[Windows] VST plugin in error depending on file permissions?

I am giving a try to Ardour on Windows. Most of my plugins are kept as DLLs, on a separate NTFS disk partition (D:).
While this setup works fine on, say, Reaper for Windows, it fails for quite a few plugins on Ardour.

Example for OBX-D; here is the result in plugin manager:

  • OK if plugin located in system partition: C:\Program Files.…
[Info]: Scanning: C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST2\discoDSP\OB-Xd 3.dll
[Info]: File type: x64 (64-bit)
[Info]: Found Plugin: '3xbO' OB-Xd
[Info]: Saved VST2 plugin cache to C:\Users\x\AppData\Local\Ardour8\cache\vst\14a339e86b0dd1de9bb1d150294dc6009a0727db-x64.v2i
  • Error if plugin located in non-system partition D:.…
[Info]: Scanning: D:\discoDSP\OB-Xd 3.dll
[Info]: File type: x64 (64-bit)
[WARNING]: Cannot open VST2 module 'D:\discoDSP\OB-Xd 3.dll'
fst_load(): Cannot open plugin dll
Scan Failed.

On the other hand, some other plugins can be loaded all right from this D: partition (ex: TAL Dub, MT Power Drumkit).
Am I missing something obvious?

I was thinking it could be to a permissions issue on this particular drive partition.

Some plugins (ex. OBX-D) work OK now, if I move them to a shallow location (ex: D:\VST2)
Some others still fail in this location:

[Info]: Scanning: D:\vst2\taurus.dll
[Info]: File type: i386 (32-bit)
[WARNING]: Cannot open VST2 module ‘D:\vst2\taurus.dll’
fst_load(): Cannot open plugin dll
Scan Failed.

So, hard to notice a pattern here.

Are the failing ones mostly 32-bit?
If so, it could be a case of bit mismatch.

1 Like

Thank you, Peder, for your suggestion.
Yes, that is right. Most failing plugins are 32-bit; which are not supported, if I understand correctly. Plugins for Ardour on Windows? - #6 by paul

So, there were two issues combined:

  • permission issues on some directories;
  • the 32 bit-limitation had eluded me. (For this latter case: maybe the error message could be more explicit?)

Many thanks for helping out.

It’s funny, Linux with Wine-Staging (up to version 9.2) and yabridge is actually much more open to supporting both 32bit and 64bit Windows VST Plugin dll’s than Windows itself… The obvious caveat being that many expensive Windows iLok Plugins are not supported by Wine-Staging but many many popular garden-variety 64bit Windows VSTs (Fabfilter, Valhalla, etc.) work seamlessly alongside old school but still good 32bit stuff like Kjaerhus, digitalfishphones, the Cakewalk SFZ player, and other oldies but goodies…

I run Fabfilter, Boz Digital stuff and Addictive Trigger on a locked down secure Linux Studio computer and enjoy all of the excellent Linux open source (and proprietary) offerings alongside professionally endorsed Windows stuff, the best of both worlds all on a great performing Linux system!

1 Like

Hi Glen,

Thanks for the hint.
In fairness, I have spent the past 20 years on Linux, and the last few months going down the ‘Wine + Yabridge’ road. With only partial success.

Initially, I had numerous plugins crashing; it took me a while to relate this to video drivers not implementing DXVK9. This got solved when installing a Wine prefix in Bottles. Fine; but I am still facing many rough edges with the ‘Wine + Yabridge’ solution. At the risk of going OT, I will list below the problems still faced on Ardour + Yabridge:

  • SFZ, which you mention, has focus issues which are reported in the doc, with a workaround. Fine.

  • Albino 3 was crashing randomly; but the recent upgrade to Wine 9.8 seems to have fixed this.

  • VPS Avenger 2 fails at initialisation · Issue #341 · robbert-vdh/yabridge · GitHub

  • GUI redraw is flickery, slow and buggy on several plugins

  • FL Studio (as a VSTi plugin) freezes on many menus selection

  • FL Studio (as a standalone app) runs OK, but does not load VST2 plugins.

  • Several plugins cannot be installed because they cannot detect a browser at runtime (in fact, I think the XLN installer had this issue). Granted, this may be quite easy to solve, but I did not manage to do so yet.

  • I have found the setup to be sensitive to system upgrades

So knowing which side gets the better VST situation looks debatable. The Yabridge page is impressive with how it goes into details to smooth these round edges, but also impresses me with the level of knowledge I should acquire on video drivers, dll overrides, Wine implementation, debugging etc. Honestly, I do not know how you wizards get this working, but I cannot manage it, and get any music made. Believe me, I was not eager to format that drive to NTFS, but you are catching me at a time where I am thinking: if this workstation must serve primarily for WinVST plugins, then it would better run on Windows.

Have I been unlucky with these issues? How do you manage Windows plugins + Wine + Bottles etc? (Granted, the last few weeks have consisted in exploring many plugins, which were hit or miss; but probably, one should focus on a few trusted plugins which behave correctly?)

I can’t help but note that we’ve said for years: if Windows VST plugins are a central part of your creation workflow, you should work on Windows. It’s cool, and impressive etc. that we can actually run Windows VSTs on Linux, but imagining that it is just going to work is a bit naive.

For myself, I Just had yabridge break due to an issue with Wine that spanned 3 versions. It is fixed now, but this sort of thing can just come up at any time.


Which is why I suggested a “locked down” setup with pinned Wine and yabridge and a known-to-work set of variables…

I agree wholeheartedly if you blindly update Wine or insist on trying multiple new iLok Windows Plugins weekly then you will be disappointed. If you have a predictable set of established Win Plugins and simply pin Wine I think you can expect a “Wine appliance” system to work reliably for years and this has been my personal experience on my dedicated Studio machine.