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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Installing VST and DX Plugins

This page provides step by step instruction on installing VST or DX instruments and effects. The following topics are covered:
    • The Shared VST Plugin Directories and alternatives.
    • Installing VST Instruments & Effects
    • Installing DX Instruments & Effects.

VST Plugins

Plugins allow you to add (plug in) additional instruments and effects to FL Studio. VST (1,2 & 3) is a plugin format that uses a 'dynamic link library' (.dll) file to contain the plugin's program code. Installing plugins, instruments and FX, is usually a very simple process including -
  • Copying a few .dll files to a VST directory (or pointing the installer to that directory). NOTE: If the VST plugin has its own installer then it's not a good idea to manually move the .dll about after installation.
  • Refreshing the FL Studio plugin list so that the plugin is registered and available for use.

The Shared VST Plugin Folder/s

Things have gotten a little complex, there have been three VST standards (1, 2 and 3) plus 32 and 64 bit Windows. Fear not, FL Studio will search for VST plugins in a number of possible locations, including:
VST 1 and 2 plugins:
  1. The '..Plugins\VST' in the FL Studio installation folder (32 Bit plugins).
  2. The '..\Program Files\Common Files\VST2' (64 Bit plugins on a 64 Bit Windows only).
  3. The folder set as the Extra search path in the File settings window (32 Bit plugins).
VST 3 plugins:
  1. The '..\Program Files\Common Files\VST3' & '..\Program Files\VST3' folders (32 Bit plugins on 32 Bit Windows OR 64 Bit plugins on 64 Bit Windows).
  2. The '..\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\VST3' & '..\Program Files (x86)\VST3' folders (32 Bit plugins on Win 64 Bit Windows).
NOTE: If you use the default installation location suggested by the installer you should have no problems.

Extra VST Folder

You have the option of installing VST (1 & 2) plugins into a folder of your choice. If you want to create your own VST plugin folder you must set its location in the (F10) File Settings VST plugins extra search folder field. This can be a good way of keeping your VST plugins in a location you frequently back up. You can install VST3 & or 64 bit plugins here but FL Studio won't display information about the plugin type. The plugins should still function correctly as the wrapper detects bit-depth and plugin type on loading.

Installing VST Instruments & Effects

  1. Install the Instrument plugins (.dlls, etc) to the appropriate directory created in the previous section (above). NOTE If installation uses an installer, override the default install directory and point it to your Extra VST Folder if you have set one.
  2. Scan for the new VST plugin:
      • Instruments - Click: 1. Channels > 2. More > 3. Refresh (button at the bottom of the list) > 4 . Fast scan . The plugin you have installed should appear in the plugin list in red. If this does not happen, please make sure you have followed the previous steps properly.

      • Effects - In the Mixer window, click down arrow for any of the plugin slots (external effects banks) , click the Select item. In the submenu that appears, select More... . You will see a window listing all effect plugins available in FL Studio. At the bottom of the window, click the Refresh button and select Fast Scan . The plugin you have installed should appear in the plugin list in red color. If this does not happen, please make sure you have followed the previous steps properly.
  3. Optional - Place a check mark before the plugin name if you want it listed in your favorites AND OR add the plugin to the Plugin Picker.
  4. Now the plugin is installed and can be used as a standard FL Studio instrument or effect .