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Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

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Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby bsacco » Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:31 pm

I am running Windows 7 64 bit OS on a PC using Reaper as my DAW.

I was wondering what is the best practice for installing VSTs and the best Folder location to keep all your VSTs.

I use a variety of plugins from Waves to free plugins I download from the Internet.

There are two main issues I'm confused regarding where to house these plugins.

First, I assuming that I should run the Plugins inside my C DRIVE. If this is incorrect please tell me.

2) Since I'm running Win 7, I have two options for folders within the C DRIVE to put the PLUGINS.

- TWO OPTIONS

a) Computer> C DRIVE> PROGRAM FILES> VST PLUGINS
b) Computer> C DRIVE> PROGRAM FILES (x86)> VST PLUGINS

3) There is also confusion in the PROGRAM FILES (x86) as there is a STEINBERG folder where some of my plugins automatically file themselves under. This is confusing to me.

So, to recap, what is the best practice when organizing your VSTs under the specific type of WIN 7 64 bit PC / Reaper DAW setup I'm running?

P.S. I'm pretty sure all of my plugins are 32 bit. Not sure if this is a sticking point or not. Thanks in advance - Bob
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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby CS70 » Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:43 pm

Not sure there are any. Everybody tends to do how they please.

Not a reaper user, but I guess you can them have them anywhere on any disk - even if the faster the disk, the faster they will scan at startup (if Reaper does that) and they'll load.

Plugins are simply DLLs and they are usually self contained so, so long the program knows where they are, it'll be able to load them.

On most DAW you aren't restricted two only two directories but you may have as many as you like. Not sure about Reaper, but I would guess there as well? Would seem very odd otherwise.

In Windows 64 bit, 32bit programs (including dlls) are usually in Program Files (x86), but it's just a convention, they dont need to.

The "vstplugins" directory is Steinberg's default so there is where most plugins/dlls get placed if you don't specify otherwise during installation. Exceptions are perhaps big bundles like the wave (where there's one master big dll which then loads the individual ones).
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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby blinddrew » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:10 pm

Yep, Reaper can handle as many folders as you want. I know this because mine are scattered all over the place. I keep meaning to spend some time organising them but I want to do it when I have no projects on the go, just in case.

But I always seem to have projects on the go... ;)
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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby Wonks » Sun Dec 02, 2018 11:07 pm

Some programs just seem to insist on being on the C: drive and can prove problematical if not installed there. Even if some of the installation is directed to another drive, then they still often will place some folders on C:. So I just install all my plugins on C:, but where possible store sample libraries on another drive and recordings on a third drive.
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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby OneWorld » Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:12 am

Wonks wrote:Some programs just seem to insist on being on the C: drive and can prove problematical if not installed there. Even if some of the installation is directed to another drive, then they still often will place some folders on C:. So I just install all my plugins on C:, but where possible store sample libraries on another drive and recordings on a third drive.

I found that with Native Instruments software, I got so far with the endeavour then ended up having to re-install the whole of Komplete. In retrospect it would have been better to put all the other vst stuff in the NI vst folder
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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby Pete Kaine » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:52 am

OneWorld wrote:I found that with Native Instruments software, I got so far with the endeavour then ended up having to re-install the whole of Komplete. In retrospect, it would have been better to put all the other vst stuff in the NI vst folder

It's not just them by any means, I've found more than a few other packages with their own control management package can be an absolute nightmare for this. Last time I spent an afternoon systematically setting up the plugs in their relevant category folders, it worked fine for a few months until I did the version upgrade and then everything broke due to the locations being not being where the installer presumed they would be. It seemed to upgrade fine at the time, but then the service centre couldn't do any patching from that point onwards.

I had to go in with a cleaning tool and scrub each one from the registry one by one, which given the size of Komplete and how long it took to search the registry each time for components, it was tedious, to say the least. In the end, At the end of all that I just reinstalled them in the default folder where It works fine now, but it's made my organizational structure a mess.

When I want a filter I want to open my Filter folder and quickly audition my options.
I don't want to have to open my Filter folder + Waves folder + Native folder + Melda Folder and whatever else only to try recall what half of the obscure product names actually are.
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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby The Elf » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:49 pm

Putting all plug-ins into 'C\Program Files\VSTPlugins' and 'C\Program Files(x86)\VSTPlugins' is as good as any convention. It lets you know whether they are 32 or 64-bit and it doesn't tread on any toes (such as Steinberg's plugs that often don't play nice with other programs).

Works for me, but others will differ for their own reasons.
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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:08 pm

I've ended up with all my vstplugins spread across two folders on my v:vstplugins drive, which contains two folders:

vstplugins-32

vstplugins-64

Yes, it can be a bit of a fiddle to get some products to appear there, but for me it's worth it because I can instantly see exactly what's installed in both 32-bit and 64-bit categories.

I also sort my plugins within reaper into categories (like Pete above), and included details on that info in an early SOS Reaper Notes column that you can read here:

Image

http://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/ ... e-plug-ins

The other thing to bear in mind is that many plugins will require up to five destinations:

1. The plugin file itself, that goes into your choice of vstplugins folder.

2. Any 64-bit programme stuff, such as uninstall, manuals etc.

3. Any 32-bit programme stuff, such as uninstall, manuals etc.

4. There may be a 4th destination with the Windows /ProgramData folder where presets get stored.

5. There may even be a large sample collection that you can save to a 5th destination (in my case on my dedicated S:Samples drive, once again to keep all the relevant stuff together (I've even moved hard drives full of sample data from one PC to the next, which saved several days of re-installing 8-) )

You can never get all five of these data types into one destination, so I just make sure that my vstplugins are all collected together.

Hope this helps!


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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby The Bunk » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:53 pm

OK I'm going to put my head above the parapet here and admit to being a real numpty on this one but it's been bugging me for ages...
Way back when, I had real trouble installing EZDrummer in Reaper. I finally managed it, but the subsequently any time I tried to load other plug-ins, EZDrummer would disappear. I managed to get it back but then the other plug-ins would disappear. Somehow by hook or by crook, everything's back in place but I've frankly got to the stage where I just don't want to load up any more plug-ins. I don't - yet - feel I'm missing out but I've got Ozone 5 for example which I'm more than happy with, and I really am just a spare-bedroom hobbyist, but I still have this nagging thing that I would like to upgrade, or try other plug-ins but I just don't want to go through the whole scenario of plug-ins disappearing again.
Where I get most confused (and that's easily done as I'm really at idiot level as far as IT ability / knowledge goes), is the whole "Auto-detect" / "Re-scan" / "Clear cache re-scan" thing.
Not wishing to hi-jack the thread but it seems relevant...
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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby job » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:25 pm

I think the best practice is consistency so as to prevent your filesystem becoming a jumble. I chose program files/vst plugins for 64bit and x86 for 32 bit. Sub folders by manufacturer.

Vst3 goes in common files/vst3, which is required if i remember correctly.
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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby blinddrew » Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:52 pm

The Bunk wrote:Where I get most confused (and that's easily done as I'm really at idiot level as far as IT ability / knowledge goes), is the whole "Auto-detect" / "Re-scan" / "Clear cache re-scan" thing.
Not wishing to hi-jack the thread but it seems relevant...
As far as I understand it:
Re-scan looks through the list of folders you've identified and checks for anything new.
Clear cache re-scan clears out the memory and then looks through the aforementioned list.
Auto-detect clears out the memory but then only checks in places that it thinks is likely. This can result in things disappearing if they've not been saved in those likely locations. I've had particular problems with Waves and Soundtoys plug-ins like this.
Especially Waves.
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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby Wonks » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:18 pm

blinddrew wrote: I've had particular problems with Waves and Soundtoys plug-ins like this. Especially Waves.

I blame the Dutch.

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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby The Bunk » Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:00 pm

So....just (and only) re-scan, once I've added the new plug-in to the relevant folder (and according to the advice given here), is the way to do it then? Will give it a go...
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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby The Elf » Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:03 pm

The Bunk wrote:I still have this nagging thing that I would like to upgrade, or try other plug-ins but I just don't want to go through the whole scenario of plug-ins disappearing again.
This is really just about a basic understanding of computer folder structures. It would take 5 minutes to learn and you'd be able to move on with confidence. I'll bet YouTube is awash with tutorials.
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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby Wonks » Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:32 pm

And some of them may even be correct!
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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby blinddrew » Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:56 pm

The Bunk wrote:So....just (and only) re-scan, once I've added the new plug-in to the relevant folder (and according to the advice given here), is the way to do it then? Will give it a go...
That's my understanding. However, as always, I refer you to the words in my signature that remain as true as ever.
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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby The Elf » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:07 pm

When installing a plug-in (or any software, TBH) you really have to take responsibility and check where the installation tells you it is going. The worst thing you can do is to just blindly accept the defaults and expect everything to be fine - I've seen some very weird and wonderful defaults in my time!
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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby Pete Kaine » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:47 am

Wonks wrote:And some of them may even be correct!

Woah... steady on there. We don't want to be raising expectations like that!
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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby OneWorld » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:02 pm

Pete Kaine wrote:
OneWorld wrote:I found that with Native Instruments software, I got so far with the endeavour then ended up having to re-install the whole of Komplete. In retrospect, it would have been better to put all the other vst stuff in the NI vst folder[/quote="OneWorld"]

I had to go in with a cleaning tool and scrub each one from the registry one by one, which given the size of Komplete and how long it took to search the registry each time for components, it was tedious, to say the least. .

OMG - I feel your pain!
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Re: Best practice for VST plugin installation and folder location

Postby OneWorld » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:31 pm

The Elf wrote:
The Bunk wrote:I still have this nagging thing that I would like to upgrade, or try other plug-ins but I just don't want to go through the whole scenario of plug-ins disappearing again.
This is really just about a basic understanding of computer folder structures. It would take 5 minutes to learn and you'd be able to move on with confidence. I'll bet YouTube is awash with tutorials.

That sounds so simple. Now try tossing Kontakt/Komplete about and let us know how you get on. Ta.

YT tutorials - don't get me started on that one. I had a laptop, perfectly good until one day the q, 2, w, s, z, x keys stopped working. The YT tuts claimed the problem was.....

virus, old bios, win10 update, corrupted driver, bad chipset, loose battery which needed resetting and of course a duff keyboard and/or loose ribbon connector.

I also once had a dicky Epson printer that worked perfectly until one day pffft - it started printing all wonky.

So off to YT I went and there were vids that promised a cure by all manner of things bar joining a religious cult and swearing allegiance to some obscure deity. The most effective solution came from a Russian website where the user advised taking the printer up to the top floor of your apartment block, and tossing it out the window, then that makes the user stop wasting time trying to fix the unfixable and buying a replacement!

Which at a cost of just 40 brass razoos or thereabouts makes perfect sense, unless you're one of those people in Massachoosets with a fully equipped and functioning manufacturing plant in the garage - surely you've seen them on YT, they have a planer, a miller, a lathe, a forge, a pcb maker, a 3d printer, a ion fuser, welding machine, a laser cutter, telescope, profile cutter, router, bench drill, vice and every spanner known to mankind all neatly hung on the wall
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