VST 3 support

Does ardour have vst 3 support on any of the operating systems, I saw some features like dynamic plugin usage that I’m wondering if ardour will ever use.

/me remembers using Ardour 0.9x on an old AMD k6 and having to manage resources…

/me feels old because he hasn’t thought much about resources on dual core machines…


I agree I rest my case, I do use a laptop with a dual core so that’s my main issue, if I had a more capable computer I would not care, good point, I need to just step get a more capable machine.

even when we support VST3 (assuming we do, one day), it is unlikely that we will support this feature. I believe it to be a hack to workaround a lack of CPU power, and one that has significant negative implications for users. Believe it or not, we really try hard to avoid hacks like this in Ardour, preferring to leave the improvement of available CPU power to the R&D wings of Intel and AMD (who have done an outstanding job over the last 20 years). Of course, there’s always “make it a user option” …

right paul I understand you already explained that, I thought since ardour didn’t do it I saw that vst 3 has it as a feature so I thought it was still possible thanks

You mean AudioUnit plugins on Mac have those features, I’ll look into it I didn’t know that

when I saw dynamic is if it only processes audio with the plugin unless there is audio instead of always running DSP no matter what

oh, that. Ardour is never going to do that. I explained why in another thread of yours, on August 13th.

This has been raised before. Ardour runs all it plugins continuously by design. It might be less energy efficient than switching them off when there is no input, but that way there are no surprises where your dynamic usage suddenly goes over the available CPU time in the middle of a mix.

There are no plans for VST3 support at this time.

Note that we already support “dynamic” configuration for plugins in the AudioUnit format, where it has always been a requirement/feature.

Sorry for bumping :sweat_smile: (that’s gotta be my most used emoji) but I have the need of answering this question I can’t seem to find the literal answer to: in the scenario that Ardour gets to support vst3 that would mean that it could load vst plugins even in linux?


Ardour already supports VST on all platforms (has for along time).


  • on Linux, only VST2 plugins made for GNU/Linux.
  • on Apples, only VST2 plugins made for macOS/X
  • on Microsoft Windows, only VST2 plugins made for Windows.

Also 32 bit Ardour only loads 32bit VSTs, and 64bit Ardour only 64bit VSTs.

You cannot load a Windows VST (.dll) directly into Ardour on Linux or Mac.
There are however some 3rd party software that allows to bridge OS and architectures.

When Ardour will support VST3 that limitation will remain.

A plugin made for Windows expects Windows infrastructure to be available and it is outside of Ardour’s scope to provide that.