VST2, VST3, vst3 wrapper, "unsupported" legacy plugins... the hassle to upgrade to new hardware!


I’ve been tasked with reinstalling my music production environment onto a new PC hardware and though many plugins and Steinberg software offer the flexibility to move libraries to specific locations, I’ve been met with many roadblocks. Had I not taken a backup of halion One content and the vsti, I could no longer load several older projects that I wanted to work on and remaster.

The problem is also that it needs the old elicenser dongle even though cubase 12 doesn’t. So that’s why I still need to plug in while everything else has moved to on-pc licensing scheme.

Now that’s out of the way and I’m lucky that I can still run this, here is what annoys me the most:

VST 3 plugins that aren’t backwards compatible with their vst2 versions and won’t load my projects if I only install a vst3 plugin. I guess this has to do with some how vst3 versions of plugins are different somehow ? I don’t have the problem with realguitar and nexus. I can load projects that I made back in the realguitar 2 era and it will still load fine while only the latest vst3 version installed.

But you have plugins of the same version not loading projects when the VST2 plugin isn’t installed. Omnisphere for example.

Kontakt and pianoteq are different between major versions. So you can imagine how many versions of the same plugin you have to reinstall in order to allow projects you made over time load correctly.

If Musiclab and ReFX can make everything load across versions and time, how come that high profile developers like native instruments can’t provide the same ? Can Steinberg themself do something to allow for a more fluid backward compatibility between all these plugins ?

I guess An easy solution from the user end to clone every drive and mount the images on new hardware when you upgrade could be a great solution, still you’re going to have a hard time reactivating everything.

Reinstalling after an upgrade is truly a hassle. Or am I missing something, is there a golden option I missed ?

They can be. It is up to the plugin developers to maintain that.

I would recommend you render everything to audio in order to access your mix even if you don’t have all the VSTi’s that were used.

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SoundToys just released their VST3 updates and during the beta test, some folks brought up their plugins not replacing the VST2 versions… SoundToys claimed this is due to the DAW’s handling of it. Apparently they code all their VSTs the way Cubase wants them done (since Steinberg invented VST and all that), so they seem to have no trouble in Cubase, but sounds like some others may not be doing their VST implementation properly too.

I guess we’ve got two different areas to watch out for when replacing old plugins?

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I recommend this, especially when using streaming libraries. I’ve had a few “WTF?” moments when opening mixes that used Arcade. Now I simply use the great Cubase/Nuendo feature “render in place” which makes this task amazingly easy and fast. Rendering ALL VSTi’s to audio is a good practice to maintain.

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I guess it’s a bit of a weird mental thing to have, but I always want access to the source material, in case I would like to fix something I overlooked (or overlistened in this part)

It’s like a game designer who always would like to retain access to their map editor file, to change stuff afterward.

The reason that I’m so slow in releasing music (and I even retract stuff from the platforms), is that I always find something wrong, or some projects grow so big that I couldn’t load them anymore. . Because of this new PC, I can add much more layers projects that have been gathering dust for a while now can now be be made to sound as I hear them in my head. (as an indie musician, I can experiment around, until I have the best sound) So it’s great to be always able to change the source material, clean up the mix etc…

But I might do that for backup reasons in the future, storage capacity is more plenty than even 10 years ago,

I just image the whole system drive, and whatever project drives go with. That way everything is ‘stuck’ at whatever version I left the project with. This is one thing I will MISS about the old dongle ware. It used to be as simple as moving some drive sleds, plugging in dongles, and rebooting a few times.

Now it’s more of a mess for software that keeps keys on the system image, but should still be doable with internet access. If you keep any keys on that system image you might want to remember to ‘release’ them before pulling the sled.

Oh well…

If your properly sysprep the system drive before pulling it, it’s possible to add drivers to the driverstore of such images if you need to run them on different hardware ‘in the future’ before trying to use it (might take a few boots). Only catch being…that whatever hardware you use supports the OS on the system image you’ll be booting with.

Well, I’m happy this is sorta behind me now for a few years again, as it’s finally settling on my new computer. I’m gradually able to load all my heaviest projects and it’s glorious how this PC dances cirkles around them at 64ms , whereas the 12 year old one could barely keep up. Only Kontakt and some vst’s don’t play nice and peak sometimes plays a bit weird, but that’s for another thread.