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

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jam-s
Posts: 2505
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.

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Jagwah
Posts: 2390
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: 1949
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: 204
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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