Which of the supported plugin types on Linux is best?

If I have a plugin available in multiple formats, which one should I use? I’ve got the latest version of Ardour installed and am running it on OpenSUSE Tumbleweed. Still, I’m unsure which is considered the “best” plugin format on Linux. I would appreciate it if anyone could explain the differences between them all.

In my humble opinion…

If I have plugins in multiple formats (usually LinuxVST or LV2) I usually try to to use LinuxVST first for a few reasons: (a) I use a fair number of commercial Plugins and most of them are primarily in the LinuxVST format (b) If I see any possibility that I may want to work with more than one DAW (ie do my Audio work in Ardour and my MIDI work in another DAW) then LinuxVST is still the most commonly supported Plugin type across all Linux DAWs.

On the other hand if I know for a fact that my project is Audio-only and will all be done within Ardour then I will often prefer the LV2 version of a Plugin to a LinuxVST version of the exact same Plugin… this is for no solid reason other than I have used Ardour for over 15 years and it has a longer history of supporting LV2 than LinuxVST2/3 so that notion is embedded in the back of my brain… In truth I think Ardour supports LV2/VST2/VST3 with a high degree of compatibility so you probably can’t really choose wrong…

In recent post it seems that LinuxVST3 versions of the same Plugin should be preferred over LinuxVST2 if you have both on the system.


Thank you very much for the reply. That is valuable information.

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Piggy-backing off GMaq, I reside mostly in the Ardour ecosystem, with Harrison XT and x42’s plugins handling most plugin duties in LV2 format. If I need a plugin they don’t provide and is not available in LV2 format, I prefer VST3 because the specification is open source, which by nature fosters better compatibility.

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