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Cakewalk: Plug-in Management

Cakewalk by BandLab Tips & Techniques
By Craig Anderton

Preferences is the main location for editing global plug-in characteristics, including locations and scanning. behaviour.Preferences is the main location for editing global plug-in characteristics, including locations and scanning. behaviour.

Tidy up your plug-in menu in Cakewalk.

Plug-ins are addictive — and as they accumulate, the need to manage them increases. Fortunately, Cakewalk by BandLab has several plug‑in‑related tools that can help smooth your workflow.

VST Settings

Start in the VST Settings section under Edit / Preferences. Make sure all folders containing VST plug-ins are included in the Scan Paths section. Most VST2 plug-ins ask where you want them installed (I created a folder at C:\Program Files\VSTplugins, and install my VST2 plug-ins there for convenience), but some companies place them in arbitrary folders, often C:\Program Files\Steinberg\VSTplugins. These plug-ins may seem to be missing until you include their host folders. VST3 plug-ins have a nominal standard home, which is at C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3.

For scan options, 'Automatic Background Scan' is unobtrusive, doesn't add any time to program startup, and ensures Cakewalk won't miss a new plug-in you've installed — even if you install it while Cakewalk is open. If you don't want to see the scanning notification that starts when you open the program, choose Manual Scan. However, this won't make the program load any faster, and you'll have to remember to scan after installing or removing a plug-in.

The 'Scan in Sandbox' option slows scanning somewhat, but isolates the scanning process. If there's a problem with a plug-in, Cakewalk carries on regardless of the scan's status. This means you can correct any issues later, rather than hit a speed bump in the creative process.

There's also an effective solution for when your plug-ins seem hopelessly confused, as can happen after updates or Windows issues. First, tick 'Scan in Sandbox', then click 'Reset', acknowledge that you understand any...

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Published April 2019