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VST Dev Notes

Supported OS & Compiler
 OS: Windows 8.1 and Windows 10
 Compilers: Visual Studio 2019
 OS: 10.14 and higher
 Compilers: Xcode 12 and higher

Finding your Plugin
Open the compiler project for your newly generated project. You can now re-build the solution to finish the ported project.

Your project will be validated automatically with the validator project that is built-into your compiler project. If your plugin fails validation, the compiler will NOT create the final VST plugin. This is generally good as a plugin that fails validation will likely crash the VST client which may result in it being black-listed from future loads! Fix any validation problems (see the compiler output window).

Your finished plugins will be located in the following sub-folder:

VST_SDK/vst3sdk/myprojects/(project name)/mac_build/VST3/(config)


VST_SDK/vst3sdk/myprojects/(project name)/win_build/VST3/(config)

where (config) is either Debug or Release, depending on how you built the project.

Your new VST3 plugin will have a symlink (shortcut) generated for the actual file, located above. This symlink is AUTOMATICALLY copied to the proper location in your MacOS device and you plugin will appear in VST3 hosts:


Windows CMake
The new VST3 SDK requires CMake 3.19 or higher to run correctly, so make sure you have the proper version installed.

Windows Plugin File Locations
Unfortunately, the Windows file locations have changed over time as there did not seem to be a proper standard VST3 plugin folder that could be agreed upon. Previous versions of ASPiK required you to copy shortcuts to your plugins into whatever VST3 subfolders existed on your machine. We discovered that copying the actual plugin bundle (rather than a shortcut) causes problems in Reaper, but not other hosts. NOTE: this is true of the VST3 SDK's example plugins as well, and is NOT an ASPiK-specific issue.

Running Visual Studio as Administrator
For VST3 Windows, you must run Visual Studio in Administrator Mode because of the final destination that the VST3 SDK framework uses to write the plugin shortcut. This is part of the VST3 SDK's operation and not an ASPiK decision. Note that the actual plugin is always written to the location listed above (i.e. VST_SDK/vst3sdk/myprojects/(project name)/win_build/VST3/config/your_plugin) so you are free to create shortcuts as you like, or copy/move the entire plugin bundle - it's there for you to use. BUT, Visual Studio's post build rule that tried to make the copy of the shortcut needs administrator privalege to do so.

You cannot run Visual Studio as administrator by simply having an administrator account. You need to specifically start Visual Studio in Administrator mode. You can find multiple options for this at:

I use the modified shortcut method. If you do not run Visual Studio in administrator mode, the VST3 SDK framework can not copy the final plugin shortcut to its destination without generating an error, which shows up as the dreaded "set local...." error. Make sure to run in Admin mode!

VST3 Plugin Shortcut Location
The current version of the VST3 SDK uses a new location for the VST3 plugin shortcut. You should add this folder to your DAW's plugin folder. If you are distributing your plugins, you will need for your installer to copy the shortcuts to their final destinations. If you have issues, reach out to the engineers at the VST3 Developer Forum and make sure to mention that their SDK examples also require copying the shortcuts for Reaper (Windows). On my system, the current version of the VST3 SDK places these shortcuts in:


This location may change in future updates. However, you will be able to find the output path by reading the Output Window in Visual Studio as the build progresses - it always tells you were files are written, you just have to find them.