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Building the examples included in the SDK on Windows

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This tutorial explains how to set up your computer and create an environment for compiling the VST 3 audio plug-in examples provided with the VST 3 SDK. These include plug-ins like simple DSP effects (Gain, compressor, delay, ...), synths instruments and some plug-ins showing how to handle some specific VST 3 features (Note Expression, Program Change, channel info context, ...).

They can be loaded into VST 3 hosts like Cubase, WaveLab, ...

Part 1: Getting and installing the VST 3 SDK

For downloading the SDK, see this section "How to set up my system for VST 3".

Download cmake from: https://cmake.org/download/ or use a package manager for your OS.

Part 2: Building the examples on Windows

  • Create a folder for the build and move to this folder (using cd):
mkdir build
cd build
  • Generate the solution/projects: specify the path to the project where CMakeLists.txt is located:
cmake.exe -G "Visual Studio 17 2022" -A x64 ../vst3sdk
or without symbolic links
cmake.exe -G "Visual Studio 17 2022" -A x64 ../vst3sdk-DSMTG_CREATE_PLUGIN_LINK=0

You can find the string definition for different Visual Studio Generators in the cmake online documentation (https://cmake.org/documentation/)

  • You have to adapt your Windows right access to allow creation of symbolic links for VST3 plug-ins: Check HERE!
  • Build the plug-in (you can use Visual Studio too):
msbuild.exe vstsdk.sln
(or alternatively for example for release)

cmake --build . --config Release

Building using cmake-gui


  • Browse Source...: select the folder VST3_SDK
  • Browse Build...: select a folder where the outputs (projects/...) will be created. Typically a folder named build
  • You can check the SMTG Options
  • Press Configure and choose the generator in the window that opens: for example "Visual Studio 16 2019"


  • Press Generate to create the project
  • Open your targeted IDE, and compile the solution/project.