|This page describes support for VST effect plug-ins in Audacity (VST instrument plug-ins that generate audio are not supported). A list of VST effects known to process correctly in Audacity on Windows is included.
VST support in Audacity
In current Audacity (and legacy 1.3.8 and later), VST effects are displayed with full GUI interface (where provided by the plug-in), and without need of the VST Enabler. This has been made possible by use of an open source VST header.
When Audacity is first launched, an "Install VST Effects" dialogue will appear which lists VST plug-ins detected in the Plug-Ins folder inside the Audacity installation folder and in other system locations. Press OK to load the chosen plug-ins. Prior to Audacity 2.0.4, the scan happened automatically with no choice of which effects to load. Your VST effects will appear in the Effect menu, underneath the divider.
When you restart Audacity again it will reload the plug-ins it detected last session, as stored in the plugins.cfg file in the Audacity folder for application data. This avoids slowing down each Audacity launch by scanning for new plug-ins. So if you add more VST plug-ins later, you must go to the , check "Rescan VST effects next time Audacity is started ", then restart Audacity. If you subsequently remove any VST plug-ins, they will automatically be removed from the Effect menu after restart, without need for a rescan (as long as you are using 1.3.10 or later).
The overwhelming majority of VST effect plug-ins should now display and process correctly. If an incompatible VST plug-in does cause a problem, try unchecking "Display VST effects in graphical mode" in the Effects Preferences, or rename or remove the plug-in. To report a plug-in that is problematic in current Audacity, please add it below, or write to our feedback address.
Legacy Audacity prior to 1.3.8
There is limited support for VST effects by downloading the optional VST Enabler.
To display a VST plug-in in Audacity, place it in the Audacity Plug-Ins folder inside your Audacity installation folder (or in other VST system folders) then restart Audacity. See plug-in locations below.
Plug-ins will only have a generic tabular interface with sliders which may not expose all the plug-in controls correctly. Not all plug-ins will work correctly, even if all of the intended interface elements are available. These restrictions are imposed on us because the Steinberg company who created the technology forbid us disclosing their code in our software. We are obliged to do this because Audacity is open source.
Where Audacity looks for VST plug-ins
Audacity searches for VST plug-ins in this order:
- On both Windows and OS X:
- Directories called "Plug-Ins", "Plugins" or "VST" in the Audacity installation directory. On Windows, the Audacity installation directory is normally at C:\Program Files\Audacity ( or C:\Program Files\Audacity 1.3 Beta (Unicode) in legacy 1.3 versions ). On 64-bit Windows this directory will be "Program Files (x86)" then as appropriate. On OS X, the Audacity installation directory is normally under /Applications.
- The path specified by the VST_PATH environment variable
- Additionally on Windows, the following locations are also searched:
- The Windows Registry key HKCU\Software\VST\VSTPluginsPath
- The Windows Registry key HKLM\Software\VST\VSTPluginsPath
- C:\Program Files\Steinberg\VSTPlugins (or C:\Program Files (x86)\Steinberg\VSTPlugins on 64-bit versions of Windows)
- Additionally on OS X, the following locations are also searched:
The specified directories are searched recursively, which means that plug-ins that are inside their own folder in that directory should still be found by Audacity.
List of functional Plug-ins
|Instructions for adding plug-ins to the list:
- The majority of plug-ins will be for Windows only unless OS 9 or OS X is stated.
- Classic Mac OS plug-ins will only work under OS 9 and previous. Mac OS X plug-ins with a .component file marked as "PowerPC" will only work on PPC Macs (they might work on Intel Macs with slow performance under Rosetta).
Ambience - reverb plugin for Windows, OS 9/X
Antares AutoTune Evo - Mostly works with current Audacity. Automatic pitch correction works, but to be able to draw pitch curves clock must be set to "internal" and not "host". (commercial)
ANWIDA Soft DX Reverb Light.dll for Windows and Mac (PowerPC only)
Big Tick Dual Delay.dll
Big Tick Hexaline.dll
BLOCKFISH.dll - compressor for Windows and OS X (not Intel)
BlueCatMonoChorusVST.dll for Windows and OS X
BlueCatFlangerVST(Mono).dll for Windows and OS X
BlueCatFlangerVST(Stereo).dll for Windows and OS X
BlueCatPhaserVST(Mono).dll for Windows and OS X
BlueCatPhaserVST(Stereo).dll for Windows and OS X
BlueCatStereoChorusVST.dll for Windows and OS X
bs2b.dll stereo to binaural
Buzzroom CL 201 (Vintage Maximiser) - now shareware and known as Extreme Amplifier
Classic Master Limiter.dll
dfx Buffer Override mono.dll
dfx Buffer Override stereo.dll
EZmix (commercial, time limited demo available. Also supports OS X but only Windows version tested)
FEILEI Surround Echo.dll
FEILEI Surround Encode.dll
FEILEI Surround Pan.dll
FLOORFISH.dll - expander/noise gate for
- jVSTwRapper is a way of writing Java plug-ins using VST-based technology, enclosed in a wrapper that makes them compatible for use in VST, Audio Units and LADSPA hosts. Thus jVSTwRapper plug-ins can be run on all three platforms.
Lisp level-independent sibilance processor
MjCompressor.dll for Windows and OS X Windows version only has a tabular interface even in Audacity 1.3.8+
Morphing Delay 2.1 Demo.dll
REFLEX free - a regenerating delay plug-in, a mixture of stereo delays followed by a dense cloud of reflections (Download)
Robotizer for Windows and Mac OS X
Saturator.dll - analogue tape saturation emulator for added "warmth"
sc 04 sec Stereo Delay.dll
sc Multi Delay.dll
sc Multi Tap Delay.dll
sc Stereo Panner.dll
SH-1 Graphic EQ.dll
SH-1 LFO Multi.dll
Silverspike Reverb-it Demo.dll
SPITFISH.dll - de-esser for Windows and OS X (not Intel)
TAL-Reverb-2 - popular GPL licensed plate reverb
TB Compressor (working demo) in Tone Boosters plug-in bundle - supports "New York" or "parallel" compression
Telephone.dll - simple, very realistic telephone audio simulator.
UpStereo.dll - stereo widener
UpStereo for OS X (not tested)
VOX_DoctorDemo.dll - De-Esser
VoxengoLampthruster (a VST amp simulator)
List of Plug-ins with known problems
|Instructions for adding VST effect plug-ins to the list:|
|Ambisonic Decoders||Windows||Dec.2011||1.3.13 and 1.3.14 (works in 1.3.12 and 1.3.15 onwards)||Audacity crashes on launch|
|Auto-Tune||Windows||Dec.2012||Audacity 2.0.1||Tuning by MIDI input is not supported. The start of the processed audio has silence inserted of 8192 samples and a corresponding length is removed from the end of the processed audio.(2)|
|CM Vocoder||Windows/OS X||Sep.08||Audacity 1.3.8+||Does not appear|
|Effect Chainer DX and VST wrapper||Windows||Jan.08||All||can't host any plug-ins|
|FFX-4 DX and VST Wrapper||Windows||Jan.08||All||can't host any plug-ins|
|Freeverb2||Windows 7||Oct.11||Audacity 1.3.13||Only tabular interface, no preset support|
|GRM Tools||Windows (works on OS X)||Sep.08||Audacity 1.3.8+||unspecified|
|GSnap||Windows||Jan.2014||Audacity 2.0.5||Tuning by MIDI input is not supported. The start of the processed audio has silence inserted of 10 milliseconds irrespective of sample rate and a corresponding length is removed from the end of the processed audio.(2) You can install a pair of Nyquist plug-ins to correct each occurrence.|
|Izotope Nectar||Windows||Oct.2011||Audacity 1.3.13||The start of the processed audio has silence inserted of several thousand samples and a corresponding length is removed from the end of the processed audio.(2)|
|keFIR||Windows||Apr.08||VST-Bridge 1.1||has no effect on audio|
|kn0ck0ut||Windows||Nov.2012||Audacity 2.0.2||The unprocessed (right) channel is silenced. When "extract center" is off, the start of the processed audio has silence inserted and a corresponding length is removed from the end of the processed audio. This also occurs in Goldwave and Wavosaur.(2)|
|Sonic Maximizer||Windows||Sep.2007||VST-Bridge 1.1||not in Effect menu|
|SoundSoap2 (discontinued) (see also SoundSoap3)||Windows, OS X||2007 (various)||All||Audacity won't launch|
|String Studio||Windows||2007 (various)||VST-Bridge 1.1||Audacity won't launch|
|T RackS 3||OS X||Dec.2009||All||Audacity won't launch|
|VisualVOX VST||Windows||Jan.2008||VST-Bridge 1.1||No interface, just silences audio|
|T RackS 3||OS X||Dec.2009||All||Audacity won't launch|
|Waves V5||Windows||Dec.2012||Audacity 2.0.2||Hangs Audacity on launch|
|Waves V8||OS X||Feb.2013||Audacity 2.0.3||Only tabular interface. Two entries (m) and (s) for each effect. GarageBand does not have either problem.(1)|
- (1) Audio Unit versions of Waves may cause Audacity 2.0.4 or earlier to freeze or crash on launch. In 2.0.5 or later, Waves Audio Units may cause a freeze or crash when the effect is chosen from the Effect Menu.
- (2) This is a limitation in Audacity and other hosts that don't have buffer delay compensation.