VST2 vs VST3. What are the differences? Which one is better?

Discuss VST stuff here!
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jam-s
Posts: 3098
Joined: 17 Apr 2015
Location: Aachen, Germany

Post 29 Nov 2022

Mataya wrote:
29 Nov 2022
No CPU wastes

Perhaps, the biggest improvement of the VST3 plug-in is that it doesn’t waste CPU resources and only works when it detects the presence of an audio signal, unlike VST2, which remains active at all times. For users, this means an opportunity to use a bigger number of plug-ins without overloading the system.
Increased flexibility
That's only a theoretical advantage, as most devs have implemented the same for VST2.
Mataya wrote:
29 Nov 2022
The second big improvement is that the VST3 plug-in format is designed to be adaptive, meaning it can be used with multiple inputs/outputs. Whereas with VST2, you’d have to install at least a few separate versions of plug-ins to maintain both surround and sound processing, VST3 can be automatically adapted to channel routing, thus minimizing the wastage of resources.
Wide Variety of Control
This can be an advantage (especially Waves is cluttering the plugin list for VST2 with all their different stereo/mono/mono-to-stereo versions of the same plugin. Still I wonder if they really don't do this for the VST3 versions, as the different versions also feature slightly different UIs and if VST3 would have a way to handle this natively.
Mataya wrote:
29 Nov 2022
A dedicated event handler bus is another highlight of the VST3 plugins. Not only does it give users control over the traditional MIDI messages, but it also allows for the use of modulation messages and future-proves the plug-in by making it adaptable to new control methods that may soon be introduced to the industry. In addition to that, users can take advantage of an advanced control at a note level and apply a specific effect not to the entire chord but to a specific note through associating it with a unique identifier.
Multiple inputs and outputs support
With the rather basic MIDI implementation that Reason has, I highly doubt that we will see any implementation of this in Reason in the near future.
Mataya wrote:
29 Nov 2022
Those who use VST2 know that it’s only possible to assign a particular plugin to a single MIDI input/output. With VST3, though, this limitation has been removed, giving users the possibility to use several MIDI ports, making it ideal for live music performances.
That's cool, but I suspect we'll possibly not see this in Reason as well.
Mataya wrote:
29 Nov 2022
User-friendly search

While in most cases users don’t pay much attention to the search option, it’s the feature that can make using the plug-in a lot more convenient. In the battle between VST2 vs VST3, VST3 wins again. Unlike the VST2 plugin throwing at users hundreds of automation parameters to scroll through, it comes with a user-friendly search filter that allows you to categorize all parameters by categories and helps keep the whole process streamlined and organized.
So basically something we've had with REs from the very beginning. And I suspect that the developer has to actively take advantage of this and not just use a slim wrapper to get all plugin formats from the same DSP/GUI code. But in the long run after devs have dropped VST2 support this could become the standard.

Mataya wrote:
29 Nov 2022
Sidechaining

The ability to take both MIDI input and MIDI data is another standout feature of the VST3 plug-ins that expands the possibilities for music creators.
Sidechaining is also possible with VST2 if a dev chooses to implement it. The only problem here is the lack of a specified standard or reference implementation provided in the SDK. So a few different ways have been used for this in VST2 land which can then lead to incompatibility with different hosts.

So in general VST3 offers a rather boring improvement over VST2 by extending the standard with a lot more specification, but of course it comes at the cost of higher complexity and most has been possible before in VST2 as well. In comparison more modern formats like CLAP or RE offer some bigger and more useful advantages over VST3 and I for sure would not mind Reason to also implement CLAP hosting and extending the RE SDK either, after improving the internal MIDI implementation with e.g. per note events and MPE, etc.
Last edited by jam-s on 01 Dec 2022, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Jagwah
Posts: 2549
Joined: 16 Jan 2015

Post 30 Nov 2022

deigm wrote:
29 Nov 2022
I think it's more about future proofing. Since new VST developers can no longer get VST2 licenses, more and more plugins moving forward will be VST3 only. There are already lots and this list will only grow.

I read there were functionality/CPU benefits too but I dont know much about that side of it.

Personally, the only VST3 plugin I look forward to gaining access to in reason is Vocalign, but I'm sure more will come.
Yes future proofing Reason is a good move for everyone!
Popey wrote:
29 Nov 2022
Personally I have found no difference between vst2 & 3 apart from a couple of plugin alliance vst not showing presets in Vst3 version.

I think it's more that new developers had to use vst3 which makes vst3 in reason important. Implementing vst 3 just means more new vst are available as options for Reason users which currently would not work.

If anything I recall reading a lot of devs on kvr preferring vst2 but it's no longer an option for new creators.
Sounds like it was pretty important to get on board then, at least we will be up to normal standards for who knows how long ;)
Mataya wrote:
29 Nov 2022
No CPU wastes

Perhaps, the biggest improvement of the VST3 plug-in is that it doesn’t waste CPU resources and only works when it detects the presence of an audio signal, unlike VST2, which remains active at all times. For users, this means an opportunity to use a bigger number of plug-ins without overloading the system.
Increased flexibility

The second big improvement is that the VST3 plug-in format is designed to be adaptive, meaning it can be used with multiple inputs/outputs. Whereas with VST2, you’d have to install at least a few separate versions of plug-ins to maintain both surround and sound processing, VST3 can be automatically adapted to channel routing, thus minimizing the wastage of resources.
Wide Variety of Control

A dedicated event handler bus is another highlight of the VST3 plugins. Not only does it give users control over the traditional MIDI messages, but it also allows for the use of modulation messages and future-proves the plug-in by making it adaptable to new control methods that may soon be introduced to the industry. In addition to that, users can take advantage of an advanced control at a note level and apply a specific effect not to the entire chord but to a specific note through associating it with a unique identifier.
Multiple inputs and outputs support

Those who use VST2 know that it’s only possible to assign a particular plugin to a single MIDI input/output. With VST3, though, this limitation has been removed, giving users the possibility to use several MIDI ports, making it ideal for live music performances.
User-friendly search

While in most cases users don’t pay much attention to the search option, it’s the feature that can make using the plug-in a lot more convenient. In the battle between VST2 vs VST3, VST3 wins again. Unlike the VST2 plugin throwing at users hundreds of automation parameters to scroll through, it comes with a user-friendly search filter that allows you to categorize all parameters by categories and helps keep the whole process streamlined and organized.
Sidechaining

The ability to take both MIDI input and MIDI data is another standout feature of the VST3 plug-ins that expands the possibilities for music creators.

M
Thanks for the explanation, got a much better understanding now, cheers!!
DaveyG wrote:
29 Nov 2022
It's 1 better. :thumbup:
:lol: :lol: :lol:

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miscend
Posts: 1956
Joined: 09 Feb 2015

Post 03 Dec 2022

Mataya wrote:
29 Nov 2022
No CPU wastes

Perhaps, the biggest improvement of the VST3 plug-in is that it doesn’t waste CPU resources and only works when it detects the presence of an audio signal, unlike VST2, which remains active at all times. For users, this means an opportunity to use a bigger number of plug-ins without overloading the system.
Increased flexibility


VST2 plugins can be coded to do the same to save CPU. I dont like linking to other forums but most developers (apart from Steinberg) generally say there is no difference in performance or CPU.

Developers from the established companies tend to write plugins using a framework then use a wrapper to do the VST2/VST3/AU/AUv3/AAX/ etc etc versions. Generally plugins are written to perform the same on all platforms. There is no incentive for developers to super optimize for example the AAX build, to give that one an advantage at the expense of others. So its the same DSP in the VST2, AU or VST3 version.

earwig83
Posts: 208
Joined: 21 Mar 2015

Post 23 Jan 2023

The fact that the vst 3 version doesn't automatically replace the vst 2 instance is what ultimately will make me regret ever getting involved with the vst bandwagon (despite having quite a few plugins I love). I should have stuck to RE only. I'm actually really concerned that I once again have to maybe worry about my song file archives not being able to open eventually. When I installed the Reason 12.5 update, I was incredibly dismayed to find out the vst2 and vst3 versions have different device IDs. I know this is just the way it is, but it stinks. Would have been great is all vst3s just replaced their vst2 counterpart.

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RTFX
Posts: 343
Joined: 10 Jan 2016

Post 27 Feb 2023

Havent read the whole thread so im sorry if im late to the party, but heres my story in a nutshell and my questions.
My dsp is having major issues with certain tracks; my pc is simply not able to play it without glitching like a mofo.
To illustrate: my track is playing fine until i open a tdr nova eq and play with it.
Glitching galore.
Oc i tried everything like closing other programs, shutting down processes, hiding all cables, lowering res or size of vst gui, removing certain vsts, automating 1 eq instead of using 2 or 3 for 1 channel/bus, the list goes on.
Now i am at the point to either upgrade from 11 to 12 or take the leap and switch to ABL Live.
My questions:
What would u do?
If i go to 12 and i swipe my vst2 plugins for vst3, will that solve my dsp problem?
How does that work anyway? If im on 12 and i put a vst in the rack, will it automatically be a v3 if i downloaded it to my pc after purchase?
Please lmk!
Jfyi: at this point my pc specs are higher than the minimum reqs for 12.
Tia!
All my tracks on my YouTube channel⬇️ https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLK0j ... P0EoiuUkNO

Heater
Posts: 903
Joined: 16 Jan 2015

Post 27 Feb 2023

RTFX wrote:
27 Feb 2023
Havent read the whole thread so im sorry if im late to the party, but heres my story in a nutshell and my questions.
My dsp is having major issues with certain tracks; my pc is simply not able to play it without glitching like a mofo.
To illustrate: my track is playing fine until i open a tdr nova eq and play with it.
Glitching galore.
Oc i tried everything like closing other programs, shutting down processes, hiding all cables, lowering res or size of vst gui, removing certain vsts, automating 1 eq instead of using 2 or 3 for 1 channel/bus, the list goes on.
Now i am at the point to either upgrade from 11 to 12 or take the leap and switch to ABL Live.
My questions:
What would u do?
If i go to 12 and i swipe my vst2 plugins for vst3, will that solve my dsp problem?
How does that work anyway? If im on 12 and i put a vst in the rack, will it automatically be a v3 if i downloaded it to my pc after purchase?
Please lmk!
Jfyi: at this point my pc specs are higher than the minimum reqs for 12.
Tia!
I don’t know about the performance side but when selecting plug ins to add Reason tells you if it’s a VST2 or 3 version.

nicmac303
Posts: 3
Joined: 28 Apr 2020

Post 12 May 2023

RTFX wrote:
27 Feb 2023
Havent read the whole thread so im sorry if im late to the party, but heres my story in a nutshell and my questions.
My dsp is having major issues with certain tracks; my pc is simply not able to play it without glitching like a mofo.
To illustrate: my track is playing fine until i open a tdr nova eq and play with it.
Glitching galore.
Oc i tried everything like closing other programs, shutting down processes, hiding all cables, lowering res or size of vst gui, removing certain vsts, automating 1 eq instead of using 2 or 3 for 1 channel/bus, the list goes on.
Now i am at the point to either upgrade from 11 to 12 or take the leap and switch to ABL Live.
My questions:
What would u do?
If i go to 12 and i swipe my vst2 plugins for vst3, will that solve my dsp problem?
How does that work anyway? If im on 12 and i put a vst in the rack, will it automatically be a v3 if i downloaded it to my pc after purchase?
Please lmk!
Jfyi: at this point my pc specs are higher than the minimum reqs for 12.
Tia!
If it's a Windows 10 (or newer) PC did you try going into the Advanced Power Settings and changing the Processor Power Management / Minimum Processor State to 100%?
I upgraded from a rusty old 4-core i5 to a shiny new (at the time) 6-core i5-8600 and Reason was glitching all over the place, even though the same audio interface was fine on the old 4-core PC. The problem was that the new CPU was TOO powerful, so was idling at 1GHz or so. With minimum 100% power it stays above 4GHz all the time and my ears are happy.
Hope that helps.

User avatar
RTFX
Posts: 343
Joined: 10 Jan 2016

Post 14 May 2023

nicmac303 wrote:
12 May 2023
RTFX wrote:
27 Feb 2023
Havent read the whole thread so im sorry if im late to the party, but heres my story in a nutshell and my questions.
My dsp is having major issues with certain tracks; my pc is simply not able to play it without glitching like a mofo.
To illustrate: my track is playing fine until i open a tdr nova eq and play with it.
Glitching galore.
Oc i tried everything like closing other programs, shutting down processes, hiding all cables, lowering res or size of vst gui, removing certain vsts, automating 1 eq instead of using 2 or 3 for 1 channel/bus, the list goes on.
Now i am at the point to either upgrade from 11 to 12 or take the leap and switch to ABL Live.
My questions:
What would u do?
If i go to 12 and i swipe my vst2 plugins for vst3, will that solve my dsp problem?
How does that work anyway? If im on 12 and i put a vst in the rack, will it automatically be a v3 if i downloaded it to my pc after purchase?
Please lmk!
Jfyi: at this point my pc specs are higher than the minimum reqs for 12.
Tia!
If it's a Windows 10 (or newer) PC did you try going into the Advanced Power Settings and changing the Processor Power Management / Minimum Processor State to 100%?
I upgraded from a rusty old 4-core i5 to a shiny new (at the time) 6-core i5-8600 and Reason was glitching all over the place, even though the same audio interface was fine on the old 4-core PC. The problem was that the new CPU was TOO powerful, so was idling at 1GHz or so. With minimum 100% power it stays above 4GHz all the time and my ears are happy.
Hope that helps.
It works like a charm now.
Thank u sir!
All my tracks on my YouTube channel⬇️ https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLK0j ... P0EoiuUkNO

davezky
Posts: 1
Joined: 12 Oct 2023

Post 12 Oct 2023

Hey guys, i need to ask: one rsn file takes up over 20GB of memory?? it maxed up my laptop, now its over 80% on my new stational pc with 32 GB RAM. noticed vst3 takes alot, should i contact reason support?

Przemyslaw
Posts: 86
Joined: 05 Jan 2018

Post 11 Mar 2024

So regarding the topic of the thread, I did a test on a Reason project. My default project with several vst effects from companies such as Softube, Soundtoys, Relab, Plugin Alliance, Valhalla. Until today, the project was based on VST2 effects, so I decided to replace the effects with their VST3 equivalents. I saved the project under a different name so that I could save and compare both. The test consisted of opening the project and waiting a few minutes while checking the CPU and RAM usage, I performed the test several times.

Results:
VST2
CPU usage 0-1%
RAM usage 1973MB

VST3
CPU usage 0-3%
RAM usage 5516MB

I must mention that with VST2 the CPU utilization is at 0% most of the time, while with VST3 it is around 2%. The difference in RAM usage is terrifying, there are only 8 VST plugins in total, default project - no midi, no audio, no samplers.

It's possible that it's about a specific plugin/developer, I'll probably check it further. If someone can repeat a similar test for themselves, I would be grateful.

User avatar
ProfessaKaos
Posts: 486
Joined: 17 Jan 2015
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post 11 Apr 2024

Przemyslaw wrote:
11 Mar 2024
So regarding the topic of the thread, I did a test on a Reason project. My default project with several vst effects from companies such as Softube, Soundtoys, Relab, Plugin Alliance, Valhalla. Until today, the project was based on VST2 effects, so I decided to replace the effects with their VST3 equivalents. I saved the project under a different name so that I could save and compare both. The test consisted of opening the project and waiting a few minutes while checking the CPU and RAM usage, I performed the test several times.

Results:
VST2
CPU usage 0-1%
RAM usage 1973MB

VST3
CPU usage 0-3%
RAM usage 5516MB

I must mention that with VST2 the CPU utilization is at 0% most of the time, while with VST3 it is around 2%. The difference in RAM usage is terrifying, there are only 8 VST plugins in total, default project - no midi, no audio, no samplers.

It's possible that it's about a specific plugin/developer, I'll probably check it further. If someone can repeat a similar test for themselves, I would be grateful.
This makes sense to what I've been experiencing, ever since I started using the VST3 versions of my plugins I've noticed Reason's RAM usage is crazy high, nearly using all of my 64GB's of RAM.

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