plugins - vst2 vs vst3

just got myself some new computer hardware and Im about to install the plugins into nuendo v5.5.5 (64bit).
I usually install the vst2 versions of plugins, as I never found out the main difference between the 2 standards, other than with vst2 I can make custom named folders and arrange the plugins the way I see them, for example im still using the “oldschool” folder named “VSTi” for synths and drummachines etc…

apart from naming folders and installing plugins this way, are there any other really bigtime differences in vst2 vs vst3 ?
to be specific, does the vst3 plugin use less cpu over the vst2 ?
are there other benefits of vst3 versions over the vst2 ?



yeah, I had a look in there before I posted, and came to the conclusion that I wanted to ask real persons actually using vst3 plugins, if they had noticed any difference. on paper it may all be good and well, and how about in the real world ? :slight_smile:

I did install both vst2 and vst3 of the plugins, so I will see how it goes, but as far as I tried yesterday afternoon and last night, it seems to be an even race on the cpumeter.


What I like about VST3:

  • plugins are able to shut down as soon as there’s nothing to compute, thus saving CPU power (massively, under certain circumstances)
  • they are always 64bit compatible
  • they are able to scale to a multi-channel track-format automatically
  • side-chain options (!!!)
  • dynamically assignable outputs in case of VSTi’s
  • more that one internal MIDI-port in case of VSTi’s (… something other formats are missing dreadfully)
  • automation options are more consistent, the automation itself is sample-accurate

What I don’t like about VST3:

  • no FXB/FXP-files anymore, which makes it much harder to organize and to migrate setups to another system
  • no customized folder structure for organizing the plugins’ DLLs
  • no true surround processing (with linked side-chains and/or controls for L/R, Ls/Rs and so on, just dumb multi-mono processing)


Main thing for me is sidechaining (when it is switched on).

Main gripe is the shoddy surround handling - although this is not because of VST3 any more than it is with VST2, it is down to the programming - there are VST3 plugins with good surround handling.

Dietz, we need to beat up on STeinberg over the surround handling in the stockies.

sadly I reverted back to oldschool here…
32bit nuendo and vst2 plugins. this simply just works…

the 64bit nuendo seems to handle plugins slower, the same plugins work way faster in 32bit, I dont know why this is.
also I had a major issue with some old 32bit plugins crashing my 64bit nuendo bigtime. I tried the j-bridge, as I seen many posts in this forum about that working better. it did work better, but still I had massive lags and some minor issues with j-bridge, so…
yeah, back to what works…

thanks for posting tho :slight_smile:


Hi Michael.
At the risk of soundding like a broken down gramophone, the biggest cause of trouble in the 64-bit world is using 32-bit plugins via the cobble that is the BitBridge, be it the stockie or J-Bridge.
The best way to minimize the pain is to set up your 3rd party (ie Shared) plugin folders in such a way that your host will never scan both 32 & 64 bit versions - the way I have set it up is like this:
C:\Program Files\64 - contains all 3rd party 64-bit plugins.
C:\Program Files\32 - contains 32-bit only plugins
C:\Program Files\32_Shared - contains 32-bit plugs that also have a 64-bit version installed.

64-bit hosts scan the 64 & 32 Shared folders, never the 32 one.
32-bit hosts scan both 32-bit folders
Result = stable system, no crashes, no trouble.

Plugs used? Antares (all), Slate (all), UAD (all), Lexicon PCM, Waves Mercury, etc etc etc - never a single crash caused by a plugin to date (crosses fingers & scratches head due to no other wood available)

thanks Neil for the input :slight_smile:
however I decided to go with oldschool 32bit through and through. it simply just works for me. its no fuss, just straight in and make music and sounds.

I guess the real shame about all this is that the steinberg (inventers of the actual vst standard) dont make a better bridge. the existing bridge has been out for a number of years, and its still not good. its not total crap, but its not good, and it needs to be good, or it should perhaps not even be there in the first place. and I know, steiny says the bridge is there to be a little help along the way, not to actually perform wonders…
but still… if the inventors of the vst standard cant make a better bridge in their own products, where other companies can… it does make you think…

I would love to see the bridge be simply transparent and “just working”, so I as user didnt have to think about how many bits the actual plugins are. as long as the host is 64bits and the bridge is invisible, it would be straight to creating music and sounds, instead of spending 2-3 days of trial and errors…

so steinberg please… make a better bridge for us.


You don’t listen to vintage gramophones? ( Hello, Neil :wink: )
Then, you must work 32 bits…

Big K,
64 all the way with lots of vst / vst3 … no bridges… no problems,
but plenty of RAM, sidechaining and less CPU load…

Not the old wind-up type, no - but still a lot of vinyl here because there are an awful lot of things that never got digital releases, orelse when they did the “remastering” sucks so badly as to make them unlistenable

Sadly, still having to use bridges here as well - Sonox Restoration, various 112dB, Bootsy plugins etc.
Mostly 64-bit now though (thanks to UAD getting it together at last)

It is a little pastime for me, too, to retore old vinyls with sometimes astonishingly good results.
You are absolutley right, Neil. Some re-mastered stuff is simply horrible. Reminds me of some early '80s CD-masters when they just didn’t get it right transfering Vinyl masters to Digital.
And there are so many different versions on the market. A few releases of the same records are ok and some others … yak…

Sorry for calling you vintage grammophone. hehehe … I nearly suggested to listen to forum oldies…
Btw, atm., I do a box full of shellacs with a new pick-up needle for 78 rpm that reads the wider grooves with great quality. Next week I do Capstan plug work to restore a bunch of old 1/4" reeltapes… fun work…

It is ridiculous that Sonnox has not yet released a 64-bit version of their restoration tools.
Most of the other plugs are, already.

Big K