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What is the VST 3 SDK?

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VST 3 SDK explained

The VST 3 SDK (Virtual Studio Technology Software Development Kit) is a collection of software development tools included in one package. This allows plug-in developers to create plug-ins in VST 3 format and host developers to load VST 3 plug-ins into a DAW or audio editor.

What is included

The VST 3 SDK package contains:

The VST 3 API

This is a C++ interface defining how a VST 3 plug-in communicates with a host and vice versa. The heart of VST 3.

Check the folder "pluginterfaces/vst" of the SDK!

VST 3 Implementation Helper Classes

Some helper classes are provided, implementing some VST 3 interfaces for hosting and for creating VST 3 plug-ins. Simply derived your plug-in C++ classes from these helper classes.

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Check the folder "public.sdk" of the SDK!

VST 3 Plug-ins Examples

The SDK includes some Plug-ins implementation examples.

VST 3 Plug-in Test Host

The SDK provides a test application called VST3PluginTestHost for Apple Mac OS X (x86_64/M1) and Microsoft Windows (64bits).

VST 3 Project Generator

This open source application (Win/macOS) allows you to generate easily a new VST 3 plug-in project by just entering in a GUI some parameters.

Validator command line

The validator is a small command line host application (source code included) which can be used to check your plug-in for VST 3 conformity.

AudioHost

Simple cross-platform (only tested on Linux) host application allowing you to register a VST 3 plug-in with Jack Server.

EditorHost

Simple cross-platform (Win/macOS/Linux) host application allowing you to open the editor of a VST 3 plug-in.

VST 3 Inspector

Simple cross-platform (Win/macOS/Linux) host application, built with VSTGUI, which scans the VST 3 Folder, collects information from the factory about each VST 3 plug-in and display it in its UI.

VSTGUI

This is a user interface toolkit mainly for audio plug-ins (VST, AudioUnit, etc). Based on the XML definition of the plug-in UI, VSTGUI includes an embedded editor (UIDescription Editor) which allows the developer to create a plug-in UI just by drag & drop of the UI element.

AAX, AUv3, AU and VST 2 wrappers

These wrappers allow you to create versions of your VST 3 plug-in in other plug-in formats with minimum effort.

iOS Inter-App Audio support

iOS InterApp-Audio application out of your VST 3 plug-in

VST 3 Licensing

Please sign this Steinberg VST 3 Plug-In SDK Licensing Agreement if you want to develop, release or host VST 3 plug-Ins.

System requirements

Operating SystemArchitectureCompilerNotes
Windows 10x86, x86_64MSVC 2019, MSVC 2022
Windows 8.1x86, x86_64MSVC 2019, MSVC 2022
macOS 10.13 - 12x86, x86_64, Apple SiliconXcode 10 - 13.3
iOS 13 - 15arm64Xcode 11 - 13.3
Linux - Raspberry Pi OS (Buster)arm32GCC 8.3 and higherVisual Studio Code
Linux - Ubuntu 22.04 LTSx86, x86_64GCC 11.2 and higherVisual Studio Code, Qt Creator
Linux - Ubuntu 20.04 LTSx86, x86_64GCC 8.3 and higherVisual Studio Code, Qt Creator

Download link

Important links you will need for working with VST 3

Change history

All released versions of the VST 3 SDK with changes and dates.