An installed plug-in is missing in your VST host application or you just wonder where your VST plug-ins (virtual instruments and effects) are located? This article provides detailed information on VST plug-in installation paths on Mac OS X and macOS.
First of all, it is important to understand that not all VST plug-ins are being installed into the same folder. The installation path of a plug-in depends on several factors:
- VST format: VST2 or VST3?
- Operating system
- 32-bit or 64-bit architecture
Fortunately, on Mac OS X/macOS many of these possibilities do not apply. 32-bit and 64-bit plug-ins share the same location and manufacturers usually stick with the default paths defined by Apple and the VST3 standard.
While the newer VST3 format has a dedicated installation path all VST3 plug-ins must comply with, the VST2 standard does not know an obligatory folder. However, on Apple systems there is a defined plug-in folder within the system's folder structure since the first version of Mac OS X. All VST plug-in installers for Mac are using these folders:
Rarely used: Users/your username/Library/Audio/Plug-ins/VST
Rarely used: Users/your username/Library/Audio/Plug-ins/VST3
The 'Plug-ins' directories contain both a VST and a VST3 folder as well as folders for other plug-in formats. In most cases, plug-ins installed correctly into these folders should be available in compatible host applications. However, in some VST hosts, scanning of VST and VST3 folders must be enabled in the VST host's settings.
If a plug-in, for whatever reason, has been installed to a different folder, the VST host application needs to be told where to look for it.
In Cubase and Nuendo, the list of monitored VST2 folders can be managed here:
|Cubase 9.5/Nuendo 10
|Studio ▸ VST Plug-in Manager ▸ VST 2 Plug-in Paths Settings (click on gear symbol)|
|Cubase 8/Nuendo 7
|Devices ▸ Plug-in Manager ▸ Plug-in Manager Settings (click on gear symbol)|
|older Cubase/Nuendo versions||Devices ▸ Plug-in Information ▸ VST Plug-ins ▸ VST 2.x Plug-in Paths|
Many plug-in installers offer to choose a custom installation path for sample content and other libraries. In this case, plug-in and related content is being installed separately. The content management (adding, moving or deleting content) is plug-in specific. Please refer to the plug-in's documentation for more details.
If an installed plug-in is not available in your host application or missing components:
- Check if the installation path is actually monitored by your VST host application.
- Remember that 32-bit hosts cannot load 64-bit plug-ins while using 32-bit plug-ins in 64-bit hosts require a bridging solution. Read more...
- The plug-in installation might be corrupted (plug-in cannot be found in the expected folder or is incomplete). Check the plug-in manufacturer's website for an update. If possible, uninstall the plug-in by moving related files to the trash. Afterwards, re-install the latest version of the plug-in.