How Steinberg failed with VST3

Computer Music, May 2011, Issue 164. Page 12.

Angues Hewlett, MD of FXpansion.

Quote: “Its a shame Steinberg felt they had to “start from scratch” with VST3. They didnt really consult the developer community before announcing it as a fait accompli, and that’s resulted in ill will and reduced support from developers…If they’d built it on top of VST2.4 there’d be wider adoption already.”

a familiar tune …another lesson to learn Steinberg? .where are all the vst3 plugins? everyone was gonna rush to make them right?

I agree, I don’t understand how I, Cubase user, have less choice in terms of plugins than a Reaper or Sonar user.

I mean last year I was on the market to find a compressor that has VST3 sidechain, and I found some manufacturers but not as much as I expected. Manufacturers are moving to VST3 but it’s very slow.

It’s been 4 years now from VST3 was first introduced.

When you develop a VST3 plug-in you get the VST2.4 and AU versions automatically. They write one plug-in format and they get 3. That alone is a big improvement for the developers from my point of view. :slight_smile:

I’ll bet those same manufacturers are pretty slow to get anything and always blame somebody else.
You could equally say, “How Steinberg failed with 64bit” as a large and major part or the VST making industry took ages to get that straight.
Nobody has to upgrade as earlier versions of Cubase are still usable as are the old VST2.4 standards but I don’t seem to see any development going on there either.

Steinberg’s got it exactly right in this case in my opinion. If I’m allowed a differing opinion. :mrgreen:

Conman…same article…Computer Music, May 2011, Issue 164. Page 12…same paragraph…

Angues Hewlett, MD of FXpansion. “In terms of what customers are asking for, x64 support is much higher priority”.

i think the point that Angues was making Crohde is that when writing a VST plugin its not the same the other way around…writing a VST2.4 plugin (which most companies have already done) doesnt mean you are half-way-there to writing a VST3 plugin. They have to start again from scratch, which most of them dont want to do just to keep their ole pal $teiny happy.

What i think is funniest is that the problem never occurred to $B …they just marched on convinced that everyone would follow because they were told to by mother $teiny to do so. And are surprised when consistently everyone else doesnt follow? Perhaps again our German friends should have asked, not TOLD the rest of the world what to do…

You are quite right.

It’s the very similar case with Microsoft; whenever the market leader publishes something, the bulk of end-users - those little naggers - will always give the rest of us their share of complaining about everything. Like when Windows XP was published, some of the folks hanged on on their precious NT4 until they were forced to get a life and have a reality check. And as like XP was “meant to be” so crappy, then why is it the most widely used OS ever built?

The same goes with the market leader Steinberg. I’m pretty damn sure that there’s a good reason for Steinberg to be where it is and mathematically - when there’s a certain percentage of negative people among of us - the net amount of them grows as does the overall popularity so the negative aspects emerge more often.

So you are right about the 64-bit world too; one might easily say that Steiny “has failed” but that’s as far from the truth than are the palm trees from North Pole; After a few years NO-ONE is using 32-bit ancient software anymore. After a few (maybe 4-5) years NO-ONE is using VST2 anymore, but VST3 instead.

This is ONCE AGAIN just a typical reaction for creating something new and the actual fact that it’s impossible to please everybody - whatever you do.

So as far as I am concerned, Steiny has made me a happy man. And a more self-confident man. That’s much to say, but it’s true. My music’s success has exploded since starting using Cubase. The songs have always been good :mrgreen: but Steiny has made it possible for me to sound it even better.

no-one is saying that Steinberg has failed with x64 bit (unless you count their bridge hehe).

x64 bit is a great reason to upgrade/update a plugin. but its funny that programmers are just upgrading to VST2.4 x64, not going up to vst3…

Developers can still write for 2.4. They don’t have to write for VST3 straight away.
So they have to write VST3 from scratch? So what’s new? Good businesses should be ahead of the game.

This is where the VST bridge debacle was so flawed. Nobody had to use it. They just wanted to. They said they wanted to use the extra ram when apparently they had used adequate ram for years or their ram-munching VSTs didn’t work.

Same here. You can’t have it both ways. Advances can’t be stopped because some can’t keep up.
Nobody stops the 100 meter sprint because fatty is out of breath at the back. And all this post is saying is “It’s not fair!” Life isn’t.

In the end, it’s the market. The Sony Betamax was technologically superior.

For developers, Steinberg isn’t the only game in town. If Reaper hasn’t well overtaken the lead in customer base … it will.

Yes, I prefer Cubase … but truthfully, you have to learn a lot about DAWs before you can say what you prefer … since many users never really begin to delve into the deeper features.

VST3 development is as dependent or more on other DAWs incorporating it as on plug-in developers. That’s what will create the larger market and incentivize developers.

So, besides ‘sidechaining’ and turning off when not in use … what other great advantage does VST3 have?

I would have been more than happy with simple track to track routing for side chaining in VST2.4 sidechain enabled plugs … something Reaper and Ableton have had for years.


Plug-in interfaces should be owned and developed by community. A working group within AES or IEEE. Communication protocols within IETF. But steinberg is now a yamaha company witch are even more closed than steinberg used to be. For example totally failed with their audio protocol over firewire and that was very closed with NDA etc. I hope it is a big pain in theirs asses it’s well deserved. Steinberg/yamaha is also very closed with their interfaces for remote controller with cubase/nuendo. And it really sucks! And the I guess that is also a the reason for why remote controllers working so bad and are poor handled by the VST3 interface. They make cubase a lot worse as product just to try to sell their hardware. (Do the cubase community a big favour, dont buy yamaha or steinberg hardware, it will in the end make cubase a better product)

Learned a lesson by the midex8/win7x64 debacle… :wink:

nice discussion.
but the best part of the introduction of VST3 is to know that Cubase offers VST2 even more.

-more MIDI virtual port towards VSTis (having 4 MIDI inputs for samplers with 64 parts would be a great thing!)

  • better management of I/O ( plugins automatically will set up their outputs to whatever number of channels are required, so in a 5.1 set up plugins will be automatically 5.1 rather than stereo.)

  • native support of side-chaining, and better mixing of audio and MIDI ports (making a vocoder isn’t so complex as for VST 2.x)

  • hierarchical automation: for VSTi with a lot of parameters the developer can organize them in a structured view.

  • better management of multi-processing (VST3 separates between graphic and business logic)


Please. Get the “us and them” attitude out of your head and everything will become a lot simpler. Of course they develop things to make their end of the market stronger and make more MONEY.
Like a bouncer not letting you in the club because he doesn’t like the look of you. It’s not personal. It’s the way the world is.
They haven’t made VST3 the only thing you can use (which could be “personal”). It’s just VST3 plus Cubase 6 and you don’t have to use either.
I would understand this complaint if they had made it the only things you could use but otherwise I just see it as a slightly paranoid, immature rant and fairly pointless. I certainly don’t see a large complaint from the well employed professional community here. End of, for me.


Just chiming in on this ‘failed vs succeed’ thang,

I’d trade my paycheck for Mr. Steinbergs paycheck ASAP.

You can still use VST2 plug-ins, granted that SOME of them seem to have trouble working through the bridge.

I, like you, have been forced to use VST2 plugs that I already had bought, but the real reason I am forced to do so, you already pointed out, and that is simply because the plug-in vendors refuse (their right, of course, but yes, refuse) to go VST3. The natural consequence of this is of course that new (or “smaller”, sorry Urs, you know what I mean) vendors will eventually lead the market, like always, and that VST3 plugs will (eventually) be available. :slight_smile:

Some of them must not understand the concept of software development and the need to advance with technology. I mean, many vendors don’t even (or if, just recently) have 64-bit plugs, and this is mostly a compiler factor.

I think that the importance of the protocol abstraction layer between two communicating nodes (e.g. host and plug-in), is often misunderstood or otherwise undervalued.

VST3 introduced this concept, whereas VST2, like most “old” software component standards, is hardwired (hardcoded if you will), and so this will make it easier to expand on in the future (because a new feature can interface “the same way as that other feature”).

A good example of this is the Note Expression introduced in VST3.5. In order for a plug to support this feature, the developer has to add code.

This COULD have been hardwired into VST2, but in order for a plug-in to take advantage of it, the plug would have had to have been re-coded to accomodate the feature.

So both ways (VST2 and VST3) require developers to add code to support a new feature. The point is that VST3 makes that process easier, though initially, the plug-in has to be re-engineered to BE a compliant VST3 plug-in.

I’ve seen posts from a couple of well known plug-in developers that claims (“oh my”) ALL code has to be rewritten from scratch, which is of course absurd. The plug-in itself, already in VST2, has to support the other plug-in formats as well, so the code that make up the plug-in specifics is usually “self contained” anyways, just tapped into from the plug-in framework “wires”.

Meaning, the code that makes the actual effect or synthesizer, is usually coded in such a way that parts of it are already reused in other plug-ins, and apart from the plug-in framework. E.g. FFT routines, general DSP libraries, etc. The framework merely interacts with the plug-in code.

As crohde put it: “When you develop a VST3 plug-in you get the VST2.4 and AU versions automatically. They write one plug-in format and they get 3. That alone is a big improvement for the developers from my point of view.”

As to the OP’s quote from the magazine article. As you can see, they got their information from one side of the “argument”, obviously. (Or maybe the OP only quoted as such.)

Though, I see that people still use the term “start again” and “from scratch” in the argument (from the one side). What a load of horse apples! If a plug-in developer HAD to do that, I would agree with them, that it is a pain. But also, in that same breath, I would suggest some alternate business to make a living from. What you WOULD have to do is much reorganizing the code (can you say copy/paste), change code to accomodate the framework interactive differences, though the plug-in in itself is still the same plug-in, save a few changes here and there. This does not seem like “from scratch” to me!

Mate, Steinberg has not “failed” with VST3. The vendors that cannot see “any reason” (I am sure many, at the time, could not see why a piece of paper should be used to whipe ones behind, when there are leaves available for free) to move to VST3, are the ones failing. Not matter what the reasoning is, Steinberg is not going to abandon something that is getting better every day, for yesterdays that COULD have been.

Note Expression is awesome!
Think, to be able to manipulate each drum note separately from one another in a drum patch! :slight_smile:

Try it using a MIDI guitar. Awesome!

Thanks for the scoop.

The first of these makes sense … but not the second. As I said, VST2.4 already permitted side chaining in hosts that permit audio routing between tracks … something that Cubases still doesn’t do, unless you want to count the dodgy ‘quadro’ work around.

I guess we could have a semantic discussion of what ‘native’ means.

The auto i/o thing … meh!

Now note expression in 3.5, on the other hand, has intrigue.

I guess I’m just still bitter that I love almost everything about Cubase except that it has inferior routing compared to the competition.


I can appreciate that, mate.

The Cubase developers have been known to be around in the forums, so express your concerns and perhaps throw in some examples on solutions and if enough people chime in, Cubase may eventually change, accomodating your needs.


If you are able to program the Generic Controller, you can control almost EVERYTHING within Cubase, using for example a cheap NanoKontrol. Every company has the chance to do this, and as MIDI is on the market since 1983 and kind of freeware, I wouldn ´t say, it´s a closed system. And you can use various Generic Controllers a the same time, so what´s the problem?

All the best.