|This page describes support for VST (Virtual Studio Technology) effect plugins in Audacity; VST instrument plugins 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 Audacity VST effects are displayed with full GUI interface (where provided by the plugin), 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" dialog will appear which lists VST plugins detected in the Plug-Ins folder inside the Audacity installation folder and in other system locations. Press OK to load the chosen plugins. 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 plugins 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 plugins. So if you add more VST plugins later, you must go to the , check "Rescan VST effects next time Audacity is started ", then restart Audacity. If you subsequently remove any VST plugins, they will automatically be removed from the Effect menu after restart, without need for a rescan.
The overwhelming majority of VST effect plugins should now display and process correctly. If an incompatible VST plugin does cause a problem, try unchecking "Display VST effects in graphical mode" in the Effects Preferences, or rename or remove the plugin. To report a plugin that is problematic in current Audacity, please add it below, or write to our feedback address.
Where Audacity looks for VST plugins
Audacity searches for VST plugins 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. 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 plugins that are inside their own folder in that directory should still be found by Audacity.
List of functional Plugins
|Instructions for adding plugins to the list:
- The majority of plugins will be for Windows only unless OS 9 or OS X is stated.
- Classic Mac OS plugins will only work under OS 9 and previous. Mac OS X plugins with a .component file marked as "PowerPC" will only work on PPC Macs (they might work on Intel Macs with slow performance under Rosetta but Rosetta cannot be used on OS X 10.7 or later).
Ambience - reverb plugin for Windows, OS 9/X (PPC only)
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)
Antress Modern Plugins including a number of compressors, a limiter, an expander, an exciter and a "spacer" which could be used for creating "fake stereo"
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 (PPC only)
bs2b.dll stereo to binaural
Buzzroom CL 201 (Vintage Maximiser) - now shareware
Classic Master Limiter.dll
dfx Buffer Override mono.dll
dfx Buffer Override stereo.dll
DtBlkFx (FFT-based frequency and harmonics manipulation). Also supports OS X (Universal binary) but only Windows version tested.
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 plugins using VST-based technology, enclosed in a wrapper that makes them compatible for use in VST, Audio Units and LADSPA hosts. Thus jVSTwRapper plugins 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 plugin, a mixture of stereo delays followed by a dense cloud of reflections (Download)
Robotizer for Windows and Mac OS X (PPC only)
Saturator.dll - analog 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 (PPC only)
TAL-Reverb-2 - popular GPL licensed plate reverb
TB Compressor (working demo) in Tone Boosters plugin 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 Plugins with known problems
|Instructions for adding VST effect plugins 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.|
|BlueCat||OS X||Sep.2014||Audacity 2.0.5, 2.0.6||In 2.0.5, the plugin interface does not work, so you can only use default settings. The interface works in 2.0.6, but in both versions, saving a preset will lock out the main Audacity window, requiring to close Audacity from the Dock.|
|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 plugins|
|FFX-4 DX and VST Wrapper||Windows||Jan.08||All||can't host any plugins|
|Freeverb2||Windows 7||Oct.11||Audacity 1.3.13||Only tabular interface, no preset support|
|GRM Tools||OS X||May 2014||Audacity 2.0.6-alpha||Interface cannot be used (so the effects can only be used at default settings) or interface disappears completely when loading preset. The interface is likely to be available in 2.0.6 release, but attempting to save a preset in any Audacity version could lock out the main Audacity window.|
|GRM Tools||Windows||Sep.08||Audacity 1.3.8+||unspecified|
|GSnap||Windows||Jan.2014||Audacity 2.0.6||Tuning by MIDI input is not supported.|
|keFIR||Windows||Apr.08||VST-Bridge 1.1||has no effect on audio|
|kn0ck0ut||Windows||Sep.2014||Audacity 2.0.6-alpha||Despite Audacity 2.0.6 or later supporting buffer delay compensation, 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 so is probably a bug in Kn0ck0ut, but the VST version is no longer being developed, only an LV2 version.|
|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|
|Spectro||Windows||Nov.2014||2.0.7-alpha||No spectrum visible in plugin window|
|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.