Can I create VST 2 support for host application? (VST 3 license)


I have signed VST 3 SDK license, that means I can create VST 3 only plug-ins. But, can I create VST 2 support for my host application? If it is possible.

VST3 License allows only VST3 support as plug-in and as host. But not VST2… So new products supporting VST2 are not allowed.

A sort of follow-up question, if you don’t mind:

Is there any license-approved way to create a host that can load VST2 plugins? I’ve been evaluating adding VST support to an in-development piece of software, and the whole reason to do so is to gain access to the wealth of existing plugins. Being unable to get VST2 support would be a big impediment to that - given that, of all the plugins I have on my machine (about 80) only 5 of them are available as VST3s, it would be really nice if there were a way to support loading the ones that aren’t, still.

So, I guess, here are my questions:

  • Is it still possible to license the VST2 SDK for host applications only (i.e. a license that does not allow plugin development but still allows host development)?
  • If not, would it be possible/acceptable to the license to write a host-side VST2 wrapper (similar to the plugin-side VST2 wrapper) that wraps a loaded VST2 plugin and exposes it as if it were a VST3 one?

I understand why the restriction for creating plugins (because the VST3 interface is clearly better and you want to move people to it), but it would be nice if it were still possible to support VST2s in new hosts - otherwise it’s basically saying that we can never support the breadth of plugins that existing hosts already support, simply because we started later, and that’s really unfortunate, and it ultimately would make our product a harder sell to customers if we only support a fraction of the plugins they’re used to dealing with.


I understand your points but after talking internally with our lawyers it is not possible to license a VST2 for host too for new development, sorry.

In 2013 Steinberg announced the end of the VST2 SDK release. Five years later, in October 2018, Steinberg no longer makes the VST2 SDK available and no longer enters into VST2 license agreements. Previously, maintenance and technical support for VST2 had already been discontinued.
We regret to inform you that it is no longer possible to conclude a license agreement for VST2.
Our offer: Take full advantage of the VST3 interface, which has grown over more than a decade, and sign a VST3 license agreement.
Steinberg’s VST3 was created through careful analysis of previous VST versions to improve the developer and user experience.
VST3 is supported by more than one hundred hosts on four different computer platforms, ensuring that your plugin ideas are widely distributed.
Using VST3 allows you to develop your plugins quickly and efficiently. The VST3 SDK helps you to achieve a very high product quality.
Your users enjoy a very good visual overview, optimized load balancing and higher system stability.
• Advantages for software developers:
o Modular approach simplifies the development and maintenance of VST3 plugins
o Test host for improving the quality of VST3 plugins during development,
o Automated test environment,
o VST3 Validator to ensure VST3 conformity and avoid time-consuming certificate administration,
o UTF-16 compatible.

• Advantages for users:
o Higher stability of the entire host / plugin system,
o Strict separation of user interface and process operations,
o Optimized load distribution in the overall system by using the Silence Flag,
o Hierarchical categorization of plugins and automation parameters for a better overview,
o Multiple dynamic I/O assignment,
o Sample accurate automation,
o Resize the plugin Editor window,
o Support of context menus,
o Available information on the channel context (name, color, …),
o Support of Steinberg’s Note Expression technology,
o 3D sound support.