Steinberg VST3 Format. Virtual Studio Technology
VST3 New Standard for Virtual Studio Technology

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VST3

New Standard for Virtual Studio Technology

  


 

VST3 marks an important milestone in virtual studio technology and incorporates many updates, enhancements, changes and new features. The following is a brief overview of the major new features included with VST3.

 

VST3 marks an important milestone in virtual studio technology and incorporates many updates, enhancements, changes and new features. The following is a brief overview of the major new features included with VST3.

 


 

Improved Performance


Some current plug-ins are known to be heavy on CPU load. Managing large plug-in sets and multiple virtual instruments on typical project studio computer systems can often be difficult because of CPU performance limits. VST3 helps to improve overall performance by applying processing to plug-ins only when audio signals are present on their respective inputs. So instead of always processing input signals, even when there is only silence present, VST3 plug-ins can apply their processing economically and only when it is needed.

 


 

Multiple Dynamic I/Os


VST3 plug-ins are no longer limited to a fixed number of inputs and outputs. Their I/O configuration can dynamically adapt to the channel configuration they’re inserted in. For example, the new VST3 plug-ins in Cubase 4 can work in stereo-mode when inserted into a stereo channel, but switch to 6 channels when inserted into a 5.1 channel. In any case, each audio channel is processed independently. Interaction between channels depends on the type and design of the plug-in. While it is still eligible to have dedicated surround plug-ins, basically any VST3 plug-in can be surround-capable with true multi-channel processing.

In addition to their flexible audio bussing capabilities, VST3 plug-ins may also offer a dedicated event bus. Typically, this is a MIDI input for control/modulation but these busses are no longer restricted to MIDI standard only. Future plug-ins may replace the common MIDI interface with alternative control methods.

 


 

Activating/Deactivating Busses


A typical issue with current virtual instruments is their audio output bussing system and how they’re connected to the mixer after loading. Especially virtual samplers with multiple outputs often occupy more mixer channels than need. The VST3 interface offers the possibility to deactivate unused busses after loading and even reactivate those when needed. This cleans up the mixer and further helps to reduce CPU load.

  


 

Routing Possibilities

 

Plug-ins can be connected to the host environment in many different ways: Future VST3 Instruments can have audio inputs. As an example, a synthesizer that offers a built-in vocoder will be able to directly receive an audio signal to control the effect. A VST3 plug-in may have multiple MIDI inputs at the same time.

 


 

Parameter Handling – Tree Structure


In general, parameter handling did not change with the integration of VST3. However, there are some improvements to the handling of parameters. Parameters can be organized logically in a tree structure to improve handling of complex plug-ins or instruments with a large number of parameters. It’s now a lot easier to locate specific parameters, for example on an automation track.

 


 

Resizable Edit Windows


VST instruments become more flexible and complex, which results in bigger editor windows. Some instrument edit windows may fill up more than half of the entire screen. In VST3 editor windows can be resized. As a result, multiple windows can fit on a single screen without overlapping each other.

 



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