Can vst plugin path be custom set?

The reason I ask is because I have a lot of vsti dlls in my program files vst folder and Audacity is tediously slow at scanning through some of those which is a pain every time I add a new vst plugin and rescan.

Moved to the correct Windows board.

Please see here for the locations that Audacity looks in for VST’s: Missing features - Audacity Support .

You can’t change where Audacity looks but you could move the VSTi’s to Program FilesVSTPlugins (or Program Files (x86)VSTPlugins on a 64-bit system). A fair number of plug-in hosts will scan there but Audacity won’t unless that path is already set as the VST_PATH environment variable or as the HKCUSoftwareVSTVSTPluginsPath or HKLMSoftwareVSTVSTPluginsPath registry keys.

You might be able to use this tool VST2 Plugin Manager to organise your plug-ins or even set different paths for different hosts. I have never used it so the risk of using it is yours. I found it mentioned here: VST2 Plugin DLL management utility - Cockos Incorporated Forums .


Thanks Gale I’ll give the plugin manager a whirl.

Do you think that incremental scanning of vsts is a viable future Audacity option?

I mainly use Audacity because I like the ease of use (aside from the plugin menu dropdown
and scanning), whereas Reaper doesn’t rescan the the whole lot after adding a new vst.

Where is the trade-off line? I find Reaper and other DAWS complicated and I don’t like the Gui’s, but the more I use Audacity the more I find it let down by it’s plugin dis-ease of use.

Could you clarify what you mean. Do you mean that Audacity should be able to specify the locations it searches in for VST plug-ins?

You can probably speed up the loading of plug-ins by unchecking the VSTi’s in the “Install VST Effects” dialogue.


Thanks I didn’t notice the vsti disable option.

What I mean’t by incremental scanning is this. Reaper doesn’t scan plugins it has already recognised, therefore when a new vst/vsti is added it takes no time at all to add them into its
‘database’. also the process is automatic at start up.

Is this a viable future option for Audacity?

A lot of this is basic to many softwares not only Daws. In tandem with this I really don’t understand the problems I’ve read here about finding a way of implementing a better effects menu dropdown. As I find it …anything would be better. Reaper’s style is basic windows folder stuff with a search box to speed things up.

Audacity is a nice shiny bucket with a hole in it - namely the effects handling.

But i did ask where the trade off demarkation line is as the Audacity devs view it. Surely this stuff is simple by comparison to the complex coding involved elsewhere in Audacity’.

I’m harping on because I like Audacity except for this area.

Personally, I hope so, but it’s not easy (see below).

So how does it handle plug-ins that have been removed by the user?

Not often that I hear Audacity described as “shiny”, but I guess perhaps it is now that the fashion is for dark grey :wink:

Imagine if coding this feature was like a game of chess. You have an 8x8 board and you have to get all of the pieces in the right place to win. Then consider that Audacity is a cross-platform program, running on Windows, Mac, and Linux/Unix-like systems and rather than just VST there are built-in effects, Nyquist, LADSPA, LV2, AU and VST plug-ins - rather than an 8x8 puzzle you now have an 8x8x8x8 puzzle (4 dimensional chess anyone?). As a musician (on Linux) I fully appreciate the importance of effects management, and it is on the agenda, I imagine that a skilled programmer willing to work full time on the issue for six months could probably develop a good solution - do you know anyone able and willing to do that?

Yes in one way or another. I’ll add your vote.

What we would like to do is have some kind of “plug-in manager” inside Audacity. So most likely when you just want to add one more plug-in to the list, it would be a question of using a file open dialogue and pointing Audacity to the plug-in. And similarly you could remove the plug-in from the Audacity list.

We would still want an option to rescan in designated folders, and if you have a lot of plug-ins that will take time to perform.

It isn’t a problem for Audacity even now if the user removes a VST plug-in that was present when Audacity last scanned the folder. When you restart Audacity, that plug-in will be removed from the Effect Menu, and if you add the plug-in back to the system folder, it will reappear in the Effect Menu after restart.

Audacity does that by storing a list of plug-ins it scanned and accepted (the list is called plugins.cfg in Audacity’s folder for application data). However Audacity doesn’t reference that list when you ask for a rescan (because you asked for a rescan).

With other formats than VST I believe Audacity just scans every time it launches, for example with Audio Unit and LV2 plug-ins.

Is this about the Effect Menu being too long?

It’s a lot to do with our user base. As you may know we had a method of categorising effects in a submenu hierarchy. It was very unpopular with users who don’t have many effects and did not like the extra navigation, and did not like the guesswork about which category a plug-in was in.

The categorisation solution is not all that simple. As Steve said, there are multiple supported plug-in formats. There isn’t any obvious standard by which to categorise VST’s, hence our last attempt at categorisation ignored VST’s.

Personally I don’t think automatic categorisation would ever be a complete solution. Most DAW’s I have seen just start out with an alphabetical list of plug-ins.

By the way, when you (Tapehead) said you wanted a multi-column layout for plug-in categories, one column per category, did you really mean that “Effect” would become a number of different menus at the top, so that Analyze and Help would be pushed along rightwards? Your vote has been recorded like that but I have never seen browser favourites do that. Favourites have submenus that open when you hover over them. That is what our “unpopular” effects categorisation did.


Sorry I missed this reply.

To clarify on the Effects menu.
Several browers such as Maxthon,TheWorld, Slimbrowser etc have long had favorites menus that open in multi columns as well as sub menus. Firefox has addons that provide multi column bookmarks

Here’s pic of multi column favs in post #1 of this thread. (he’s still using the very old Mx 1 and hasn’t chosen to order all his folders at the top - the current MX version is 4 - Cloud)

You could dispense with the subfolders as shown here and just keep it to a list of effects. a second or third column of entries appears as ther list of favs or Audacity Effects grows.

No scrolling.

But for someone with a vast amount of effects the final column could contain
a further scroll option.

Is the cross platform coding difficult I don’t know? But I’ve been using multi column menus on Windows browsers since 2002. Maxthon is cross platform save for Linux but there is a linux trial version out, I don’t know what features it has.
If it has multi column favs it has to be enabled in settings

I see. That would depend if wxWidgets can do wrapped multi-columns.

The next release of Audacity will probably have a partial solution. Currently we allow grouping by plugin format (called “type”) or publisher. There is an idea to manage plugins’ display names and sorting/grouping using an editable XML file. The ultimate aim is to have drag and drop grouping and an interface for creating/renaming/moving groups.