VST2 dropped in Mac's Cubase 12 - the end of MIDI VST plugins?

To my understanding VST3 doesn’t allow plugins to process MIDI messages in a sequential way (it doesn’t allow the plugin to see which one came first). In fact MIDI plugins are not supported by VST3.

What makes Steinberg believe that developers won’t move to AU plugins (where MIDI plugins are supported) and drop VST3 too?

Your thoughts?

Even without considering the rest of it, AU is Mac only, so it’s unlikely.

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For MIDI generators you’re best to route them from one channel to the other anyway, so you can record the resulting data. i.e. use them as instruments. I’ve never liked the concept of using the FX versions - but do prefer to record the raw data where possible.

I think the issue is the added complication for developers to employ VST3 due to the more complicated messages that it sends (i.e. not raw MIDI).

But we should be moving to a more automated approach and less reliance on Midi CC anyway, Midi 2.0 is inevitably the future so devs will need to move, and my understanding is that VST3 is ready for that, sidechains and all.

Already with VST3 you can modulate a single note in a chord via the expression data built in to Cubase, not to mention slides and such like. AU plugins, from my use of Logic were a step behind VST in regards to being able to route from one MIDI track into the incoming of another, so strange that you seem to highlight AU’s as being the better format as I never had that impression as a user.

Moving to Cubase and VST3 was a breath of fresh air in that regard, this is what I used to do:-

Now I just create a track with the generator and set a slave on a different track. So, I’m not stacking on a single channel - which perhaps is more your gripe?

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I think that this is a limitation of Logic, not of AU. Reaper can host AU plugins and send route from one MIDI track into the incoming of another.

And that was one of my biggest bugbears before I moved to Cubase, AU developers seem content to test and guarantee compliance with Logic, and won’t provide compatibility with Reaper as a guarantee.

Most AU’s are wrapped versions of the VST and Reaper users will always explain that it’s best to use the native VST’s. I had serious problems with Waves AU with Reaper and decided to never try that combo in future.

So there’s certainly a list of complications, and perhaps ‘plugin politics’ there to contend with. However, despite being a Mac and Logic lover, I have never felt AU to be superior to VST in any guises other than plugin initial load times seemed to be better on Mac for me. But that may be rose tinted glasses.

Just reading your OP, when you refer to VST2 being dropped, that’s only for Native M1 users isn’t it? That’s not a general across C12 as a whole is it? If so I’ve missed that completely - duh!

Out of curiosity which VST’s do you use for MIDI? I have a good 5-6 that I rely on and they all run great in Cubase. But if what you’re saying is true I need to check which are VST3 or not now. (Scaler, Instachord, Cthulhu, reMIDI, CodeFN42 pack etc.)

I’m not sure what you’re saying here? we should? why? There are 30 years of MIDI equipment still being used today via MIDI CC. It’s not going anywhere.

Support is being and has been discontinued, meaning, as soon as they stop working, they stop working and Steinberg won’t do anything to remedy even if it is simple. That happens to be with this new Mac stuff first… It could happen with Windows as well… or Windows might continue to work forever… not sure.

I’m going to take a wild guess and say that none of them are VST3. Personally, I use Xfer LFO Tool, and CableGuys MIDIshaper.


Cthulhu, reMIDI, Xfer LFO Tool, and small tools like AftertouchToCC which save my life in very specific situations when the default Cubase or Studio One MIDI effects are not enough.
Besides that, I’ve become used to use the VST2 version of plugins rather than VST3 when it comes to send Program Changes with my hardware MIDI controller to switch between presets or MidiLearn support to assign knobs to parameters and save those associations in the plugin presets. Analog Lab from Arturia would be an example.

Just reading your OP, when you refer to VST2 being dropped, that’s only for Native M1 users isn’t it?

That’s right. That’s why I was suggesting that AU might work as an alternative.

Must admit, I hadn’t looked at it in this way. If so, it is a concern, looking through what I’ve got -Mostly are VST2.

If Steinberg go down this route of, it feels a little how Apple force their tech into general use. Trouble is, I don’t think that Steinberg have anything like the same authority to force developers to support VST3 so it will be their own users that lose out.

MIDI 2.0 will inevitably get things moving as a standard, but that will take a very long time to propagate and we’ll be having the same debate about VST4 probably.

There must be a lot of non-vst3 plugins that people rely on that are no more developed. You’d think that in regards to plugins SB would create some kind of universal wrapper/bridge to keep compatibility. Reaper manage all this with 2 guys doing most of the work.

With other changes in the works, I do wonder if we’re on the cusp of a more aggressive stance from Steinberg in the coming years where they start to push HALion as a format, VST3 as a standard, and offer out their plugins now there’s no dongle as an obstacle.

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I’d take a gander at DDMF Meta Plugin, although, that likely won’t resolve any MIDI plugin issues.


Bitwig 4.1 just released a bunch of new stock MIDI plugins
New Note FX in Bitwig Studio 4.1 - YouTube

the missing VST2 support affects only M1 Macs in the near future
since the VST libraries for Version 2 are not compatible to the new architecture

Yes that was clearly discussed here

AU would be good enough for me rather than keeping VST2. Right now I’m going to be out of luck with UAD and old plugins that won’t be updated for M1 native like izotope stuff.

in the next years, most of the vendors will release VST 3 and Apple Silicon nativ Support.