What Are The Best Tools To Develop VST Plugins & How Are They Made?

What Are The Best Tools To Develop VST Plugins & How Are They Made? | integraudio.com

Understanding how VSTs are made will provide you with insights on how you can make your own VST plugins.

Virtual studio technology (VST) is an audio plug-in software interface that integrates a software synthesizer and effects into digital audio workstations. It uses digital signal processing to simulate a traditional recording studio’s hardware in software.

There are both commercial and freeware versions of VST plug-ins available in the market.

Think of VST plugins as an affordable way of making your home studio sound like an expensive commercial studio setup.

Before going further, check our free delay plugin here:

Deelay by Integraudio & Sixth Sample – Free Delay VST/AU Plugin

What are the Best Tools to Develop VST Plug-ins?

I have listed a couple of libraries and frameworks that can handle most of the coding required in developing VST plug-ins.

JUCE Cross-Platform C++ Library

It is supported by the following platforms: OSX, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android. It is free for non-commercial releases, but the commercial license works our best.  It also covers 64bit systems.

Pricing of its commercial license:

  • Commercial license for a single product – $521
  • Commercial license for any number of products – $912
  • Upgrade from single-product version to unlimited version – $455
    Despite the cost of the license for retail releases, it is the only library/framework option for a 64bit cross-platform.

Watch this video on creating an awesome distortion VST/AU Plug-in using C++ / JUCE Framework.

Audio Processing Tutorial: How To Create an AWESOME Distortion VST/AU Plugin In C++ (JUCE Framework)


We also recommend checking this video and the channel as a great source on how to develop audio plugins:

Juce Tutorial 64 - Building Your First Plug-In (2020 Update)


SynthEdit is a framework and a visual circuit design that allows you to create your own synths with only drag & drop without programming. Therefore giving you the flexibility of using your DSP algorithms inside the modules.

At the time of writing this, the 64-bit version is in Alpha, and its creator Jeff McClintock is working on the ability to exporting it to AU. It’s got a ton of community-produced modules and works great with the 32-bit version. It is soft on your wallet – it goes for $70.

Check out this video of how SynthEdit work:

SynthEdit - Let Make Our First VST Synth Part 01

FL SynthMaker

FL SynthMaker, aka Flowstone, comes free with FL studio. It has a straightforward drag-and-drop graphical interface and a wide range of components. You can use it to code modules and DSP in Ruby and comes with loads of examples to get started quickly and its ability to assist you in creating a prototype within a short time is a plus.

How Are VST Plugins Made?

You’ll be required to source information from different sources depending on what your specific goals are. For beginners, before learning how to code VST plugins, I would advise you to check out these environments:

  • SynthEdit, SynthMaker, Reaktor, Max/MSP, PureData
  • CSound, SuperCollider, Bidule, Usine

These environments allow you to build something unique without writing low-level code, which most people find difficult to master. You’ll be required to know different areas, and if you already have some, you’ll only be required to fill in the gaps.

Check out this video to learn how to build and design your VST Plugin using C++ and  JUCE framework:

Learn Modern C++ by Building an Audio Plugin (w/ JUCE Framework) - Full Course

Audio Basics

Understanding sound and its properties are essential before embarking on the development of VST plug-ins. I have outlined a couple of online resources you should go through them:

Fundamentals of Digital Audio Processing

The Scientist and Engineer’s Guide to Audio Signal Processing

Discrete-time systems, sampling theorem, audio DSP, maths, sound analysis, and sound modeling:

Signals, Sound, and Sensation by William M. Harmann

The book got an introductory text on psychoacoustics and the readers on a journey through the mathematics of signal and processing from its beginnings.


Many professional VST plugins available on the market have been written in C++. There are also several other languages you can use, but each got its pros and cons. Learning how to develop VST Plug-ins as you’re learning to program isn’t easy. I usually recommend learning how to program before starting to create VST plug-ins. This book comes highly recommended for those who want to learn audio plug-ins:

The Audio Programming Book by Richard Boulanger

This one shows you how to create a custom synthesize in software using the C++ programming language:

BasicSynth by Daniel Mitchell 

For further information about VST development, you should definitely check these resources:

Audio Software (VST Plugin) Development with Practical Application

JUCE framework for VST-plugin development

Masterclass: Inside the world of plugin development (updated audio)


You should have some basic engineering mathematics such as linear algebra, complex analysis, among others. Visit this website to get practical algebra lessons: www.purplemath.com.

Digital Signal Processing

You must know what an FFT routine is and why it is useful. Advanced content focusing on audio will usually require you to have at least a conversational level of DSP understanding.

Check out these resources on DSP.

Online and Free:
The Scientist & Engineer’s Guide to Digital Signal Processing

Understanding Digital Signal Processing by Richard G. Lyons

Audio Digital Signal Processing

Audio DSP extends on core DSP concepts to include the way digital signal processes apply to digital audio. It covers subjects such as audio filters, delays, and non-linear effects; think compression.

DAFX by Udo Zolzer is a book that comes highly recommended and covers many aspects of the audio DSP technique.

Check out these online resources to get more info:

DSP Audio Classics
DSP Audio Algorithm Notes by XOXOS

Below are threads on VST Plug-ins I found from a couple of online discussion forums:

Advice for someone with ZERO experience
Developing a Vst Effect Plugin Where To Start?
What is your development setup?


I have listed some books that can serve as a resource in your pursuit of learning how to make VST plug-ins.

Check them here:

Designing Audio Effect Plug-Ins in C++: With Digital Audio Signal Processing Theory

Designing Software Synthesizer Plug-Ins in C++: For RackAFX, VST3, and Audio Units

Audio Plug-ins frameworks


JUCE is a highly recommended and all-encompassing C++ class library for developing cross-platform software. JUCE includes components for VST, AU, and RTAS. You should have at least a basic grasp of JUCE if you intend to use C++ to develop your VST plug-in.


This is a C++ framework for developing audio plug-ins and GUIs.


It allows VST Plugin developers to write Plugins in any .NET language.  It also eases the transition between the C++ and .NET world, and its framework built on top of the interop layer provides a clear and structured architecture. Feel free to check this Delphi library for creating VST plugins, VST hosts but also ASIO applications:

Delphi ASIO and VST

It also includes the algorithm for filters and dynamics.

What is the best programming language for the VST plugin?

C++ is one of the best programming languages for creating VST Plug-ins, and the reason for this is that C++ has a wide range of frameworks and libraries that work so well in creating VSTs.

The WDL-OL library makes C++ an attractive programming language for VST plugins because it helps you with the following:

  • Creating multiple formats (VST, AudioUnit, VST3, and RTAS) from one codebase: Just choose the plugin format and click “run.”
  • Create both 32-Bit and 64-Bit executables.
  • Run your plugin as a standalone application (Windows or Mac). It means you don’t technically need a DAW to use the plugin.
  • Most GUI controls are used in audio plugins (knobs, buttons, visuals).
Code-It-Yourself! Sound Synthesizer #1 - Basic Noises


Understanding what VST Plugins are and their role within the music production industry provides you with the knowledge of identifying the most effective tools for your music production outfit. It makes your music sound like it was produced in a million-dollar music studio.

Readings that you may like: 

DAW Related:

Best DAWs For Musicians Available (With FREE DAWs)

How To Develop DAW Software?

What’s The Most CPU Efficient DAW? – 5 DAWs Compared

How To Make Music Without Using A DAW?

Pro Tools Guide: How To Use AutoTune & Pitch Correction?

Ableton Review: Is It Worth The Money? (Cons & Pros)

Logic Pro X Review: Is It Worth It? (Cons & Pros)

How To Use Auto-tune & Pitch Correction In Cubase?

How To Fix Ableton Crackling, Crashing & Freezing? Step By Step


Plugin Related:

What Are Audio Plugins? Different Types of Plugins Explained

What Are The Best Tools To Develop VST Plugins & How Are They Made?

Cost of Developing Audio VST Plugin: Several Factors (With Table)

VST, VST, AU and AAX – What’s The Difference? Plugin Formats Explained

Complete Guide To Noise Gate – What It Is, What It Does & How To Use It?

How To Clip My Drums? Here Is How & Audio Teasers (Before/After)


Complete Guide To Limiter: How To Use It (+ Best Plugins & Analog Limiters)

Mixing With Reverb: How To Add Life To Your Mixes

Linear Phase vs Minimum Phase EQ – Full Guide

Difference Between LUFS, RMS & True Peak Loudness Meters

How And When To Use Algorithmic And Convolution Reverb In Your Mix?

Difference Between Active EQ, Passive EQ and Dynamic EQ


Headphones & Studio Monitors:

Do headphones get worse with age?

Monitors vs Studio Headphones For Mixing & Mastering

Top 10 Room Calibration & Headphones/Speakers Correction Plugins 

Does Heat Damage Headphones?

Are Noise-Canceling Headphones Good For Music Production?

Can Headphones Break in Cold Weather?

Why do headphones & cables get sticky?


Can Wearing Headphones Cause Hair Loss?

How Do I know If My Studio Monitor Is Blown?

Side Effects Of Sleeping With Your Headphones On

Do You Need Music Amplifier For Studio Monitors or Studio Headphones?

Do Headphones or Earphones Damage Your Brain?

Can Headphones or Earphones cause Deafness or Toothache?

FarField, MidField & NearField Monitors – Their Uses, Pros & Cons


MIDI & Synths:

Should I Buy A MIDI Keyboard Or Synth? (Are Synths Worth It Anymore?)

Why Is Audio Gear So Expensive? (Especially Synths)

Top 12 Synth Brands – Analog, Digital & Modular Synth Manufacturers

11 Tips How To Choose MIDI Keyboard 

Should I Buy MIDI Controller Or Keyboard? Cons, Pros & Tips


Guitar/Amp Focused:

Can I Put Nylon Strings on a Steel-string Guitar?

Do Electric Guitars Sound Good Unplugged?

Buying Your First Guitar: 2 Things To Know

Are Tube Amps Worth It? (Tube vs Solid-State Amps)

How Often Does A Guitar Need a Setup?

Can I Play Classical Guitar On A Steel-String Guitar?


How often guitar necks need reset?

Can You Play Two Guitars Through One Amp?

Can a 6 String Bass Be Tuned Like A Guitar?

Can I leave My Guitar Tuned Down a Step? Yes, But Is It Safe?

Should I Learn 4, 5 Or 6 String Bass Guitar & Why?

How To Know If your Guitar Amp Is Broken?

How To Fix Distorted Bass Guitar Sound?


Do Fender Guitars Appreciate In Value?

Should You Put Stickers On A Bass Guitar?

How Acoustic And Electric Guitars Are Made?

Is Electric Guitar Too Loud for an Apartment?

Does a Preamp Improve Sound Quality?

If I Learn Acoustic Guitar Can I Play Electric Guitar?

How Many Hours A Day Should You Practice Bass Guitar?

Do I need an AMP/DAC To Run Bookshelf Speakers?

How to Record Electric Guitar Into Logic Pro X?

Do headphones get worse with age?


Recommended Gear:

Top 12 NearField Studio Monitors On Any Budget

Top 10 Midfield Studio Monitors For Home Recording

Best Biggest Studio Monitors (FarField Monitors)

Top 10 Guitar Pickups for Low Tunings 

Top 10 Analog Compressors For Mixing & Mastering (On Any Budget)

Top 12 USB Audio Interfaces Under 150$, 200$, 300$ 400$ (Any Budget)


Top 12 Hardware Equalizers (Analog EQs For Mixing & Mastering)

Top 6 Analog Hardware Limiters 

Top 6 Solid State Bass Amps (On Any Budget)

Top 6 Ribbon Mics On Any Budget (For Vocals, Drums & Guitars)

Top 6 Cheap Dynamic Mics For Vocals Under 50$, 100$, 200$ & 300$


Top 6 Chorus Guitar Pedals (On Any Budget)

6 Best 61-Key MIDI Keyboards (On Any Budget)

9 Best 49-Key MIDI Keyboards Under 100$ & 200$

Top 5 Best 25 Key MIDI Keyboards (On Any Budget)

Top 12 Acoustic Drums (Best Kits/Sets On Any Budget)


Plugin Roundups:

Genre Focused:

Top 10 EDM Plugins  (And 10 Best FREE Plugins For EDM)

Top 10 Plugins For TRAP Beats (And 5 Best FREE Trap Plugins)

20 Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (+ 6 FREE Plugins)

Top 14 Trance Plugins (Uplifting, Tech, Progressive, Vocal, Dream, Hard)

Top 10 GOA & PsyTrance Plugins (Best Psychedelic Trance Tools)

Top 7 Plugins For Dubstep (With 10 Best FREE Effects & Synths)


Top 20 Synthwave Plugins (+ 11 Best FREE Plugins)

Top 15 Plugins For Techno, House, Electro, Tech House, UK Garage

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Top 12 Plugins For Hip-Hop (+ Best Kontakt Libraries)

Top 7 Plugins For Game & Film Scoring  (+ 6 Best Kontakt Libraries)

Top 10 R&B And Pop Music Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries 

30 Best Free Plugins For DnB, EDM, IDM & Experimental Music 


EQ Plugins

Top 12 Free EQ Plugins For Precise Mixing & Mastering

Top 9 Mid/Side EQ Plugins  For Mixing & Mastering (+ 2 Free Tools)

Top 7 Graphic EQ Plugins  (With 3 Best Free EQs)

Top 7 EQ Plugins For Mastering In | And Best FREE Mastering EQs

Top 6 Passive EQ Plugins (Klevgrand, SPL, UAD, Waves, IK Multimedia)

Top 11 Plugins For Making Metal (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects)



Top 5 Audio Metering Plugins (LUFS, RMS, LRA, True Peak)

Top 6 Spectrum Analyzer Plugins  – Spectral Analysis Tools

Top 6 Oscilloscope Plugins To See The Waveforms

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Kontakt Libraries

20 Best Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals)

Top 7 Drum Libraries For KONTAKT (And 4 Freebies)

Top 7 Trap Music Kontakt Libraries (And Best Lo-Fi Kontakt Library)

Top 7 Metal & Rock Kontakt Libraries (Best Guitars & Drums)

Top 10 Guitar Libraries For Kontakt (Acoustic, Electric, Bass & Freebies)


Top 7 Trailer Scoring Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 

20 Best Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments

Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries  (And 5 Best Free Pianos)

Top 10 Percussion KONTAKT Libraries  (And 3 Freebies)

Top 7 Kontakt Libraries For Horror & Thriller Scoring (No VSTs)


Audio Restoration, Calibration & Utility:

Top 6 Noise Reduction Plugins (And 3 Best Free Tools)

6 Best Audio Restoration Plugins & Software 

Top 7 Phase Alignment Plugins To Fix Your Bass & Drums

Top 10 Room Calibration & Headphones/Speakers Correction Plugins 


Instrument Plugins: 

Top 6 Vocoder Plugins (Effects & Synths + FREE Vocoder)

11 Best Rhodes VST Plugins (AND 5 Free Rhodes Plugins)

Top 12 Randomizer Plugins Including FREE Plugins

Top 6 Kick Drum Plugins (Best Kick Designer Tools)

Top 12 Woodwind Plugins (And KONTAKT Libraries)

Top 10 Double Bass Plugins (Best Upright Basses)

Top 5 Strings VST Plugins (AND 4 Best Free Instruments)


Top 6 Sampler Plugins (And 3 Best FREE Plugins)

Top 6 Classical Guitar Plugins & Kontakt Libraries (And FREE Guitars)

Top 7 Wavetable Synth Plugins 

Top 12 Sub Plugins (Best 808 & Bass Tools For Massive Low End)

Top 10 Plugins On PluginBoutique (And 7 Best Free Plugins)

Top 11 Plugins On Plugin Alliance 

Top 7 Acoustic Guitar Plugins (And 4 Best Kontakt Libraries)


9 Best Bass Guitar Plugins (And 2 Best Freebies)

Top 6 Electric Guitar Plugins (Best PAID & FREE Picks)

Top 10 Arpeggiator VST Plugins (Best Synths, MIDI Effects & Tools)

Top 10 Modular Synth Plugins (And 3 Best FREE Plugins)

Top 6 Choir Plugins & Sample Libraries (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

11 Best Percussion & Drum VST Plugins (And FREE Plugins)


Top 8 Piano Plugins (Best Sounding Pianos & 5 FREE Piano Plugins)

Top 6 Organ Plugins Ever Made  (And 3 Best Free Organs)

Top 14 VST Plugins For Beginners (And 9 FREE Plugins)

Top 9 Drum Machine Plugins (And Groovebox Plugins)

4 Best Banjo Plugins (Best Banjo Instruments)


The 5 Best Ukulele Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 

Top 13 Synth Plugins (And 5 Best FREE Synths Plugins)

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The 10 Best Multi-Effect Plugins (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

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Processing & Sound Design:

8 Best Lo-Fi Plugins (PAID & FREE)

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Top 6 Pitch Shifter Plugins (And 3 Best FREE Pitch Shifters)

Top 6 Chorus VST Plugins For Musicians (And 3 FREE Plugins)


Top 6 Limiter Plugins For Precise Mastering & Mixing

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6 Best Autotune Plugins To Improve & Enhance Your Vocals

Top 10 Transient Shaper Plugins (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 7 Enhancer Plugins (For Bass, Drums, Vocals & Harmonics)


Top 6 Flanger Plugins (And 5 Best FREE Flanger Emulators)

Top 7 Phaser Plugins (And 3 Best FREE Phasers)

Top 10 Plugins For Mixing Drums (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

Top 7 Bitcrusher Plugins (And 4 Best FREE Bitcrushers + 3 Bonuses)

Top 6 Plugins For Voice-Over & Dialogue Cleaning (Post Production)

Top 10 Stereo Imaging Plugins (Best Old & Modern Picks)


Top 5 Multiband Limiter Plugins 

Top 7 De-Esser Plugins For Better Vocals (And 4 FREE Plugins)

Top 7 Clipper Plugins (Best Limiter Alternatives)

Top 6 Chord Generator Plugins That Inspire Melodies (+ FREE Tools)

7 Best Exciter Plugins For Mixing & Mastering

Top 7 Channel Strip Plugins (And 2 Best Free Plugins)


Top 11 Distortion Plugins (And 4 Top Free Plugins)

Top 5 Comb Filter & Resonator Plugins | Melda, Kilohearts, Tritik

The 7 Best Vibrato VST Plugins | Audec, Audiority, Melda

The 7 Best Tremolo Plugins | Eventide, Melda, SoundToys, Kuassa…

The 7 Best Harmonizer Plugins | Eventide, Melda, Aegean Music

7 Best Sidechain Plugins (VST, AU, AAX) | Xfer, Cableguys..


Top 10 Noise Gate Plugins (And 6 FREE Free Gate Tools)

The 6 Best Ring Modulator VST Plugins | KiloHearts, Melda

7 Best Autopan VST Plugins | CableGuys, Melda, Waves, Soundtoys

The 6 Best Frequency Shifter VST Plugins

Top 11 Granulizer Plugins For Future Sound Design

29 Best Sound Design VST Plugins


Compressor Plugins

Top 11 Free Compressor Plugins (VCA, Vari-Mu, FET, Digital)

Top 7 Multiband Compressor Plugins (And 4 FREE Plugins)

Top 5 Diode-Bridge Compressor Plugins 

Top 6 Mastering Chain Plugins: Complete VST Solutions 

Top 10 FET Compressor Plugins 

The 7 Best VCA Compressor Plugins (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 11 Mastering Compressor Plugins (And 2 FREE Plugins)

Top 10 Opto Compressor Plugins For Transparent Sound

The 7 Best Vari-Mu Compressor Plugins (And 2 Best FREE Tools)


Reverb & Delay Plugins:

Top 12 Reverb Plugins (And 5 FREE Reverb Plugins)

The 6 Best Spring Reverb VST Plugins | AudioThing, GSi, u-he, Eventide

Top 12 Delay Plugins For Music Production In (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 10 FREE Delay Plugins (VST, AU, AAX)

The 10 Best Convolution Reverb Plugins 


Amps & Preamps:

Top 10 Guitar Amp Plugins (And 5 Best FREE Simulators)

Top 10 Bass Amp Plugins (And 5 Best Free Simulators)

Top 9 Preamp Plugins (For Vocals, Guitars & More!) + Free Preamps

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