VST2 discontinued across entire Steinberg product range - Windows and Mac

I noticed the wording that Greg Ondo used on the last hangout was interesting:-
January 21st 2022 Club Cubase Live Stream - YouTube (03:41)

“VST2 support Isn’t over” (Obviously, in the current context that’s correct)

However, in regard to future versions…
Probably won’t be VST2 support going forward”
and
May not be working”

As Greg is internal, That leads me to think this is more of a front to move developers along than a very definite shutoff. At the least, how he’s talking is not as definite as the wording in the statement.

“Compatibility” is the term being used of course. Not maintaining compatibility means what exactly what? Does it mean total removal of VST2? Or simply a hard line “We won’t be fixing anything that breaks with your VST2 plugins” stance?

If he’s incorrectly played it down there, perhaps he can iterate more formally in the next hangout.

I’d happily settle for that - it’s not as if cubase/nuendo is bug free and ‘fully supported’ things don’t get fixed either :slight_smile:

It sounds exactly as definite as the statement. The only thing he’s saying is that this isn’t an issue for Cubase users now, it will be an issue at some point in the future for anyone who wants to use a future version of Cubase because that version won’t support VST2.

The statement says that within 24 months plugin compliance will be VST3 only. It’s not clear what ‘compliance’ means, and whether they’re shutting out VST2 completely, or just not willing to maintain it.

So within 24 months we won’t be able to use VST2 on the latest DAW version, or we ‘perhaps’ or ‘maybe’ will?

Because your writing of “Some point” in relation to “A” future version is not very definitive either.

Nither are choices of words such as “May” or “Probably” as mentioned during the hangouts.

I mean, If i wasn’t aware of the statements and reading all this - I would’ve heard Greg say that and not be overly concerned if i was relying on VST2 currently, it’s very underplayed.

But If the statement is 100% true then he’d been better off confirming that it’s VST3 only within 24 months and users need to check now and hassle developers for VST3 compliance - do you not think?

You don’t know, and I don’t know is the truth.

Can please someone confirm that VST 2 will be supported in Cubase 12?

Here you go: Cubase 12 and VST2 support? - #3 by Matthias_Quellmann

The post you quoted does not give a clear answer. The first part says: “Yes, correct, VST 2 support will be scrapped!”. This can be interpreted as “there will be no VST 2 support in Cubase 12”.

Will VST 2 be supported in Cubase 12? Yes or no?

yes it’s been confirmed - with the proviso that the mac version will need to run via Rosetta in the M1 macs in order to access VST2 plugins. Native M1 is VST3 only.

Thanks a lot very nice

just thought I’d copy this link that @Nico5 posted in another thread:
https://www.plogue.com/plgfrms/viewtopic.php?f=4&p=49574#p49574

It pretty much echoes what ALL the developers I’ve spoken to have said.

For VST effects, I don’t think it’s as big of a problem. I won’t miss VST2 much in that respect.

For VSTi INSTRUMENTS, this could be a big deal. I’ll have to seriously consider opting out of future updates that cannot host a VST2 INSTRUMENT plugin!

Also, for what it’s worth…I invested in Cubase BEACUSE it has the best LEGACY SUPPORT in the industry! It’s the only DAW on the market that can handle damn near anything I care to plug into it! The VST2 era is HUGE. People have HUGE project libraries that are going to be calling for plugins that may well only exist in VST2, have a different id for the VST3 version, or can’t use the FXB/FXP settings stored with the project.

What makes it even stranger, is that the ‘change’ straddles a move from USB dongle-ware, to a different system. So newer customers in the future might never have a way to ‘roll back’ to a solid VST2 version of Cubase. Those of us who have dongles and keys, well, if the dongle ever breaks or gets lost…we’ll be toasted?!?

I’ve inquired about VST3 variants of some of my most used plugins that to date either don’t have a VST3 version, or the VST3 version is either buggy, or dumbed way down (far fewer features).

Those developers didn’t seem very happy about my message (their annoyance at my inquiry directed towards Steinberg, not at me of course). They didn’t promise to support VST3, nor did they say they wouldn’t. I did gather that it will be a LOT of work for them, and with such complexities that it could be a couple of years before a clean, full featured VST3 does come to light.

I.E. They might have to strip out a bunch of features in the short term, and gradually add them back (reworked). There will be bugs to fix, etc…

So, it’s like taking a very mature and uber stable plugin with years of refinement and extra features added back to version 0.3a overnight! That’s NOT PROGRESS!

And here’s my problem as an end user.

I truly RELY on those 2 plugins. Every project I’ve done since I got into PC based sequencing with Cubase 7 uses them (had used stuff like Atar ST synced with HD Workstations and dedicated sequencers and racked-up hardware before)!

These aren’t just plugins for an audio effect that is easy to replace. These are ENTIRE INSTRUMENT LIBRARIES! They sound a certain way, and they behave to specific events on controller lanes in very specific ways! We have years worth of ‘expression maps’ and ‘templates’ to go with them! Quite literally, THOUSANDS of hours of ‘reusable’ stuff that’d suddenly become ‘totally useless’. I.E. The way an accent mark on a score is ‘interpreted’ by an expression map, so we don’t have to keep drawing the crap in over and over on controller lanes by hand every time we need it! YEARS of research and refinement…might be OUT THE WINDOW for Steinberg world.

There is nothing technically wrong with the way they function or sound for my needs, and the few things I’m not happy with about the libraries I’ve supplemented from other sources (some of the supplements don’t have a solid VST3 yet either).

It’d be like telling a violinist that she can’t use her Lady Blunt Stradivarius!

Another of these plugins is something of a unity host. It allows me to aggregate multiple plugins into one, and manipulate it all together is if it were ‘one giant instrument’. It melds things, allows me to fix flaws, process stuff that couldn’t be processed before, and a whole lot more!

80% of my projects use at least one instance of ‘both’ of these plugins.

Currently, it’s no problem to export setups for the plugins and bring them into ALL of my DAWs and Scoring suites. It has worked very well for over a decade!

Hopefully we’ll get a VST3 for the two plugins I’m on about here, but if they have to strip out 30% of the power and capabilities of the stuff in the short term, and we’re back to essentially ‘beta testing as paid users’ the stuff for another 3 years until it’s ever working as well as the existing VST2, well, it’s going to be a big fat MESS.

I think Steinberg needs to include the tools that make it easy to compile a working VST3 from the old VST2 code without totally redesigning the plugin form the ground up, or wait for VST4 to get all ‘pushy’ about it, and make sure VST4 protocol INCLUDES all of the tools and information for devs to easily port VST2 and VST3 stuff into VST4.

Meanwhile, if they want to sandbox VST2 and have some kind of ‘bridge’. Fine…but the DAW still needs a way to function with VST2 plugins as if it’s being natively hosted (don’t force the user to have to make special VST wrappers for the bridge and mess. It should just WORK). There is simply way too much content out there that relies on VST2.

And don’t say ‘just roll back’. That’ll be IMPOSSIBLE too as the USB dongles gradually disappear (for future users that never had one, and old users who wear out/break/lose theirs).

So really, native VST2 support needs to stay in at least 2 releases under the new dongle-free licensing system!

Mac users need a native M1 release or two before VST2 is ditched as well! Who knows when Apple will pull their usual BS and pull Rossetta out of the OS. (I’ve never owned another Mac after the stunt they pulled with PPC > Intel…and don’t get me started on how they yanked multi-platform support for Quick Time! I’ll never touch an Apple PC again unless ‘someone else buys it and hands it to me’)

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My main concern with this, is that developers having to put the extra work in won’t (or can’t) offer it out as a free update. Which means, at best, new versions of the plugins will need to purchased to support development costs.

Not so good for older projects being opened in future versions, of course. But, that’s always a risk to presume all will be fine.

It does make me wonder if there was some way that Steinberg could setup a “redirect list” within the plugin manager.

i.e. if plugin1.vst2 can’t be found it will load plugin2.vst3 instead. Perhaps with an additional option to attempt recalling parameters also.

Not a clue how viable that is, or how many users would even make use of it.

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Any users of GForce instruments, just noticed this on their site:-

"Yes, we’ve heard that Steinberg have announced that their products will stop supporting VST2 in the next 2 years. Don’t worry, by that time all our non-legacy instruments will have VST3 available.

Closer is the announcement that Cubase 12 on Apple Silicon Macs won’t support VST2. All native Apple Silicon DAWs have to drop VST2, so far they all allow VST2 to operate when running the DAW in Rosetta mode. We believe that this will also be the case with Cubase 12, but await confirmation."

That’s encouraging news. :+1:

Saw that too - very good to see them address it.

Although two years is a long time. Super-entitled I know, but for those with AS machines or planning to upgrade, it’s hard to imagine wanting to run Cubase 12 through Rosetta. So much as I love MTron Pro and VSM, I’m a bit wary already now of using them in new projects.

I think the comparison with the droping of 32-bit plugins is not quite right, because vendors that wrote 64-bit versions of their plugins retained the same VST UID and thus projects created with 32-bit plugins could be opened on 64-bit Cubase as long as the plugin had a 64-bit version.

In the case of VST2 and VST3, the standards are so radically different that a huge number of devs have created completely independent versions of their plugins in VST3 format, with different UIDs. This means that even if companies eventually support VST3, that does not ensure we will be able to open older projects at all.

Some companies (like Native Instruments) have managed to literally replace their VST2 version with VST3 using the same UID, but a huge amount of others (D16 Group, DMG Audio, MeldaProduction, Cableguys, u-he and so so many more) have completely independent versions.

Ultimately, this comes down to project compatibility for me. I open old projects all the time, and with jBridge, I can still open projects from Cubase 4 using all my old plugins in Cubase 11 Pro.

My only hope is that either Steinberg will realise that dropping VST2 support is a huge mistake or we see a VST2 to VST3 wrapper appear in the coming 24 months.

In my experience working with computers dating back to DOS 5 until Windows 11 (and also 5 exclusive years of macOS usage), backwards compatibility is one of the most important things to pros and enterprise customers. There’s a reason that Windows 11 can still run Windows XP apps without an issue. Meanwhile our poor macOS users are constantly dealing with breaking changes due to Apple’s constant changing goalposts. This has to be a big part of the reason that Microsoft dominates in the corporate and enterprise sector, and is even the better choice for Cubase users, because even on the latest Windows 11 Pro, I can run Cubase SX3 and open all my old projects without a problem.

If VST2 were already completely superseeded, I would understand, but there are still many large vendors and very prominent plugins that are VST2 only. For many, moving to VST3 is a full rewrite of their plugin and lots of smaller vendors simply can’t afford to put in another year of work rewriting their plugin to support a standard that has not really proven to be more stable or benificial in most real-world usage.

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I just want to make sure that announcements like these don’t stay unnoticed:

VST 3

We plan to support VST3 this year and are aware of the fact that Steinberg / Cubase is planning to stop supporting VST2 in the near future.

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yes, obviously some or lots of developers will update to VST3

BUT

  1. That doesn’t help those using legacy plugins that may never be updated - that still work just fine.

  2. Lots of these updates will be PAID updates or new versions - meaning the cost of ‘upgrading’ to Cubase/Nuendo 13 (?) could be huge for many of us

I think that we as the DAW have a different definition of “working just fine”. We want to provide the highest level of stability for our customers and VST 2 plug-ins (especially the “legacy” ones that haven’t been updated to latest technologies and OS in the last 10 years…) are a major risk factor. There are currently a lot of claims in various forums going around about VST 3. But one of the key benefits of VST 3 is stability.

That is just another assumption and I can’t comment the business decisions of other companies.

Never had Garritan Aria Player crash. It’s VST2, and doesn’t even register a bleep on the system resources. I can run several fully loaded instances with both reverbes active on all of them on an old single core P5 laptop it’s so efficient. Not a single time since I’ve owned it, in any DAW has it crashed or caused ‘hang ups’.

Wish I could say the same for HALion (Don’t get me wrong. It’s my favorite and most used Instrument Plugin, and the HALion team is really good about fixing stuff if people bother to report it, but it’s also been one of the most ‘crashy’ plugins I’ve ever owned over the years).

There were crashy bad plugins written for VST2, and there will continue to be crashy bad plugins written for VST3. I don’t see how moving to VST3 is going to magically correct poorly done plugins.

The major bottle neck with DAW software isn’t processing anyway. It’s the way interfaces are designed, and ASIO. The bottle necks are wrapped up in trying to talk to audio interfaces that can only handle so much, and it all has to happen in real time. Unless that aspect of ‘system/hardware design’ changes…the rest isn’t going to help much for anything other than ‘offline rendering/processing’.

I’m also hoping that whatever is in store for HALion and Groove agent on the new licenser system gets at least one ‘solid’ VS2 release. Otherwise I’m ‘locked into H6’ for a long time because of a few hosts that don’t do VST3, and probably won’t any time soon (Sibelius and Finale. Yes, I use Dorico too, but sometimes I must use the others and my templates and projects have relied heavily on HALion/Sonic/Groove Agent for years now.)

With respect I rarely (never ?) see crashes in my VST2 plugins but I do see crashes and bugs in Steinberg code.

Legacy is a strange word - is Midi legacy ? is Score editing legacy ?

“A major risk factor” ? - well why not introduce a sandboxing for plugins - something that you specifically suggested in one of your many (ignored) feature request surveys ?

Your answer seems to be just remove things we can’t get working properly - and that’s not a very customer-centric solution.