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

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.

Programming

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)

Maths

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

Print:
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?

Books

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

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.

IPlug

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

VST.NET

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

Conclusion

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 You May Like:

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?

 

Headphones & Studio Monitors:

Do headphones get worse with age?

Monitors vs Studio Headphones For Mixing & Mastering

Top 10 Room Calibration & Headphones/Speakers Correction Plugins 2022

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 2022 – Analog, Digital & Modular Synth Manufacturers

11 Tips How To Choose MIDI Keyboard 2022

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

 

Recommended Gear:

Top 12 NearField Studio Monitors 2022 On Any Budget

Top 10 Midfield Studio Monitors 2022 For Home Recording

Best Biggest Studio Monitors 2022 (FarField Monitors)

Top 10 Guitar Pickups for Low Tunings 2022

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 2022 (Analog EQs For Mixing & Mastering)

Top 6 Analog Hardware Limiters 2022

Top 6 Solid State Bass Amps 2022 (On Any Budget)

Top 6 Ribbon Mics 2022 On Any Budget (For Vocals, Drums & Guitars)

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

 

Top 6 Chorus Guitar Pedals 2022 (On Any Budget)

6 Best 61-Key MIDI Keyboards 2022 (On Any Budget)

9 Best 49-Key MIDI Keyboards Under 100$ & 200$ (2022)

Top 5 Best 25 Key MIDI Keyboards 2022 (On Any Budget)

Top 12 Acoustic Drums 2022 (Best Kits/Sets On Any Budget)

 

Plugin Roundups:

Genre Focused:

Top 10 EDM Plugins 2022 (And 10 Best FREE Plugins For EDM)

Top 10 Plugins For TRAP Beats 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Trap Plugins)

20 Best Plugins For Rock Musicians 2022 (+ 6 FREE Plugins)

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

Top 10 GOA & PsyTrance Plugins 2022 (Best Psychedelic Trance Tools)

Top 7 Plugins For Dubstep 2022 (With 10 Best FREE Effects & Synths)

 

Top 20 Synthwave Plugins 2022 (+ 11 Best FREE Plugins)

Top 15 Plugins 2022 For Techno, House, Electro, Tech House, UK Garage

Top 6 Plugins For Latin Music 2022 (And 4 FREE Tools)

Top 12 Plugins For Hip-Hop 2022 (+ Best Kontakt Libraries)

Top 7 Plugins For Game & Film Scoring 2022 (+ 6 Best Kontakt Libraries)

Top 10 R&B And Pop Music Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries 2022

30 Best Free Plugins For DnB, EDM, IDM & Experimental Music 2022

 

EQ Plugins

Top 12 Free EQ Plugins 2022 For Precise Mixing & Mastering

Top 9 Mid/Side EQ Plugins 2022 For Mixing & Mastering (+ 2 Free Tools)

Top 7 Graphic EQ Plugins 2022 (With 3 Best Free EQs)

Top 7 EQ Plugins For Mastering In 2022 | And Best FREE Mastering EQs

Top 6 Passive EQ Plugins 2022 (Klevgrand, SPL, UAD, Waves, IK Multimedia)

Top 11 Plugins For Making Metal 2022 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects)

 

Compressor Plugins

Top 11 Free Compressor Plugins 2022 (VCA, Vari-Mu, FET, Digital)

Top 7 Multiband Compressor Plugins 2022 (And 4 FREE Plugins)

Top 5 Diode-Bridge Compressor Plugins 2022

Top 6 Mastering Chain Plugins: Complete VST Solutions 2022

Top 10 FET Compressor Plugins 2022

The 7 Best VCA Compressor Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 11 Mastering Compressor Plugins 2022 (And 2 FREE Plugins)

Top 10 Opto Compressor Plugins 2022 For Transparent Sound

The 7 Best Vari-Mu Compressor Plugins 2022 (And 2 Best FREE Tools)

 

Reverb & Delay Plugins:

Top 12 Delay Plugins For Music Production In 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 12 Reverb Plugins (And 5 FREE Reverb Plugins)

The 6 Best Spring Reverb VST Plugins 2022 | AudioThing, GSi, u-he, Eventide

Top 10 FREE Delay Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)

The 10 Best Convolution Reverb Plugins 2022

 

Metering Plugins:

Top 5 Audio Metering Plugins 2022 (LUFS, RMS, LRA, True Peak)

Top 6 Spectrum Analyzer Plugins Of 2022 – Spectral Analysis Tools

Top 6 Oscilloscope Plugins 2022 To See The Waveforms

Top 5 Key Detection Plugins & Software 2022 (+ Best FREE App)

 

Amps & Preamp Plugins:

Top 10 Guitar Amp Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Simulators)

Top 10 Bass Amp Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best Free Simulators)

Top 9 Preamp Plugins 2022 (For Vocals, Guitars & More!) + Free Preamps

 

Kontakt Libraries

20 Best Kontakt Libraries For All Categories 2022 (Synths, Drums, Vocals)

Top 7 Drum Libraries For KONTAKT 2022 (And 4 Freebies)

Top 7 Trap Music Kontakt Libraries 2022 (And Best Lo-Fi Kontakt Library)

Top 7 Metal & Rock Kontakt Libraries 2022 (Best Guitars & Drums)

Top 10 Guitar Libraries For Kontakt 2022 (Acoustic, Electric, Bass & Freebies)

 

Top 7 Trailer Scoring Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2022

20 Best Free KONTAKT Libraries 2022 For Various Instruments

Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries 2022 (And 5 Best Free Pianos)

Top 10 Percussion KONTAKT Libraries 2022 (And 3 Freebies)

Top 7 Kontakt Libraries For Horror & Thriller Scoring 2022 (No VSTs)

 

Audio Restoration, Calibration & Utility Plugins:

Top 6 Noise Reduction Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best Free Tools)

6 Best Audio Restoration Plugins & Software 2022

Top 7 Phase Alignment Plugins 2022 To Fix Your Bass & Drums

Top 10 Room Calibration & Headphones/Speakers Correction Plugins 2022

 

Instrument Plugins: 

Top 6 Vocoder Plugins 2022 (Effects & Synths + FREE Vocoder)

Top 12 Randomizer Plugins 2022 Including FREE Plugins

Top 6 Kick Drum Plugins 2022 (Best Kick Designer Tools)

Top 12 Woodwind Plugins 2022 (And KONTAKT Libraries)

Top 10 Double Bass Plugins 2022 (Best Upright Basses)

Top 5 Strings VST Plugins 2022 (AND 4 Best Free Instruments)

 

Top 6 Sampler Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Plugins)

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

Top 7 Wavetable Synth Plugins 2022

Top 12 Sub Plugins 2022 (Best 808 & Bass Tools For Massive Low End)

Top 10 Plugins On PluginBoutique 2022 (And 7 Best Free Plugins)

Top 11 Plugins On Plugin Alliance 2022

Top 7 Acoustic Guitar Plugins 2022 (And 4 Best Kontakt Libraries)

 

9 Best Bass Guitar Plugins 2022 (And 2 Best Freebies)

Top 6 Electric Guitar Plugins 2022 (Best PAID & FREE Picks)

Top 10 Arpeggiator VST Plugins 2022 (Best Synths, MIDI Effects & Tools)

Top 10 Modular Synth Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Plugins)

Top 6 Choir Plugins & Sample Libraries 2022 (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

11 Best Percussion & Drum VST Plugins In 2022 (And FREE Plugins)

 

Top 8 Piano Plugins 2022 (Best Sounding Pianos & 5 FREE Piano Plugins)

Top 6 Organ Plugins Ever Made 2022 (And 3 Best Free Organs)

Top 14 VST Plugins For Beginners 2022 (And 9 FREE Plugins)

Top 9 Drum Machine Plugins 2022 (And Groovebox Plugins)

4 Best Banjo Plugins 2022 (Best Banjo Instruments)

 

The 5 Best Ukulele Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2022

Top 13 Synth Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Synths Plugins)

Top 13 Sequencer Plugins 2022 (Synth, MIDI & Step Sequencers)

The 10 Best Multi-Effect Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

Top 12 Plugin Bundles For Musicians 2022 (Synths, Mixing & Mastering)

 

 

Processing & Sound Design Plugins:

8 Best Lo-Fi Plugins 2022 (PAID & FREE)

Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals 2022 (For Home Studio)

Top 12 Saturation Plugins In 2022 (Best Mixing & Mastering Tools)

Top 6 Pitch Shifter Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Pitch Shifters)

Top 6 Chorus VST Plugins 2022 For Musicians (And 3 FREE Plugins)

 

Top 6 Limiter Plugins 2022 For Precise Mastering & Mixing

The 8 Best Filter Plugins 2022 For Precise Cuts & Boosts (+ 5 Free Filters)

6 Best Autotune Plugins 2022 To Improve & Enhance Your Vocals

Top 10 Transient Shaper Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 7 Enhancer Plugins 2022 (For Bass, Drums, Vocals & Harmonics)

 

Top 6 Flanger Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Flanger Emulators)

Top 7 Phaser Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Phasers)

Top 10 Plugins For Mixing Drums 2022 (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

Top 7 Bitcrusher Plugins 2022 (And 4 Best FREE Bitcrushers + 3 Bonuses)

Top 6 Plugins For Voice-Over & Dialogue Cleaning 2022 (Post Production)

Top 10 Stereo Imaging Plugins 2022 (Best Old & Modern Picks)

 

Top 5 Multiband Limiter Plugins 2022

Top 7 De-Esser Plugins In 2022 For Better Vocals (And 4 FREE Plugins)

Top 7 Clipper Plugins 2022 (Best Limiter Alternatives)

Top 6 Chord Generator Plugins 2022 That Inspire Melodies (+ FREE Tools)

7 Best Exciter Plugins 2022 For Mixing & Mastering

Top 7 Channel Strip Plugins 2022 (And 2 Best Free Plugins)

 

Top 11 Distortion Plugins 2022 (And 4 Top Free Plugins)

Top 5 Comb Filter & Resonator Plugins 2022 | Melda, Kilohearts, Tritik

The 7 Best Vibrato VST Plugins of 2022 | Audec, Audiority, Melda

The 7 Best Tremolo Plugins 2022 | Eventide, Melda, SoundToys, Kuassa…

The 7 Best Harmonizer Plugins 2022 | Eventide, Melda, Aegean Music

7 Best Sidechain Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX) | Xfer, Cableguys..

 

Top 10 Noise Gate Plugins 2022 (And 6 FREE Free Gate Tools)

The 6 Best Ring Modulator VST Plugins in 2022 | KiloHearts, Melda

7 Best Autopan VST Plugins 2022 | CableGuys, Melda, Waves, Soundtoys

The 6 Best Frequency Shifter VST Plugins Of 2022

Top 11 Granulizer Plugins 2022 For Future Sound Design

29 Best Sound Design VST Plugins In 2022

 

Recording, Mixing, Mastering & Restoration

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

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

Full Guide To Comb Filtering & Resonator – What Is It & How It works?

How Loud Should Subbass Be?

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

How to Fix It & Avoid Phase Cancellation In Music?

Should Drums Be in Mono or Stereo? (Kick, Snare, Clap and Percussions)

 

Difference Between LUFS, RMS & True Peak Loudness Meters

4 Ways To Remove Noise From Your Recordings (+ How To Prevent It)

How Loud Should a Mix Be Before Mastering? Recording, Mixing & Levels

6 Unique Tips How To Improve Your Vocal Recordings

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

Mixing With Reverb: How To Add Life To Your Mixes

5 Quick Ways To Make Vocals Sound Better (Mixing Guide)

How To Use Upward & Downward Compression in Your Mix?

 

PC:

What PC, RAM & CPU Do I Need For Music Production In 2022?

Don`t copy text!