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In order to build VST 3 plug-ins, you need the source code of the VST 3 (interface definition), an IDE/compiler, cmake and a VST 3 host application.

Get the source code

From the downloaded file

Download the VST 3 SDK: check VST 3 SDK Download.

Unpack the zip file to a development folder on your computer.

From GitHub:

git clone --recursive

Get a IDE for development

For Windows

On Windows, we recommend that you to use Visual Studio C++ or Visual Studio Code. You can get it for free here

For MacOS

On MacOS, a first choice is Xcode (available here

For Linux

In order to build the SDK successfully, you need an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution. Other distributions might work as well, but are not tested.

  1. Download Linux: or
  2. Install it directly or in a virtual machine like Parallels
    We used and tested on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

Package Requirements

Building the SDK examples requires installation of several packages:


sudo apt-get install cmake gcc "libstdc++6" libx11-xcb-dev libxcb-util-dev libxcb-cursor-dev libxcb-xkb-dev libxkbcommon-dev libxkbcommon-x11-dev libfontconfig1-dev libcairo2-dev libgtkmm-3.0-dev libsqlite3-dev libxcb-keysyms1-dev
On Raspbian/Debian, replace "libxcb-util-dev" with "libxcb-util0-dev"


sudo apt-get install subversion git ninja-build

A recommended IDE (optional): QTCreator

sudo apt-get install qtcreator
You can also use the bash file "" included in the VST3_SDK/tools folder!

Get cmake

In order to control the compilation process and create an IDE project, VST 3 SDK uses the open-source and cross-platform tool cmake.

You can download cmake here: or use a package manager for your OS (Linux).

You can use it as a command line tool or use the cmake executable with GUI. cmake-gui is included in the cmake package:

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!

Get a VST 3 host application

You can use your favorite VST 3 host application, see here for some examples, or you can use the VST 3 Plug-in Test Host application included in the VST 3 SDK.

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