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VST3 is the future for new plugins

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3 minutes ago, Starise said:

You probably heard about the new MIDI 2.0 spec.? 

Maybe I mistakenly thought the spec worked pretty well up until now. MIDI.org has been making changes along the way . The spec allowed for some manufacturers to get creative with it. Both Yamaha and Roland adopted some factory specific commands back in the day. I think I like that MIDI.org are in charge of it because it establishes a  standard. Lots have cried that it was behind the times. I don't think it really is when you consider all of the possibilities that have been adopted since using it. Most people who use it never use it to the full potential. I mostly use it when playing sample libraries. 

This is exactly the kind of thing I believe would be helpful to the plugin industry. Call it PLUGIN.org or whatever.  If we had one wrapper that would play both older and more recent versions of plugins in the same wrapper lots of people would be happy. Or maybe just several wrappers that all work in any DAW. Not sure how MIDI.org gets their funding. Maybe a token contribution from members keeps them going? Another benefit is all members could have input into the process.

On the different specs for plugin wrappers. Just proprietary stuff I guess. Makes more work for the developers . 

You probably heard about the new MIDI 2.0 spec.? 

Yep. 30+ years in the making.

This is exactly the kind of thing I believe would be helpful to the plugin industry. Call it PLUGIN.org or whatever.  If we had one wrapper that would play both older and more recent versions of plugins in the same wrapper lots of people would be happy. Or maybe just several wrappers that all work in any DAW.

Great idea!

Not sure how MIDI.org gets their funding. Maybe a token contribution from members keeps them going? Another benefit is all members could have input into the process.

The MIDI Manufacturers Association, among others. They are midi.org. Formed in 1985.

Quote

The MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) is a non-profit trade organization where companies work together to create MIDI standards that assure compatibility among MIDI products.

On the different specs for plugin wrappers. Just proprietary stuff I guess.  Makes more work for the developers .  

Yes it does.

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if you trust my credibility at all as a 59-year-old musician/business owner who spent most of the '90's in the software industry, in everything from startups to Adobe, I'll tell you that the situation with plug-in specifications and compatibility  is probably not what you imagine.

Even (especially) with the latest, VST3, if anyone thinks that Steinberg and other industry players (or even plug-in vendors) sat down and worked out the details of how VST's and DAW's should work together, then wrote out a spec, went over it checking for omissions and errors, and finally published it, then as errors and inconsistencies were uncovered by other companies and plug-in vendors, Steinberg was alerted and those changes were incorporated into revisions of the spec, then I must now inform  you that the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny were actually just your parents leaving you money and candy.

It probably went more like:

Scene: Offices of Steinberg, 3 Months before Musikmesse 1996

Sales: "Y'know, I think we can sell more copies of our new pluggy-inny Cubase if we let other people make plug-ins for it too."

Marketing: "Great idea! The new version with the plug-ins! Let's let everyone make plug-ins for it! We'll be legends, it'll be the new MIDI!"

Management: "Hey, people who chose coding and not technical writing as their career, give us the specification for the plug-ins so that other people can write them."

Engineering: "That's insane, we can barely make our own that don't crash the host, and we don't have it all written down in one place, it's in the form of comments in the code!"

Marketing: "Ha, ha,  you geeks have a great sense of humor. The spec must be ready to hand out at our presentation at Musikmesse. We're calling it "VST" for 'Virtual Studio Technology.' And don't worry about compatibility, the outside vendors' plug-ins will all be certified by our QA process."

Engineering: "You're insane, Musikmesse is in 3 months and furthermore our QA staff can barely handle testing our own products with the resources they have."

Management: "Just have that spec ready for the presentation at Musikmesse. Even if you have to write it on a cocktail napkin and hand it to them, it will be ready. I have faith in you."

A couple of years pass....

Scene: offices of an unidentified other DAW company

Other company's marketing: "Cubase got such a huge head start on us with that VST thing that it's become the friggin' standard, we have to make our host support VST's because people have these huge libraries of them. And plug-in houses don't like to code for DXi because it's Windows-only and so many studios use Apple hardware. We have to be able to let them load their VST's. At least 5 or 6 men with bellbottoms told me so."

Other company's management: "Hey, engineering, look what we got you! This is the VST spec from Steinberg! We will be showing off how our product can host every VST ever coded by anyone at Winter NAMM this year!"

Other company's engineering: "This is a series of German swear words written on the back of a cocktail napkin from Steinberg's Musikmesse booth a couple of years ago and Winter NAMM  is in 2 months."

OCMgmt.: "Ha ha, you geeks have a great sense of humor. It's the full VST spec. Steinberg says so."

OCEng.: "Steinberg has no incentive for our host to be able to run VST's. It's the opposite. There's nothing in this about crash protection, memory management or protection, preset management, default UI, installation location, sidechaining, UI scaling, song position detection, they barely tell you how to get audio in and out. People will blame us when the things fail to load and/or bring our host down. We're at the mercy of Steinberg and the plug-in developers. It'll be a testing and support nightmare forever."

OCMgmt.: "This is the VST spec. We'll be showing off how we can host every VST on the market. I have faith in you."

(I made up the foregoing drama/comedy/tragedy based on reading KVR and Wikipedia and my own experiences as a QA engineer testing a photo editor that was advertised as being  "compatible with Photoshop plug-ins." 🤦‍♂️I won't name it because there's no point. You wouldn't recognize it. It's as defunct as Yamaha/Steinberg would like all of its competitors to be.

There is a financial disincentive for a company who creates a spec to make it easy for their competitors to use it. As in: Cakewalk and  DP and Samplitude and FLStudio and Mixcraft get reps for being "buggy" and having compatibility problems, bingo, less competition for Cubase. Poor Mixcraft couldn't run most VST3's without crashing to save its life until the most recent version, 9, and Mixcraft is a stable program. Sampletank 3 never was able to run for more than about 10 minutes without crashing in either CbB or MX. I'll bet it works a treat in Cubase.)

Why can't a group of companies other than Steinberg band together and come up with an alternate, open spec? Look no further than the creation of the MIDI spec, which I and other MI veterans still see as a miracle. In the 35 years it's been around, it's been officially revised how many times, despite for example data storage and transmission technology advancing beyond the point of 1984 fathomability? There's MIDI 2.0, how's that proceeding? Well, I hope.

Ever try to get 7 people from the same department at just one company to agree on where to go for lunch? I think getting people from half a dozen plug-in manufacturers to agree on which platform to use for the teleconference meeting might scuttle the whole thing before it started.

One problem with any standard is that in adopting it, muchless creating it, at least someone is going to have to give something up, and that thing is going to cost them in some way. Even if it's just loss of face, or autonomy. Back before MIDI, synthesizer manufacturers could lock musicians into buying only their sound modules, their keyboards, their controllers, their sequencers, and so they could charge more for them. A LOT more. You may think that's laughable now, everyone knows that when everything got cheaper, it allowed so many more people to start playing around with music gear that it attracted more people, which attracted even more money, and everyone made even more money, and got even richer, and it was just in time for computers to get involved, so Cakewalk and Pro Tools and Cubase and MIDI made all that possible. It was freakin' awesome, and a great illustration of how going with standards vs. proprietary can increase the entire market enough that everybody benefits way much more in the long run.

But the men who sat down over lunch to create MIDI didn't know all of that, it was a big dice roll, and not all of them necessarily benefited, a couple of them lost their companies a few years down the road anyway. They were brave, and we owe them gratitude to this day, no lie, they risked a lot for that vision.

Hey, it's just really, really hard. Go ahead, try it. What's stopping you? Everyone would benefit, right? So stop playing music and working and all that and create a plug-in standard for everyone. There's another problem: who does the work? Coordinating email, keeping records, documents, etc., filing for non-profit status, legal status. Hmm. These problems, they sound more like the problems that companies solve. Company creates a standard, they know who's going to benefit, they know who's going to do the work, who's name is going on it, who's going to get sued if someone decides that it infringes on their IP copyright. There's another one, BTW. Risk exposure.

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3 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

Why can't a group of companies other than Steinberg band together and come up with an alternate, open spec? Look no further than the creation of the MIDI spec, which I and other MI veterans still see as a miracle. In the 35 years it's been around, it's been officially revised how many times, despite for example data storage and transmission technology advancing beyond the point of 1984 fathomability? There's MIDI 2.0, how's that proceeding? Well, I hope.

Ever try to get 7 people from the same department at just one company to agree on where to go for lunch? I think getting people from half a dozen plug-in manufacturers to agree on which platform to use for the teleconference meeting might scuttle the whole thing before it started.

One problem with any standard is that in adopting it, muchless creating it, at least someone is going to have to give something up, and that thing is going to cost them in some way. Even if it's just loss of face, or autonomy. Back before MIDI, synthesizer manufacturers could lock musicians into buying only their sound modules, their keyboards, their controllers, their sequencers, and so they could charge more for them. A LOT more. You may think that's laughable now, everyone knows that when everything got cheaper, it allowed so many more people to start playing around with music gear that it attracted more people, which attracted even more money, and everyone made even more money, and got even richer, and it was just in time for computers to get involved, so Cakewalk and Pro Tools and Cubase and MIDI made all that possible. It was freakin' awesome, and a great illustration of how going with standards vs. proprietary can increase the entire market enough that everybody benefits way much more in the long run.

But the men who sat down over lunch to create MIDI didn't know all of that, it was a big dice roll, and not all of them necessarily benefited, a couple of them lost their companies a few years down the road anyway. They were brave, and we owe them gratitude to this day, no lie, they risked a lot for that vision.

Hey, it's just really, really hard. Go ahead, try it. What's stopping you? Everyone would benefit, right? So stop playing music and working and all that and create a plug-in standard for everyone. There's another problem: who does the work? Coordinating email, keeping records, documents, etc., filing for non-profit status, legal status. Hmm. These problems, they sound more like the problems that companies solve. Company creates a standard, they know who's going to benefit, they know who's going to do the work, who's name is going on it, who's going to get sued if someone decides that it infringes on their IP copyright. There's another one, BTW. Risk exposure.

Nice essay! By the way, where did that quote come from? Probably close to the truth, LOL!

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Posted (edited)

I find the quote amusing SK but can't see who wrote it.

Getting people and corporate entities together requires  leadership and organization. I don't think a huge company is necessary for the task. Companies are simply  skilled people getting together with financial resources who have objectives..We can't have someone who will whine when they get rejected a few times initially.

Not- Please will it be ok if we do this Mr Cubase?? No-? That's what I thought would happen :(:(:( Oh well..........

The best approach IMHO would be to say- We ARE initiating a new  universal plugin standard. Not we might. Not we were thinking about it. We ARE. Incentives could be along the lines of...no more attachment to  Cubase. Each developer has input into the way it's going to happen. A more democratic approach. No licenses to buy.

Even though I don't use Reaper, that environment looks favorable for something like that to happen in. Changes and modifications are encouraged. They have some interesting plugin technology already. It couldn't be a Reaper product though. It must be an open universal standard or it would be no different than VST.

People would need to overcome egos. If a nice standard was adopted by brand A which is a competitor of brand B, brand B will buck it and instead want to have some input. The more commercially neutral the standard is the better.

For the end user- all of your plugins will be backwards compatible. Upgrades to vst3 equivalent wrappers will always be free. The plugins will  be bought. All plugins will work in all DAWs using one free non commercial system.

 

Edited by Starise
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Posted (edited)

I think it would possibly be easier to fork the VST3 SDK with an open source team on GitHub and start from something almost everybody has working today. Then   evolve it into something new and standardized. Probably easier to get the buy-in from DAW and plugin manufacturers.

Instead of starting from scratch.

Edited by abacab
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7 hours ago, abacab said:

Nice essay! By the way, where did that quote come from? Probably close to the truth, LOL!

Thanks! It's me, from last December. Yeah, would that I were off-base. I've been in that engineering department when the marketing department came in and delivered a woefully incomplete spec or demanded a "spec" from us that only existed on scraps of paper and (if we were lucky) comments in code. It's conjecture out of thin air, but....not that thin.

I've said before that if John Godfrey Saxe  had lived to see the computer age, he  might have added "software" to his famous “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made” quote.

(BTW, despite or because of the above, I have a lot of respect for the Cakewalk development staff and their process. They  do it right, and seem to be correcting for some decisions that may have been made in haste when development was more sales and marketing driven. Just dig the list of fixes with every update!)

And thanks for taking it in the spirit in which it was intended (lighthearted).

Believe me, I wish it could be different, too. But  it's also good to understand and acknowledge  why it is like it is. Steinberg  created VST to sell more Cubase. IMO, Steinberg went to VST3 to force plug-in vendors to correct for inadequacies in Cubase and Nuendo (specifically sidechaining and UI scaling) that most of them had already gone ahead and done within the  VST2 spec anyway.

Making VST3 conform to open source standards seems to me like a self-serving move to encourage more adoption. They're taking a page from Apple's book by forcing people to dump something they're perfectly happy with in order to get them to adopt a newer, overhyped thing that doesn't work as well. In doing this, they're making a lot of perfectly functional audio software obsolete because it will only host VST2's.

VST3 is the future, just like iPhones without 1/8" audio jacks are the future.

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5 hours ago, abacab said:

I think it would possibly be easier to fork the VST3 SDK with an open source team on GitHub and start from something almost everybody has working today. Then   evolve it into something new and standardized. Probably easier to get the buy-in from DAW and plugin manufacturers.

Instead of starting from scratch.

Great idea. If you could fork it legally without getting into trouble this is a great  way to go. I haven't put this to any other forums. There's a few forums around with active developers in participation.  

20 minutes ago, Starship Krupa said:

Thanks! It's me, from last December. Yeah, would that I were off-base. I've been in that engineering department when the marketing department came in and delivered a woefully incomplete spec or demanded a "spec" from us that only existed on scraps of paper and (if we were lucky) comments in code. It's conjecture out of thin air, but....not that thin.

I've said before that if John Godfrey Saxe  had lived to see the computer age, he  might have added "software" to his famous “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made” quote.

(BTW, despite or because of the above, I have a lot of respect for the Cakewalk development staff and their process. They  do it right, and seem to be correcting for some decisions that may have been made in haste when development was more sales and marketing driven. Just dig the list of fixes with every update!)

And thanks for taking it in the spirit in which it was intended (lighthearted).

Believe me, I wish it could be different, too. But  it's also good to understand and acknowledge  why it is like it is. Steinberg  created VST to sell more Cubase. IMO, Steinberg went to VST3 to force plug-in vendors to correct for inadequacies in Cubase and Nuendo (specifically sidechaining and UI scaling) that most of them had already gone ahead and done within the  VST2 spec anyway.

Making VST3 conform to open source standards seems to me like a self-serving move to encourage more adoption. They're taking a page from Apple's book by forcing people to dump something they're perfectly happy with in order to get them to adopt a newer, overhyped thing that doesn't work as well. In doing this, they're making a lot of perfectly functional audio software obsolete because it will only host VST2's.

VST3 is the future, just like iPhones without 1/8" audio jacks are the future.

I have been exposed to similar when it comes to marketing and engineering departments projections .vs what's really possible. 

Just never made a lot of sense to me that something else could not be adopted. I'm surprised that others have so readily accepted it when it's their competition.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

 just like iPhones without 1/8" audio jacks are the future.

LOL, exactly!!! 🤣

Not a huge fan of the Apple empire, but I did buy an iPod once. Might even consider a used iPad in order to mess around with the latest mobile audio apps on iOS...

Edited by abacab

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A rival to the VST standard?

Remember when Cakewalk put DX and DXi up as a challenger to VST and VSTi?

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1 hour ago, Wibbles said:

A rival to the VST standard?

Remember when Cakewalk put DX and DXi up as a challenger to VST and VSTi?

Yup, but those are Windows only.

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3 hours ago, Wibbles said:

A rival to the VST standard?

Remember when Cakewalk put DX and DXi up as a challenger to VST and VSTi?

This is a good example of what could be done.  Reaper is a prime contender to look at for plugin code modifications ideas they have two very interesting things, Reascript and  JSFX. All of these run on Mac, Linux and Windows...that's the kind of talent we need for this. It's already been done just need a DAW porting standard.

 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Wibbles said:

A rival to the VST standard?

Remember when Cakewalk put DX and DXi up as a challenger to VST and VSTi?

 

3 hours ago, Starise said:

This is a good example of what could be done.  Reaper is a prime contender to look at for plugin code modifications ideas they have two very interesting things, Reascript and  JSFX. All of these run on Mac, Linux and Windows...that's the kind of talent we need for this. It's already been done just need a DAW porting standard.

 

Did you guys know that Reaper could run DXi?

Like your good old TTS-1 for example?

Reaper - DX.PNG

Edited by abacab

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No I wasn't aware of this. Reaper looks more and more like the swiss army knife of DAWs.

TBH I don't often use anything DXi . Might be a good time to revisit some of that.

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2 minutes ago, Starise said:

No I wasn't aware of this. Reaper looks more and more like the swiss army knife of DAWs.

TBH I don't often use anything DXi . Might be a good time to revisit some of that.

I keep Reaper around to test plugins and their routing, if I have an issue with one elsewhere, but don't  use it much other than that.

It is like a swiss army knife though, but I find it much too cumbersome to use as a daily driver. Lots of power under the hood, and unmatched routing capabilities!

Respect to the developers!

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19 minutes ago, Starise said:

I have been exposed to similar when it comes to marketing and engineering departments projections .vs what's really possible. 

Just never made a lot of sense to me that something else could not be adopted. I'm surprised that others have so readily accepted it when it's their competition.

You've been around, though, you know that it can be what the market demands that drives that decision. Unless you're Apple, it's really hard to tell your customers what they want.

Hence what I put in there about the company trying to go with DXi. But everyone wants to use Macs, and the men in jeans tell the marketing guy that they already have a bunch of expensive VST's, and their favorite FX aren't available in that format anyway, and the company is getting tired of trying to chase compatibility with neutral standards when the market clearly wants VST's. So they suck it up.

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21 hours ago, Wibbles said:

Remember when Cakewalk put DX and DXi up as a challenger to VST and VSTi?

Don't need to have a terribly long memory. Many programs still ship with or support DX plug-ins. Adobe Premiere is another one.

I picked up the last MAGIX Humble Bundle, which  for me, was primarily a way to leapfrog from Sony Vegas Pro 10 to MAGIX Vegas Pro Edit 15 for $25.

I guess MAGIX went all BandLab with Sony Creative and bought up all the IP with the idea of cleaning up the code and then resurrecting the various products in versions that didn't lock up as often.

I also got Sound Forge Audio Studio 12, which is now my go-to audio editor.

All of the audio FX for Vegas and most of the Sound Forge ones are still DX, and their other audio programs ship with DX plug-ins. I don't know the last time that they had created any new ones, but aside from the minimal UI's on most of them, they work great. I'm not sure what the intermediate versions of Music Maker come with. The Sony/MAGIX pitch shifter has come in handy a time or two in Cakewalk.

So it looks like Microsoft/Cakewalk got some  buy-in. It probably waned due to the ubiquity of Macs running Pro Tools at the time and the fact that it was Windows-only. Apple has probably only managed to get better support for AU due to also having a good DAW with wide acceptance. I was bummed when Mixcraft dropped support for DX. Still, there's about as much support for AU on Windows as there is for DX/DXi on MacOS. If Logic and Final Cut were able to load VST's, AU might begin to fade out as well.

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Note to self: don't make offhand comments in Cakewalk forums. :)

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PG Music's Band-in-a-Box and RealBand include DX effects and accepts the Cakewalk by BandLab DX effects and DXi.

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1 hour ago, Jim Fogle said:

PG Music's Band-in-a-Box and RealBand include DX effects and accepts the Cakewalk by BandLab DX effects and DXi.

Not surprising as even the  BiaB 2020 version of still has a 90's look and feel to it...

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On 8/9/2020 at 1:42 PM, abacab said:

Not surprising as even the  BiaB 2020 version of still has a 90's look and feel to it...

But yet, the program still is capable of using the future for new plugins, VST3, to bring the thread back into the scope of the topic 😉.

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