where to install VST plugins?


I just recently upgraded my PC, got a new hard drive and am about to re-install all my music software and lots of VST insturments/plugins.

In the past I have had some confusion with regard to the path of installing the VST-plugins. My question is: where is the best place to have the VST’s installed? Should I always just use the default-path that’s suggested by the VST plugin-installer?
should all VST’s go into the same folder, being one single folder?
Is there a wrong and right way? or does it even matter where to install the VST files?

I will have some 32 bit and also some 64 bit VST files, do they have to be installed into separate folders?

Would it be better to have just ONE general VST folder for 64bit plugins and another one for 32bit plugins as opposed to having several different plugin folders all over the place?
Does it make a difference at all?
I’m not an expert but I would imagine the computer might run faster if there is only very few VST folders as opposed to a whole bunch of them?


As far as Cubase is concerned it doesn’t really matter where you install them - except you shouldn’t mix 32 & 64. However for ease of maintenance and keeping things tidy you probably do want to organize them into folders that make sense to you, just like you presumably do with all the other docs on your computer. 3rd party installers are all over the map on where they want to put their VSTs. Some want to put them where Cubase does, some where they’ve detected another folder with VSTs, and others want a special unique folder all of their own. If you let each package put them wherever it wants you can end up with a bunch of folders scattered all over the place which can be confusing. And keep in mind inside Cubase you need to make sure that you’ve specified the path for each folder. So it is best to take control of the situation and set up a scheme that keeps things organized. There is no performance benefit to consolidating these locations, it just makes it easier for you to manage.

Here’s what I do. Let Cubase put it’s VSTs where it wants. Then I have 2 main folders for all 3rd party VSTs
c:Program Files\VSTPlugins - for 64 bit
c:Program Files (x86)\VSTPlugins - for 32 bit
Both of these are commonly used locations that many installers default to anyway. Many installers will create a sub-folder for their stuff, others just put it in the top level. Doesn’t really matter, you only need to tell Cubase about the top level folder. Also I don’t really use 32 bit - I let the installer put them there just in case I do need them (e.g. for a 32 bit only program that might pop up). But I have removed the reference to the 32 bit folder from Cubase. If you are using 64 bit Cubase and don’t have old plug-ins that are only 32 bit then there is no reason to tell Cubase about the 32 bit folder. Having 32 & 64 bit versions of the same plug-in available is only asking for problems. And if you do have a 32 bit only plugins that you must have I’d suggest creating a Legacy sub-folder for them and point your 32 bit path there so it only finds those.

Thank you very much! I appreciate your input, this is very helpful.

Keeping everything in the same folder (having one folder for 32-bit VST plugins and another one for 64 bit plugins) does indeed make a lot of sense.

Some programs, like you said, do install into those default folders but want to create their own sub-folders, I believe Toontrack does that (and I do have some of their products). I remember this from my old installation on my old hard-drive, and I think when I chose a plugin in Cubase it also had a sub-menu called Toontrack - I assume that being a result of the Toontrack sub-folder.
Would it be causing any problems if I do not let Toontrack create that sub-folder, but take it out of the path when installing and let the plugins install into the top-level parent folder directly?

Some vst mfg create a folder no matter what. You can move them after install (as I did on my older PC) and they will work. But, I would let toontrack and the others create and install into their own folder. Just make sure it is created in the higher folder locations you designated like suggested by Grim. In Cubase you just need to add the higher level folder. CB will pick up the vst’s in the sub folders. IMO having these sub folders (all located in the higher folder that you designated) makes it easier to keep track of stuff. Otherwise, after a while, you end up having one main folder with a lot of files.

Regards. :sunglasses:

I totally agree with this. If the installer wants to create a sub-folder let it - sometimes I’ll even create one myself.

Thanks to both of you!

Would you let the installer create the sub-folder just for having the VST files organized in categories as in for each brand/make of plugin one sub-folder?

It’s really a personal preference. If you have a lot of VST’s then it probably make sense. For me, I have created folders to do what you describe. And it does help to keep things tidy. But, usually I let the program installer do what it wants do in reference to creating a sub folder or not. Just make sure those folders are installed into your designated folder(s) and that those designated folders are added in CB.

Regards :sunglasses:

Thank you!

What you are saying makes perfect sense! :slight_smile: