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VSTs directly in Qtractor (w/ Wine)


I just came across Qtractor yesterday. WOW! So far, so good and simple! I was originally on Sonar X3 (Win7), and I tried to make the jump to Linux 100% in the last year. I found Ardour, and although I've worked on a few songs with it, I've been struggling with stability and ease-of-use. Especially with Windows VST settings that were lost if I did a clean install of Ubuntu.

I was able to successfully compile Qtractor yesterday. For the most part, it is MUCH easier than Ardour's compile. I got most everything working, but I haven't figured out how to get the Windows VSTs working natively within Qtractor. In the meantime, I'm using Carla Rack as the plugin to do this (like I did with Ardour), but I'd like to load directly within Qtractor without a bridging plugin, if possible.

So, am I misunderstanding whether this is possible or not? Here's what I used for the compile configuration on 0.9.3 :
./configure --with-vst=/home/username/path/to/VST-SDK/files --enable-lv2-ui-gtk2

* I had to use an older-SDK that had the aeffect files (newer packages instead have audioeffect)
* I created .vst as a path in my home directly via View > Options > Plugins > VST > Add > /home/username/.vst
* When that didn't work (rescanned multiple times), I created a VST env path that pointed to there too
* In all cases, the .dlls of the win VSTs aren't being picked up

(Oh, and for those finding this post via Google, "--enable-lv2-ui-gtk2" is what allowed the Calf and GXPlugins to load without crashing Qtractor.)

Thanks in advance!

rncbc's picture


Wholly thanks for passing by. You're of course welcome to the party :)

However, the kind of VST plugins that Qtractor supports are the so called Linux native VST (aka. LXVST) ie. plugins that are compiled and built as binary Linux shared objects (.so; the Linux equivalent to Windows .dll). Also, please look into the README.VST file in the source distribution.

As to have Windows VSTs (.dll) running in a Linux host eg. Qtractor you need a so called bridge to let them run and work through WINE. Historically this bridge was provided by DSSI-VST which scans for Windows VSTi's provided you tell the right search paths (via VST_PATH env.variable) and the plugins will show up in Qtractor as DSSI plugins (not VST!).

There are other tools that provide, more or less the same effect, usually mapping Windows VSTs (.dll) into Linux VSTs (.so) so they will appear as with the "VST" tag type. eg. Airwave, LinVst to name a few. However I don't really know whether they may or not work for you or anybody else for that matter. As always, you're on your own: YMMV ;)


ps. of course, Carla also provides a bridge mechanism but one of its own.

Thank you for the welcome. Your reply is very helpful! :)

Before coming here, I did find a March 2018 post from falkTX (Filipe Coelho) stating that DSSI-VST doesn't really build in current systems and recommended using Carla; he maintains both. Although, the post wasn't specifically in reference to usage within Qtractor. So then, I must have read the README.VST file 20 times (and compiled Qtractor that many times too), but it still wasn't clear to me if Qtractor did some in-application bridging (through DSSI-VST) ...until I read your reply. :)

I do like Carla, but I also don't like the process as it feels like a bridge to a bridge to a bridge. Add Carla > Add VST > open rack > finally open VST. A lot of layers before I reach the actual VST UI. I think I just miss the Sonar/Cakewalk bridging as it immediately opens the VST UI.

I've also tried Airwave, which more or less did that, but I found it to be unstable, and it hasn't been maintained in a few years. I may also give LinVST a try.

For Linux VSTs, the README.VST file does reference the older aeffect source files. Although, those aren't available in newer SDK packages from Steinberg. Audioeffect is provided instead. So, I'm not sure if Qtractor has been updated to reflect this or if that readme file (and wiki) need to be updated by a community member.

In any case, thank you for the Qtractor contribution! It's just so easy to use and so powerful. I'm sure I'll be back on this board after I start working on some songs in detail.

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