars (ABCD) - in theory four 8bit values, but most vendors only used printable chars. – Ardour saves it as 32bit int.
  • For Audio-Units, macOS abstracts this, and provides a triplet of 32bit IDs: <vendor>-<type>-<subtype> (96 bit)

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