Mixer name shortening convention

The algorithm used to shorten plugin / group names needs some serious attention. Currently it takes the first characters and the last couple, adding a couple of “…” between the two, frequently resulting in an unreadable mess. This is currently the mixer’s biggest handicap imo. Spaces (with replacement capitalisation), punctuation then vowels disappearing should be the first things to go when shortening, imo.

Developer Plugin 3 = 18 chars
DvlprPlgn3 = 10 chars
Develo… 3 = 10 chars, current convention.

EDIT - on Raphie’s implied suggestion, fleshing out the priority rules:

  1. Cut spaces and punctuation, add capitalisation at the beginning of each word.
  2. Cut vowels except for last characters, starting on words in the last but one and working backwards towards the first (final word given 2nd priority after the first word)
  3. Cut consonants in the middle of words in the last but one and working backwards towards the first (final word given 2nd priority after the first word)
  4. Cut final letters of words in the last but one and working backwards towards the first (final word given 2nd priority after the first word)
  5. Keep numbers intact as final priority

EDIT 2 - thanks to djw who pointed out that (broadly) this convention is followed by Sternberg in C9 in the VST rack, for the shortening of plugin names. Would therefore in theory just be a matter of porting over this to replace the current mixer name shortening code.

Ok, what happens if the name is Developer Plugin Stereo M/S buss version 3?
it will still say “DvlprPlgn3” ?

There are of course further rules, I was giving a starter example but will expand since you raised it. The best next step for shortening the very long is to reduce the number of chracters per word prioritising first and last. If after all that you still need to shorten, then reducing to first letters in the middle, so that would become…


…which is 10 characters. Of course you have picked an absolute worst case scenario to make a point. I just checked my own list - the most number of words / numbers I have in my list of 200+ plugins is 6 words:

Vienna Ensemble Pro Audio Input x64


Hardly a joy to read, but the information is there, improving on “Vienna…64” which completely misses the main part of what this plugin is. (And exposes two other useful rules - keeping the last character even if its a vowel, and keeping numbers together)

Another couple of challenging real world examples from my list down to 10 chars:

Abbey Road Plates Mono/Stereo

AyRdPsMoSo (as opposed to Abbey…eo)

Abbey Road Plates Stereo

AbbyRdPsSo (as opposed to Abbey…eo, confusingly identical to the above)

iZotope Ozone 7 Vintage Compressor

IZeOe7VeCr (as opposed to iZotop…or)

This isn’t some kind of bizarre esoteric idea, it is what Pro Tools has used for years and is one thing they get absolutely right. You do seem to like to defend the status quo, Raphie, but there really are better ways of doing this. None will be perfect in every scenario of course, but will massively increase the intelligibility success rate.

(Will amend Op to further clarify best rules)

can I just say my muscle memory finds the Steinberg way easier? especially in context with the channel and my general knowledge of the project? Your brain might we wired differently but for me, the Steinberg way is more intuitive

Imagine this, what are the odds that you will have 2 identical abbreviated but unrelated plugins underneath eachother?

All the iZotope plugins, for a start, will begin identically, leaving just two letters differently - vintage eq and regular kind become the same for example.

This request didn’t come about because I’m looking for things to gripe about, it came about because I cannot find my way around my mixer - the abbreviations frequently make absolutely no sense to me at all. Right this second I’m working in Pro Tools, and I have an instance of Kontakt 5 AAX in the project. In its narrow view, it has just 4 characters to display, and it reads K5AA - they’ve made it clear even in 4 characters. Looking at their logic, it’s slightly different to my list above, when I’m really bored and not mid-project I’ll take a much closer look at their algorithm because it does work exceptionally well, I can nearly always see at a glance what plugins I have, and as I say, that’s on 4 characters, not 10! It’s quite astonishing, actually.

It could cut off any “x64”, “64”, “64-bit” or “VST”/“VSTi” part because all plugins are 64-bit VSTs.

Raphie, here’s an example:


These two effects could mean Valhalla Plate, Ubermod, VintageVerb, Room, etc., and Fabfilter’s compressor, EQ, limiter or reverb, etc. How is this not a problem to you?

I understood that you can rename plugins in the plugin manager?
imagine you have maybe 50 plugins? spend 15mins in renaming them to something useful for you and you’re set?
back up your preferences (as you should do anyway) and your set with exactly the naming you prefer?

You can’t, that’s a feature request.

ahh ok, yeah i get the vendor name prefix and x64 suffix which don’t help.
not sure though if the abbreviation convention proposed above is the most clear one.

Yes, an alternate solution is to either rename or - better - ADD a short name in the plugin manager, which Cubase would use when appropriate. If you have hundreds of plugins it would take a while to set up, but would definitely be worth it. Perhaps Pro Tools has this built into the AAX spec, because it’s spookily good. Air Non Linear Reverb condenses to the perfectly serviceable NLR. On the other hand, iZotope Ozone 7 Dynamic EQ went down to Oz7 - just 3 characters, and lacking critical information. But hey, it’s three characters, I can’t think how you could possibly do it in 3 - Oz7DEQ would be the shortest with any clarity.

I just did a quick real world PT12 Test on a track name called “A Very Long Test Name v64”. In the main window, it condenses to AVryLngTstN64, 13 characters long which broadly seems to follow my prinicples. In the narrow mix view, it becomes AVVL64, both good options.

Here’s another real world test on iZotope Ozone 7 Vintage Compressor in Pro Tools:

ZtpOzn7VntgCm - 13 characters, PT12 track name
ZtpOzn7VnC - 10 characters, PT10 track name
ZO7VC - 5 characters, PT12 narrow mix name

PT clearly prioritises vowels over first and last letters, which is a surprise, but I think it works better that way actually. If I could set my own name for it in Plugin Manager, I’d choose


The Racks view already abbreviates VSTs, doesn’t it?

Well waddaya know, it does doesn’t it? Basically seems to follow these rules - Vienna Instruments Pro scales down to VnnInstrmP; Vienna Ensemble Pro Event Input becomes VnnEnsPEI . This is great - means Sternberg has already done the hard bit, it scales dynamically too, just as the mixer would need to.

So this feature request just got a whole lot easier - use the same code in the mixer naming as in the VST Rack. Thanks for the pointer, djw.

Here’s another place that uses the abbrevation:

The full directory name is “Orchestral Template-06”

Curiouser and curiouser - Sternberg, why do you not use this vastly better naming convention in the mixer?

Regardless of the changes that are made, I am in favor of the feature request to allow users to create aliases for the plugin names in the Plugin Manager. With this users have the option, of using the truncation that Steinberg comes up with or creating their own names.

It may also be an option that Steinberg creates several options for the name truncation and allows the user to choose which one they prefer in the user options. This would be for users that don’t want to create aliases for all of their plugins.

Another option that may work is to have a section for users to script some basic rules themselves, For instance a rule to display Fab Filter as FF and so on…

I think completering the new truncation and custom names would be fine.
I can’t remember the last time i didn’t knob which slot was which and don’t forget a hover over with the mouse displays it’s full name.

I don’t really have an issue with the algorithm it uses to shorten the names… BUT… what I do have an issue with is that when you extend the tracks wider and open up more space, the names stay condensed. Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ANNOYING.

It would be great if it could utilize the extra horizontal space to readout more of the name. I HATE having to constantly work with unreadable track names.

Totally agree with this request, in narrow mixer view every uad plugin are the same…