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This tutorial explains how to set up your computer and create an environment for compiling the VST 3 audio plug-in examples provided with the VST 3 SDK.These include plug-ins like simple DSP effects (Gain, compressor, delay,...), synths instruments and some plug-ins showing how to handle some specific VST 3 features (Note Expression, Program Change, channel info context,...).

They can be loaded into VST 3 hosts like Cubase, WaveLab, ...

On this page:


Part 1: Getting and installing the VST3 SDK

For downloading the SDK, see this section "How to set up my system for VST 3".

Download cmake from: https://cmake.org/download/ or use a package manager for your OS.


Part 2: Building the examples

Building the examples on Windows

  • Create a folder for the build and move to this folder (using cd):
mkdir build
cd build
  • Generate the solution/projects: specify the path to the project where CMakeLists.txt is located:
cmake.exe -G "Visual Studio 16 2019" -A x64 ../vst3sdk
  or without symbolic links
cmake.exe -G "Visual Studio 16 2019" -A x64 ../vst3sdk -SMTG_CREATE_PLUGIN_LINK=0


Preparation on Windows
Generated VST3 Microsoft Visual Studio Projects using the cmake included in the SDK will create by default symbolic links for each built plug-in in the official VST3 folder, in order to allow this on Windows you have to adapt the Group Policy of Windows. See Here!

If you do not want to create this link, call cmake with this parameter:

-SMTG_CREATE_PLUGIN_LINK=0

Note: you can find the string definition for different Visual Studio Generators in the cmake online documentation (https://cmake.org/documentation/)

  • Build the plug-in (you can use Visual Studio too):
msbuild.exe vstsdk.sln
 (or alternatively for example for release)

cmake --build . --config Release

Building the examples on macOS

  • Create a folder for the build and move to this folder (using cd):
mkdir build
cd build

  • Generate the solution/projects: specify the path to the project where CMakeLists.txt is located:
    For XCode:
cmake -GXcode ../vst3sdk

Without XCode (here debug variant):

cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug ../
  • Build the plug-in (you can use XCode too):
xcodebuild
 (or alternatively for example for release)

cmake --build . --config Release

Building the examples on Linux

  • Install the required packages: Required packages
  • Create a folder for the build and move to this folder (using cd):
mkdir build
cd build
  • Generate the solution/projects: specify the path to the project where CMakeLists.txt is located:
cmake ../vst3sdk
  • Build the plug-in:
make
(or alternatively for example for release)

cmake --build . --config Release

Building using cmake-gui

  • "Browse Source...": select the folder VST3_SDK
  • "Browse Build...": select a folder where the outputs (projects/...) will be created. Typically a folder named "build"
  • you can check the SMTG Options
  • Press "Configure" and choose the generator in the window that opens: for example "Visual Studio 16 2019"

  • Press "Generate" to create the project
  • Open your targeted IDE, and compile the solution/project.
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